- Spain announces “provisional” suspension of military exports to Israel and Evo Morales backs BDS
- Pressure grows for military embargo and sanctions
Follow #GazaDayofRage for updates
Hundreds of thousands of people will take to the streets today to demand boycotts and sanctions against Israel as part of an international day of rage initiated by organisations in Gaza.
As Israel recalls its reserves and threatens to re-intensify its assault on Gaza that has so far killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, scores of demonstrations across the world from Johannesburg to Delhi will raise demands for a full military embargo on Israel and in support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has announced that it will take part in demonstrations across South Africa as part of the day of rage.
Thousands of people are expected to join a protest outside the White House to demand an end to US military aid to Israel.
Organisers of a mass rally in London have said they expect it to be the largest ever demonstration in support of Palestine in the UK.
“Today’s huge mobilisations show that the people of the world stand united in support of the rights of Palestinian people and against international complicity with Israel’s on-going massacre of Palestinians in Gaza,” said Dr Haidar Eid, a steering committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel who lives in Gaza.
“Governments across the world must act in line with the will of their people and take action to hold Israel to account, including by imposing sanctions and a military embargo on Israel,” Dr Eid added.
The mobilisations come as pressure mounts for western governments to impose a military embargo on Israel.
On August 4, the Spanish government announced that it was “provisionally” suspending all arms sales to Israel. The campaign for a military embargo has been a major focus of Palestine solidarity groups, trade unions and social movements across Spain, where government and private sector have developed deep military cooperation with Israel.
In the UK, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has called for action against arms sales to Israel, causing splits in the coalition government there.
UK campaigners occupied and closed an arms factory near Birmingham that is owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems for two days to protest the role the factory plays in supplying engines for drones used by the Israeli military.
Bolivian president Evo Morales has publically backed BDS, following on from the withdrawal of ambassadors to Israel by five Latin American states and the suspension of negotiations on a free trade agreement by the government of Chile.
More than 60,000 people have signed a petition calling for a military embargo on Israel that was launched last month by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and 5 other Nobel laureates.
“Israel’s ability to unleash its military might on Palestinians in Gaza is dependent on the huge military trade and cooperation it maintains with states around the world. As fresh evidence emerges that Israel has been deliberately targeting civilians, it is time for governments to end their material support for Israeli war crimes,” said Mohsen Abu-Ramadan from the Palestinian NGO Network in Gaza.
People across the world are expressing anger and a strong resolve to make Israel pay for its crimes through the BDS movement.
The following statement from the Network in Defense of Humanity (REDH) in Bolivia is a translation of the original from http://www.nuestra-america.it/index.php/it/espanol/bolivia/item/998-appello-internazionale-primo-firmatario-presidente-della-bolivia-evo-morales.
In Defence of Palestine
The Network in Defense of Humanity (REDH), before the tragic events being experienced by our Palestinian brothers in Gaza, performs its duty in stating the following:
We declare our adherence to the words of comrade Evo Morales, founder of the Network in Defense of Humanity and President of the Pluri-national State of Bolivia, which declare Israel as a terrorist state.
We express our absolute condemnation of the genocide suffered by the Palestinian people at the hands of a state founded upon the dispossession and colonial occupation of Palestinian territories.
We acknowledge and express our solidarity with the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people and their resistance organizations, especially in Gaza, against Israel’s attempt to exterminate [them] and snatch the remaining shreds of what was their homeland.
We condemn the imperialist United States’ (U.S.) role that feeds and supports politically, financially and militarily the State of Israel, as we condemn the unusual inaction of the UN Security Council whose resolutions regarding the Palestinian issue are systematically violated with impunity by Washington. The U.S. has been acting throughout its history with hypocrisy and cynicism, threatening by sanctions and interventions the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Eurasia that defend their sovereignty, while supporting Israel’s action’s.
We condemn the complicity in these events [in Gaza], by default in some cases, the governments of the European Union and the unconditional subordination of the media oligopolies to the dictates of Washington. Enough calling it war! It is genocide being perpetrated by one of the best equipped armies in the world against a people whose defensive resources are infinitely inferior in number and quality!
We encourage joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the terrorist state of Israel. It is time for active and creative solidarity, beyond expressions of condemnation. We have failed the over 1600 people killed in Palestine in the recent weeks, as well as the more than 9,000 injured since the terrorist [Israeli] operation started and hypocritically called “Protective Edge”.
We demand the end of the [Israeli] apartheid and genocide, as well as the walls and settlements. We call on the governments of the world to demand that Israel complies with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and be forced to withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, to return to the borders prior to the “Six Day War” (1967) and to ensure the return of Palestinian refugees, as was established by Security Council Resolution No. 242 of November 22, 1967, a resolution unfulfilled until today by the State of Israel.
We stand for a real political solution to the conflict in Palestine on the basis of dialogue, negotiation and the existence of two states with equal rights and internationally recognized borders; a solution that includes the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners. We welcome the supportive stance of the governments of ALBA, MERCOSUR and other governments around the South against the barbaric Israeli conduct in Gaza.
Inspired by the revolutionary words of Nelson Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestine,” we assert that Israel has morally and politically lost this battle against the courageous Palestinian people and that it deserves the growing condemnation of the peoples of the world as a “pariah” state that violates international law. The indomitable Palestinian resistance will be rewarded sooner or later in the smile of their children in a free country.
Against Israeli terrorism and U.S. imperialism, in defence of Palestinian right to self-determination and of all peoples in the world!
PRIMI FIRMATARI (Primary Signatories)
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Premio Nobel de la Paz
István Meszáros, Filósofo. Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico 2008.
Franz Hinkelammert, Filósofo. Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico 2005.
Enrique Dussel. Filósofo. Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico 2009.
Atilio Boron. Sociólogo. Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico 2012.
Marta Harnecker. Premio Libertador al Pensamiento Crítico 2013.
Luciano Vasapollo – universidad roma sapienza , premio pensamiento critico 2007
Pablo González Casanova. Filósofo.
Piedad Córdoba. Ex – Senadora. Luchadora Social. Colombia.
