Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions: Comparing the Palestinian BDS Movement and Global Sanctions on Russia

April 11, 2022

In 2005, Palestinian civil society organizations put out a call for Boycott of, Divestment from, and Sanction of Israel (BDS). Premised on “the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity,” proponents of BDS took as a model the work of Black South African activists who mobilized economic sanctions against the apartheid regime. Now, the United States is working with the European Union and other countries to impose broad, economy-wide sanctions on Russia in response to President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Join movement leaders from Palestine, South Africa, and the United States, for a discussion about sanctions as a tool of social movement. How does the Palestinian-led demand for BDS differ from the sanctions imposed on Russia? What are the shared characteristics of these various sanctions? When are sanctions a tool for justice, and when are they an instrument of violence? Taking as a shared principle solidarity with all who face injustice, from Ukraine to Yemen to Palestine, participants will clarify the tactic of BDS, and explore areas of consensus and non-consensus within the BDS movement.

This event is co-sponsored by In These Times. You can read the Palestinian BDS National Committee’s statement about this topic here.

This live event and its recording will have automated closed captioning. For accommodation requests or questions about accessibility, please reach out to

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement.

Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

Olivia Katbi, North America coordinator for the BDS movement.

Ronnie Kasrils, former South African government minister and leading member of the African National Congress during the apartheid era.

In These Times is an independent, nonprofit magazine dedicated to advancing democracy and economic justice, informing movements for a more humane world, and providing an accessible forum for debate about the policies that shape our future.