The True Crisis is Neoliberalism: An Analysis of the Palestinian-Led BDS Movement's Pandemic Rhetoric
Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the work of activists around the world, movements for social justice have turned the pandemic into an opportunity to intervene in hegemonic systems, including neoliberalism. One such movement is the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. In this paper, I analyze the rhetoric of the BDS movement during the early stages of the pandemic to examine how the pandemic has shifted opportunities for rhetors who seek to resist neoliberal hegemony and promote intersectional justice. I find that BDS challenges the dominant frame of the pandemic as a crisis by reframing neoliberalism itself as a crisis. Within this frame, BDS combines multiple perspectives from marginalized groups around the world to enact collectivity as resistance to neoliberal ideology. My analysis suggests that these strategies of disruption are particularly effective against neoliberal ideology in the context of the pandemic. Ultimately, I argue that framing neoliberalism as a crisis offers activists opportunities to reject neoliberal policies and generate solidarity with other groups.