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BDS movement echoes appeal from Palestinian prisoners to intensify boycott against Israeli prison-industrial complex

Global BDS News - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 00:34

Occupied Palestine, 17 August 2015 — The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) calls on people of conscience around the world to initiate and/or escalate boycott and divestment campaigns against the companies that are most complicit in these Israeli crimes, in response to an unprecedented appeal from Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. The appeal came in the context of an escalation in Israel’s repression against Palestinian political prisoners.

Israel’s systematic use of torture, a crime against humanity under international law, as a policy against Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners, has recently seen a sharp rise.

Israel, which remains one of few countries in the world that legalizes torture under circumstances deemed as “necessary,” has passed at the end of July a law allowing the force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners who have resorted to hunger strikes as a last ditch attempt to achieve their basic rights and dignity.

The Israeli prison authorities’ attempt to implement the new force-feeding law against 31-year-old Palestinian lawyer and current administrative detainee, Muhammed Allan, has triggered wide Palestinian protests and international condemnation by the UN and numerous human rights organizations.

The BNC calls upon Palestinian and international human rights organization to document the names of Israeli political, military, intelligence and medical figures who are implicated in the systematic and decades-old policy of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners, in order to bring them to trial at the International Criminal Court.

The national leadership of Palestinian prisoners sent a letter last week to the global BDS movement through the BNC asking for prioritizing the cause of the prisoners and intensifying BDS campaigning against Israeli and international corporations that are most complicit in the crimes committed by Israel against them.  The letter read:

“The international [BDS] campaign that you are leading, and that is increasing in effectiveness and outreach day after day, constitutes today a wave of pressure on the [Israeli] occupation government and its institutions. It has become the most important carrier of the voice of the oppressed in the land of Palestine.”

In 2012, the BNC, along with many Palestinian human rights organizations, launched a large international BDS campaign against G4S, the British-Danish private security company that is deeply involved in Israel’s violations of prisoners’ rights and international law.


The boycott campaign has cost G4S many contracts around the world, including in the USIrelandNorwaySouth Africa, among others.


In 2014, the campaign resulted in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s divestment of all its stock in the company, estimated at more than $180m. Around the same time, one of the largest protestant churches in the US, the United Methodist Church, also withdrew its investment from the company.


A large number of trade unionsorganizations and student councils around the world have also announced their refusal to contract G4S until it ends its collusion in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.


Under this intense pressure from the BDS movement, G4S executives announced in June 2014, at their general shareholders meeting, their intention not to renew the company’s contract with the Israeli prison authority when it lapses in 2017. The decision was confirmed in the shareholders’ meeting this year.


The BDS movement considered the company’s decision an insufficient first step in the right direction. Accordingly, it called for an escalation in the boycott campaign against G4S to compel it to immediately cancel all its contracts with Israel that violate international law and human rights.


Today, with the bloody escalation of Israel’s repressive and criminal measures against Palestinian prisoners, the BNC calls for intensifying boycott and divestment campaigns against the following corporations that are most deeply involved in Israel’s violations of our prisoners’ rights:

  1. G4S: provides protection and security systems to the following Israeli prisons and detention centers: Ketziot, Megiddo, Damoun, Ofer, Russian Compound, Abu Kabir and Jalamah.


  1. HP: provides electronic equipment and hardware maintenance services to the Israeli prison authority.


  1. Volvo, which owns 26% ofMerkavim, provides buses used in transferring prisoners. Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners is rife during these transfers.


  1. Siemens: provides security and fire-extinguishing systems to Israeli prisons, including Gilboa.


  1. Ashtrom: responsible for building Hasharon prison (where female Palestinian prisoners are detained). It also provided pre-fabricated units for Ofer and Ramon prisons.


  1. Shamrad: provides security devices for Ramla, Beersheba, Ayalon, Ketziot and Hasharon prisons.

Palestinian and Brazilian civil society launch “Olympics without Apartheid!” campaign

Global BDS News - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 17:14

A year from the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), leading the global BDS movement against Israel, and social movements in Brazil launch the ‘Olympics without Apartheid’ campaign.

The immediate target of the campaign is the International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS), an Israeli company awarded a contract last October by the Rio16 Olympic Organizing Committee. The company is an integral part of the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against Palestinians. It prides itself of being founded on the experience of the Mossad, Israel’s criminal secret services, and is widely accused of training death squads and supporting dictatorships during the 80s across Central America.

As indicated by the BNC, “Israeli military companies, all of which are deeply involved in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, among others, see the Olympic Games as an opportunity for profit and a means to export their “field-tested” expertise in maintaining apartheid, repression of people, and militarization of urban spaces across the globe. They must be stopped.”

A series of international events in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro between August 3 and 6 have been organized in coordination with Brazilian movements and the local coalition ‘Olympics for Whom?’ in order to strengthen opposition to the contract in Brazil and call on the world to join the campaign.

Jamal Juma, coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign and one of the speakers at the conference, said:

“It is absolutely vital for all of us to stand together to ensure an end to impunity in Palestine and across the globe. It is unacceptable that Israel continues to be allowed to export its expertise in repression and human rights violations to anyone interested in applying those techniques against their own people. It is shocking to see that the Olympics Rio16 are offering ISDS an international platform to whitewash their complicity in gross human rights violations in Palestine and Central America.”

In May 2015, the Brazilian government distanced itself from the company following intense pressure from civil society, frustrating ISDS’s expectations for a bigger slice of the estimated $2.2 billion security bill for the 2016 Olympics.

Brazilian civil society organizations accuse Brazilian authorities of not only being complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, but also using “field-tested” Israeli military technology to repress social movements, with a devastating impact on the lives of black and poor Brazilian youth.

Pedro Charbel, the BNC’s Latin America campaigns coordinator, explains: “ISDS is using the Olympics to showcase its work in Brazil, but the contract between the Olympics Committee and this company is only the tip of the iceberg. Despite its support for Palestinian rights at diplomatic level, Brazil is Israel’s 5th largest export market for weapons. BDS is growing across Latin America and in Brazil, in particular, at an impressive pace, and social movements in the country are determined not to rest before Brazil’s role in maintaining Israeli apartheid is ended.”


Follow the ‘Olympics without Apartheid’ facebook page here: https://goo.gl/IYmpOC
See the BNC call for action here: http://goo.gl/UNsoj0
Download the Stop the Wall factsheet with background on ISDS and the campaign: http://goo.gl/3sYKHD

Junte-se a nós: Olimpíadas sem apartheid!

Global BDS News - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 06:49

Curta a página no Facebook “Olimpíadas sem apartheid” aqui!

Empresas militares israelenses, todas elas profundamente em crimes de guerra de Israel encontra o povo palestino, entre outras, veem os Jogos Olímpicos como um grande oportunidade de lucro e meio de exportar sua experiência “testada em campo” em manter apartheid, repressão de pessoas, militarização de espaços urbanos ao redor do mundo. Isso deve ser parado.

