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BDS Campaign Update (January – June 2011)

Written by  BADIL Staff
Source: BDSmovement.net Source: BDSmovement.net

Signatories to “Irish artists pledge to Boycott Israel” reaches 200
13th January 2011 – Irish singer-songwriter Dylan Walsh has become the landmark 200th signatory to the “Irish artists pledge to Boycott Israel”. The pledge, launched in August 2010, commits endorsers to not “avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”. It has garnered the support of many high profile Irish creative and performing artists such as Stephen Rea, Sinéad Cusack, Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Damien Dempsey, Neilí Conroy, Conor Kostick, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Sharon Shannon, Robert Ballagh and Nuala Dhomhnaill.

Boycott victories in campaign against Ahava

14th January 2011 – In a significant victory for the growing BDS campaign, leading British retail business John Lewis has ceased stocking Ahava products in its stores following an intensive campaign. The Ahava store in Covent Garden, London, has also been the location of regular fortnightly protests by BDS activists in London. Canadian retailer The Bay has also confirmed that it had also discontinued sales of Ahava products. Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories has its manufacturing plant and visitors’ centre based in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. Ahava’s profits subsidise the illegal colonies of Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia.

French pop star Vanessa Paradis cancels Israeli concert
16th January 2011 - Vanessa Paradis has become the latest high profile cultural star to cancel a performance in Israel following calls to do so by fans and human rights campaigners. The French pop star was set to visit Israel in February with her husband Johnny Depp to sing at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre and meet President Shimon Peres. Israeli group ‘Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian Boycott from Within’ was among those calling on Paradis to cancel her performance.

Israeli Academics call on Poland to boycott Israel-made weapons
16th February 2011 – A group of Israeli academics have demanded that Poland, the incoming President of the European union, cancel a cooperation agreement with Israel over production of the Spike missile, which Israel has been documented using against civilians. The group members are also calling on the Polish government to promote an “arms embargo” on Israel on behalf of the European Union and to disallow the illegal activities of Israeli companies that operate in the occupied territories, including Egged buses and Eden mineral water company.

New report by Who Profits exposes: SodaStream misleads consumers by labeling settlement products as ‘Made in Israel’
24th February 2011 – A report published by Who Profits from the Occupation, a research project which investigates Israeli and international corporate involvement in the Israeli occupation, has found that Israeli settler company SodaStream misleadingly markets its devices and bottles under the Made in Israel label. The company manufactures its products in the Mishor Edomim Industrial Park, an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. SodaStream, like other settlement companies, recently faced a ruling by the European Court of Justice, stating that goods produced in settlements should not be considered as made in Israel and enjoys the tax exempt of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Folk music legend Pete Seeger endorses boycott of Israel
28th February 2011 - Folk music legend Pete Seeger has come out in support of the growing Palestinian movement for Boycott Divesment and Sanctions against Israel as a program for justice for Palestinians. Seeger, 92, participated in last November’s online virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other,” sponsored by the Arava institute which counts amongst its close partners and major funders the Jewish National Fund. After being informed of the role of the organization in dispossessing Palestinians, Seeger has since fully endorsed the BDS call.

Portsmouth dumps Veolia
10th March 2011 – French multinational Veolia has lost out to another company as the preferred bidder for Portsmouth City Council’s rubbish collection contract after a long running campaign by Portsmouth & South Downs PSC has exposed its complicity in Israel’s violations of international law. In recent years Veolia has emerged as a major target for BDS campaigns due to its involvement in the construction and operating of the Jerusalem Light Rail Project, which links illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with neighborhoods of West Jerusalem. Veolia’s loss in Portsmouth comes on the back of similar contrasts were lost in the London borough of Richmond in February, Edinburgh in December 2010, Sandwell in 2009 and as part of a campaign which has cost the company billions internationally.

G4S ends some aspects of its complicity with Israeli Apartheid
11th March 2011 – The Danish-British security firm G4S has announced its exit from some contracts in the West Bank. In their statement, G4S announced that it will “aim to exit a number of contracts which involve the servicing of security equipment at the barrier checkpoints, prisons and police stations in the West Bank.” However, the company will continue to deliver security services to illegal settlements in the West Bank and to prisons in Israel. Moreover, the company states it “will aim to complete this exit as soon as possible, but also recognize that we have contractual obligations to our customers which we must take into consideration” meaning that G4S will stay involved in the provision of security services in the West Bank for years to come. As a result, Palestinian groups are calling upon BDS activists to maintain pressure on G4S until it ends all involvement with the unlawful situation in Palestine and fulfills its obligations under international law.

Edinburgh University students vote overwhelmingly for boycott of Israeli goods
14th March 2011 - A motion to boycott Israel was overwhelmingly passed at the Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) General Meeting. In what was described as a ‘landslide’, the motion, ‘Boycott Israeli Goods in EUSA shops and supply chains’ received over 270 votes in favor with only 20 against. Proposed by students from Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine, the motion noted that Israel is an Apartheid state and resolved to affiliate EUSA to the BDS movement, to boycott Israeli goods in EUSA supply chains and shops and to mandate the EUSA executive to lobby the University to do the same.

Norwegian Union EL&IT adopts full Boycott of Israel, Calls for Boycotting Histadrut
16th March 2011 - The Norwegian EL & IT union, representing over 30,000 energy and telecommunications workers, has adopted BDS and called for a boycott of the Histadrut. In a statement, the union has announced it will take steps in support of a consumer boycott of Israeli produce, a two-way arms embargo on Israel, a suspension of Norwegian research cooperation with Israel and the imposition of sanctions on Israel by the UN. The statement also calls on LO, the Norwegian trade union federation, to cut ties with the the racist Israeli labor federation, the Histadrut.

