This profile was published as part of Gandhi’s Be Magazine’s #ProfilesofChangemakers series, uplifting the stories, lives, and work of Changemakers who are being the change they wish to see in the world.
Ronnie Barkan is a Jewish activist living in Tel Aviv, Israel whose live and work is dedicated to protesting Israel’s occupation of Palestine. “I am a privileged Israeli Jew,” Barkan says. “It’s not that I am affiliated with being Israeli or Jewish, but this is my legal status defined by the state and my fellow citizens, the Palestinians, have a totally different legal status. My privileges as a Jew come at their expense.” Ronnie’s boycott of Israel first began with taking a stand as a conscientious objector. Ronnie refused to complete his mandatory military service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as an Israeli citizen. Ronnie went on to protest the building of the separation wall between Israel and Palestinian territory. In 2008, Ronnie expanded his activism, joining a group of Jewish and Arab Israelis in co-founding Boycott from Within. The group supports the end of Israel’s occupation and settlements in Palestine. A key tactic is organizing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement from within Israel. The group has persuaded rock bands like The Pixies and Red Hot Chili Peppers to boycott Israel and cancel concerts that were scheduled in Israel.
Ronnie says, “There’s only so much we can do, but primarily demand the end of Israeli impunity, support BDS.”
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