A empresa de segurança israelense, Sistemas de Segurança e Defesa Internacionais (ISDS), conseguiu um contrato de grande visibilidade nos Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016.. ISDS, que orgulhosamente declara ter sido fundada por ex-agentes do Mossad, é simultaneamente símbolo de crimes contra os povos palestinos e latino-americanos.

Enquanto Israel perpetua seu regime de ocupação, colonização e apartheid contra o povo palestino, o que inclui a limpeza étnica, o apartheid, tortura, prisões sem julgamentos, espionagem sistemática de civis e assassinatos extrajudiciais, ISDS publiciza suas conexões com o exército israelense e “o know-how” de Israel em repressão ao redor do mundo.

A empresa tem se define como parte do sistema israelense de intervenções e é amplamente acusada de treinar esquadrões da morte na Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras e Nicarágua e parece ter conexões com golpes militares e tentativas de golpe em Honduras e Venezuela.

O Comitê Organizador dos Jogos Olímpicos mantém um acordo com a ISDS, mesmo depois do governo brasileiro ter se distanciado da empresa, depois de diversos protestos no início deste ano, negando ter qualquer relação comercial com a ISDS para os Jogos Olímpicos. Essa parceria entre o Comitê Organizador dos Jogos com uma empresa com tal histórico e reputação contradiz, sem dúvida alguma, a Carta Olímpica, que define as principais obrigações das organizações olímpicas e o espírito do movimento olímpico: “promover uma sociedade pacífica preocupada com a preservação da dignidade humana”.

Incluir a ISDS ou qualquer outra empresa militar tão envolvida em graves violações de direitos humanos mancharia ainda mais a imagem das Olimpíadas no Rio.

Essa parceria da ISDS ressalta a necessidade de intensificar o escrutínio público dos Jogos Olímpicos para assegurar que eles não apoiem a repressão de pessoas no Brasil ou em outros locais. É o momento para movimentos populares contra racismo, opressão e discriminação se unirem uma luta conjunta contra corporações que são cúmplices em infrações do direito internacional.

Nós chamamos a nossos parceiros globais no movimento de Boicote, Desinvestimento e Sanções (BDS) pelos direitos palestinos e outros movimentos mais amplos por justiça social para se juntarem a nós nesta campanha para banir a ISDS das Olimpíadas, de modo a caminhar rumo a Jogos Olímpicos sem apartheid.

Fora ISDS dos Jogos Olímpicos!
Por Olimpíadas sem empresas israelenses!
Por Olimpíadas sem apartheid!

Únete a nosotrxs: ¡Olimpiadas sin Apartheid!

Global BDS News - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 06:41

Me gusta la página en Facebook “Olimpiadas sin apartheid” aquí!

Compañías militares israelíes, de las cuales todas están profundamente involucradas en los crímenes de guerra de Israel contra el pueblo palestino, entre otras, ven a los Juegos Olímpicos como una oportunidad de ganancia y un medio para exportar su experiencia “comprobada en el campo” que ha sido utilizada para mantener el apartheid, la represión del pueblo y la militarización de espacios urbanos a lo largo del mundo. Esto debe ser detenido.

La compañía de seguridad israelí ISDS (Sistemas Internacionales de Seguridad y Defensa) contrajo un contrato bastante visible con los Juegos Olímpicos de Río 2016 (1). ISDS, que se enorgullece de haber sido fundado por ex agentes del Mossad, es simultáneamente un símbolo de los crímenes contra los pueblos de Palestina y América Latina.

Mientras Israel perpetúa un régimen de ocupación, colonialismo y apartheid contra el pueblo palestino, que incluye la limpieza étnica, tortura, privación de libertad sin juicio previo, espionaje sistemático contra civiles y ejecuciones extrajudiciales, ISDS pone en el mercado sus vínculos con el ejército israelí y la represión que imparte a lo largo del mundo.

La compañía ha sido definida como parte del sistema intervencionista militar israelí y es acusada ampliamente de haber entrenado a escuadrones de la muerte en Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras y Nicaragua, y aparece como vinculado a golpes de Estado e intentos de golpe en Honduras y Venezuela (2).

El Comité Organizativo de las Olimpíadas mantiene una asociación continua con ISDS, incluso después del distanciamiento del gobierno brasileño de la compañía; seguido de las protestas masivas de principios de este año y la negación de contratos comerciales con el ISDS para los Juegos Olímpicos (3). Esta asociación del Comité Olímpico Organizativo con una compañía con semejante reputación contradice rotundamente la Carta Olímpica, que define las obligaciones principales de las entidades olímpicas y el espíritu del Movimiento Olímpico de promover una sociedad pacífica que esté preocupada por la conservación de la dignidad humana (4).

Incluir a ISDS, o cualquier otra compañía militar tan involucrada en violaciones de derechos humanos, arruinaría aún más la imagen de las Olimpíadas de Río.

Esta asociación con ISDS subraya la necesidad de un escrutinio público más reforzado para los Juegos Olímpicos con el fin de asegurar que apoyen la represión del pueblo de Brasil o cualquier otro lugar. Este es un tiempo para que movimientos populares contra el racismo, la opresión y la discriminación se unan en una lucha conjunta contra las corporaciones que son cómplices en la infracción del derecho internacional.

Hacemos un llamado a nuestros compañeros del mundo del movimiento del Boicot, Desinversión y Sanciones (BNC) por los derechos de los palestinos y una mayor amplitud de movimientos de justicia social que se sumen a esta campaña para prohibir la participación de ISDS en las Olimpíadas, para encaminarnos hacia unos Juegos Olímpicos sin Apartheid.

¡Expulsemos a ISDS de las Olimpíadas!
¡Por Olimpiadas sin contratistas israelíes!
¡Por Olimpiadas sin Apartheid!

Join us: Olympics without Apartheid!

Global BDS News - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 06:34

Like our Facebook page “Olympics without Apartheid” here!

Llamado en castellano aquí | Chamado em português aqui

Israeli military companies, all of which are deeply involved in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, among others, see the Olympic Games as an opportunity for profit and a means to export their “field-tested” expertise in maintaining apartheid, repression of people, and militarization of urban spaces across the globe. They must be stopped.

The Israeli security company, International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS), has landed a high visibility contract at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (1). ISDS, which proudly claims to be founded by former Mossad agents, is simultaneously a symbol for the crimes against the Palestinian and Latin American peoples.

While Israel perpetuates a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people, which includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid, torture, imprisonment without fair trial, systematic spying on civilians and extrajudicial killings, ISDS markets its connections to the Israeli military and Israel’s know-how in repression across the world.

The company has been defined as part of the Israeli military intervention system and is widely accused of having trained death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua and appears in connection with the coups and attempted coups in Honduras and Venezuela (2).

