BDS Campaign in France gains momentum after AGREXCO liquidated
January 15, 2012—The third national weekend of training and debates organized by the BDS French Campaign and held in Lyons saw the participation of more than 100 activists from all over France to share their experiences and exchange their views on different aspects of the campaign. The French campaign’s successful actions against the Israeli firm AGREXCO, which had been the campaign’s priority in 2011 were underlined and saw citizens’ actions and demonstrations that played a decisive role in the legal liquidation of the company, which represented an important victory over colonization and apartheid.
Italian BDS movement gains strength
January 21-22, 2012—The third national meeting of the BDS movement in Italy was held in Bologna with the participation of around 80 activists from over 20 cities representing groups, associations and political parties throughout the country. The scope of the meeting was to evaluate the progress of ongoing campaigns, establish strategic objectives and shared work methods, exchange information between the various Italian groups working on BDS and reassess organizational aspects of the BDS movement in Italy. The meeting concluded with a commitment to further intensify the BDS movement in Italy, linking with movements in Europe and around the world, and a call on all Italian activists and people who hold dear issues of justice and peace to join in the struggle for civil, political and human rights of all the Palestinian people.
Distributor in Japan Drops Ahava due to its Illegal Practices
January 31, 2012—DaitoCrea, the general agent in Japan for Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, announced on its website that they would no longer be distributing Ahava products manufactured in the Israeli illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. This is the second major BDS victory in Japan, following on the success of the “STOP MUJI” campaign in 2010; where Palestine Forum Japan activists used a variety of tactics, including sending post cards, organizing a Twitter campaign, and staging in-store protests to pressure MUJI, a large Japanese retail chain that sells consumer goods and electronics, not to open a planned store in Israel.
Occupy Oakland movement endorse BDS
February 2, 2012—Participants of the Occupy Oakland movement voted to back the Palestinian-led BDS movement during a regular general assembly meeting at Oscar Grant plaza. In a near-unanimous passage of the proposal by 135 people voting yes, 12 abstentions, and 1 no vote, Occupy Oakland vowed to stand with the BDS movement.
Naples, Italy Stands For Palestinian Rights
February 13, 2012—The City Council of Naples, Italy approved a motion condemning Pizzarotti for its involvement in the Israeli high-speed train cutting through the occupied Palestinian territory. The decision of the Naples City Council, which follows that of Rho (Milan) on November 30, 2011, is a strong sign for responsible action by local authorities, in this case one of Italy’s largest cities. The BDS victory in Naples was won through the campaigning of the Stop That Train coalition which has called on all local administrations to endorse the “Pizzarotti-Free Cities” campaign and pass similar resolutions against Pizzarotti until it ceases involvement in projects in violation of international law.
England and Wales Green Party calls for revocation of JNF charitable status
February 28, 2012—Members of the Green Party of England and Wales voted overwhelmingly to support an international call for action against the practices of the Jewish National Fund in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to revoke its charity status in the UK. The Green Party endorsement of the Stop the JNF Campaigns comes after similar motions passed by the Scottish Green Party, Scottish Friends of the Earth, the Iona community and various trade unions all repudiating the JNF’s claim to be an “environmental charity” as well as the Early Day Motion by 64 members of the British parliament stating that there is just cause to consider the revocation of the JNF’s charitable status.
Canadian Graduate Students Vote to Divest from Israeli Occupation
March 21-22, 2012—Graduate students at Carleton University in the Canadian capital Ottawa overwhelmingly voiced their support for the Palestinian people, by voting for the university’s pension fund to divest from four companies that are complicit in the occupation of Palestine. The vote took place through a referendum question in which over 72 percent of the graduate students voted in favor of divestment. The referendum came about as part of a campaign spearheaded by Students Against Israeli Apartheid, formed in 2008, exactly twenty years after the Carleton Anti-Apartheid Action Group forced the university to divest from South African Apartheid.
Major Norwegian retail chain joins Ahava boycott
March 23, 2012—Norwegian retail chain VITA announced that they will stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine, particularly Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway. VITA’s position of not wanting to contribute to the Israeli occupation is shared by Norgesgruppen, the company holding 49 percent of the shares in VITA. BAMA, another Norgesgruppen company has implemented the same policy regarding Israeli fruit and vegetables for several years already. The VITA decision came after a period of active lobbying from Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet), providing VITA and VITA’s owners with information about Ahava and their production in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement.
