BDS Campaign Update (August – December 2008)
US Campaign to End the Occupation Launches Motorola Boycott Campaign Website
August 2008 - Motorola has been actively supplying Occupation forces with weapon parts and equipment that has been used against both the Palestinian and Lebanese people. The US Campaign has identified four key ways that Motorola contributes to the maintenance of military control and apartheid, including manufacturing bomb fuses, supplying Occupation forces with communication equipment, and providing surveillance systems for both settlements and the Apartheid Wall.
Visit the website for more on Motorola and the campaign: http://hanguponmotorola.org
Adalah calls upon celebrities and Jewelers of America to Boycott Leviev
August 2008 - Celebrity supporters of Leviev have been called to follow the actions of UNICEF and cut ties with the businessman. Additionally, Adalah-NY has issued a call for Jewelers of America (JA) to cease doing business with Leviev, whose business practices in Palestine and Angola violate the JA code of conduct. For more information visit: http://adalahny.org
Jerusalem Coalition and Stop the Wall call on Saudi Arabia not to Contract Alstom
7 August 2008 - The Jerusalem Coalition and Stop the Wall Campaign called on Saudi Arabia not to contract Alstom for the construction of the new Shoaiba power plant, to phase out existing contracts and not to award the French company any new contracts to pressure Alstom to withdraw from the Jerusalem light rail project. The state owned Saudi Electric Company (SEC) has signed a letter of intent to award the 1.9 Billion Euro contract for construction of a power plant in Shoaiba to Alstom, a French multinational that controls 20% of the shares in Citypass consortium that has been contracted by Israel to build the Jerusalem light rail. In addition, the BDS campaigners called on Saudi Arabia to ensure that Alstom is added to the boycott lists of the Organization of Islamic Countries and the Arab League.
Israel Ad Pulled Due to Saudi Boycott
12 August 2008 - Nissan Motor Company asked its Israeli distributor to pull a racist commercial broadcast on local television for the new Nissan Tiida (sold in the U.S. under the name Versa) after a Saudi Arabian official threatened Nissan with a region-wide boycott given its offensive content. Upon the release of the commercial earlier in August, Saudi Arabia's Dubai-based MBC TV quoted a Saudi official as saying, "It's my opinion that Nissan made a huge error by igniting these [racist] instincts. We need to apply punishments... against these things. In order for Nissan to keep its interests in the region, it must apologize." Other Arabic newspapers followed suit in calling for a boycott of Nissan.
Five Arrested at Scottish Protest against Israeli Military Musicians
29 August 2008 – The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign held a picket protesting the Jerusalem Quartet's performance at Edinburgh International Festival. Five of the BDS protesters were arrested. About a dozen music-lovers returned their tickets at the gates after realizing the concert was a means for Israel to legitimize its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and others left and expressed their gratitude to the demonstrators inside and out "for awakening our consciences." Visit: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk
Campaign to Boycott Israeli Medical Association (IMA) Launches Campaign Website
Mid-August 2008 - The campaign aims to document the systematic torture of Palestinian people by agents of Israel. It will publicize the practice in order to bring world opinion to bear on Israel, and challenge the IMA which has repeatedly failed to issue advice to doctors who are involved in any way with torture. To learn more about the campaign, see al-Ahram's interview with Dr. Derek Sommerfield at
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/910/intrvw.htm or visit: http://www.boycottima.org
BDS Activists in Holland Confront SNS Bank for its Investment in Veolia
26 August 2008 - Representatives of the Amsterdam-based group A Different Jewish Voice as well as a prominent Dutch development organization and two international law specialists attended a meeting in Utrecht at the offices of SNS Asset Management (a subsidiary of SNS Bank) to urge withdrawal of its investments in the French Veolia Corporation. ASN Bank, also part of the holdings of SNS Bank, decided in 2006 to exclude Veolia Corporation from its investment portfolio because of Veolia's involvement in the rail project in East Jerusalem. However, SNS Bank insisted that according to its own assessment, Veolia's involvement with the light rail project did not amount to "direct serious violations" of human rights. For more, see:
Barkan Wineries Completes Relocation away from Illegal West Bank Settlement
Late August 2008 - In 2004, the Barkan Wineries started a process of moving their operations from the illegal Israeli settlement of Barkan over to Kibbutz Hulda within the "green line." The soft drinks company "Tempo" which holds ownership of the Barkan Wineries had entered into a close partnership with the large Dutch beer company "Heineken", becoming part of the worldwide Heineken Group and creating a new company called "Tempo Drinks" of which the Dutch Heineken holds 40% ownership. The Dutch government has been an outspoken opponent of the Israeli policy of expansion onto Palestinian land in the West Bank, and the company responded to pressure by agreeing to withdraw from the Barkan Industrial Park. While it has moved, it has maintained the label “Barkan wine”, and more importantly, still maintains a winery in the Golan Heights, a part of Syria that has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.
