Mauritius: Workers and Politicians Call for Boycott of Israel
11 January 2009 - The Association of Social Workers of Mauritius issued a statement calling on the public to boycott all Israeli products on the local market. The call was also reiterated by the Lalit Political party, and representatives of all of the country’s political parties took part in demonstrations against Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Tourism Fair Canceled in France
13 January 2009 – As a result of popular pressure from boycott campaign activists in France, the Grand Hotel Intercontinental canceled the Israel Tourism Fair which was supposed to open on 15 January, and was to include fifty Israeli tourism companies. The hotel gave in to pressure from the activists who argued that it would be obscene to advertise tourism to Israel while the Zionist state was engaged in a large scale massacre of a civilian population.
City Councilors in one of Britain’s Largest City Call for Boycott Action on Israel
13 January 2009 – After protests in which large numbers of Birmingham population called on authorities to impose sanctions on Israel, the Birmingham City Council heard politicians from all political parties condemn the Israeli attack on Gaza. The cross-party statement recommended that the Council Executive lobby the British government to permit local authorities to exercise moral, ethical and human rights considerations when awarding contracts. Such a development would allow municipal authorities to cancel and refuse to renew contract with companies doing business with Israel.
Greece Obstructs US Arms Shipment to Israel
14 January 2009 – The United States military had to cancel a planned shipment of munitions from a Greek port to the U.S. warehouse in Israel due to objections from Athens. The United States has maintained a weapons stockpile in Israel over the past twenty years that Israel can ask permission to use at any time.
Foreign Press Association Boycotts Israeli Footage
15 January 2009 – The Foreign Press Association urged its members to boycott Israeli army photos and video footage to protest at the shelling of a media building in Gaza City that wounded two cameramen, who worked for Abu Dhabi television. The Association’s decision was also a response to the Israeli army’s refusal to allow reporters to enter the territory to cover the Israeli assault.
Australian Workers Union Calls for Boycott
27 January 2009 – The Maritime Union of Australia passed a resolution calling on the Australian government “to cut all economic, diplomatic, cultural and political ties with the Israeli state until this aggression and the Israeli siege of Gaza ends.” The resolution also stresses the Union’s commitment to “participate fully in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign” and “a position of boycotting all Israeli-registered vessels, and all vessels known to be carrying either goods destined for Israel or goods sourced from Israel.”
Basque Political Prisoners Call for Boycott of Israeli Products
29 January 2009 – Basque political prisoners announced that their prison canteen offers Israeli products. The prisoners declared that they will boycott these products as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
South African dockworkers announce ban on Israeli ship
1 February 2009 – Following a decision by the Congress of South African Trade Unions to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel, South African dock workers announced their determination not to offload a ship from Israel that was scheduled to dock in Durban on Sunday, February 8, 2009. The pledge by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union members in Durban reflects the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe. The workers also organized a week of demonstrations in several South African cities under the slogan “Free Palestine! Isolate Apartheid Israel!”
Massive Successes in the Campaign Against Veolia
The French companies Veolia and Alstom are the two international companies that control one-quarter of the Jerusalem Light Rail project, which aims to connect Jerusalem to the illegal Israeli colonies surrounding the Palestinian capital, discriminating against Palestinian residents of the city and facilitating the expansion of the colonies. A large campaign against these two companies has yielded significant results in recent months:
21 January 2009 – Veolia has operated transportation in Stockholm for the past ten years. The municipality of the Swedish capital awarded the new contract to another company. The city councilors cited commercial reasons for their decision, which came after a fierce debate about Veolia’s involvement in Israel’s violations of international law raged in Swedish media.
16 April 2009 – Court Victory in France for Veolia Campaign: The Tribunal of Nanterre examining the case against Veolia and Alstom, the two French companies involved in the construction and future management of the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail project, put forward by Association France-Palestine Solidarite (AFPS) rejected the two companies’ claim that it had no jurisdiction in the case against them (presented by French NGO AFPS), reaffirmed that Israel is the occupying power in East Jerusalem, not the sovereign, and confirmed the illegality of Israeli colonies built on occupied Palestinian land, including in East Jerusalem. The tribunal, however, rejected on technical grounds a request by the Palestine Liberation
Organization to be a co-plaintiff.
20 April 2009 – The city council of Galway (Ireland) passed a resolution with 12 in favor and 2 opposed stating that “Galway City Council follow the example of Stockholm Community Council (who have decided not to renew the contract with Veolia to operate the City’s underground system as a result of Veolia’s involvement in a controversial tramway project that would connect Israeli-West Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory) and not renew the Veolia contract for Galway Water Services.”
8 June 2009 – Major BDS Campaign Breakthrough: Veolia poised to abandon Jerusalem Light Rail: According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Veolia announced its intention to sell off its shares in the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) project which aims to connect Israeli colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory to the city of Jerusalem. The Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign, which involves activists and groups in many countries all working to pressure the two French giants to quit the JLR project, was officially launched at the Bilbao Initiative conference in the Basque city last November. The campaign has reportedly cost Veolia approximately $7 billion worth of contracts.