The Organizing Committee of the Olympics maintains an ongoing partnership with ISDS, even after the Brazilian government distanced itself from the company, following widespread protest earlier this year, and denied any commercial contracts with ISDS for the Olympic Games (3). This partnership of the Olympic Organizing Committee with a company of such record and reputation squarely contradicts the Olympic Charter, which defines the main obligations of the Olympic bodies, and the spirit of the Olympic Movement of ‘promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity’(4).

Including ISDS or any other military company so involved in grave violations of human rights would further tarnish the image of the Rio Olympics.

This partnership with ISDS highlights the need for tighter public scrutiny of the Olympic Games to ensure that they do not support repression of people in Brazil and elsewhere. This is a time for people’s movements against racism, oppression and discrimination to stand united in a joint struggle against corporations that are complicit in infringing on international law.

We call on our global partners in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) for Palestinian rights and the wider social justice movements to join in this campaign to ban ISDS from the Olympics, in order to move towards Olympic Games without Apartheid.

Ban ISDS from the Olympics!
For Olympic Games without Israeli contractors!
For Olympic Games without Apartheid!

A statement issued by the General Federation of Palestine’s Trades Unions – Gaza

Global BDS News - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 15:02

Given the right of our people to practice all forms of national struggle against the Israeli occupation, we, the undersigned, assert our unwavering commitment to the call of Palestinian civil society for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (BDS)[1], issued in 2005, until it complies with its obligations under international law and recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.

  1. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

We also reiterate our opposition to all forms of normalization with Israel and its institutions according to the definition of normalization[2]approved by the vast majority of the Palestinian Civil Society in the first BDS National Conference in 2007, taking the lead from the criteria set by the BDS National Committee (BNC) which constitutes the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society sectors. We, in the General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions and Workers Unions, underline the importance of boycotting the Histadrut[3] because of its blatant complicity in Israel’s policies including occupation, settlement building, Apartheid, and hijacking of Palestinian workers’ rights. We also commit to boycott any other Israeli institution that does not recognize our inalienable rights under international law.

We salute and appreciate the many Trade Unions and Federations in the world who heed the call of BDS and would like to reiterate our call on all comrades and activists for freedom and justice in unions and federations all over the world to boycott Israel because of its racist, settler-colonial regime. We believe that boycotting Israeli occupation and its institutions is the most effective act of solidarity with our people’s struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, and for holding Israel accountable for its repeated crimes. Israel’s last onslaught on the Gaza strip in the summer of 2014 , has led to the brutal death of 2140 Palestinians, and the injury of more than 12000. This , in addition to the vast destruction of houses, factories and farms, and the continuing impediments on the reconstruction of Gaza, and the ongoing 7 year unjust siege on our people


1 – Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions – Gaza Strip.

2 – General Union of Trade and Services Workers.

3 – General Union of Educational Service Workers.

4 – General Union of Textile and Garment Workers.

5 – General Union of Transportation Workers.

6 – General Union of Public Employees.

7 – General Union of Health Service Workers.

8 – General Union of Engineering, Mechanical and Electrical industries Workers.

9 – General Union of Municipality and Village Councils Workers.

10 – General Union of Tourism Services Workers.

11 – General Union of Construction and Wood Workers.

12 – General Union of Agricultural Workers.

13 – General Union of Graphic and Media Workers.

14 – General Union of Food industries workers.

15 – General Union of Workers in Banks, Insurance and financial Works.


[1] http://www.bdsmovement.net/call

[2] http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1749

[3] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/ptuc-bds-formed-6912

PGFTU (Gaza) Reaffirms “Unwavering Commitment” to BDS and Histadrut’s boycott

Global BDS News - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 14:57

Occupied Palestine , 15 July 2015 — On the 10th anniversary of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) – Gaza Strip reiterated its “unwavering commitment” to the BDS movement against Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law and recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination.


In the statement, signed by 15 trade unions in besieged Gaza, Palestinian trade unionists reaffirmed their rejection of any form of normalization with the Israeli state and its institutions, as defined by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).


PGFTU – Gaza Strip also called on international trade unions to boycott the Histadrut, Israel’s trade union entity, due to its “blatant complicity in Israel’s policies including occupation, settlement building, apartheid and [robbery] of Palestinian workers rights”.  


The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) warmly welcomes the statement made by PGFTU and other unions in Gaza, considering it an important step towards escalating BDS campaigns within the trade union movement internationally against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.


The BNC, representing the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society and leading the global BDS movement, reiterates its call on the trade union movement internationally to endorse BDS as the most effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian people in our struggle to end Israel’s regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.

BDS@10: boycott movement leaders address press conference

Global BDS News - Thu, 07/09/2015 - 20:20

International figures and Palestinian leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement held a press conference in Ramallah this morning to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Palestinian civil society-led, global BDS movement.

Local and international journalists heard from a range of figures including Chief Mandla Mandela, member (ANC) of the South African Parliament and grandson to the late leader Nelson Mandela, Marcel Khalife, prominent Lebanese musician and UNESCO Artist for Peace, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace.

Chief Mandla Mandela joined via video link and said:

“We are here as the Mandela family to give our unwavering support to the cause of the Palestinians people because this is what my grandfather would have wanted.”

“We call on the entire South African people, as we enjoy our freedom that we won with the support of Palestinians, to join every effort aimed at ensuring the freedom of Palestine.”

“The Palestinian people supported us through our darkest days. Now it is for us as South Africans to join hands in support of the Palestinian cause and ensure that our brothers and sisters also realise their freedom.”

Marcel Khalife, Lebanese musician and UNESCO Artist for Peace (2005), said:

​”Without doubt, it is our moral duty as artists to heed the Palestinian​ civil society call for a cultural boycott of Israel and to support the struggle for a just peace and for dignity.”

“I dream of the day when Palestine can shed its history under oppression and reach out to the stars in the sky.”

Rebecca Vilkomerson, director of US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, also joined via video link and said:

“I am here to tell you that in the Jewish American community, as well as the United States at large, there is a fundamental shift in the understanding of Israeli systems of oppression and control over Palestinian lives.”

“Jewish support for BDS shatters the claim that that Israel represents all Jews, or that all Jews support Israel. My organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, has by just about every measure tripled in size in the last year, and polls of the Jewish American community show a growing generational divide. In fact, a J Street poll last November showed that 49% of all Jews under 30 now support settlement boycott!”

“How can it be anti-Semitic to hold a state—any state, including Israel—accountable for its human rights violations, for enforcing inequality and for its systems of oppression?”

Dr. Lisa Taraki, a co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, said:

“We did not expect when we launched the boycott campaign here in Ramallah ten years ago that it will expand and extend to different countries around the world in this way,” indicating that the most important success of the campaign is fighting the Israeli thought, especially when it comes to its occupation of Palestine.”

“The success of the BDS movement is a testament to the power of people—workers, teachers, students, academics, writers, artists, and their organizations—who individually and collectively have been rising up to say no to Israel, and to demand that pressure be brought to bear upon the rogue state through censure and isolation.” .