Toronto Community Groups Denounce "Brand Israel"
28 August 2008 - Over one hundred Torontonians showed up at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center (MNJCC) to voice their opposition to the official launch of a 1-million dollar "Brand Israel" re-branding campaign at that venue. Toronto has been selected as a ‘test market’ for a year-long public relations campaign launched by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve “Israel’s image” – a state whose racism against Palestinians has come under increasing scrutiny by the growing worldwide BDS movement. During the rally, organized by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), speakers from No One is Illegal (NOII), the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), The UofT Reparations Committee, the United Black Students at Ryerson (UBSR) and Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WISP, formerly the Jewish Women’s Committee to End the Occupation) addressed the racist nature of the Israeli state and its re-branding campaign. For more, visit http://www.caiaweb.org
Coordination Boycott Israel launches Ramadan “Boycott Israeli Dates” Campaign
31 August 2008 - A day before the start of the Ramadan, Belgian BDS activists organized an action in Brussels to protest the import and sale of Israeli dates. A group of 10 activists distributed free dates to visitors of the main Sunday market in Brussels where big quantities of imported fruits and vegetables are sold. Leaflets were also distributed calling on consumers to boycott dates from Israel as they are mainly grown in the occupied Jordan Valley on grounds stolen from Palestinian farmers.
Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) Campaign RELAUNCHED!
September 2008 – The campaign was re-launched as a renewed effort to call on British shoppers to stop buying Israeli goods, especially from illegal Israeli settlements, and to supermarkets to stop stocking such goods. The emphasis on settlement exports spearheads the general case for the boycott of Israeli goods. This new campaign, led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Jews for Boycotting of Israeli Goods (JBIG) is part of a wider international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel. The campaign will feature a sustained program of direct action by local branches across the country, with support from trade union members and faith groups. For more information, visit: http://www.bigcampaign.org
BDS Campaign in UK Makes September the Boycott Israeli Goods Month of Action
September 2008 - The British-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and supporters from over twenty towns created eye-catching and impact-achieving demonstrations in addition to holding meetings and film-screenings as a means of spreading the awareness about the BDS campaign. The highlight of the month came on 28 September, when activists occupied and shut down the UK freight warehouse and HQ of Carmel-Agrexco. Agrexco is one of the largest settlement agro-businesses and a key exporter of settlement produce to Europe. In addition to the action against Carmel-Agrexco, protesters focused their efforts on local shops, supermarkets, and press offices across Britain. In some cases dressed as Jaffa oranges, activists distributed BIG campaign leaflets and explained to shoppers how buying Israeli herbs, dates, avocados and other produce encourages and legitimizes Israeli apartheid the colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. For more information, visit: http://www.bigcampaign.org
Court Case against Veolia Moves Forward
September 2008 - The French court case against Veolia, which started almost a year ago, is moving forward, and the company has submitted legalized translations (in French) of the light rail contract to the court in Nanterre. The lawyers of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Association France Palestine Solidarite (ASFP) are in the process of studying the material. At the end of October 2007, Veolia Transport and Alstom were taken to court by AFPS because of their involvement in the Israeli tramway project. The PLO joined AFPS in the legal action against the two companies, invoking French Civil Code which states in its Articles 6, 1131 and 1133 that any agreement can be discharged of its powers when its aim is in contradiction with the public order or good morals. The legal action undertaken by AFPS is seeking the cancellation of the contracts for the construction and running of the tramway in Palestine between Alstom, Veolia and the Israeli government.
