The Case for Sanctions Against Israel

Leading international voices argue for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel

In July 2011, Israel passed legislation outlawing the public support of boycott activities against the state, corporations, and settlements, adding a crackdown on free speech to its continuing blockade of Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements. Nonetheless, the campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in strength within Israel and Palestine, as well as in Europe and the US.

This essential intervention considers all sides of the movement—including detailed comparisons with the South African experience—and contains contributions from both sides of the separation wall, along with a stellar list of international commentators.

With contributions by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, Merav Amir, Hind Awwad, Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti, Dalit Baum, Joel Beinin, John Berger, Angela Davis, Nada Elia, Marc H. Ellis, Noura Erakat, Neve Gordon, Ran Greenstein, Ronald Kasrils, Jamal Khader, Naomi Klein, Paul Laverty, Mark LeVine, David Lloyd, Ken Loach, Haneen Maikey, Rebecca O'Brien, Ilan Pappe, Jonathan Pollak, Laura Pulido, Lisa Taraki, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Michael Warschawski, and Slavoj Žižek


  • “Provides clear arguments for international sanctions against Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians. This excellent collection of essays is an essential text for anyone interested in why they should support the movement to boycott Israel. The essays are not just good reading; they are also an eloquent call to the world to give a damn.”
  • “Punish[es] .. Israel with regards to its policies towards Palestinians.”


  • British artists call for a boycott of the Zabludowicz Collection in solidarity with Palestine

    British artists have issued a call for a boycott of the Zabludowicz Collection, one of London's largest contemporary art institutions, in solidarity with the Palestinian people. In a statement on Mute, they call on artists and cultural producers to act in "direct solidarity with the communities under assault in Gaza, victims of state terror on both sides, and with resistance movements in both Israel and Palestine." 

    The statement cites Poju Zabludowicz's involvement with BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre), a major pro-Israeli communications organisation, as justification for the boycott, which falls under PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) guidelines as a suitable reason for the action. The boycott already has many supporters, from Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein and Angela Davis to performers such as Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, the Pixies and many other. 

    Writing in The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, Omar Barghouti, founding committee member of PACBI, traces the growth of the academic and cultural boycott, and how Israel has responded to international condemnation by increasing it focus on culture as a way to improve "Brand Israel". Despite this he says,

    ...there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. The cultural boycott of Israel, despite its young age, is already witnessing a healthy growth in the Western mainstream, and having a considerable impact on Israel’s impunity and “brand.” Perhaps Maxi Jazz, the front man of Faithless, a famous British band that refused to perform in Israel, captured the moment well in his explanation of his band’s decision: 

    While human beings are being willfully denied not just their rights but their NEEDS for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either “normal” or “ok.” It’s neither and I cannot support it. It grieves me that it has come to this and I pray every day for human beings to begin caring for each other, firm in the wisdom that we are all we have. 

    You can read the full statement from Boycott Zabludowicz on the Mute website.

    Verso has made ebook The Case for Sanctions Against Israel available as a free download.
  • The Indians of Palestine: An interview between Gilles Deleuze and Elias Sanbar

    In 1982, the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze interviewed the Palestinian author Elias Sanbar, founder of the Journal of Palestine Studies (La Revue d'Études Palestiniennes). They examine the importance of the journal and the existence of the people and land of Palestine. Disgracefully, over 30 years later, these discussions are still despairingly relevant to today's climate. 

    We have waited a long time for an Arab journal in French, but instead of coming from North Africa, it's being done by the Palestinians. La Revue d'Études Palestiniennes has two characteristics obviously centered on Palestinian problems which also concern the entire Arab world. On the one hand it presents very profound socio political analyses in a masterful yet calm tone. On the other hand, it mobilizes a specifically Arab literary, historical and sociological "corpus" which is very rich and little known. 
    -Gilles Deleuze, 1982

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  • 'Israel does not understand anything but force' - an interview with Shlomo Sand

    The renowned historian Shlomo Sand - author of The Invention of the Jewish People and The Invention of the Land of Israelwas interviewed by the French magazine Télérama in 2009. The recent re-publication of this French interview still contains powerful responses to the violence that we see in Gaza today. How can we still be asking the same questions 5 years on? Both then and now, Sand continues to be one of the few Israeli intellectuals – even on the Left – who has continued to condemn the bombardment of Gaza. 

    Israeli public opinion supports the (2008-2009) Gaza War. You are a dissonant voice...

    I have reached the peak of my academic career, I have nothing to lose and I am not afraid. Of course, yes, I do feel very alone. But do not forget that almost ten thousand young people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on 3 January. Even in 2006, at the beginning of the war against Hezbollah, there was no mobilisation of such an extent. It was a very politicised demonstration, with the far Left as well as the Israeli Arabs who live in Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

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Other books Edited by Audrea Lim