You can download SJP’s secret BDS handbook here.
BDS Handbook Highlights
Establishing an SJP-led or cross-coalition Divestment Committee
SJP-based (i.e. the campaign is planned and organized primarily by your campus SJP/Palestine solidarity org) or cross-coalition (i.e. students from various student organizations plan and organize the campaign together. Cross-group coalitions require everyone to have an equal stake in shaping the campaign’s fundamental demands).
ESTABLISHING AN SJP-LED OR CROSS-COALITION DIVESTMENT COMMITTEE
Snowball! Perhaps you already have a handful of fellow student activists you can rely on. Schedule an initial divestment meeting (or maybe a party?) and ask each of these student activists to invite at least two other committed students. Students need not be completely knowledgeable about Palestine — at UCLA, some of the best organizers were people we met through friends who were “down with the cause” but pretty clueless otherwise about the inner workings of BDS. They learned very quickly, and these meetings are a great place to get educated. If you want a cross-coalition committee, reach out to other student orgs to invite them to your next meeting or party. Since you’ll likely want to keep divestment under wraps for now, the best way to do this is to go through mutual friends. Who from these orgs do you know and trust? Be aware that divestment meetings will often need to be closed to trusted members only — always make sure that all participants can be vouched for by someone else.
Schedule regular meetings. Set up a regular meeting time. Meetings should be once a week, every week; as the divestment date nears, you will sometimes.
Pages 27 and 28.
LAUNCHING THE CAMPAIGN, AKA “GOING PUBLIC”
How do you know when you’re ready to launch? Here’s a checklist of some important details you won’t want to miss. If you checked off most of these, we’d say you’re ready to go:
- You have a solid group of at least 5 people who are willing to put in the hard work necessary to get this campaign off the ground and sustain it.
- You’ ve outreached to at least 15 student organizations and have presented to them about Palestine and divestment.
- At least 10 student organizations are willing to endorse your resolution.
- You’ve kept in touch with those student orgs, are in good standing with them, and have shown them real solidarity and support for their cause (see step 4 of this chapter}.
- Your resolution, or at least a solid draft of it,is written and ready to be shown to others.
- Note that this draft can and likely will change as you show it to fellow student organizations and senators and receive their feedback (see step 5 of this chapter)
- You’ve reached out to groups such as Campus BDS Support, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestine Legal, as well as outside SJPs to alert them of your campaign and have kept in touch with them for guidance, advice, and moral support.
- You know the process for submitting a senate resolution , and have a basic understanding of the student government’s rules and regulations.
- You and your divestment group have a detailed game plan for how you will respond to opposition.
- You have identified a target date for divestment and have made a clear, de tailed schedu le of everything you need to get done before that date.
- You have several upcoming teach-ins and other events about Palestine and divestment scheduled shortly after you officially announce your campaign. D You have a list of reputable resources ready and available for students and senators to look through should they ask for them (see the resources section at the end of this handbook).
- You know at least one person in student government who will want to help get the vote passed.
- You have developed a media plan and identified media spokespeople ahead of time. See section titled “utilizing the media” below .
BDS – It’s not about the vote
WHAT’S A LOSS AND WHAT’S A VICTORY?
A divestment campaign itself is the victory and a vote in favor is merely the cherry on top. All the other work we accomplish through the campaign–educating others about Palestine; building strong, progressive coalitions–make up the actual ice cream sundae. “Wins” should thus be determined by the impact that you were able to make on campus, not on the outcome of the vote. Divestment campaigns are valuable because they start a conversation about Palestine on your campus, and disrupt spaces that often exclude Palestinian and other minority voices. Your student government floors, student centers, campus quads, newspapers and libraries, and your entire university, are all places where investment in the Israeli occupation is the norm. By bringing divestment to these places, you are disrupting that norm, and challenging the idea that everything must be how it is in the status quo. You are bringing attention to the fact that the status quo is violent, and oppressive, and that we are complicit unless we act.
Outside Organizations Pour Resources Into Anti-Israel Activism
LAUNCHING A CAMPUS BDS CAMPAIGN? WANT SUPPORT?
The National Campus BDS Support Team can offer…
DIVESTMENT & COMPANY RESEARCH: What is your school invested in? What corporations make good divestment targets? Where can you get current information on these companies? Get help with research! Email [email protected] or visit http://www.afsc.org/investigate.
PRESS OUTREACH: Want help with talking to the media? Get help with talking points and press releases, access to media lists, spokesperson trainings, and more. Email bdsme[email protected] ail.com
LEGAL SUPPORT: Intimidated on campus? Free speech under attack? Need legal advice? Want your resolution reviewed for potential legal issues? Email info @pal estinel egal.org or visit www.palestinelegal.org
COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION: Want help getting folks to attend a hearing? Looking for endorsements from the local community; U.S., Palestinian, Israeli, or other international organizations; rabbis and the Jewish community; and/or respected public figures? Email [email protected], [email protected],and [email protected]
ONLINE ACTION TECHNOLOGY: Could you benefit from sophisticated technology to set up auto mati c email-writing campaigns to decision-makers or customized petitions? Email [email protected] and [email protected]
ACADEMIC DEFENSE & SPEAKER’S BUREAU: Want resources for academic boy<;:ott and academic defense organizing? Email academ [email protected] or go to www.usacbi. org/academic-defense.
Interested in having a USACBI member speak at your campus? www.usacbi.org/speakers -bureau
Printed Materials and Publications on Palest ine/Israel: Want materials to distribute and use for internal education? Email [email protected] or visit www.endtheoccupation.org
The Campus BDS Support Team is a joint effort of the American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, National Students for Justice in Palesti ne, Palestine Legal, American Muslims for Palestine, US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, and US Cam paign for Palestinian Rights.