BDS Campaigners in UK, US, and Palestine call on UK not to Rent Embassy from Leviev
18 September 2008 - Following an article in the Guardian detailing UK government plans to rent office space in Tel Aviv from Leviev’s Africa – Israel company, a number of organizations and activists are demanding the UK reverse its decision. The large alliance of Palestinian and international civil society that issued a call for letters to the UK’s Foreign Office demanding that the government not rent from Leviev included UK-based Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War on Want; the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Jayyous, where Leviev’s companies have been building settlements; the Palestinian BNC, and US-based Adalah-NY and Jews Against the Occupation. For more information:
Adalah-NY Disrupts Leviev-Sponsored Fundraiser for Museum
of the City of New York
23 September 2008 - The Director of the Museum of the City of New York had failed to respond to phone calls and a letter on September 16th informing the museum of the inconsistency of Leviev’s business practices with the museum’s mission and with non-profit ethical standards. On the night of the fundraiser, Manhattan's elite were aghast to be greeted this evening by 25 protesters chanting: “Fashionistas and socialites, Leviev denies human rights” / “New York City glitterati, If you wear Lev's jewels, you're naughty” / “Oxfam and UNICEF won't take his dimes, Because they know Leviev's crimes.” Information handed out by protesters pointed to: Leviev's companies "Africa-Israel" and "Leader" responsibility in construction of the illegal Israeli settlements Mattityahu East, Zufim, Har Homa and Maale Adumim on Palestinian land in the Israeli Occupied West Bank; accusations in New York Magazine that Angolan security companies employed by Leviev have been involved in torturing, sexually abusing and even murdering Angolans; Leviev's recent firing in Namibia of around 200 striking diamond polishers, some of whom were already struggling to survive on less than $2 a day; and, in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Leviev's construction of luxury apartments that displace low- and moderate-income residents. For more see:
Despite Appeals, Paul McCartney Violates the Boycott, Performs in Israel
25 September 2008 – McCartney decided to perform in Israel despite numerous calls on him to adhere to the anti-apartheid BDS campaign. In a statement denouncing the former Beatle's decision, the Palestinian Campaign for a Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (PACBI) declared that “[d]espite our denunciation of Paul McCartney's effective complicity in covering up Israel's occupation and system of racial oppression, PACBI strongly and unequivocally condemns any violent threats made against him or, for that matter, against any other cultural or academic figure who decides to visit Israel in violation of the Palestinian boycott of Israel. As a civil resistance movement whose message is anchored in an unwavering commitment to universal human rights and ethical responsibility, we strive to persuade people, to appeal to their minds and hearts to boycott Israel -- through campaigns of public awareness raising and non-violent pressure -- due to its occupation, racist oppression and unique system of apartheid.”
Bahraini parliament Increases Pressure on
Government to Reopen Israel Boycott Office
Late September 2008 – A meeting of the Bahraini legislature's committee on foreign affairs, defense and national security also called for an end to all formal contacts with Israel. It specifically called for the reopening of Bahrain's Israel Boycott Office, which had been shut down as a result of US pressure in the form of conditioning the trade agreement between Bahrain and the US on closure of the office. The trade agreement came into effect in early 2006.