Patricia Villegas. Presidenta de Telesur
Stella Calloni, Periodista
Rita Martufi representante permanente ante la FAO unión sindical de base y FSM
Eva Golinger , Periodista
Roy Chaderton Matos, Embajador de Venezuela ante la OEA
Farruco Sesto, Ex -Ministro de Cultura de Venezuela
Theotonio Dos Santos, Economista
Mónica Bruckman, Socióloga. Asesora de la Secretaría General de UNASUR
Michael Lebotwiz, Economista
Carmen Bohórquez. Filósofa, Historiadora. Premio Nacional de Humanidades.
Lidia Fagale, Secretaria General de la Unión de Periodistas de Buenos Aires
Joaquín Arriola – Universidad País Vasco
Galarza – Universidad publica de Navarra
Joan Tafalla – historiador, centro Espai Marx
Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday 9 August Day of Rage
Join the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement today. Demand Sanctions on Israel Now.
As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately.
Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.
From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words. Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.
While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end.
This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel. Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments!
We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.
Take action this Saturday
From occupied and besieged Gaza
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
General Union of Palestinian Women
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group
Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions National Committee (BNC)
BNC includes: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Palestinian National Institute for NGOs, Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), Federation of Independent Trade Unions, General Union of Palestinian Workers, Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, General Union of Palestinian Women, Union of Palestinian Farmers, General Union of Palestinian Teachers, General Union of Palestinian Writers, Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), Union of Professional Associations, General Union of Palestinian Peasants, Union of Public Employees in Palestine-Civil Sector, Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW), National Committee for Grassroots Resistance, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba, Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Coalition for Jerusalem, Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations, Palestinian Economic Monitor, Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps, Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Initiative
- Chile suspends Israel trade agreement negotiations as 5 Latin American countries recall ambassadors from Israel
- BDS initiatives grow around the world
- A-list stars express solidarity
Occupied Palestine, August 1 – As the death toll from Israel’s massacre in Gaza passes 1,100, Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists have reiterated their calls for governments to hold Israel to account and for a redoubling of BDS initiatives to end Israel’s criminal impunity.
“What we are witnessing is nothing short of a massacre against the Palestinian people. Israel must be made to pay a heavy economic and political price for its crimes against the people of Gaza,” said Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
“We call on people of conscience everywhere to get involved with the BDS movement, including by signing the call for a military embargo on Israel and taking action against companies and academic institutions that facilitate Israel’s heinous crimes in Gaza,” Shuaibi added.
Shuaibi also welcomed news that governments across the world are taking action to pressure Israel to comply with international law and human rights.
Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru have all recalled their ambassadors from Israel, following Bolivia and Venezuela who have withdrawn their ambassadors during the 2008-09 massacre in Gaza.
The Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has condemned what she described as Israel’s “massacre” in Gaza, a term also used even by the French foreign ministry. Turkey’s prime minister has gone even further, accusing Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza.
In South Africa, the parliamentary group of the ruling ANC party has called for the government to recall its ambassador and expel the Israeli ambassador, and politicians and political parties have made similar calls across the world.
The senate in Chile has voted unanimously in favour of a request to recall the ambassador. The government of Chile has also confirmed it has suspended negotiations on a new free trade agreement with Israel.
The government of Maldives has cancelled three bilateral agreements with Israel and is considering moves to prohibit Israeli products from being imported.
“The trade and diplomatic sanctions taken in particular by countries from the global south are a hugely welcome step that we urge other governments to follow. States have a legal and moral obligation to do all that they can to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law, including by cancelling free trade agreements and imposing a military embargo, as a first concrete step,” said Shuaibi.
Growing calls for military embargo
A call for a military embargo on Israel launched by 6 Nobel laureates and dozens of celebrities has been signed by more than 45,000 people. Strongly worded statements calling for a military embargo have been published by Amnesty International USA and Amnesty International UK.
In Belgium, 150 public figures have called for the Belgian government to end arms trade with Israel and a separate letter signed by more than 100 doctors has similar demands. In the UK, MPs, authors and artists were joined by more than 21,000 members of the public in calling for a military embargo on Israel, and a major association of medical students also called for a military embargo.
“All across the world, people are echoing the call from Palestinian civil society for a full military embargo on Israel as the most urgent measure of accountability. Israel’s on-going massacre, its deliberate and premeditated targeting of schools, hospitals and civilians, including children, in accordance with its criminal Dahiya Doctrine, makes any continued military cooperation with Israel an indefensible act of conscious complicity,” said Shuaibi.
International BDS grassroots action
While most world governments remain apathetic to, and in some cases complicit in, Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, people across the world are expressing anger and a strong resolve to make Israel pay for its crimes through the BDS movement.
Key developments include:
- More than a million people took part in demonstrations in cities all across the world during last weekend (see pictures and reports here). Demonstrations have been calling for an end to the siege on Gaza and for governments to impose arms embargoes and sanctions on Israel.
- An Avaaz petition calling for making the “economic cost” for Israel “too high to bear” through pressuring 4 companies, a British bank and a major Dutch pension fund to end their support for Israeli violations of international law has been signed by more than 1.5 million people.
- In a sign that the Israeli economy may face serious consequences in the wake of Israel’s on-going massacre in Gaza, Priniv, a major Israeli export company has revealed that a large export deal has collapsed as result of Israel’s current attack on Gaza.
- World famous Irish musician Sinéad O’Connor cancelled a scheduled performance in Israel and explicitly stated she was doing so in order to adhere to the Palestinian-led cultural boycott of Israel. “Nobody with any sanity, including myself, would have anything but sympathy for the Palestinian plight,” she added.
Top performers and cultural figures of the calibre of Madonna and Rihanna and have expressed support for or solidarity with the plight of the Palestinan people in Gaza in an unprecedented and potentially game-changing manner. The Hollywood Reporter writes: “[Jon] Stewart, director Jonathan Demme, Tori Amos, Rob Schneider, Kim Kardashian, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Waters, NBA stars Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire, Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, D.L. Hughley, Mia Farrow, Stephen Hawking and Annie Lennox are among the other big names who have weighed in with some degree of support for the people of Gaza or outright criticism of the Israeli government.”
