One of the most exciting new frontiers in the struggle for Palestinian rights has been municipal campaigns, where communities are challenging their local governments and councils to refuse to contract with or invest in companies involved in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
Municipal campaigns focus on engaging directly with policymakers, building capacity and activating the power of everyday people to impact decision-makers locally. In turn, this work reverberates to help move decision-makers at local, state, and federal levels and ultimately, we move closer and closer to changing the US policies that enable Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.
What can that look like? In October 2015, Portland, Oregon took its first step towards becoming “occupation-free” when its Human Rights Commission unanimously endorsed placing human rights violators Caterpillar, HP, G4S, and Motorola Solutions on a city no-buy list. This occurred shortly after human welfare commissioner Cheryl Davila was fired for bringing forth a similar resolution in Berkeley, California. And who could forget the watershed coalition-led campaigns that led St. Louis, Missouri to dump Veolia and Durham, North Carolina to drop G4S?
These valiant efforts have inspired activists nationwide to pursue similar campaigns in their cities today — and you could too! Check out citiesforpalestine.org to find the municipal campaign that’s right for your area, see resources and success stories, and get in touch with us to start a campaign in your city!