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign Launches
Report on EU Support for Israel
October 2008 - Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign launch a report titled "European Union's Blind Eye" that will be submitted to the EU and various other prominent bodies and individuals as part of their political lobbying campaign. The document critiques the EU's biased relationship with Israel, exposing how the EU ignores Israel's failure to fulfill its obligations under various agreements including the Euro-Med Agreement, The European Neighborhood Policy and the Agreement on Movement and Access. It also questions the recent 'upgrading' of relations between the EU and Israel, and reveals the EU's double-standards when dealing with Israel as compared to Russia and Iran. Download the report at: http://www.ipsc.ie/pdf/ipsc_eu_submission_2008.pdf
Jordanian Workers call for Boycott of Israeli Products
11 October 2008 - Hundreds of Jordanian Islamist and leftist activists and parliamentarians participated in a picket of the country's wholesale food market to protest against fruits and vegetables imported from Israel being sold. The protesters called on vendors to suspend imports from Israel of a variety of fruits including mangoes, pineapple, avocado, kiwi along with carrots and tomatoes sold in groceries and supermarkets. The protest was organized by professional associations, who represent over 170,000 doctors, nurses and engineers and others, and who have spearheaded an anti-normalization and boycott campaign. Jordanian trade figures show an increase in trade between the two countries since the 1994 Wadi Araba agreement, with the volume of exchange jumping from $1.6 million in 2003 to $14 million in 2007, representing a nine-fold increase.
Opposition to Egypt-Israel Natural Gas Continues
7 October 2008 - Following up on the political opposition to the $2-3 billion agreement involving Egyptian export of natural gas to Israel, a lawyer in Egypt has demanded that the government halt its gas exports to Israel. Ibrahim Yossri, 65, arrived at the court on October 7 to call on the Egyptian government to stop exporting natural gas to its Middle East neighbor. The agreement was signed by Binyamin Ben Eliezer, the Israeli infrastructure minister, and Sameh Fahmi, the Egyptian oil minister, in June 2005.
Dutch Lawyers Seek Ami Ayalon's arrest / Dutch Authorities Fail to Arrest Israeli former Intelligence Chief
7-17 October 2008 - Lawyers for Khalid al-Shami, a Palestinian tortured in Israeli jails, sought the arrest of Ami Ayalon, a minister without portfolio in the Israeli government and former head of the Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence service responsible for interrogation of prisoners. According to the Israeli press, Dutch officials had contacted the Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs in advance, and Dutch “speedy and positive response” to Israel's subsequent plea was spirit Ayalon out of the country immediately.
Texas Firm Fined for Complying with Boycott
16 October 2008 - The US government has imposed a civil penalty on a Texas-based subsidiary of a German firm for repeated violations of American law regarding compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel. In a settlement announced earlier this month, Rohde & Liesenfeld Inc., a freight-forwarder based in Houston, agreed to pay a civil penalty of $108,000 to settle charges leveled against it by the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security. The bureau, which oversees enforcement of US anti-boycott rules, had accused the company of 36 violations of the law between July 2002 and March 2003 in a series of dealings with the Syrian petroleum company Al-Furat.
Appeal to be heard in the case of UK arms-related licenses agreements to Israel
16 October 2008 – Al-Haq announced that the appeal in the case of Saleh Hasan v. Secretary of State and Industry was scheduled for 21-22 October 2008. The claim requests the UK government to clarify its position on its arms-related licensing agreements with Israel to reveal how it satisfies its own criteria that material sold under these agreements is not used in the commission of human rights abuses. The Court dismissed the claim, finding that while the UK government could provide the information requested, it would involve a “considerable amount of work” and that through the Quadripartite Committee a sufficient level of oversight over arms-export licensing is already exercised, making the claim unnecessary. The Court of Appeal found there to be strategic questions with regard to High Court's dismissal of the claim and granted the appeal on 11 Feb 2008. For more, visit http://www.alhaq.org
BNC Issues Open Letter to the Norwegian Government and Civil Society: Stop the Norwegian-Israeli Business and Research Seminar!
