Naomi Klein on the Importance of the BDS Campaign against Israel

1 Aug 2009

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Naomi Klein delivered a speech on 27 June 2009 in Ramallah about the importance of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaign against Israel.

Her speech was filmed in two parts. Watch part one in the clip above. To watch part two of Klein's speech, please click here.

Below you will find an excerpt of her speech, transcribed by Toufic Haddad for the Faster Times and published by the Global BDS Movement.

Highlighting the significance of intensifying economic sanctions against Israel and strengthening the BDS campaign, Klein says:

"What I argue in the Shock Doctrine is that part of the reason why there is so little interest in peace within Israel - [there are] two reasons: one is the fact that it is possible to live a relatively normal, fun life in Israel; and the other is that Israeli companies are not feeling the pinch from war. 

And if you look at any other conflict zones, whether its Ireland, Sri Lanka…. When a society ultimately gets tired of war, its because people begin saying “I just want to lead a normal life.” And also, because the business sector starts to put pressure on the government so that they can engage in normal trading. Because it is so very difficult to have a thriving economy in the context of war. You can have a thriving military economy, but a broader economy is very difficult to have in a conflict situation.

Both of those issues are challenged by the explosion of the Homeland Security sector in Israel which is of course intimately connected with the infrastructure of apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Because these technologies - the surveillance cameras, the walls that allow biometric identification - all of it is run by private companies. This on the one hand allows Israelis to live that so-called normal life even as the conflict rages, even as the occupation continues, even as peace and justice are denied. You can still have that bubble world.

In addition to that you have a very large sector of the Israeli economy that is profiting directly from the Homeland Security sector - not just in Israel but because Israel is being treated like a live laboratory. [...] The Occupied Territories are the laboratory and [...] the Palestinian people are the test market for these technologies. That means that they can [...] and are being exported.

We see this very dramatically in the fact that we see Israeli companies that have built the apartheid wall here, are going and selling their expertise to the U.S. government. They call it the virtual fence. It’s also a two billion dollar project between the U.S. and Mexico, and also the U.S. and Canada. It’s a whole network of sensors and guard towers and electrified fences and so on. The two billon dollar contract went to Boeing, but the main subcontract went to Elbit [Systems] which is one of the two main Israeli companies building the wall here.

So it isn’t just about the economy here, in Israel. It’s about saying “We know how to do this. Look at what a safe world bubble we have managed to create surrounded by a sea of enemies.”

In this context, peace is a threat. Because if these companies can’t claim that they are protecting Israelis from an endless irrational enemy that they can never talk to, but yet they are still able to keep Israelis relatively safe, then actually they lose their market."

To read the full transcript of Klein's speech, please click here.

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