- At the recent Mercosur summit, social movements from all Mercosur countries (Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina) handed over today a letter to the presidents calling for an immediate end of the Mercosur-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the withdrawal of the ambassadors, a military embargo and other trade sanctions.
- From Mexico to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, large civil society coalitions, including trade union federations, parties, farmers unions and more, are echoing the same demands for military, diplomatic and economic sanctions against Israel.
- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called for an intensification of BDS campaigning and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from South Africa. Similar demands have been made by trade union federations and trade unions in Brazil, Ireland and the UK.
- The Mandate trade union in Ireland, whose membership includes retail staff, has written to all major Irish retailers calling on them to stop selling Israeli produce.
- Also in Ireland, Dublin city council passed a resolution calling for a military embargo and the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
- The heads of the Social Democratic parties of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland have issued a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire and for an international ban on trade with illegal Israeli settlements.
- In Turkey, at least 12 local municipalities, a number of major business associations and a major trade union have issued calls for a boycott of Israeli products.
- The Kashmir Manufacturers & Traders Association and other associations in Kashmir as well as the Mumbai Hoteliers Association have called for a boycott of Israeli goods.
- The US-based Critical Ethnic Studies Association and the African Literature Association have joined the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel due to the deep complicity of Israeli universities in Israeli violations of international law.
- The Church of Scotland has “commended” to its congregation the Kairos Palestine document, a document from Palestinian Christians calling for nonviolent action to resist injustice, including through BDS campaigning.
“If scenes from the Gaza concentration camp reveal an Israeli-made tsunami, a counter tidal wave of BDS campaigning is crucially needed to end Israel’s habitual brutalities and massacres against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. It has never been as urgent to isolate Israel as a world pariah as it is right now,” said Shuabi.
Those who choose not to act to stop Israel’s massacre, especially those whose governments are implicated in Israeli war crimes, are choosing the “side of the oppressor,” as Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said.
In a sign that the Israeli economy may face serious consequences in the wake of its ongoing massacre of Israel, a major Israeli export company has revealed that a large export deal has collapsed as result of Israel’s current attack on Gaza.
Fruit juice producer Priniv told The Marker (Hebrew) that a deal to export fresh fruit juices to Sweden worth has been called off after they refused to export the produce in a way that would make it easier to conceal the fact it was produced in Israel. Customers in Belgium and France have also made similar requests. Priniv director Ido Yaniv attributed the drop in sales to Israel’s ongoing attack in Gaza.
Yaniv predicted that the company will lose orders worth NIS 1.5m as a result of Israel’s ongoing massacre in Gaza.
There is mounting evidence of a growing “silent boycott” against Israel by European businesses fearful of being associated with its brutal regime of colonialism and apartheid.
In February, one Dutch and one Italian company both pulled out of the bidding to construct new port facilities in Israel over fears about “political repercussions”, according to Haaretz.
Activists in the Jordan Valley area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank have reported that Palestinian farmers have been contacted by European retailers wishing to confirm that they are Palestinian rather than Israeli.
With thanks to Boycott from Within for assistance with translation
The Palestinian trade union movement, with support from with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, is unanimously calling on trade unions internationally to take immediate action to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people.
In the two weeks of the latest Israeli military aggression in the Gaza strip, whole families have been wiped out, and over 600 Palestinians have been killed, almost 80% of them civilians and a third of them children. Over 1.8 million Palestinians are trapped in an occupied and besieged small piece of land that Israel has turned into an open-air prison, subject to daily bombardment by Israeli rockets and heavy artillery. For seven years, Palestinians in Gaza have been under a brutal and illegal siege whose purpose is to destroy the conditions of life and break the spirit of the people. The siege and the recurrent bombing have created a humanitarian catastrophe, with critical shortages of water, food, and medical supplies. Freedom of movement, the right to education and access to health services have been extensively denied by the Israeli occupation.
Israel’s goal in this latest aggression against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is to perpetuate the occupation. This year we mark ten years since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the construction of Israel’s wall and its associated regime in the occupied Palestinian West Bank – of settlements, land confiscation, separate roads, permit systems and movement restrictions – is illegal under international law. Yet in ten years the international community has allowed Israel to continue construction on occupied territory and continue its system of occupation, apartheid and colonialism against the Palestinian people.
While governments prevaricate and allow Israel to act with utter impunity, and most of the mainstream media parrots Israel’s Orwellian propaganda, civil society solidarity is the only force that can help stop the ongoing slaughter of our people and send them a message that they are not alone, exactly as effective international solidarity had done in supporting the struggle for freedom in apartheid South Africa. In the face of this international inaction, we, the Palestinian trade unions, call on trade unions around the world to take urgent measures, and in particular to intensify Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it complies with international law.
We ask you to consider the following actions:
Today more than ever, solidarity with Palestinians workers and their families in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory is an essential component of progressive, principled trade union politics. Given the complete failure and unwillingness of governments to hold Israel accountable to international law there is widespread recognition that Israel’s occupation must be isolated by the pressure of civil society.
We rely on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement internationally to continue a proud tradition of international solidarity and to stand with us as you stood with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
Issued by the following Palestinian trade unions:
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions-Gaza
General Union of Palestinian Workers
Union of Professional Associations
Federation of Independent Trade Unions
With the support of:
Congress of South African Trade Unions
Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is once again committing heinous massacres on the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Israel enjoys criminal impunity because of the direct support from governments in the North America and Europe but also from corporations that are implicated in the Israeli occupation and egregious human rights violations.
There are dozens of companies that play an active and ongoing role in facilitating Israeli apartheid. In light of the exceptionally bloody massacres Israel is currently committing in Gaza, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) suggests to BDS activists and every conscientious person and organization around the world to target the following 7 companies as a matter of urgency.
IT company Hewlett Packard is involved in various Israeli violations of international law through providing the Israeli occupation forces with a vast range of IT services and infrastructure solutions.
This includes the operation of an ID system installed in Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and the administration of the IT system of the Israeli Navy that enforces the naval blockade of Gaza and that is deeply involved in committing war crimes in the ongoing aggression on Gaza.
