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BDS at 10: Notes from the United States - by Professor Noura Erakat

  • Sija Insitute for Arabic Language and Culture 15 Umar Ibn al-Khattab Street Amman Jordan (map)

2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). This lecture will assess the BDS movement, its challenges, and prospects for the future with a particular focus on the United States. It will shed light on the steady growth of the movement into the mainstream, charting its impact on academic associations, churches, and cultural workers from the Presbyterian Church USA to Alice Walker and Roger Waters. It will also discuss attempts to suppress BDS, currently seen on the federal and state levels and most recently witnessed in presidential candidate statements. The expansion of BDS despite these attempts will be analysed with reference to major catalysts influencing the movement: ongoing Israeli occupation, brazen military offensives, rejection of the peace process, relentless settlement expansion, and denial of the right of return of refugees.


Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney, activist, and Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She was selected by the Washington Peace Center as one of their 2014 Activists of the Year and was among the honorees designated Women Inspiring Change by Harvard Law School in 2015. She has taught International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University, held a Freedman Teaching Fellowship at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, and was a Visiting Scholar at the American University of Beirut. Noura is a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya electronic magazine. She has appeared on PBS, BBC, NPR, Fox News, NBC, Aljazeera, and other major channels. She has published in the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Nation, Huffington Post, and Foreign Policy among others. Most recently, she co-published an anthology entitled Aborted State? The UN Initiative and New Palestinian Junctures.