20 October 2008 - Preempting the Norwegian-Israeli Business and Research Seminar scheduled to be held in Oslo on 3 November, for the purpose of enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade and research between Norway and Israel, the Palestinian BNC issued a statement to the seminar organizers and Norwegian civil society. The statement outlined what was known about the seminar and called upon the co-organizers of the event – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Innovation Norway and the Research Council of Norway – to re-evaluate the initiative and cancel the event; and upon Norwegian civil society organizations to mobilize and take action against the strengthening of ties between these two parties and to stop this conference from taking place. The BNC letter was ultimately endorsed by the Transport Workers Union and The Electricians and IT Workers Union, as well as the General Confederation of Trade Unions in Oslo (LO), the Norwegian People's Aid, the Socialist Youth League, the Labour Youth League, the National Student Union, the Red Youth and the Red party. Read the full text of the statement at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/209
Carousel of Hope Ball signals collapse of Leviev PR strategy
24 October 2008 – Having sponsored the Children's Diabetes Foundation's (CDF) Carousel of Hope Ball in 2006, Lev Leviev was announced in media reports as a sponsor for the 2008 Ball. Following letters by Adalah-NY and other groups to the Denver-based CDF, Leviev was removed from the list of sponsors for the 2008 Ball. CDF's lawyer Mark Cohen told Adalah-NY in an October 1 letter that, while Leviev will not sponsor the event, this did not represent a judgment on the merits of Adalah-NY's claims about Leviev. For the full Adalah-NY press release, see: http://adalahny.org/index.php/press-releases/247-carousel-hope-collapse-leviev-pr
Swedish company closes factory in Israeli settlement
26 October 2008 - After being confronted by a coalition of Swedish non-profit groups and the Church of Sweden for operating a branch on illegally-confiscated Palestinian land in the West Bank, the Assa Abloy Company, based in Sweden, decided to close its locksmithing factory in the Barkan settlement in the occupied West Bank and to relocate it within the Green line citing “political reasons.” Barkan Industrial Park is located just outside the Ariel settlement, which is the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and is located 16 kilometers from the Green Line. A company spokesperson told the Israeli media, "We are very sorry that we did not notice it before, but we did not understand that we might be violating international law."
Oxfam-USA reaffirms position on Leviev Diamonds
27 October 2008 – To clarify its position on its alleged acceptance of support from Lev Leviev, Oxfam-USA issued a statement clarifying that it is the beneficiary of Timothy White's new book Hollywood Pin Ups, for which Leviev Diamonds offered to provide diamonds for some of the photo shoots, of which Oxfam was unaware. After being informed by Adalah-NY that Lev Leviev was promoting the inclusion of Leviev Diamonds in the book and using this to claim to be an Oxfam supporter, Oxfam immediately issued a statement which “reiterates our policy that we are not and never will be partners or beneficiaries of Leviev because of both his mining practices and his support of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Lands which is in contravention of International Law and a major obstacle in the road to peace.” Read the statement at:
Green Party Defends Position in Support of BDS and the Right of Return
27 October 2008 - On October 12, Alan Dershowitz, a prominent US attorney and Harvard law professor, published an op-ed column in The Daily News (New York) titled "Both Barack Obama and John McCain are true friends of Israel ..." in which he accused the Green Party and Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney of anti-Semitism and endorsed elections limited to two political parties. The co-chairs of the Green Party's International Committee responded to the attack noting that Dershowitz has promoted 'torture warrants' to permit torture of individuals when a threat to US is detected, a position he shares with the Israeli government. In the response, they state “The Green Party takes no campaign contributions from AIPAC, its rightwing allies, or the oil industry.... We continue to oppose Israel's violations of human rights that are recognized as universal by the international community: the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and the right of self-determination.” Read the full statement at: http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=125
Bilbao Conference: European BDS in Theory and Practice