Dr. Haidar Eid, a leading BDS activist in Gaza, spoke via video link from Gaza to say:

“For us in Gaza, the remaining window of hope is through boycotting Israel and isolating it completely, until the residents of the refugee camps in Gaza, who compose the majority of the population here, can return to the towns and villages from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948.”

“If it took more than thirty years for the international community to adhere to the calls of the oppressed people of South Africa, we can be proud that we have reached the moment similar to the one which precedes the Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 through the academic, cultural, economic and sports boycott campaigns against Israel. This was acknowledged by the right-wing Zionist leadership in Israel through a relentless campaign against boycott activists. ”

Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, which is a member organisation of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said:

“While the academic and cultural boycott of Israel has been quite popular in the occupied Palestinian territory for years, it is after Israel’s massacre in Gaza in 2014 and the popular uprising in occupied Jerusalem that preceded it that the local consumer boycott of Israeli companies grew exponentially.”

“Palestinian BDS campaigns today are everywhere and in the conscience of the people, becoming a key element within popular resistance. BDS allows us to disengage from the occupation. BDS will succeed even more in isolating Israel as colonial and apartheid power with the growth of its support base globally.”

Nasfat Al-Khuffash, a secretariat member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said:

“The Arab dimension of the BDS movement is a strategic one, especially as our struggle is organically linked to the struggle of the Arab peoples fighting for democracy, social-economic justice and the rule of law.”

“We turn to our sisters and brothers in the Arab world to say: we deeply appreciate your support of our struggle, and we hope that it translates into popular, strategic campaigns to end relations with Israel, fighting against normalisation and boycotting companies that are complicit in Israel’s human rights violations, such as G4S, HP and Caterpillar. If these companies feel the heat in the Arab world, they will think twice before supporting Israeli violations of international law.”

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, said:

“The BDS movement at 10 is proud to be recognized as a ‘strategic threat’ to Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. Reflecting the Palestinian consensus and with the support of people of conscience around the world, BDS has moved from symbolic to concrete impact.”

“It will continue to isolate Israel’s regime of oppression, academically, culturally and economically, until Palestinians everywhere can achieve freedom, justice and equality.”

A un año de la masacre de Israel en Gaza, y a diez años del lanzamiento del movimiento BDS, trabajar por el boicot es más importante que nunca

Global BDS News - Wed, 07/08/2015 - 21:03

Declaración del Comité Nacional Palestino de BDS

7 de julio de 2015

Hace un año, Israel lanzó un brutal ataque militar contra la población palestina de la ocupada y sitiada Franja de Gaza. Más de 2.200 personas murieron, entre ellas 551 niños y niñas; más de 10.000 resultaron gravemente heridas, y cientos de miles quedaron sin hogar, desplazadas por la fuerza y atrapadas dentro de Gaza. Los ataques deliberados de este tipo contra la población civil palestina son parte integral de una política israelí que busca forzar la sumisión del pueblo palestino e impedir el ejercicio de su derecho a la autodeterminación.

Implementado su doctrina Dahiya de la fuerza desproporcionada, Israel atacó deliberadamente zonas civiles enteras de Gaza, apuntando a viviendas, escuelas, hospitales y mezquitas, en un intento de infligir el mayor sufrimiento humano posible. La Comisión nombrada por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU y muchas organizaciones de derechos humanos prestigiosas han documentado cómo Israel violó el derecho internacional y llevó a cabo reiterados crímenes de guerra.

Gaza sigue bloqueada, e Israel continúa implementando contra ella una política descrita por el historiador israelí Ilan Pappé como “genocidio gradual”. También continúan los ataques a menudo mortales sobre los palestinos y palestinas. La mayor parte del agua está contaminada y no se considera apta para el consumo humano; los alimentos y suministros básicos siguen siendo escasos;  y como han señalado las organizaciones palestinas, Gaza se está acercando a una situación límite irreversible.

Mientras tanto, Israel sigue trabajando sin descanso para anexar la mayor parte de la ocupada Cisjordania (incluyendo Jerusalén Este) a través de la expansión de sus colonias y del Muro, unas y otro considerados ilegales según el derecho internacional. Israel impide a los palestinos y palestinas el acceso, la residencia y el desarrollo en el este de Jerusalén, y lleva a cabo una campaña de limpieza étnica en el 60% de la ocupada Cisjordania (área C), expulsando a las comunidades rurales de sus tierras, empujándolas hacia los enclaves urbanos fragmentados y reprimiendo violentamente su resistencia popular no violenta.

Los ciudadanos y ciudadanas palestinas de Israel se enfrentan a una limpieza étnica similar, en particular en el Naqab (Negev), mientras el parlamento sigue aprobando y discutiendo más leyes racistas con el objetivo de prevenir cualquier  desafío al régimen de supremacía judía y apartheid de Israel.

Desafiar al régimen de ocupación, colonialismo y apartheid israelí

Diez años después de su lanzamiento el 9 de julio de 2005, el movimiento dirigido por la sociedad civil palestina de Boicot, Desinversión y Sanciones (BDS) es ampliamente apoyado por movimientos sociales, organizaciones populares, sindicatos, iglesias, ONG y partidos políticos en todo el mundo, y ha comenzado a desafiar efectivamente la impunidad de Israel.

Las campañas efectivas y populares de BDS han obligado a algunas de las corporaciones más grandes del mundo -incluyendo Orange, G4S y Veolia– a retirarse gradualmente de proyectos israelíes que violan el derecho internacional. Desde importantes iglesias de Estados Unidos hasta bancos privados europeos, desinvertir de Israel se está convirtiendo en una acción aceptable y entendida como necesaria para alcanzar la libertad, la justicia y la igualdad. En América Latina, grandes contratos del Estado con empresas israelíes se han derrumbado gracias a la presión popular.

En los últimos años también las dimensiones académica y cultural del BDS han tenido un avance significativo, e importantes asociaciones académicas estadounidenses han aprobado el boicot institucional a las universidades israelíes. Lauryn Hill, Thurston Moore y otros artistas prominentes han cancelado recientemente su actuación programada en Tel Aviv, añadiendo sus nombres a una creciente e ilustre lista de artistas que incluyen a Roger Waters, Faithless, Elvis Costello -entre muchos otros- que se niegan a actuar en Israel.

El impacto del BDS ha llegado a la economía israelí. Un informe reciente de la ONU muestra que la inversión extranjera directa en Israel cayó un 46% en 2014, y uno de los autores del informe indica que esto se debió en parte al BDS. Un estudio realizado por el Instituto Rand predice que el BDS puede costarle a Israel unos 47.000 millones de dólares en diez años.

Después de soslayar al BDS como algo sin importancia, los niveles más altos del gobierno israelí ahora consideran al movimiento una “amenaza estratégica” para su régimen de opresión, y están asignando importantes recursos a la lucha contra él. La corriente se está volviendo contra el apartheid y el colonialismo israelíes, y el boicot y el aislamiento crecientes sólo terminarán cuando todos los palestinos y palestinas estén libres de la opresión racista y los refugiados y refugiadas puedan regresar.

