New Orleans city council in the United States has passed a resolution put forward by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling for a review of the human rights records for all city contracts.
The resolution was proposed by the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC), an organisation within the BDS movement.
Resolution 18-5 was introduced by Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell, and was sponsored by five of the seven council members.
New Orleans is the first southern state to support measures introduced by BDS campaigners.
The resolution foes not mention Israel by name, but PSC member Max Geller told Middle East Eye that the resolution was pushed by Palestinian rights activists in the hope they could challenge companies that profit from occupation and the abuse of Palestinians.
“It is the first step, and it is one that was brought about after a full year of direct action by Palestinians living in New Orleans… We’re very happy about this,” Geller told MEE.
Geller added that it would be an opportunity to call out companies like Caterpillar, which supplies the machinery with which Israel demolishes Palestinian houses.
“Now we can say, given the atrocious human rights record of Caterpillar, given the tens of thousands of Palestinian homes destroyed by Caterpillar in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the city of New Orleans should not be contracting with them,” he said.
Israel is attacking the BDS movement in the US and abroad, after issuing a blacklist for human rights organisations supporting BDS last week. Under the new Israeli law, supporters of groups calling for BDS are barred from Israel.
These organisations include War on Want, a mainstream anti-poverty charity in the UK, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a patron.
Other US states, such as New York and Maryland, have, conversely, outlawed BDS.
BDS is a non-violent initiative inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement. It seeks to apply international pressure on Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian occupied territories, such as the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.
BDS recently convinced New Zealander singer Lorde to cancelling a concert in Israel, a decision that won the support of 100 other artists, who supported her decision in an open letter.
Photo credit: Zachi Evenor [CC BY 3.0 or CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.