29 October-1 November 2008 – Spanish and Basque civil society organizations invited their Palestinian counterparts, along with Israeli activists and solidarity groups from Europe and around the globe to Bilbao to discuss the core elements of the Palestinian struggle, as well as strategies to move the BDS movement forward. On November 1, a delegation from the conference staged a protest in front of the city hall in Bilbao, to pressure the city council to refrain from ratifying the bus transportation contract that it has awarded to Veolia. See the full text of the Bilbao conference declaration at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/213
Majority of Sommerville and Cambridge Voters Cast “Yes” Ballots
4 November 2008 - 62 % of people voting in Somerville and 73 % of people voting in Cambridge cast YES votes on the question: “Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a nonbinding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of all people, including non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another” introduced by the Sommerville Divestment Project. These results come after the pro-apartheid side attempted legal maneuvers to block the question from being on the ballot and over the opposition of the mayor, all local elected officials in Somerville, and a main newspaper in Somerville.In 2006 45% of Somerville voters supported the Palestinian peoples' Right of Return - a fundamental human right, despite the opposition from the pro-apartheid governor, congressman and mayor – all of whom opposed the fundamental human right of return. For more, visit the Sommerville Divestment Project homepage at: http://www.divestmentproject.org
Palestinian to Boycott of Jerusalem Municipal
4 November 2008 – Palestinian community leaders called on Palestinians in Jerusalem to boycott the November 11 municipal elections. Palestinians from Jerusalem, who make up one third of the city's 750,000 inhabitants, have boycotted municipal elections ever since Israel occupied and illegally annexed the city in 1967, considering a vote in the election as an act that would legitimize the Israeli occupation, and the Jerusalem's municipality's racist Judaization policy in the city.
Britain to Crack Down on Israeli Settlement Products
3 November 2008 – British newspaper, The Independent, reports that an internal EU note circulated by the UK expresses concern that goods produced from the settlements may be entering Britain after being illegally exempted from tariffs in violation of an Israel-EU trade agreement. The note calls for the EU separately to consider afresh much more stringent labeling rules for settlement-produced goods in British stores to prevent them being designated as being from the "West Bank" in a way that could falsely imply that they have a Palestinian origin, calling for "targeted" examination of goods imported from Israel to establish whether they were in fact produced inside the 1967 "green line."
UN Special Committee Recommends Sanctions on Israel in face of 'enormous web of unlawful practices’ devastating Palestinian society"
4 November 2008 – In its eighth report to the General Assembly (UN Document A / 63 / 273), the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory established itself as the only UN body thus far that has explicitly called for “sanctions against Israel if it persists in paying no attention to its international legal obligations.” The report details many of Israel's violations of international law that were compiled by the committee from meetings and submissions in Damascus, Amman and Cairo. Israel does not permit members of the committee to enter the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Read the full report at:
BNC Calls for a Boycott of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra!
28 October 2008 - The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) called on the hosts in the fourteen American cities scheduled to host the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO) to rescind their invitations to the Orchestra. The special performance in the US honors the 60th anniversary of the Orchestra and of the establishment of the state of Israel. The BNC call states that such “celebrations of Israeli statehood are a means to cover up the Nakba, or catastrophe, that was inflicted upon the indigenous Palestinian population by Zionist forces in 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians were forcefully expelled from their lands in a systematic ethnic cleansing program that continues to this day.” The call also states that “the JSO is one of the primary promoters and exporters of Israeli cultural life, one of its functions is to boost Israel's image on the world stage. In this way, the truth about the Israeli occupation of Palestine becomes suppressed, and its institutionalized attacks on Palestinian cultural heritage are ignored. Any attempt by the US hosts of the tour to develop ties with this Orchestra, therefore, amounts to condoning Israeli apartheid.” Read the full statement at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/211
Groups Call on Marriott Marquis to Cancel Fundraiser for the Hebron Fund