By providing such significant support to the Israeli military, HP is an active accomplice to Israel’s siege on Gaza. That’s why the Presbyterian Church USA and the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) have divested from the company.
- Boycott HP consumer products. Don’t buy HP laptops, printers or ink cartridges!
- Sign the petition calling on HP CEO Meg Whitman to end the company’s collaboration with the Israeli military
- Campaign for divestment from HP and for the company to be excluded from public contracts. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.
Caterpillar bulldozers are regularly used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and farms, and the Israeli army has used unmanned Caterpillar bulldozers in the 2008-09 attacks in Gaza. A CAT bulldozer was also used by Israel in killing US activist Rachel Corrie in Rafah in 2003. The Presbyterian Church USA, the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) and the Church of England have all divested from Caterpillar.
- Boycott Caterpillar consumer products such as shoes, bags and tools!
- Campaign for divestment from Caterpillar. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.
While not directly implicated in Israel’s on-going attack in Gaza, home drink carbonation machines produced by SodaStream are one of Israel’s most visible and widely advertised exports. Tax revenue from SodaStream sales help to fund Israel’s attack on Gaza.
SodaStream operates in the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, and the company’s plan to open a factory inside Israel beside Rahat, a planned Palestinian Bedouin township in the Naqab (Negev) desert, amounts to participation in Israel’s plans to forcibly displace at least 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins into townships.
John Lewis in the UK recently became the latest retailer to stop stocking SodaStream products and protests forced a SodaStream store in Brighton, UK, to close recently. The company’s share price has fallen by 50% in the past year, especially since a scandal over actor Scarlett Johansson’s association with the brand.
- Boycott all SodaStream products and call on retailers not to stock them!
- Organise a demonstration or flashmob at a retailer near you that sells SodaStream products. Check out Codepink’s action guide for ideas.
Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest military company. It provides a wide range of equipment and services to the Israeli military, including surveillance equipment used in Israel’s illegal Wall and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), known as drones. Elbit Systems armed drones are widely used by the Israeli military and were documented as being used in attacks on unarmed civilians during the 2008-09 assault on Gaza.
According to Palestinian human rights organization Al Mezan Center, armed drones killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza in the period 2000-2010. Palestinian and international human rights organisations have reported numerous attacks on Palestinians by drones during the current attack on Gaza.
Elbit Systems markets its drone technology across the world as ‘field tested’. Countries that have procured UAVs from Elbit include Australia, Canada, Croatia, France, Georgia, Mexico, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, Brazil and USA.
The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund and more than a dozen European banks have divested from Elbit Systems.
Israel’s private banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, military bodies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory and provide significant financing to the construction of illegal Israeli settlements and the on-going colonisation of Palestinian land.
Israeli banks have severed their contractual connections with the Palestinian banks in Gaza and stopped providing any and all services to them. Given the way in which the Palestinian economy is dominated by and dependent on the Israeli economy, this had a devastating impact on the local Gazan economy.
- Send a Tweet to Dutch Pension giant ABP calling on them to divest from Israeli banks that fund the Israel occupation and settlements
- Campaign for your own pension fund or any institution you are a part of to divest from Israeli banks. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.
G4S is a British security company that provides a wide range of equipment and services to the Israeli government and military including to Israeli checkpoints and to prisons where Palestinians, including many children, are held without trial and subjected to torture.
G4S provides equipment used in Israeli-run checkpoints at the Erez crossing between occupied Gaza and Israel, thereby directly assisting Israel’s siege on Gaza.
The international campaign against G4S has cost the company millions of dollars in contracts with universities, charities and other public bodies and has seen the Bill Gates Foundation, the United Methodist Church and others divest from the company.
In response, G4S has recently claimed that it will end some aspects of its role in Israeli apartheid and has stated it intends to end its role in Israel’s prisons by 2017, yet the campaign against the company must continue until its complicity in Israeli apartheid verifiably comes to a complete end.
- Add your name to the open letter calling on G4S to end its support for Israeli apartheid and colonialism
- Campaign for your G4S to be excluded from public contracts. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.
Mekorot is Israel’s national water company and illegally appropriates Palestinian water, diverting it to illegal Israeli settlements and towns inside Israel, and imposes severe obstacles to Palestinians accessing their own water.
Mekorot is part of the Israeli occupation complex that denies Palestinians access to their fair share of aquifers that should be shared between Israel and Gaza. Palestinian and international organisations in Gaza are warning that Gaza’s water crisis is being rapidly escalated by the on-going assault on Gaza.
Mekorot is now seeking to export its discriminatory water practises and is bidding to take over water supplies all across the world as they are being privatised. Authorities in Argentina, Netherlands and Portugal have cancelled cooperation deals with Mekorot following BDS pressure.
18 July, 2014
For 10 days, the Israeli army has continued to intensify its bombings of the Palestinian territory of the Gaza strip, causing the death of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including children. The Israeli army has now launched a land invasion which will undoubtedly lead to an even greater loss of Palestinian lives.
We, social movements, climate justice organisations, popular organisations, NGOs, youth, women and Indigenous groups representing millions of citizens of every colour, creed, nationality and religious belief and those with none – from Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East meeting in Venezuela at the Social preCOP gathering of global civil society on the climate crisis – are united in condemning these horrific attacks against the besieged men, women and children of Gaza.
We call on the international community to press for the cessation of this wave of deadly violence and the immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. We call on our fellow citizens and people’s organisations to add their voices to the countless millions already protesting in the streets of every capital in revulsion at this attack by the Israeli state.
Today, the Israeli state began a land invasion against Gaza, afflicting the people of Gaza, subject to an illegal and inhumane blockade since 2007, with new bombings, deaths and destruction including that of a five-month-old child killed in Rafah within hours of the beginning of the invasion.
We deplore all civilian casualties and we consider that, as the occupying force under international law, the State of Israel bears responsibility.
No one has forgotten the massacres perpetrated by the same Israeli army during the operation “Cast Lead” in 2008-2009, resulting in the death of nearly 1,500 Palestinians and that the same excuses were put forward by the Israeli government to justify this murderous attack.