Queda mucho por hacer

Los gobiernos -sobre todo en Occidente- mantienen su connivencia con el régimen israelí, protegiéndolo de las sanciones y manteniendo relaciones normales con él, en muchos casos en contra de la voluntad democrática de sus respectivas ciudadanías.

Así como el pueblo palestino continúa resistiendo y luchando por sus derechos inalienables, los pueblos en todo el mundo árabe y más allá siguen luchando para construir un mundo mejor. Los movimientos anti-racistas, las luchas anti-austeridad, las campañas por la justicia económica, social y ecológica en todo el mundo nos unen en la convicción de que es posible y necesario crear un mundo mejor. Si queremos tener éxito en esta tarea, tenemos que encontrar formas de profundizar y fortalecer los vínculos entre nuestras luchas.

Aunque la opresión y el despojo continúan intensificándose bajo el régimen brutal de apartheid y colonialismo de Israel, el BDS es una creciente y fundamental fuente de inspiración para el pueblo palestino. El Comité Nacional Palestino de BDS agradece profundamente los esfuerzos incansables de las y los activistas del BDS y de las organizaciones que apoyan al movimiento en todo el mundo. Ustedes nos inspiran y nos dan esperanza.

Exhortamos a la sociedad civil internacional -incluidos sindicatos, ONG, movimientos populares,  partidos políticos y parlamentarios- a unirse a nosotros para intensificar el BDS mediante:

– la construcción de campañas amplias y masivas de boicot, desinversión y sanciones contra Israel y contra las instituciones y empresas internacionales que apoyan o se benefician de sus crímenes.

– un aumento sustancial de la conciencia pública sobre el régimen israelí de ocupación, colonialismo y apartheid que oprime al pueblo palestino, y sobre el deber moral y legal de resistirlo.

– el aumento de la presión sobre los gobiernos y la ONU para que impongan un embargo militar inmediato a Israel, y suspendan los acuerdos de libre comercio y todas las formas de cooperación con Israel hasta que éste cumpla cabalmente con sus obligaciones según el derecho internacional.

Diez años después del lanzamiento del BDS, aislar al régimen israelí se ha vuelto más importante que nunca; y también más realista que nunca. Venceremos.

One year since Israel’s Gaza massacre and ten years since the launch of the BDS movement

Global BDS News - Tue, 07/07/2015 - 18:47

One year since Israel’s Gaza massacre and ten years since the launch of the BDS movement: building the boycott is more important than ever

A statement from the Palestinian BDS National Committee

One year ago today, Israel launched a brutal military attack on the Palestinian population of the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including 551 children, and more than 10,000 people were seriously injured and hundreds of thousands were made homeless, forcibly displaced and trapped inside Gaza. Deliberate attacks on Palestinian civilians of this kind are part and parcel of an Israeli policy that aims to force Palestinians into submission and to thwart the Palestinian people’s exercise of its right to self-determination.

Implementing its Dahiya doctrine of disproportionate force, Israel deliberately attacked entire civilian areas in Gaza, targeting homes, schools, hospitals and mosques in an attempt to inflict as much human suffering as possible. The Commission appointed by UN Human Rights Council and many reputable human rights organisations have documented how Israel contravened international law and repeatedly carried out war crimes.

Gaza remains under siege as Israel implements against it a policy described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe as “incremental genocide.” Israel’s often deadly attacks on Palestinians continue. Most of the water has been contaminated and deemed unfit for human consumption, food and basic supplies remain scarce, and as Palestinian organisations have noted, Gaza is approaching an irreversible breaking point.

In the meantime, Israel is working relentlessly on annexing most of the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) through the expansion of its settlements and Wall, both considered illegal under international law. Israel deprives Palestinians of access, residency and development in East Jerusalem and conducts a campaign of ethnic cleansing in 60% of the occupied West Bank (Area C), forcing rural Palestinian communities from their land, pushing them into the fragmented enclaves, and violently repressing their non-violent popular resistance.

Palestinian citizens of Israel face similar ethnic cleansing, in particular in the Naqab (Negev), while more racist laws are approved or debated by Israeli lawmakers with the aim of preventing challenges to Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy and apartheid.

Challenging Israel’s regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid

Ten years on from its launch on 9 July 2005, the Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is widely supported by social movements, grassroots organizations, unions, churches, NGOs and political parties across the world and has started to effectively challenge Israel’s impunity.

Effective grassroots BDS campaigning has forced some of the world’s largest corporations, including Orange, G4S and Veolia, to gradually withdraw from Israeli projects that violate international law. From major US churches to private European banks, divestment from Israel is becoming acceptable and understood as necessary to bring about freedom, justice and equality. In Latin America, major state contracts with Israel companies have collapsed after grassroots pressure.

Academic and cultural boycott aspects of BDS have also taken off in the last few years, with major US academic associations endorsing a full institutional boycott of Israel’s universities. Lauryn Hill, Thurston Moore and other prominent performers have recently cancelled scheduled performance in Tel Aviv, adding their names to a growing and illustrious list of artists, including Roger Waters, Faithless, Elvis Costello, among many others, who refuse to perform in Israel.

The impact of BDS has reached the Israeli economy. A recent UN report shows that foreign direct investment into Israel fell by 46% in 2014, with one of the authors of the report stating that this was partially due to BDS. A study by the Rand Institute predicts that BDS may cost Israel about $47 billion over 10 years.

Whereas they once dismissed BDS as unimportant, the highest levels of the Israeli government now consider the movement a “strategic threat” to their regime of oppression and are allocating large resources to fighting it. The tide is turning against Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism and the increasing boycotts and isolation will end only when all Palestinians can enjoy freedom from racist oppression and the refugees can return.

Much still to do

Governments, particularly in the West, continue their collusion with Israel’s regime, protecting it from sanctions and continuing business as usual with it, in most cases against the democratic will of their respective citizens.

Just as the Palestinian people continues to resist and struggle for its inalienable rights, people across the Arab world and beyond continue to struggle to build a better world. Anti-racist movements, anti-austerity struggles, campaigns for economic, social and ecological justice across the world are all united in our belief that it is possible and necessary to create a better world. If we want to succeed in this task, we must find ways to deepen and strengthen the links between our struggles.

Palestinian oppression and dispossession continues to intensify under Israel’s brutal regime of apartheid and settler colonialism, but BDS is a key and growing source of inspiration for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian BDS National Committee deeply appreciates the tireless efforts of BDS activists and BDS supporting organisations around the world. You inspire us and give us hope.

We urge international civil society, including trade unions, NGOs, grassroots movements, political parties and parliamentarians to join us in intensifying BDS by:

— Building broad and mass boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel and the international institutions and companies that support or otherwise profit from its crimes.