13 November 2008 – Eight groups representing tens of thousands of people in the US, Palestine and Israel have called on the Marriott Marquis hotel in Manhattan to cancel a fundraiser for the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund. On the Hebron Fund webpage, clicking on the symbol which says “Give to Hebron” leads to a donations page on the website for the Jewish Community of Hebron which says, among other things, “keep Hebron Jewish for the Jewish people.” The contesting groups submitted a letter on letter on November 7th saying, “The Marriot Marquis will be facilitating activities that directly violate international law and US foreign policy, actively promote racial discrimination, and, at least indirectly, support brutal Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Hebron.” For more information and a list of signatories contact: [email protected]
BDS Campaign Opposition to Shimon Peres “Peace” Lecture at Balliol College, Oxford
13 November 2008 – Hundreds of letters were sent by BDS advocates around the world to the College in an effort to bring attention to the Israeli president's past and present responsibility for war crimes and serious human rights violations. Oxford University students took the lead in the campaign, and their vocal disruption to the lecture itself was widely publicized. The Congress of South African Trade Unions issued an important statement calling on the college to cancel the lecture, as did PACBI on behalf of the BNC, who wrote: "We believe that honoring Peres is an affront not only to Palestinians, but also to a significant segment of UK academics. These academics' determined support for Palestinian rights, by calling for the isolation of Israel in the world community and refusing to treat it as a normal nation until it fully respects international law, has earned the admiration of Palestinian and solidarity movements across the world."
Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC) launches day of action against Veolia for involvement in Jerusalem Light Railway
15 November 2008 – SCC activists distributed red cards asking passengers of the Stockholm underground to place them to the clothes to protest against Veolia's involvement in the Jerusalem Light Railway built on stolen Palestinian land. Veolia operates the Stockholm subway system and is currently seeking a renewal of their 8-year contract with the Stockholm County Council. Veolia is under pressure following several protests by civil society groups, media attention and political criticisms from the Stockholm County Council, campaigning for the barring of Veolia from the procurement process due to their disregard for international law.
Egyptian court orders freeze in natural gas exports to Israel
18 November 2008 – An Egyptian court restricted natural gas exports to Israel on the grounds that the controversial deal with Israel was improperly awarded because it was not approved by Parliament. The deal was implemented through a memorandum of understanding bypassing Parliamentary vote. The decision comes in the wake of a revelation that Egypt is losing $9 million for each day that Cairo upholds the fixed-price agreement with Tel Aviv. While this court ruling can be appealed against by the government, the controversial 20-year deal on gas exports to Israel continues to be seem by many Egyptians as a betrayal.
Catalan Workers' Union joins the BDS Campaign and passes resolution
23 November 2008 – At their General Assembly, Intersindical Alternativa de Catallunya (IAC) unanimously passed a resolution calling on “world leaders and the United Nations Security Council to demand Israel abides by international humanitarian law and UN resolutions by immediately ending its policy of collective punishment. This requires Israel to immediately halt its siege of the Gaza Strip and stop its construction activities in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Separation Wall; Ending the Israeli occupation and colonization of all Palestinian and Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” Towards those ends, the union also resolved to work to “impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” For more information visit http://www.catac.cat or contact Luis Blanco at: [email protected]
Palestinian Community Leaders urge UK divestment of Israeli Settlement Builders
24 November 2008 – Distinguished Palestinian leaders call on the British government cease its plans to rent space for its new Tel Aviv embassy location from Lieviev's company Africa-Israel, and to publicly guarantee its refusal to conduct business with similar settlement-builders. The Palestinian leaders argue that recent crackdown on settlement exports by the British government is undermined with the renting of space for its embassy from a settlement-builder, and would send a contradictory message making it actively complicit with illegal settlement construction. The Palestinian leaders include: Hussam Khader, Khaleda Jarrar, Hanan Ashrawi, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Archbishop Atallah Hannah, and Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri.