25 June 2009 - Victoria State (Australia) Dumps Connex: The government of the Australian state of Victoria announced that it will no longer contract Connex, a subsidiary of Veolia, as Melbourne’s train system operator. The Dump Connex campaign had engaged in four months of intensive campaigning, distributing over 100,000 leaflets to Melbourne’s commuters alerting them of Connex/Veolia’s role in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail Project. The leaflets included detachable petitions addressed to the minister responsible. For more information visit: www.boycottconnex.org
Israeli Women Activists Launch Database of Companies Operating in 1967 Occupied Palestine
2 February 2009 – After two years of rigorous research and documentation, the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace launched a database and information center listing companies directly involved in the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The site, which already lists well over 200 companies, offers a new useful categorization of all corporate interests in the occupation, and exposes ownership links that show in detail how some of Israel’s largest corporations are connected to the occupation. Visit the website at: http://www.whoprofits.org
Boycott Campaign Activists in Catalonia disrupt Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Game
5 February 2009 - Dozens of BDS activists raised banners and Palestinian flags during a Euroliga basketball match between Barcelona and the Maccabi Tel Aviv. In an action organized by the ‘Stop the war’ coalition, approximately 50 people raised a banner with the slogan “South Africa yesterday, today Palestine, stop apartheid”. The protesters were quickly attacked by the police, and many of the protesters continued to carry flags and balloons calling for the boycott of Israel as they were dragged out of the stadium. Watch the video at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/290
The Student Movement and the Boycott Campaign
In response to Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip, student activists across the United Kingdom and the United States occupied central locations on their campuses demanding that their universities sever ties with Israeli institutions until Israel ends its violations of international law.
11 February 2009 – One thousand students attending the student union meeting of Manchester University in the United Kingdom at which they passed a motion to join the campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. The motion called for the Union to divest from Israel, boycotting all companies which support or benefit from the Israeli occupation, and to lobby the University to adopt a similar boycott policy towards Israel. The motion also condemned the University for its lack of progress in divesting from arms companies.
12 February 2009 - Hampshire College in Amherst, MA became the first of any college or university in the U.S. to divest from companies on the grounds of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. After a two-year campaign by the group Students for Justice in Palestine, the group pressured the university’s board of trustees to withdraw all investments from six companies with a proven connection to Israel’s rights violation of Palestinian human rights.
18 February 2009 – Students at New York University stormed and occupied one of the central buildings on their campus delivering a list of demands to their university’s administration that included a review of university investments aiming to withdraw any investments in corporations complicit in Israel’s commission of human rights violations; annual scholarships be provided for thirteen Palestinian students, and that the university donate all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.
27 February 2009 – After a three-day student occupation of Cardiff University’s (Wales, UK) main building, the university administration gave in to student demands to withdraw all investments in two major companies supplying weapons to Israel. Cardiff was one of 28 such student occupations calling for an end to complicity in Israeli war crimes across the UK.
Canadian filmmaker Boycotts the Tel Aviv Film Festival
17 March 2009 - John Greyson, a prominent Canadian filmmaker, turned down an offer to premiere his film “Fig Trees” at the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, in support of BDS. Greyson is a member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. He cited what he learned at Israeli Apartheid Week as one of the main reasons for his boycott action.
Land Day – Global BDS Day of Action
30 March 2009 – Over 65 cities across the globe marked Land Day this year by calling for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. Events ranged from poetry readings in Delhi (India), to supermarket actions across the United Kingdom, an anti-normalization conference in Tunis, film and theater screenings in Spain and the US, protesting in front of the UN in Caracas (Venezuela), a bicycle action in front of the International Court of Justice at the Hague, and street actions in most major cities across Italy and France. See the list of global actions at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/349
Israeli Exporters Report Boycott as a Problem
31 March 2009 – A Jerusalem Post article discussing problems faced by Israeli exporters quoted Yair Rotloi, chairman of the association’s foreign-trade committee, stating that “21 percent of local [Israeli] exporters report that they are facing problems in selling Israeli goods because of an anti-Israel boycott.”
British Government Announces that it will Review Military Exports to Israel
21 April 2009 – The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband announces that his government will review all military exports to Israel in the light of the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip which killed around 1,400 Palestinians. In a written statement, Miliband announced that all current and future licenses permitting the export of military equipment would be reviewed in the light of the three-week Operation Cast Lead. The minister said Britain provided less than 1% of Israel’s military imports, but acknowledged that some components supplied by Britain were “almost certainly” used by Israel in its military offensive.
Scottish Trade Union Congress Joins BDS Campaign
23 April 2009 - Scotland joined Ireland and South Africa when the Scottish Trade Union Congress, representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The resolution also states that the Trade Union Congress will “review its relationship with the Histadrut” in the context of its resolution to join the BDS campaign. This is the third example of a national trade union federation committing to BDS and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle for world public opinion.
UK campaigners score victory towards arms embargo
30 April 2009 - The British government announced that it will be reviewing arms sales to Israel in light of the atrocities committed in the Gaza Strip. The move represents a real victory for the Stop Arming Israel coalition, which began its campaign for a two-way arms embargo against Israel during its invasion of Lebanon in July 2006 and serves as a potent example of public pressure forcing governments to review their policies towards Israel.
