9 - Planning a boycott demonstration
PLANNING A BOYCOTT DEMONSTRATION
Pick a boycott target – suggest starting with one or two products sold in a particular store
Talk to the store manager and ask how product decisions are made – individual store or headquarters.
Write a letter to the decision-maker (store, or headquarters) explaining what product is offensive and why and ask the store to remove the product from their shelves. Say when you are planning to boycott if the product isn’t removed from the shelves.
Obtain a permit, if necessary, for the area where you are planning to demonstrate.
Create a flyer with information about when, where, why, and what you are calling people to boycott. Give directions for getting to the location and a specific time frame. Distribute to those you want to engage in the demonstration with you. Include some “principles for the boycott,” for example:
A few gentle reminders to those planning to demonstrate:
1) We must practice strict nonviolence, even if insulted, shoved, or worse. This is turn-the-other-cheek time!
2) Our aim is to persuade the open-minded--not to taunt, provoke, or be baited by anyone opposing us.
3) We're working for justice and peace for all the people on the region, including Israelis.
4) We emphasize that we strongly oppose all forms of racism, including anti-semitism.
5) We make clear that we're not opposed to the State of Israel, but rather its 43-year occupation and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and its ongoing blockade of Gaza.
6) We can also make clear that we're boycotting to bring an end to the Occupation and Blockade, just as the boycott of South Africa forced an end to Apartheid and segregation in that country.
7) We assure everyone that once the Occupation and Blockade end, our boycott can also end.
Have information sheets available for demonstrators to hand to shoppers and passers-by during the demonstration explaining why you are demonstrating against the product(s). Make your own or search the internet for prepared sheets for frequently boycotted items (AHAVA, SABRA, OSEM, TRIBE).
If you want to use signs, either prepare them ahead of time, or include on your flyer approved language for signs to be made. (Otherwise you may get verbiage that does not comport with your group’s purpose).
If you want to chant or sing, prepare song sheets for demonstrators to join in. Use familiar tunes and write catchy words.
Dress in costumes if you are so inclined – helps attract attention.
Engage passers-by in conversation about what you are doing and why.
You may want to have other handouts available – information on local events, End the Occupation postcards showing the 4 maps of the incredibly shrinking Palestine or how much US military aid is given to Israel – tailor your handouts to your group’s interest and abilities to discuss.
Keep a list of demonstrators’ contact information so you can contact them for the next time.
Take pictures/video and post them on a website. Invite press/media coverage.