National M.E.Ch.A. Endorses Palestinian Boycott Call Against Israel
March 30, 2012—At the 19th annual national conference of M.E.Ch.A. (Movímíento Estudíantíl Chícan@ de Aztlán), the largest association of Latin@ youth in the US, chapter leaders voted by a landslide decision to endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel due to its military occupation and settlement of Palestine. The announcement coincided with international observances of “César Chávez Day” and “Land Day,” commemorating ongoing civil rights and anti-colonial struggles for Latin@s and Palestinians. The conference included 600 participants and took place in Phoenix, Arizona.
G4S contract with the European Parliament cancelled on Palestinian Prisoners Day
April 17, 2012—The European Union declined to renew a contract with private security company G4S amidst concerns raised by MEPs and campaign groups about the role the company plays in equipping Israeli prisons in which Palestinian political prisoners are held in violation of international law. G4S has provided security services to the buildings of the European Parliament since 2008 but the contract award notice (service contract 118611-2012) published on the EU official tenders’ website showed that G4S had lost its contract with the European Parliament. In March 2011, a group of 28 Members of the European Parliament, including 8 MEPs from Denmark and 6 from the UK wrote a letter to former EU Parliament President demanding that the Parliament drop G4S as the principal security contractor if it continued to provide security services to illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and Israeli prisons at which Palestinians are detained. Their demands were a response to investigations conducted by the Danish NGO DanWatch and a report made by the Israeli research project “Who Profits” which revealed and documented G4S’ implication in illegal activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
UMass Boston Student Senate Calls For Divestment from Boeing
April 18, 2012-- The UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Government unanimously passed a bill demanding that the UMass Foundation, the university’s investment fund, divest from Boeing and other companies profiting from war crimes and/or human rights violations. The decision to divest from Boeing is based on the company’s record of actively manufacturing and selling weapons that have been used in direct attacks on Palestinian civilians, a violation of international humanitarian law and human rights. The bill specifically highlights the connection between Boeing and Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 3-week military onslaught against the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, during which 1,300 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, including 412 children. Boeing produces the Hellfire missile and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, both of which are documented to have been used in Operation Cast Lead.
Egypt to boycott ‘pro-Israel’ Adidas kit manufacturer
April 19, 2012—Egypt Football Association (EFA) president Anwar Saleh confirmed that Egypt will boycott the Adidas sportswear company to comply with the decision of the Arab Youth and Sports Ministers. The decision came after an announcement earlier in April by the Arab Council of Youth and Sports Ministers that “all companies that have sponsored the marathon in Jerusalem, including Adidas, will be boycotted.” Sports apparel manufacturer Adidas was the only non-Israeli sponsor of that race, and which the Council considered to be an attempt by “Israel to mislead public opinion into believing that Jerusalem is its capital which is a violation of all UN resolutions.” EFA officials have announced that their boycott of Adidas will entail the loss of 1.7 million euros for the Egyptian organization.
Scottish TUC delegates unanimously support BDS and Palestine freedom struggle
April 25, 2012—The 450 delegates to the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the umbrella group for every trade union in Scotland, voted unanimously and repeatedly against Israeli apartheid, with resolutions to: campaign to expose the role of the racist JNF (Jewish National Fund) in the Israeli apartheid system; support the participants in the Welcome to Palestine initiative who tried to travel peacefully to Palestine via Tel Aviv Airport; fully support the Palestinian-Brazilian call for the World Social Forum-Free Palestine in Brazil in November; and support the Palestinian hunger strikers and the work of Addameer, the Palestinian prisoner support organization.
Co-op boycotts exports from Israel’s West Bank settlements
April 28, 2012—The UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and its largest mutual business, The Co-operative Group, decided to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements. It is the first major European supermarket group to do so. The decision directly affects four companies and contracts worth some £350,000: Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel’s largest agricultural export company. Other companies may be affected by the policy.
Over 150 Professors in US come out in defense of right to support BDS
April 28, 2010—Over one hundred and fifty prominent US college professors signed a letter objecting to an advertisement in The New York Times by David Horowitz naming individual faculty members at several US colleges and accusing them of inciting murder of Jewish children, and likening the movement to boycott Israel (BDS) to Nazism. The response letter was not published by the New York Times, but is available online at:
United Methodist Church steps up support for the Kairos Palestine document
May 2, 2012—The General Conference of the United Methodist Church decided to call for an explicit boycott of all Israeli companies “operating in the occupied Palestinian territories,” knowing that this constitutes the absolute majority of Israeli corporations. This and the overwhelming support for the “Kairos Palestine” document and its call “for an end to military occupation and human rights violations through nonviolent actions,” which include boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), will pave the way forward for further action by the Church to hold Israel accountable for its colonial and apartheid regime.