The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has systematically worked towards wrecking the legitimate desire of the Palestinian people for an independent Palestinian State and an end to decades of Israeli Occupation.
Any chance of peace goes hand in hand with the international community bringing Israel’s impunity to an end and a global campaign of boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions until Israel abides by the relevant UN resolutions.
As the inspirational anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Tutu said.
“In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime.
The same issues of inequality and injustice today motivate the divestment movement trying to end Israel’s decades long occupation of Palestinian territory and the unfair and prejudicial treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them.”
We, here at this gathering of global civil society, are working together to stop the climate crisis – and hold a belief in an equitable, sustainable and just world. As part of our belief that ‘another world is possible’ we know that we will not be free until Palestine is free.
End the attack on Gaza Now!
Friends of the Earth International/Amigos de la Tierra Internacional
Articulacion continental de movimientos sociales hacia el ALBA – ALBA Movimientos
REDES – Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay
International Climate Justice Alliance
Grupo Excursionista Ecologico Ambientalista Yaracuy
Earth in Brackets
Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Jubilee Sur America
Amigos de la Tierra America Latina y Caribe
World March of Women
Nora Morales de Cortinas – Madre de Plaza de Mayo Linea Fundadora
Centro Martin Luther King de Cuba
Movimiento de Los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra
Third World Network
Institute of Policy Studies, Climate Policy Programme
Dialogo 2000 – Jubileo Sur Argentina
Colectivo Viento Sur de Chile
Movimiento de los Pequenos Agricultores MPA – Brazil
An abridged version of this letter calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel was published in the Guardian on July 19 2014.
The letter is signed by six Nobel peace laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams.
Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions.
TAKE ACTION NOW - add your name to the call for a military embargo
Nobel laureates, artists and public intellectuals call for immediate military embargo on Israel
“With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior of violence to establish their subjugation.” –Paulo Freire
Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has so far killed scores of Palestinian civilians, injured hundreds and devastated the civilian infrastructure, including the health sector, which is facing severe shortages.
Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.
Over the period 2009-2019, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn, while Israeli annual military exports to the world have reached billions of dollars. In recent years, European countries have exported billions of euros worth of weapons to Israel, and the European Union has furnished Israeli military companies and universities with military-related research grants worth hundreds of millions.
Emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Chile, are rapidly increasing their military trade and cooperation with Israel, despite their stated support for Palestinian rights.
By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Israel is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of militarized drones. Israel’s military technology, developed to maintain decades of oppression, is marketed as “field tested” and exported across the world.
Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.
We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.
Governments that express solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, facing the brunt of Israel’s militarism, atrocities and impunity, must start with cutting all military relations with Israel. Palestinians today need effective solidarity, not charity.
Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate, Argentina
Ahdaf Soueif , Author, Egypt/UK
Ahmed Abbas, Academic, France
Aki Olavi Kaurismäki , film director, Finland
Alexi Sayle, Comedian, UK
Alice Walker, Writer, US
Alison Phipps, Academic, Scotland
Andrew Ross, Academic, US
Andrew Smith, Academic, Scotland
Arch. Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, South Africa
Ascanio Celestini, actor and author, Italy
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, Northern Ireland
Boots Riley, Rapper, poet, arts producer, US
Brian Eno, Composer/musician, UK
Brigid Keenan, Author, UK
Caryl Churchill, playwright, UK
China Mieville, Writer, UK
Chris Hedges , Journalist, Pulitzer Prize 2002, US
Christiane Hessel, , France
Cynthia McKinney, Politician, activist, US
David Graeber, Academic, UK
David Palumbo-Liu, Academic, US
Eleni Varikas, Academic, France
Eliza Robertson, Author,
Elwira Grossman, Academic, Scotland
Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France
Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Former UNESCO Director General, Spain
Felim Egan, Painter, Ireland
Frei Betto, Liberation theologian, Brazil
Gerard Toulouse, Academic, France
Ghada Karmi , Academic , Palestine
Gillian Slovo, Writer, Former president of PEN (UK), UK/South Africa
Githa Hariharan, Writer, India
Giulio Marcon, MP (SEL), Italy
Hilary Rose, Academic, UK
Ian Shaw, Academic, Scotland
Ilan Pappe, Historian, author, Israel
Ismail Coovadia, former South African Ambassador to Israel
Ivar Ekeland, Academic, France
James Kelman, Writer, Scotland
Janne Teller, Writer, Denmark
Jeremy Corbyn, MP (Labour), UK
Joanna Rajkowska, Artist, Poland
Joao Felicio, President of ITUC, Brazil
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, US
John Berger, artist, UK
John Dugard, Former ICJ judge, South Africa
John McDonnell, MP (Labour), UK
John Pilger, journalist and filmmaker , Australia
Judith Butler, Academic, philosopher, US
Juliane House, Academic, Germany
Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University, UK/Palestine
Keith Hammond, Academic, Scotland
Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK
Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez), Musician, US
Liz Lochhead, national poet for Scotland, UK
Liz Spalding, Author,
Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of the European Parliament, Italy
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ireland
Marcia Lynx Qualey, Blogger and Critic, US
Michael Lowy, Academic, France
Michael Mansfield, Barrister, UK
Michael Ondaatje, Author, Canada/Sri Lanka
Mike Leigh, writer and director, UK
Mira Nair, filmmaker, India
Monika Strzępka, theatre director, Poland
Naomi Wallace, Playwright, screenwriter, poet, US
Nathan Hamilton, Poet ,
Noam Chomsky, Academic, author, US
Nur Masalha, Academic, UK/Palestine
Nurit Peled, Academic, Israel
Paola Bacchetta, Academic, US
Phyllis Bennis, Policy analyst, commentator, US
Prabhat Patnaik, Economist, India
Przemyslaw Wielgosz, Chief editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, Polish edition, Poland
Rachel Holmes, Author, UK
Raymond Deane, composer, Ireland
Raja Shehadeh, Author and Lawyer, Palestine
Rashid Khalidi, Academic, author, Palestine/US
Rebecca Kay, Academic, Scotland
Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, US
Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Laureate, Guatemala
Robert Ballagh, artist, Ireland
