This year’s theme is “Stop Arming Colonialism”, with activities planned in 200 cities worldwide; UNRWA seeking donations to make up for $446 million.

Israeli Apartheid Week, an internationally organized event funded and supported by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, launched on Monday. Events will take place at academic institutions and schools, and will include protests and demonstrations centered on resisting the “Israeli occupation” of the Palestinians. Events will take place for close to a month through April 8th and are mainly geared towards millennials and activists.

The BDS movement claims there will be Israeli Apartheid Week activity in over 200 cities across the globe, with 80 events planned in over 40 cities throughout Europe and North America. The movement claims its activity “seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people and build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.” They claim to host “events such as lectures, film screenings, direct action, cultural performances, postering… in grassroots organizing for effective solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle.”

The rhetoric of the organizations participating has changed over the years to become increasingly hostile towards the Jewish state. This year’s focus and theme is “Stop Arming Colonialism”. Information from their shared media claims Israel is supporting “genocidal regimes” such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Rwanda, through arms sales which have been “field-tested” on Palestinian victims in the Gaza Strip.

They claim that through boycotting, divesting and sanctioning the State of Israel, they will pressure the Israeli government to end its “siege” of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. It accuses Israel of colonialism, genocide, apartheid, occupation and war crimes, among many others. This is supported and promoted by misleading statistics, lies and biased and inaccurate reporting on Israel and the Israel Defense Forces. The organization this year is calling for “ending arms trade, military aid and cooperation with Israel” in order to “undercut financial and military support for its regime…”

The use by the BDS movement of academic and Jewish groups in supporting, promoting and protecting their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel efforts have allowed BDS activity to grow and expand while gaining legitimacy, particularly within North America.

26 American states have adopted legislation combating BDS, Tennessee the first with several states following such as South Carolina under Nikki Haley’s efforts. In February of this year, the US Senate passed anti-BDS legislation, the Combating BDS ACT, with a large majority. The bill encourages “state governments” to not sign contracts with those boycotting Israel. The bill will go to the House of Representatives where it will likely face challenges due to the Democrat Party majority.

Coinciding with the launch of the Israeli Apartheid Week, the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians) has called for donations given the large cuts from the Trump Administration. The organization is seeking to make up $446 million with the goal of reaching the same annual budget as last year, that of $1.2 billion.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), however, refused to accept US financial aid in January after the US Congress and Senate passed the “Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA)”. The law combats the funding of terrorism in countries receiving aid from the United States and allow for legal action if funds are used for terrorism. In order to avoid anti-terrorism lawsuits under the new legislature, the PA notified the US State Department that it declines future aid.

The Trump Administration has cut millions in aid to the Palestinians over 2018. The recent rejection from the PA for US security aid due to ATCA is $60 million a year. Last summer, the Trump Administration cut $200 million in aid to the UNRWA in continued efforts against the UN’s Palestinian agenda. The United States also rejected the Palestinian’s “right of return” and the UNRWA’s definition of Palestinian refugees, combating the inflated number of Palestinian refugees claimed by the United Nations. Of the UN’s supposed 5.3 million Palestinian refugees, only half a million are recognized.

Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/