Palestine & BDS Activism


The Backstory

The 1948 creation of the State of Israel produced the longest-standing colonial occupation in the modern world.

The years 1946-1948, the ‘nakba,’ or ‘catastrophe,’ in Arabic, displaced more than 750,000 Palestinians from their indigenous homeland. More than five million Palestinians now live as refugees scattered across the world. Those who remain behind live as second-class citizens, many in refugee camps within their own former homeland, under a regime of racial and ethnic segregation and subordination comparable to South Africa’s apartheid system.

Every year since 1948, Palestinians have lost land, homes, rights and autonomy under Israeli rule.


The fight for justice continues

Yet Palestinians have not stopped fighting, and the situation is not hopeless. The 2004 call by Palestinian civil society for a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel (BDS) has generated one of the great civil rights movements in the modern era. Today hundreds of thousands of people across the world have vowed not to buy Israeli goods, invest in companies that profit from the Occupation, or support sanctions against the Israeli state.

In 2009, I endorsed the call for boycott of Israeli universities by USACBI, an association of U.S.- based scholar seeking to challenge the Occupation through non-violent civil disobedience. The call for academic boycott asks U.S. academics not to engage in formal collaboration with Israeli universities until three conditions are met: Arab citizens living within Israel and in the occupied territories receive the same rights as Israeli citizens; stolen Arab lands are returned and the Apartheid Wall is demolished; and Israel honors U.N. resolution 194, the “Right of Return” of Palestinian refugees and exiles.

At this page, you can witness photographs and read stories about the Occupation and BDS. I encourage you to click on the USACBI link and to endorse the resolution to boycott Israeli universities. If you are not an academic, start your own boycott, divestment or sanctions campaign against the Israeli state.

We must carry the fight forward until Palestinians achieve their own “South Africa moment.”

Palestine solidarity work is a unique challenge

“Palestine solidarity work presents a unique challenge, where progressive activism is vilified, and where selfless organizers need to defend their principles from the accusations of both racist supremacists and “liberals.” One could argue that Palestinians have no choice but to resist, as we are “born into the struggle.” But the truth is, this is a global struggle, with no room for neutrality. Justice for Palestine is indigenous sovereignty, it is decolonial struggle, and anti-racism.  Working on the USACBI Organizing Collective with Bill has proven to be a breath of fresh air:  he “gets” it, and shoulders the responsibility with enthusiasm, even when it has come at great personal cost.”  
Nada Elia, Diaspora Palestinian writer and BDS organizer

“Bill is one of the most dedicated Palestine solidarity and BDS activists I have worked with in the movement. His tireless efforts and his astute vision in organizing are a huge asset to the Palestine solidarity movement and he has played a lead role in historic academic boycott campaigns in the U.S. He has also provided a crucial intellectual analysis in his writings that has helped reframe the narrative about Palestine in U.S. public culture. It has been a pleasure and honor to organize with Bill in these campaigns! He is committed as well as courageous and generous and has been a wonderful comrade in difficult struggles for justice in Palestine.”
Sunaina Maira, Co-Founder USACBI (United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), Professor of Asian-American Studies, UC Davis

Articles about Palestine and BDS Activism


“Building the Palestinian International.” by Bill V. Mullen. Social Text Periscope on-line dossier. Summer 2012. LINK

“Black Lives Matter and BDS.” by Bill V. Mullen. Socialist Worker. Dec. 14, 2015. LINK

“Palestine, BDS, and the Battle Against U.S. Imperialism.” by Bill V. Mullen. International Socialist Review. LINK

“Standing Up to the Zionist Backlash Against BDS.” by Bill V. Mullen. International Socialist Review. LINK

“Palestine, Boycott and Academic Freedom: A Reassessment Introduction.” by Bill Mullen. AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom V. 4. Fall 2013, p. 1-5 LINK

“Educators Can’t Stay Silent About Israeli Apartheid.” Kehaulani Kauanui, Robin D.G. Kelley, Bill V. Mullen, Nikhil Pal Singh, Neferti Tadiar. Electronic Intifada. Feb. 13, 2012. LINK

“Salaita Firing Shows Where Zionism Meets Neoliberalism in U.S. Universities.” Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen. Electronic Intifada. Sept. 2, 2014. LINK

“On March 8th Stand with Women of Palestine.” Bill V. Mullen and Sofia Arias. Electronic Intifada. March 6, 2017. LINK

“Salaita’s Stellar Teaching Record Exposes political motivation behind his firing.” Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen. Mondoweiss. Aug. 20, 2014. LINK

“Five Lessons from the Struggle to Reinstate Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois.” Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen. Mondoweiss. Sept. 15, 2014. LINK

“Guidelines for Academic Boycott of Israel.” Bill V. Mullen at MLA 2016. Jan. 27, 2016. MLA Members for Justice in Palestine. LINK

“Where Zionism and the Alt-Right Meet.” Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen. Mondoweiss. July 28, 2017. LINK

Websites for BDS Activists


“This site takes its impetus, its hope, from those pushing back collectively against all varieties of exploitation and oppression. It is motivated especially by exceptional struggles around the world to which its creator has been a part: anti-capitalist fights for socialism; the struggle for a Free Palestine and BDS; anti-racism; the fight against creeping fascism.”
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