— Raising broad public awareness about the Israeli regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid that oppresses the Palestinian people, and the moral and legal duty to resist it.

— Increasing pressure on governments and the UN to impose an immediate military embargo on Israel and to suspend all forms of cooperation and free trade agreements with Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.

Ten years after the launch of BDS, isolating Israel’s regime has become more crucial than ever and more realistic than ever. We shall overcome.

Marianna becomes first singer in Spain to cancel concerts

Global BDS News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 20:54

— Marinah had planned to participate in the Méditerranée Festival in Ashdod the upcoming 11th June and also at the World Music Festival of Tel Aviv

— The Ashdod Festival has broad institutional support and is financed by companies which are directly linked to the violation of Palestinian rights

The former vocal leader of the Catalan group Ojos de Brujo, Marina Abad, had organized to perform at the Festival Méditerranée of Ashdod (south of Israel, next to the Gaza Strip) the upcoming 11th of June, next to other Spanish artists such as Tomatito, Diego Guerrero, Rycardo Moreno and Javier Limón. Marinah’s concert was part of the Idan Raichel Project, where the Portuguese António Zambujo will also perform. The Valencian artist had also planned to sing at the World Music of Tel Aviv.

As soon as we grew aware of these concerts, several BDS Catalunya activists asked Marinah via social networks not to sing in Israel, since it would represent a violation of the cultural boycott the Palestinian civil society is asking for. Knowing how supportive Marinah is of international causes and social movements, we thought it was a paradox that she had decided to participate in a festival organized by the same Israeli regime which has been oppressing the Palestinian people for the last 67 years. After several phone conversations, Marinah has decided to cancel her two concerts in Israel.

This important victory for the BDS has been achieved some days after the American singer Lauryn Hill (former singer of The Fugees) decided to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv, due to a strong international campaign asking her to not violate the call for cultural boycott launched by the Palestinian civil society in 2004. The artist didn’t disappoint us and decided not to sing for Apartheid.

The Israeli “whitewash” phenomenon

The Festival Méditerranée of Ashdod is a clear example of how Israel uses culture to whitewash its image and show itself to the world as a modern and open-minded country, hiding its occupation, colonization and apartheid policies. By giving an image of multiculturalism and tolerance, this festival is covering up the Zionist colonizing machine, and is trying to show Israel as a «normal» country.

If we look at the sponsors and organizers of the festival, it’s obvious how they are closely linked to the violation of Palestinian rights. Among the sponsors there is Tfahot, a bank which finances illegal colonies in occupied West Bank; Ashdod port, which exports agricultural products produced in stolen land; Adama, a food company linked to the company Agan-Machteshim, which produces glass fibre in an illegal Jewish colony; and wide institutional support of the Jewish state (Ashdod Council, the Ministry of Culture of Israel and the National Lottery).

As is established by the PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) guidelines “a cultural event is boycottable if it is partially or fully sponsored by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution”, and as we have already mentioned this Festival is a clear example of the above.

The on-going Nakba

We want to emphasize that Marinah has announced the news today 15th May, the day we commemorate the Palestinian Nakba (the «disaster» in Arabic), which started 67 years ago. On the 15th of May of 1948 the State of Israel was created, forcing 70% of Palestinians to leave their houses and dispossessing hundred thousands of them from their homes. The Nakba is not an isolated event in time, but an on-going event which keeps being repeated systematically. For 67 years now, Israel has been violating, without been punished or sanctioned, the Palestinians rights and their freedom, increasing its attacks in the recent years.

Today we remember the Nakba. BDS Catalunya and RESCOP celebrate Marinah’s decision and we fully support her. We want to emphasize the importance of her decision, since she is the first Spanish artist to cancel a scheduled concert in Israel. Marinah has set an example of compromise, values and solidarity which we hope encourages the rest of Spanish and International artists to intensify cultural boycott against Israel.

From BDS Catalunya and RESCOP we won’t stop calling for BDS until Israel: 1/ ends its occupation and colonization of all the Arab territories occupied in June 1967 and dismantles the Apartheid Wall; 2/ recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3/ respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Thank-you Marina! Free Palestine!

BDS Catalunya
Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP)

More than 10 000 South African School Students March Against Woolworths over Israel Trade

Global BDS News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 20:06

More than 10 000 South African school learners protested earlier today against Woolworths Stores over its Israeli trade. The #BoycottWoolworths protest was led by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in the Free State. COSAS represents school children in all 9 SA provinces and is arguably the largest school learner organization in the country. Click here for photos from today’s COSAS protest against Woolworths.

The 15th of May was chosen for the protest to also mark the 67th year of the Palestinian Nakba “Catastrophe” (the 1948 establishment of the modern State of Israel that was the start of the displacement and oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people).

According to COSAS Free State the protest march by COSAS against Woolworths is “in solidarity with the people of Palestine who continue to experience the harshest form of apartheid by the Israeli regime”. Sipho Tsunke of COSAS Free State said: “We are therefore mobilizing all young people and parents to boycott Woolworths which continues to have relations with Apartheid Israel. We will not be misled by Woolworths and their silly PR campaigns for example their MySchool programme or that of bringing USA musician Pharrell Williams to South Africa. We are telling Pharrell Williams, as school learners of South Africa, to cancel his shows in South Africa until Woolworths ends its relations with Israel.”

Today’s protest march started at Thabong Community Center at 09h00 and ended at Goldfields Mall (where Woolworths store is located) in Welkom in the Free State. The protest, according to police estimates, drew between 10 000 and 13 000 young learners from various areas in and around the Free State province of South Africa. Further COSAS protests against Woolworths are due to take place in coming weeks in other provinces.

In August 2014 a call for the complete boycott of Woolworths until it ends its Israeli trade links was made by BDS South Africa, COSATU, ANC Youth League, MJC, SACP, YCL, SASCO, PSA, COSAS and various others including the National Coalition 4 Palestine  (a coalition of more than 30 organizations, trade unions and other groups). An independent #BoycottWoolworths impact report by a Wits University researcher has found that Woolworths is losing over R30 million (close to R8 million per month) since the start of the BDS #BoycottWoolworths campaign. According to the report the actual impact “could be in the hundreds of millions”.

On Nakba day, Palestinian civil society in besieged Gaza decries collective failure to ensure accountability for Israeli massacre

Global BDS News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 15:33

As Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe in 1948 when more than 700,000 indigenous Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionist militias and later the State of Israel, life in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip is reaching a fatal tipping point, as the UN has warned.

Close to 2 million Palestinians are incarcerated by Israel in a small space condemned to a life of misery, where not even water, the source of life, is fit for human consumption. The provision of basic services such as health and education faltering and the alarm must be sounded. This is an Israeli-made “tsunami” that can be stopped if enough people of conscience around the world would hold Israel to account and pressure their institutions and governments to do so. Israel must pay a heavy price for its criminal behaviour.