Robin D.G. Kelley, Academic, US
Roger Waters, Musician, UK
Robin Yassin-Kassab, Writer, UK
Roman Kurkiewicz, journalist, Poland
Ronnie Kasrils, Former minister in Mandela’s gov’t, South Africa
Rose Fenton, Director, the Free Word Centre, UK
Sabrina Mahfouz, Author, UK
Saleh Bakri, Actor, Palestine
Selma Dabbagh, Author, UK/Palestine
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Lawyer, UK
Slavoj Zizek, Philosopher, author, Slovenia
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Academic, France
Steven Rose, Academic, UK
Tom Leonard, Writer, Scotland
Tunde Adebimpe, Musician, US
Victoria Brittain, Playwright and journalist, UK
Willie van Peer, Academic, Germany
Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of Cosatu, South Africa
The following US faith organisations have also endorsed the call:
American Jews for a Just Peace
American Muslims for Palestine
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy
Christian-Jewish Allies of Greater Philadelphia
Christians Witnessing for Palestine, Friends of Sabeel
Citizens for Justice in the Middle East—Kansas City
Des Moines Catholic Worker, Rachel Corrie Project
Disciples Justice Action Network
Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network
Friends of Sabeel-North America
Friends of Sabeel-Sacramento Region
Friends of Sabeel-DC Metro
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council Co-Founders, Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Alissa Wise
Jews for Justice in Palestine
Keep Hope Alive, Bay Area, California
Middle East Task Force of Chicago Presbytery
Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Quaker Palestine Israel Network
Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network
United Methodist Kairos Response Steering Committee
United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, United Church of Canada
West Hills Friends Church, Portland, Oregon
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) today welcomed Dublin City Council’s unanimous passing of a motion calling for an end to both the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza in which at least 184 Palestinian have been killed and the Israeli-imposed illegal siege of the coastal strip, as well as calling upon the Irish government to push for an arms embargo and trade sanctions on Israel. The motion also condemned the use of Administrative Detention, a form of internment without trial, by the Israeli state. The full text of the motion is below.
IPSC Chairperson Martin O’Quigley welcomed the resolution saying, “This motion is timely and necessary. As Israeli unleashes its third attack on the captive population of 1.8 million Palestinian people in Gaza in under six years, once again committing gross violations of international law, it continues to evade sanction. Motions such as this one, which listen to the call from Palestinian civil society for sanctions on the Israeli state, are to be welcomed and celebrated. The international impunity gifted to Israel emboldens that state to continue carrying out atrocities. By calling specifically for Israel’s suspension from the Euro-Med agreement which grants it trading privileges with Europe, and for an arms embargo, Dublin City Council has taken a very welcome step towards helping end that impunity.”
Mr O’Quigley concluded by pointing out that “what is particularly important about this motion is that it mandates city councillors to follow up with the Irish government in relation to its demands. The IPSC congratulates Dublin City Council for unanimously adopting this principled position with regard to ongoing Israeli crimes and human rights abuses, and in particular thanks Councillor Tina McVeigh for moving the motion.”
Mr. O’Quigley continued, stating that “we are pleased to see the council also takes a strong stand against the practice of Administrative Detention, or indefinite internment without trial, both recognising its illegality under international law, including the Geneva Conventions, and calling for its immediate cessation. The varied methods of Israeli oppression, from collective punishment to internment to assassinations to home demolitions, form parts of a whole system of brutal structural violence perpetrated against the Palestinian people by an Apartheid state that seeks only to colonise land and crush all forms of resistance to that colonisation.”
Cllr. Tina McVeigh, who tabled the motion, said, “Israel’s acts of mass violence against the Palestinian people are always the subject of great public and moral outrage, condemned by many democratically elected institutions, however, Israel is never held to account. This motion is important as it condemns Israel’s perpetual use of illegal activities such as Administrative Detention and collective punishment, while calling on the Irish government to take concrete action. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, including in Ireland, have taken to the streets demanding an end to the reign of terror, the siege and for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.”
FULL TEXT OF THE MOTION (Proposed by Cllr. Tina Veigh – People Before Profit Alliance)
Dublin City Council
-Recognizing that this is the third massive attack on largely defenceless civilian population of 1.8 million people in 5 and half years in which 162 Palestinians have been killed, of whom 137 are civilians, including 34 children and 28 women, and 1,058 others wounded, mostly civilians, including 332 children and 212 women;
- Noting that at least 125 Palestinian political prisoners were on hunger strike for over 60 days in Israeli prisons in protest at their conditions and the occupation’s use of Administrative Detention orders to imprison Palestinians;
- Recognising that Administrative Detention is a form of internment “without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed repeatedly”;
- Noting that Israeli Administrative Detention violates international laws including the Geneva Convention and that Amnesty has said that the policy “violates the right to a fair trial”, has been used “to trample on the human rights of detainees for decades”, and is used to “suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists”;
- Noting that Amnesty says many prisoners “have suffered torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation, as well as during their detention, sometimes as punishment for hunger strikes or other protests”, and that the Israeli government is trying to implement legislation that will allow force feeding of hunger strikers, a practice condemned by the World Medical Association;
- Noting that Amnesty has said that “Israel must release all Palestinians held under long-standing administrative detention laws or charge and try them promptly and fairly”;
-Recognising that a fair trial is unlikely under the Israeli military court system which has a 99.74% conviction rate for Palestinians, and which Amnesty has said does “not meet international standards for fair trial”;
- Expresses a message of solidarity to those Palestinian political prisoners currently held under Administrative Detention;
- Condemns, and calls for the immediate end of, the use of Administrative Detention by Israeli occupation forces and the immediate and unconditional release of all such detainees;
- Condemns any measure that will allow the force-feeding of hunger strikers;
- Calls upon the Irish government to make the same demands, and to use it’s influence to condemn the current imposition of collective punishment upon the protected people of Palestine by the Israeli state.
- calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza as a vital precondition to a lasting ceasefire agreement;
- reiterates our 2010 call for an end to the illegal Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza;
- reiterates our 2010 call for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement, Article 2 of which state that the “provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement”;
- joins the international call from Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations like Amnesty International for an arms embargo of Israel;
- commits to send a delegation from DCC of the Lord Mayor and Councillors to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to encourage the Irish government to take concrete and immediate action in relation to the above;
For further information contact [NOT FOR PUBLICATION]
Kevin Squires, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign – 087 741 3580
Cllr. Tina McVeigh, People Before Profit Alliance – 086 871 5293
The Palestinian-led campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel is continuously winning greater support among students in Britain and Ireland.
During March, referendums endorsing BDS tactics were carried at the University of Dundee in Scotland, the National University of Ireland – Galway and King’s College London.
On 27 March, a referendum was held by the Dundee University Student Association (DUSA) for students to vote on twelve different motions put forward by different societies on campus. The motion submitted by the Action Palestine society was approved with the largest majority of students voting ”yes.” Out of 660 votes cast, 479 (72.6 percent) supported the motion.
DUSA boasts of being the number one student union in Scotland and the result of this poll indicates that students want it to take an ethical stance in opposing injustice in Palestine.
In a similar referendum earlier that month, students at the National University of Ireland – Galway (NUIG) overwhelmingly voted in support of a call for their union to actively support the BDS movement; it was passed by an almost two to one margin, with 1,954 votes in favor, and 1,054 votes against. Students at Kings College London (KCL) have approved a similar divestment call by 348 votes in favor to 252 against.
However, KCL students are currently facing a legal attack by pro-Israel groups, seeking to undermine their democratic decision.
In Dundee, the response from the DUSA executive has been that it couldn’t implement the motion in its entirety, citing restrictions imposed by the UK Education Act of 1994. The association’s response did not explain why it felt restrained by that law.
The Dundee University Action Palestine society hasn’t released a statement yet as both the society’s members and the DUSA executive are awaiting further details of how the BDS motion will be implemented.Supporting right to education
The motion carried in Dundee calls on the students’ association:
To ensure that products sold by this union were neither grown nor produced within occupied Palestinian territories nor by companies which are complicit in the occupation of Palestinian territories;
To resist, insofar as legislative considerations permit, any action or commercial transaction that gives political or economic support to the State of Israel and corporations directly complicit in its violations of international law;
To endorse the global BDS movement against the State of Israel until it ends the occupation, complies with international law, recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and respects the Palestinian right of return as stipulated in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.
Last month, the National Union of Students (Scotland) also voted almost unanimouslyto affiliate with the Right To Education campaign, run by students at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank. The motion succeeded with 100 votes in favor and only one vote against; this vote commits NUS Scotland to demanding international action against Israel’s human rights violations.
Israel’s efforts to stifle pro-justice grassroots activism on university campuses seem to be fruitless. More and more students are being exposed to the reality of the situation in Palestine.
Ramallah, 28 April 2014 — The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest
coalition in Palestinian civil society that is leading the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, issued a stern warning to Starbucks today that if media reports about its intention to purchase a stake in SodaStream prove accurate, it would be deemed complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and would, therefore, face the prospects of popular boycotts and the possibility of legal action.
SodaStream is an Israeli company that manufactures in Maale Adumim, an illegal settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) and, as such, is deeply complicit in Israel’s violations of international law. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime.
Leading UN officials and human rights organizations, including Oxfam, have condemned settlement-based industries as profiting from the Israeli occupation and colluding in the denial of Palestinian rights.
The BDS movement has consistently targeted complicit Israeli and international corporations — involved in Israel’s occupation, settlements and other international law infringements — such as Sodatream, G4S, Ahava, Mekorot, Elbit, Veolia, Caterpillar, Africa Israel, all Israeli banks, among others.
A BDS campaign against Starbucks is expected to drastically affect its market share in the Arab world and many countries across the world. Veolia, a French company involved in several illegal Israeli projects in the OPT, has lost or was compelled to withdraw from contracts worth billions of dollars in Sweden, the UK, Ireland, the US and elsewhere. Similarly, G4S, a British-Danish security conglomerate, lost lucrative contracts in Europe and South Africa.
SodaStream markets itself as environmentally friendly to hide the fact that it is, after all, part of a colonial enterprise. More than 200 Palestinian families were expelled from their homes to make way for the construction of Maale Adumim in the 1990s, in defiance of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has announced its intentions to forcibly displace another 2,300 Palestinians from their land in order to facilitate further expansion of the settlement.
Palestinian trade unions have consistently rejected any suggestion that the oppressive reality of living under a brutal occupation — sometimes leaving Palestinians with no choice but to export fresh produce through complicit Israeli companies or work in illegal settlements — is a reason not to take action to end international complicity in human rights violations. Palestinian workers employed by SodaStream have explained that they face systematic discrimination and are “treated like slaves”.
Far from reducing its direct contribution to human rights abuses, SodaStream’s plan to open a factory inside Israel beside Rahat, a planned Palestinian Bedouin township in the Naqab (Negev) desert, amounts to participation in Israel’s plans to forcibly displace at least 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins into townships, a policy that has been widely condemned by the UN, the European Parliament and leading human rights organisations.
Starbucks’ reported interest in SodaStream comes at a time when civil society, the private sector and governments across the world are increasingly shunning businesses that contribute to Israel’s occupation and violations of international law. International supporters of Palestinian rights have responded to calls for boycotts of SodaStream, organising protests across hundreds of stores and many European retailers have pledged not to sell products produced in illegal Israeli settlements. The Dutch and UK governments have recently warned businesses to avoid business links with illegal Israeli settlements.
Following the recent high profile outcry about actor Scarlett Johansson’s association with SodaStream, investment analysts have stated that SodaStream “comes with baggage” and that their illegal settlement factory is “a touchstone for controversy”. Indeed, their first quarter 2014 results show a drop of 14% in their share price.
As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Starbucks claims to respect human rights in its operations. Given the wide scale violations of human rights that are part and parcel of the forced displacement that Israel has pursued in both Maale Adumim and the Naqab desert, any relationship with SodaStream would clearly conflict with the principles of the UN Global Compact.