Successful campaign closes depot of Israeli-owned water company in Scotland
25 November 2008 – The Israeli water cooler company Eden Springs has closed its factory in Scotland after losing hundreds of contracts, including ones with mainland and island councils. The councils, along with a number of Scottish trade union and student bodies, have all voted to boycott Eden Springs explicitly on the grounds of Israel's violations of international and human rights law. Keen to conceal its status as an-Israeli owned company, the manager of Eden Springs, Graham Carruthers, has been canvassing customer responses to a name change as one way to limit financial losses caused by increasing association of the brand with and Israel's crimes. This successful closure is recognized within the industry to be due in large part to a resolute publicity campaign by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. For more information contact: [email protected]
President of UN General Assembly Calls for BDS against Israeli Apartheid State
26 November 2008 – UN General Assembly President, Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockman, called on the UN and its member states to follow the lead from civil society organizations in implementing Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel until it complies with international law. President Brockman made his urgent call during his address to the 57th Plenary of the General Assembly on November 24 as part of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In his speech, President Brockman said: "I spoke this morning about apartheid and how Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term. We must not be afraid to call something what it is."
To view the speech go to: http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/specialevents/2008/se081124am.rm
Unilever to divest from Israeli factory in Ariel settlement in West Bank
1 December 2008 - The food and soap manufacturing multinational Unilever has announced that it will sell its 51% stake in the Beigel & Beigel factory in Ariel settlement, illegally built on land confiscated from Palestinians. Similar actions by multinational corporations include: the Swedish company Assa Abloy, which removed its Mul-T-Lock factory in the Barkan settlement; the Barkan Winery company, which divested from its branch on the Barkan Industrial Park after entering a partnership with the Dutch beer manufacturer, Heineken; and Harrod’s department store, which cleared its shelves of Beigel & Beigel products in August 2008.
For more information see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/01/israel-palestine-unilever
Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire Calls for Divestment from Israel
4 December 2008 - The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire passed a resolution to support the call urging divestment from companies that profit from Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories. The resolution intends to increase awareness of and divest from the companies that actively participate in the oppression of Palestinians and launches a strategy for morally responsible investing to initiate a process of divestment from corporations that allow and profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. See: http://www.nhepiscopal.org/convention/diocon_over.html
Dubai activists join campaign against Lev
12 December 2008 - Activists from Dubai joined the campaign against Lev Leviev, urging residents of Dubai to boycott the jeweler during the screening of the documentary Slingshot Hip Hop at the Dubai Film Festival. Forty T-shirts and one hundred letters from the West Bank village of Jayyous were distributed to the audience at the screening calling explaining the criminal effect of Leviev-built settlements on their villages, and calling for a boycott of his enterprises.
BNC calls for Boycott of L’Oreal
23 December 2008 – Coinciding with the holiday season, the Palestinian BNC called upon people of conscience all over the world to boycott all the products of the French cosmetics giant, L'Oreal due to its deep and extensive involvement in business relations with Israel. L’Oreal’s operations in Israel began in the mid-1990s and the company’s subsidiary in Israel has operated a factory in the Israeli settlement Migdal Ha'emek in the Lower Galilee. Migdal Ha'emek was established in 1952 on lands belonging to the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of al-Mujaydil, whose original inhabitants are still denied the right to return to their homes. Like almost all other Jewish settlements built in the midst of Palestinian villages in the Galilee, inside Israel, Migdal Ha’emek discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, denying them the right to buy, rent or live on any part of the town, simply because they are “non Jews.” Read the full BNC statement at:
BNC Issues Statement Against Gaza Massacres “Stop the Massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel Now!”
27 December 2008 – Full text of statement in documents section.
Palestinian university workers urges immediate boycott after Gaza university bombing
29 December 2008 – The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees added their voice to the urgent appeal issued two days before by the Palestinian BNC urging international civil society not just to protest and condemn Israel's massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to hold it accountable for its persistent violations of international law. In the statement, the union president stated that “at the height of the lethal Israeli assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza, we are met with deafening silence emanating from the Israeli academy... Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the entrenched system of oppression practiced by the Israeli state, and their silence at this critical moment is only the most vociferous indicator of this complicity.” Read the full statement at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/239