If ever there was a right time to isolate a rogue regime to prevent it from committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is now. We, the undersigned Palestinian civil society organisations in Gaza, call for urgent and effective measures of accountability, including boycotts, divestment and meaningful sanctions, against Israel and the corporations that are complicit in its serious violations of international law to save hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza from a fate of unspeakable suffering and slow death.

Israel’s massacre in Gaza in the summer of 2014 left more than 2,300 of our people dead and damaged or destroyed our schools, hospitals, UN shelters and thousands of our homes. Eight months on, Gaza remains in ruins, yet at least 100,000 people remain homeless. Of the 12,600 houses that were totally destroyed, not one has yet been rebuilt. To Palestinians everywhere, and in Gaza in particular, the 1948 Nakba is ongoing.

Despite the so called cease-fire, Israel’s often deadly attacks on Palestinians in Gaza are continuous, especially on fishers in the access restricted areas (ARA) along the border with Israel and off the Gaza coast. ARA were among the most hit during the massacre and still continue to suffer from Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

At the root of this grave human suffering is Israel’s ongoing occupation and illegal eight-year siege, which severely restricts movement of people, goods and reconstruction materials. Health and education services have been severely impaired as well. The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been open for just a handful of times so far this year. On average, just 198 people have been able to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing each week during 2014, down from 955 during 2014. As of February 2015,  just 1,661 trucks (containing around 105,307 tonnes) of the 800,000 trucks of material needed to reconstruct destroyed homes and other buildings have been allowed to enter Gaza. The failure of international donors to release pledged funds has exacerbated severe energy shortages. Electricity is still only available for a few hours per day.

The UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), the international community’s main response, is fundamentally flawed in a way that deepens the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. The GRM makes the international community, and the UN in particular, the enforcers of the Israeli siege and makes aid to Palestinians conditional on Israeli approval.

As much as 71% of the aid pledged by international donors is expected to benefit the Israeli economy, effectively rewarding Israel for its massacre of Palestinians. Many of the companies supplying the construction efforts are illegally involved in the crime of pillage of Palestinian natural resources and/or participate in the construction of illegal settlements.

Many western governments are seeking to prevent Palestinians from taking cases against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last July, the US voted against and several EU member including France, Germany and the UK abstained from voting on the establishment of a UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry.

The US and Germany look set to continue their vast military support for Israel, while the European Union has maintained its Association Agreement with Israel, affording Israel access to EU markets and programs, and the Canadian government has even signed a raft of new agreements with Israel. Even those countries in the global south that speak in clearer terms of their support for the Palestinian people’s right to self determination have failed to translate their symbolic gestures into ending their military links and preferential trade agreements with Israel.

Given the human catastrophe that Gaza is facing and Israel’s threats of more atrocities, we call on governments and international bodies to take immediate action to:

– Ensure Israel is held to account for its war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, including by supporting Palestinians in seeking justice at the ICC.

– End direct support for Israeli war crimes, including by imposing a comprehensive military embargo and suspending free trade agreements and other bilateral agreements until such time as Israel complies with international law, including lifting the siege on Gaza.

– Provide immediate international protection to civilians in Gaza, including by providing financial and material support to help Palestinians to cope with the immense hardship they continue to experience.

We warmly thank the countless people of conscience and principled organisations across the world who stand in solidarity with our struggle for freedom, justice and equality, and call on international civil society, including trade unions, NGOs, grassroots networks, political parties and parliamentarians to:

– Join and build the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a key tool to ensure Israel is held to account for its violations of international law in Gaza and against Palestinians everywhere, including by pressuring universities, banks and pension funds to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation and war crimes.

– Pressure governments to impose military embargoes and trade sanctions.

– Campaign against corporate criminals such as military company Elbit Systems, security firm G4S and key Israeli military supplier HP that enable Israeli violations of international law.


Palestinian BDS National Committee
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
University Teachers’ Society in Palestine
Palestinian Medical Relief Society
Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction (PADR)
Medical Democratic Assembly
Palestinian Student Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Medical Initiative Assembly
Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
Union of Health Work Committees
One Democratic State group
Herak Youth Center
Badr Campaign for Boycott of Israeli Goods


BDS roundup: Lauryn Hill cancels Israel concert and Israeli company loses Olympics security contract

Global BDS News - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 19:13

In the first of a new series of regular round-ups from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, we bring you a summary of some of the incredible recent developments from across the global BDS movement. Highlights include:

[five anchor links]

US hip hop star Lauryn Hill cancels Israel concert

US hip hop star Ms. Lauryn Hill has cancelled her concert in Israel following appeals from Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organisations and a big social media campaign.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza-based steering committee member with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, said:

“We’re delighted that Lauryn Hill has decided not to perform in Israel. A growing number of mainstream artists are catching up with public opinion and now understand that playing in Israel helps it to whitewash its colonial oppression of Palestinians. Israeli promoters are finding it increasingly difficult to book big names to perform in Israel.”

Go to thankyoulaurynhill.org to send Lauryn Hill a thank you message.

Watch a video interview about Lauryn Hill’s decision with BDS Omar Barghouti here.

Veolia sells Israeli businesses targeted by BDS movement







In a huge victory for the BDS movement, French corporate giant Veolia has sold off nearly all of its business activity in Israel. The sale follows a worldwide six-year campaign against the company’s role in illegal Israeli settlements that cost the firm billions of dollars of lost contracts.

Under BDS pressure, Veolia has failed to win massive contracts with local authorities across Europe​,​ the US​ and Kuwait​​, and many investors sold their shares in the company.

The campaign against Veolia is set to continue however, as the company maintains a role in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail project.

Israeli company loses 2016 Rio Olympics’ security contract

Palestine solidarity movements and human rights groups in Brazil are celebrating the  announcement by the Brazilian government that Israeli security company ISDS is not a contractor for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

More than 30 Brazilian social movements and progressive organisations had called on the Brazilian government to exclude International Security and Defence Systems from Olympics contracts after the Israeli company announced in October 2014 that it had been awarded a $2.2bn deal to coordinate security at the games.

Barclays no longer listed as Elbit shareholder

Campaigners occupy a Barclays bank in London as part of a national day of action

UK high street bank Barclays is no longer listed as a shareholder in Elbit Systems, the major Israeli military company that manufactures drones used in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and helps Israel build its illegal Apartheid wall.

The news follows a high profile campaign launched after Barclays emerged as the named owner of $2.9 million worth of shares in Elbit.

More than 1.7 million people signed a petition organised by Avaaz calling on Barclays to divest from Elbit Systems. On November 28 last year, campaigners held occupations and protests at more than 15 Barclays branches across the UK.

20 South African businesses boycott G4S

Activists in South Africa march against G4S on Palestinian prisoners day in 2014

More than 20 businesses across South Africa have cancelled contracts with G4S, the British security company that helps Israel run checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza and the prisons that hold Palestinian political prisoners. The cancelled contracts covered more than 140 sites across South Africa and were worth more than $500,000.