BDS Reaches Norway’s University of Tromsø – The “Northernmost University in the World”
5 May 2009 - Twenty-one staff members of the University of Tromsø - a leading university during the boycott of South African apartheid - signed a call for boycott of all Israeli academic institutions. The initiative calls for the 9000-student University to “establish an academic boycott of Israel”, of Israel‘s “institutions of education, research and culture, and the institutions‘representatives, regardless of religion and nationality.”
Debate on Academic Boycott held at York University, Canada
11 May 2009 - Having featured separate seminars by Omar Barghouti and Edward Beck, the York Centre for International and Security Studies (YCISS) held a public debate about the proposed academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This debate marked an important step in raising the issue in North American universities which had previously denounced the possibility of such a debate being held at all, let alone being held with the official sanction of an arm of the university.
British Fire Brigades Union Pass BDS Resolution
14 May 2009 – The Fire Brigades Union in Britain passed a resolution which stated that “Despite international condemnation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine... Conference believes that Israel has consistently failed to uphold its duties under international law... [and] calls on the Executive Council to support and promote throughout the Trade Union and Labor Movement a campaign to boycott Israeli goods, disinvest from Israeli institutions and for sanctions to be taken against Israel, similar to those sanctions imposed by the international movement against apartheid in South Africa, until such time as Israel ends its occupation of Palestine and its oppression of the Palestinian people.”
Edinburgh International Film Festival joins boycott of Israeli State institutions
17 May 2009 - The 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival organizers decided to return money donated by the Israeli Embassy after a persistent campaign by BDS activists in Scotland. The return of the money was accompanied by an admission that it had been “a mistake to accept the £300 from the Israeli Embassy” and followed a torrent of angry letters expressing incomprehension, fury or sadness at the EIFF being associated with the Israeli gevernment.
Israeli tourism posters removed from London Underground
22 May 2009 – After activists began to see Israeli tourism ministry advertisements in metro stations portraying the West Bank and Gaza as part of Israel, UK BDS activists launched a sustained campaign targeting the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which succeeded within a week to bring down the advertisements.
British Academics Union Votes for Boycott Despite Legal Warning
27 May 2009 - The University and College Union (UCU), representing approximately 120,000 teaching and related staff in colleges and universities in the UK, passed a number of strongly-worded resolutions in support of the human rights of the Palestinian people and condemning Israeli atrocities in Gaza. Among the outcomes is that UCU has voted to host a Trade Union conference in the Autumn to “investigate the lawful implementation of the [BDS] strategy, including an option of institutional boycotts”.
Launch of Broad Campaign against Agrexco in France
10 June 2009 – During the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza at the beginning of the year, Georges Frêche, President of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, announced, on behalf of the whole Regional Council, the setting-up of the Israeli company Agrexco in Sète harbor with wholesale promises of job creations and regional grants part of a 200 million Euro investment plan for the next 10 years. Agrexco is the main Israeli exporter of Jordan valley settlement produce, where 7,000 settlers have grabbed 95% of the land and 98% of the water resources, impoverishing Palestinian farmers and increasing their vulnerability to forced displacement. Twenty-eight French organizations, networks, unions and political parties launched a campaign to prevent setting up Agrexco in Sète.
Dexia Israel stops financing Israeli settlements
15 June 2009 - The Belgian-French financial group Dexia has announced it will no longer finance Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories through its Israeli branch Dexia Israel. This is the result of a months-long campaign in Belgium, supported by NGO’s, political parties, local authorities, trade unions and other organizations. Dexia’s management states that financing Israeli settlements is indeed against the bank’s code of ethics and it will stop giving loans due to this.
Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) Joins Campaign of BDS Against Israel
16 June 2009 - Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) voted to join the growing international campaign in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, at its first Annual General Meeting. This decision makes IJV the first national Canadian Jewish organization in the world to do so. The adopted resolution states that IJV will “Support the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self determination and complies with the precepts of international law, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes
and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
India Suspends Military Contracts
17 June 2009 - Israel Military Industries (IMI) were blacklisted by the Indian government, creating the potential for a cancellation that would put billions of dollars worth of defense contracts at risk. According to Indian news agencies, New Delhi censured seven arms manufacturers for alleged illicit trading and bribery, effectively halting all of its deals with them, IMI included. Arms trading between Israel and India began in the early 1990s, with deals amounting to $8 billion to date. Israel is considered to be India’s second biggest arm supplier after Russia.
Brazilian Football Teams Refuse to Play in Israel
18 June 2009 – The Brazilian government organized a friendly game between two of its leading soccer teams – Sao Paulo’s Corinthians and Rio de Junior’s Flamengo – in the West Bank city of Ramallah, while making it clear that they will not play in Israel.
“Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” March in Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade
After intense pressure from Zionist organizations to ban the anti-apartheid contingent in this year’s Pride Parade, Toronto’s Queers Against Israeli Apartheid successfully met the challenge and marched in the parade. Included in the contingent were members of the Simon Nkoli Anti-Apartheid Committee, the Toronto gay activist group that fought against South African apartheid who carried with them the banner they carried in the parade in the 1980s.