Starbucks should abandon any plans it may have to purchase a stake in or enter into a partnership with SodaStream or any other company profiting from Israel’s occupation and settlements to avoid becoming a target for the BDS movement.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
Graduate students at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque passed a resolution over the weekend which calls for the divestment from companies profiting from human rights violations in occupied Palestine and at the US-Mexico border.
The resolution specifically calls out US corporations such as Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard, the British-Danish corporation G4S, French multinational Veolia and Israeli companies Elbit Systems (an arms manufacturer that recently won a $145 million contract with the US govermment to further militarize the US-Mexico border wall) andSodaStream (which operates inside the occupied West Bank). The resolution names these companies as aiding and abetting Israel’s policies of Palestinian home demolitions, land theft, restrictions of freedom of movement, mass incarceration, control of populations, checkpoints, surveillance systems and services to illegal settlements.
The Graduate and Professional Student Association added that those six companies “have been directly engaged by various public campaigns and concerned investors about their complicit involvement in the previously mentioned human rights violations to no avail” and resolved to call upon the University of New Mexico “to refrain from making further investments, and to advocate that the UNM system not make further investments, in any companies engaged in the violation of human rights or other behavior deemed unethical by the UNM community.”
The full text of the resolution can be read here.
Students for Justice in Palestine at University of New Mexico emailed the following statement to The Electronic Intifada on Sunday evening:
On April 26, a divestment resolution calling for transparency of investments, a social responsible investment committee, and divestment from corporations that profit off of the human rights violations in Occupied Palestine and here on the US/Mexico border was passed through the Graduate & Professional Student Association by a count of 10-9-1. This divestment resolution was co-sponsored by nine different organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine, Students Organizing Actions for Peace, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (MEChA), UNM Dream Team, Men of Color Alliance, Muslim Student Association, Fair Trade Initiative, Black Student Union, and UNM Arabic Language Club.
Graduate students from our coalition decided to bring this divestment resolution that was voted down during by the undergraduate senate body (ASUNM) on April 2 to the Graduate & Professional Student Association. During the GPSA meeting, the room was full of supporters of the divestment resolution. One senator mentioned it was the highest attended meetings he has ever witnessed. Nine speakers spoke for the resolution during the media & gallery part of the meeting, including graduate and undergraduate students representing the different sponsoring student organizations, and one alumnus community member from the Albuquerque chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. There were no opposition that attended the meeting, though the meeting was public and the agenda had been posted a week prior.
This victory comes after a long battle against our administration trying to silence our voices and intimidate us. Though we face intimidation, we hope to continue to spread the word and educate our campus on not what’s only happening with the Occupation of Palestine, but what’s happening in our own backyard with the US/Mexico border. This divestment resolution has created a strong coalition of students who all stand in solidarity with one another. We see this divestment resolution as not just part of the Palestine solidarity movement, but any movement struggling against injustice.“Divestapalooza”
The University of New Mexico graduate student government’s vote in favor of divestment comes amidst a wave of similar resolution hearings, which student activists have dubbed a “divestapalooza.” Last week, the student senate at the University of California at Riverside passed a divestment resolution calling on the university to pull its investments from US companies profiting from Israel’s occupation.
The motion called for the NUT Executive to Support TUC policy, to “boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall”;
The largest teachers’ union in Europe has passed a resolution backing a boycott of companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The National Union of Teachers (NUT), which has more than 300,000 members in England and Wales, adopted the motion on Palestine at its recent annual conference. The vote was conducted by a show of hands, and passed by a clear majority.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, commenting on the motion, said the union “call[s] on the British Government to pursue vigorously the dismantling of the 700km-long wall which separates many Palestinians from their schools and their land, and to support the UN’s call for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.”
The NUT also continues “to call upon the UK Government to fulfil international obligations in relation to the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners”, said Blower.
NUT delegates head a report from the delegation of Executive and non-Executive members who visited Palestine in October of last year, and “the strengthening of links between the National Union of Teachers and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers”. Conference delegates all received a post-trip report.
As well as a call for boycott, the motion singled out for criticism the Israeli government’s plan for the destruction of Bedouin villages in the Negev, and called for an end to “discrimination in education” faced by Palestinian citizens.
The motion also includes a call for the NUT to publicise the delegation report, invite speakers to meetings, and in addition, as per an adopted amendment, “educate the membership through publications, divisions and international solidarity officers of the ‘Pinkwashing’ propaganda used by Israel to make their citizens and the wider world believe that they are progressive in respect of LGBT rights, while distracting attention away from the human rights abuses they have instigated by their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.”
Last night, the student senate at the University of California at Riverside voted to support a resolution sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine calling on the university to pull its investments from US companies profiting from Israel’s occupation.
Just before midnight Wednesday, student senators voted to uphold the resolution by a narrow margin — eight in favor, seven against — during an evening in which three separate California universities held divestment resolution hearings, dubbed a “divestapalooza” by student activists and boycott advocates on social media. UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State University held simultaneous resolution hearings but only UC Riverside passed divestment.
With limited resources, and organizing under pressure by university administrations and sustained intimidation efforts by Israel lobby groups on and off campus, student activists across the US are continuing to build divestment campaigns and push for justice, equality and human rights for Palestinians.
“Come back fighting”
This was the second time that a divestment resolution passed at UC Riverside.
In March 2013, the student senate voted in favor of divestment. Immediately after the vote, Zionist groups and Israel advocates had begun calling and emailing the student senators, claiming that the divestment resolution was “divisive” and that it “misrepresented” the student body. In April 2013, the student senate voted to rescind the divestment resolution. Activists with Students for Justice in Palestine at Riverside and the wider SJP-West coalition vowed to “come back fighting.”
And this time, despite intense intimidation by anti-Palestinian individuals and groups reported by student activists to The Electronic Intifada, and despite the insistence by Zionist individuals testifying against the resolution during the hearing that it should be defeated, the senators voted in favor of a “resolution of neutrality and disassociation from US corporations profiting from occupation.” A one-minute video of the moment divestment was passed was posted to Facebook.
In the video, students can be seen in the audience holding signs that read “Divest now” and “Don’t make me fund the oppression of my family” while cheering and celebrating loudly after the announcement of the vote’s results.