Help build the BDS Campaign, endorse the Palestinian civil society BDS call: www.bds-palestine.net
The following BDS initiatives were compiled between the end of October and beginning of December 2006.
FIRST BANK TO DIVEST
Dutch Bank ASN ends relations with Veolia
The Netherlands, November 27, 2006 www.StoptheWall.org
This week, ASN Bank, a Dutch bank based in The Hague, announced that it would end its relationship with Veolia Transport. Since it announced its intentions to become involved in an Israeli project to build a light rail/tramline system to be constructed in occupied East Jerusalem, Veolia Transport, a French multi-national corporation, faced criticism from all over the world. The tram aimed to connect the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with towns and cities in Israel.
ASN Bank explains its decision, “As an ethical bank, ASN Bank does not only apply financial criteria when selecting its investments, but also takes account of environmental and social criteria; the latter include Human Rights criteria. UN resolutions are an important guide for ASN Bank in the practical interpretation of these Human Rights criteria.” The Bank once refused to deal with companies that were linked in any way with apartheid South Africa. To encourage ASN Bank to withdraw its money from Veolia, concerned individuals with an account at ASN Bank joined forces with Dutch, Palestinian, Israeli and international organisations.
Flemish Palestine Solidarity Committee campaigns for a consumer’s boycott of Israel-VPK Report
Belgium, 20 November 2006 www.stopthewall.org
The Flemish Palestine Solidarity Committee (VPK) campaigned for a boycott of Israeli products in front of several supermarkets. They asked the customers to sign a petition to the supermarkets’ directors, and built a ‘living slogan’ in order to place pressure on Israel to enforce its respect for international law.
The profits of Israeli products sold (also in Belgium) allow Israel to maintain the occupation of Palestine. Since the international community doesn’t impose sanctions against these violations, VPK calls for a consumer boycott of all Israeli products. Some of the well-known trade marks in Belgian supermarkets are Carmel, Jaffa, Tivall and Sabra.
The activists handed about 100 signed letters to the supermarkets’ managers, with the demand of removing Israeli products from its shelves. Activists were encouraged by many of the consumers’ messages that ‘it’s high time to act against Israel’.
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign of the Limerick Branch Boycott Success
by Sean Clinton, a member of the National Executive of the Ireland-Palestine
Ireland, 25 November 2006.
On Saturday 25th November the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) mounted a successful picket outside the entrance to the Limerick branch of the Atlantic Homecare chain store in Ireland. After refusing to move the picket when approached by security guards the protesters eventually agreed to call off their action after the store manger removed from sale all of the Israeli manufactured Keter Plastic products in the store. Within two hours of commencing the action, IPSC members witnessed pallet loads of the Israel made plastic storage boxes, wheelbarrows and garden sheds being taken off the sales floor. Some assembled garden sheds which were too large to shift right away had sales notices removed and replaced with Out Of Stock stickers. The store manager indicated that the items would remain off sale until management had an opportunity to discuss the matter further with the IPSC.
This latest success is part of the IPSC’s BDS campaign and follows the publication last August of a letter by 61 Irish academics calling for a moratorium on EU aid to Israeli universities, until Israel abides by international law and basic human rights norms. In the run up the Christmas shopping spree the IPSC is stepping up its BDS campaign to increase public awareness about the sale of Israeli manufactured good in some Irish shops.
Right to Education Campaign – Birzeit University
Occupied Palestine, November 26th, 2006
In response to the Irish call for academic boycott, the Right to Education Committee at Birzeit University, gathered signatures from over 1000 students and 113 staff, endorsing a letter in support of the academic boycott initiative started in Ireland. The letter thanked the 61 Irish academics who called for a moratorium on EU aid to Israeli universities until Israel abides by international human rights laws. The letter also calls for more organisations to join the Irish initiative and boycott Israeli academic institutions until Israel withdraws from the occupied Palestinian territories and upholds the rights of Palestinians, including their right of return.
Israeli academia has failed to denounce the illegal occupation, racist policies and war crimes committed in their name by the Israeli state, despite their position of influence and moral obligation to do so. Moreover, the Israeli occupation stifles the development of Palestinian education through arbitrary checkpoints, arrests, detentions and deportations. Palestinians face ongoing Israeli attacks on their educational institutions and there is a growing clampdown in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. This includes the arbitrary detention of students, the prohibition of Gazans from studying in the West Bank, the harassment of foreign students entering Gaza and the West Bank and the increasing difficulties facing ordinary academic exchange between Palestinians and the outside world.
To read the letter and for more information on the Right to Education campaign see: right2edu.birzeit.edu/ or contact the Right to Education Student Committee: [email protected]