LSE Boycotts Eden Springs
19th March 2011 - Eden Springs, a major Israeli water company, will not have its contract renewed by the London School of Economics. This development came off the back of a lengthy and high profile campaign launched by the LSE Students’ Union Palestine Society, which drew attention to Eden Springs’ odious business dealings in the illegally Occupied Golan Heights. The student campaign had been supported by over 19 LSE academics who signed a joint letter calling upon the School to terminate its links with Eden Springs. The decision by all academic departments not to renew their contracts with Eden Springs is the latest victory in the campaign against the company which has lost contracts as far and wide as Scotland and Spain.

University of Johannesburg ends Israeli links in historic moment for BDS
23rd March 2011 - In a landmark victory for the international BDS campaign, Israel South Africa’s University of Johannesburg (UJ) has decided to sever ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel. The decision sets a worldwide precedent for the academic boycott of Israel. The UJ campaign managed to gain the unprecedented support of over 400 South African academics, including 9 South African Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice-Chancellors; 11 Deans and Vice Deans; 19 Heads of Department; 175 University Professors and 125 Academic Doctorates. Included in the list of supporters are some of South Africa’s leading voices and anti-apartheid stalwarts: Professors Neville Alexander, Kader Asmal, Allan Boesak, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Rashida Manjoo, Barney Pityana and Sampie Terreblanche. A BNC statement read “UJ has taken an important and historic step today demonstrating its commitment to solidarity with the oppressed. Setting the precedent of no “business as usual” with Israeli institutions, other South African universities are expected to follow this lead. Furthermore, this boycott decision, coming from a South African institution, is of particular international significance and must start a domino boycott effect.”

Swedish Pension Funds call on Alstom, Veolia, and Motorola to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territory
21st April 2011 - The Ethical Council of four Swedish pension funds is calling on US communications giant Motorola Solutions to pull out of the Israeli-occupied territories in the West Bank. The Council wants the company to cease delivery and maintenance of a custom-designed monitoring system for the settlements in the Palestinian territories stating that the settlements are located on occupied land and violate international humanitarian law. The council is also calling on the Illinois-based firm to adopt a policy to prevent any future support to human rights violations as part of a policy also targeting other complicit firms including Elbit systems, Alstrom and Velolia.

The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) condemns the Histadrut and declares its continued commitment to the BDS campaign
23rd April 2011 - There were blistering attacks on the Israeli Histadrut from the floor of the STUC annual conference. The FBU Scotland has been a consistent supporter of Palestinian calls for boycott and their organizer, Jim Malone, expressed delegates’ disgust of Histadrut’s complicity with Israel’s crimes.”The Histadrut through their collusion, through their support of the illegal actions of the Israeli government is an organization unworthy of the title trade union. The trade union movement is a family, with the Israeli Histadrut, as an even distant cousin, we are a dysfunctional family”. Mike Kirby, for the STUC General Council, announced, that the STUC “remains deeply committed” to BDS and pledged “to the continued promotion of BDS both to its affiliates, wider Scottish society and our sister unions”. The General Council recommended stopping short of a complete boycott of the Histadrut, but said that a “review will be immediate in the case of fresh developments in Israel/Palestine”.

Deutsche Bahn pulls out of illegal A1 rail project
9th May 2011 - Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, has pulled out of an Israeli government project to build a railway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv which cuts through the occupied Palestinian West Bank after pressure from activists in Berlin. In February, the German transport minister wrote to Deutsche Bahn, a state owned company, to express the view that the A1 train project “is a problematic venture and a potentialviolation of international law”. The ministry subsequently informed a member of parliament that Deutsche Bahn had ended its involvement in the project after the government raised its concerns marking one of the first known government interventions relating to corporate complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

Canada Church Group Endorses BDS
13th June 2011 - The Holy Land Awareness and Action Task Group, of the Social Justice and World Affairs Committee within South West Presbytery of the United Church of Canada, has launched Occupied with Peace in Palestine, a Boycott/Divestment Campaign. According to a campaign spokesperson Rev. Brian McIntosh, the initiative “encourages individuals and organizations, particularly congregations of the United Church in its region, to use economic leverage to persuade six companies operating in Canada – Caterpillar, Motorola, Ahava, Veolia, Elbit Systems and Chapters/Indigo – currently involved in illegal activities in the Palestinian Occupied Territories – to stop supporting the Israeli occupation and uphold international law.” The Campaign responds to calls from a broad cross-section of Palestinian civil society, church leaders and Israeli peace activists, and follows similar campaigns launched by the Presbyterian Church – USA and the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, USA.

The Rotten Fruit of Israeli Apartheid Delivered to Agrexco Headquarters in Milan
18th June 2011 - Activists from the Stop Agrexco campaign, calling for the boycott of Israel’s leading produce exporter, took part in an action at the Italian headquarters in Milan. Entering the Italian offices of the company, the activists delivered gift baskets of rotten fruit and vegetables to symbolize the Palestinian agricultural products rotting at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank while produce from the plantations of Israeli settlements built illegally in the Occupied Palestinian Territories makes its way to European markets via Agrexco the 50% state-owned company exporting 70% of all agricultural products grown on illegally-occupied land.

BADIL Staff

BADIL Staff

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights is an independent, community-based non-profit organization mandated to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs. Our vision, missions, programs and relationships are defined by our Palestinian identity and the principles of international law, in particular international human rights law. We seek to advance the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people on this basis.

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