G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars with unions, charities, NGOs and banks across the world since the campaign against the company’s support for Israeli apartheid was launched in 2012.

Meanwhile Jordan BDS Movement, known in Arabic as Alurdun Tuqate’ Jordan have launched the campaign against G4S in their country by holding a demonstration at the company’s Amman headquarters on April 17, Palestinian political prisoners’ day. More than 50 people attended the protest, which was backed by unions, parties and NGOs and widely covered in the media.

Read Addameer’s updated fact sheet on the role of G4S in Israel’s prison system here.

Israeli Supreme Court upholds anti-BDS law

Israel’s highest court has upheld a law prohibiting Israeli citizens, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, from calling for a boycott of Israel.

The so-called Law for the Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott allows entities to sue and win compensation from individuals or organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycott. It also allows the finance ministry to financially penalize any organization that receives state funding that participates in such calls.

The court cancelled a minor provision of the law, which allowed companies to claim large amounts of compensation without the need to prove damages, but left the rest of the law intact.

Read reaction from Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, here.

BDS campaign launched in Egypt

A coalition of eleven political parties, four revolutionary movements, six unions, six student movements, and a large number of individuals, have come together to start up the BDS Egypt movement.

Read more here.

Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Canada joins BDS

The Central Council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, Quebec, Canada resolved to join the BDS movement and support the call to impose military embargo on Israel. The CSN represents 325,000 workers in all sectors of activity in nearly 2,000 unions across Quebec. Read more here (French).

Also, the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3902, which represents 7,000 teaching staff at the University of Toronto recently voted to endorse BDS.

Arab Labor Organization adopts BDS resolution

The Arab Labor conference – Kuwait (18-25 April) adopted  a BDS resolution which resolves that the A.L.O to support the BDS movement against Israel till it complies with international law. The Arab Labor Organization is one of the Arab League organizations which consists of representative of governments, private sectors, and trade unions in the Arab countries. Read the motion in full here (Arabic).

Irish PSC launch arms embargo campaign

A campaign calling for an end to the Irish arms trade with Israel was officially launched by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). The campaign, which is supported by many public figures and civil society groups, is calling on the Irish government to place an immediate arms embargo upon the state of Israel.

Ireland has bought €14.7m worth of arms and military components from Israel over the last decade, while Irish-based companies have exported €6.42m worth of military and ‘dual use’ hardware to Israel since 2011. Take action in support of the campaign here.

French solidarity groups pressure major supermarket over settlement trade

Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) are campaigning to pressure the Carrefour supermarket to stop selling produce from illegal Israeli settlements, a step taken by many other supermarkets across Europe.

AFPS, FIDH and other French solidarity groups recently organised a day of action that saw campaigners hold protests and information stalls outside 40 Carrefour outlets.




Regarding the so-called “Friends of Palestine Association”

Global BDS News - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:21

It has recently come to our attention that an organisation calling itself the “Friends of Palestine Association” has been claiming to have donated money to and been in communication with the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). This is totally false. The BNC has never heard of this organisation nor has it ever accepted any donations from it.

The Friends of Palestine Association has been approaching a number of organisations that support BDS, lying to them about its alleged relations with the BNC.

Given that the Friends of Palestine Association has fabricated having a relationship with the BNC, and also given that organisations that have been in touch with Friends of Palestine Association have raised serious concerns about the organisation’s credibility, the BNC encourages Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organisations to avoid contact with the Friends of Palestine Association.

Israeli company loses 2016 Rio Olympics’ security contract it had claimed to have been awarded

Global BDS News - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 22:27

The Palestinian national stadium in Gaza, which was destroyed during Israel’s 2012 attack

Palestine solidarity movements and human rights groups in Brazil have welcomed the announcement by the Brazilian government that Israeli security company ISDS is not a contractor for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

More than 30 Brazilian social movements and progressive organisations had called on the Brazilian government to exclude International Security and Defence Systems from Olympics contracts after the Israeli company announced in October 2014 that it had been awarded a $2.2bn deal to coordinate security at the games.

On April 8, the Ministry of Justice’s Special Secretariat for Mega-events (Sesge/MJ) replied to their letter by explaining that ISDS has not been awarded any contracts.

The reply from Sesge/MJ also stated that “any contract made by Rio 2016 won’t result in compromises by the Brazilian government”, a phrase campaigners are interpreting as a clear sign that government officials were sympathetic to their demands.

ISDS had originally announced it had been awarded a contract by the Organising Committee for the 2016 Games. When overall responsibility for security at the games shifted to the Brazilian government, Brazilian social movements began calling on the Brazilian government to ensure that the apparent deal would not remain in place.

The letter to key Sesge/MJ official Andrei Rodrigues signed by Brazilian social movements, political parties, workers unions, and different associations set out how ISDS is accused of having ties to coups, death squares and dictatorships in Central America, as well as close links with the Israeli military.

Campaigners are now preparing to pressure the Olympics Committee to cancel a separate “official supplier” deal with ISDS.

Jaman Juma, coordinador of the Stop the Wall movement, said:

“For us, boycotting this company is paradigmatic: Israel develops its methodologies and technologies through the killing and repression of the Palestinian people, and then it sells them worldwide. The end of military and security relations with Israel is an act of defense. Not only for the Palestinian people, it is an act of defense for humanity.”

Julio Turra, executive director of the biggest Brazilian workers’ union, CUT, one of the signatories of the letter to Coesrio2016, said:

“We are glad with the information the government distances itself from ISDS. It would be illegal and shameful to hire a company that develops its technologies in complicity with Israeli crimes and that accumulates complaints about its participation in Central American dictatorships.”

Mahmoud Nawajaa, General Coordinador of the BDS Palestinian National Committee (BNC), said:

“We welcome the fact that the Brazilian government categorically states it has no commercial relation with ISDS. We expect that no similar company will be hired. It is important that Brazil walks towards a fully military embargo against Israel”.

“Brazilians can be sure they will have the support from the Palestinian and international civil society on this campaign against ISDS in the Olympic Games”.

As for future actions, Soraya Misleh, from the Front in Defense of the Palestinian People explained:

“There will be a wide campaign against the contract celebrated with the 2016 Organizing Committee which makes ISDS an ‘official supplier’ for the Games. We won’t allowed the Olympic Games in our country to have such company’s logo in its publicity. It is an insult against all those who believe in human rights and justice”.

Maristela Pinheiro, from the Rio de Janeiro Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People added:

“There will be for sure a strong campaign against the supplier deal between ISDS and the 2016 Organizing Committee and we’ll keep monitoring Coesrio. The Olympics can’t beneficiate companies that profit through human rights violations. The Games can’t be intensifying repressive practices in our country, or endorse illegal and immoral actions”, states Mahmoud Nawajah from BNC says that

Felipe Butelli, from the Christian Group Kairos Brazil added:

“The call for military embargo has the support of important international names, the Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Perez Esquivel among them. Brazil can’t follow on the opposite direction”

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