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Hewlett Packard (HP) Faces $120 Million in Potential Losses Due to its Complicity in Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Human Rights

Hewlett Packard (HP) faces over $120 million in potential losses since India’s largest student federation passed a resolution to support the BDS movement and to boycott Hewlett Packard (HP) companies over their well-documented complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights.

Apoorva Gautam, the India-based South Asia coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, explained:

The Students Federation of India (SFI) is more than 4 million members strong, and on June 9, they joined the global campaign to boycott HP. This means that Hewlett Packard companies now risk losing over 4 million potential clients in India because of their complicity in Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian human rights.

Given that the cheapest HP laptop in India costs about $300, this means that HP may be losing a potential student market of over $120 million. This is enormously significant.

What Palestinians and Indian students are showing is that companies seeking to profit from Israel’s military occupation and discriminatory regime face growing popular opposition and risk a serious hit to both their reputations and pocket-books.

HP has provided technology and services that support Israel’s military occupation and racial discrimination policies, including its devastating siege suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, and illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

Today, HP-branded companies provide the Israeli government with the servers that house its notorious population registry, a key component in the apparatus of apartheid. Records also indicate that HP-branded companies are still responsible for selling computers to the Israeli military. As such, HP products and services enable racial segregation and denial of basic rights.

In its resolution to boycott HP, the Students Federation of India (SFI) condemned Israel’s recent violence against unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, where Israel killed at least 121 Palestinians and injured more than 13,000 in just the last two months. It also criticized the current right-wing government in India for its “close security and military ties with Israel” and for having become “the largest arms buyer from Israel.”

Vikram Singh, the federation’s General Secretary, promised that the campaign to boycott HP in India would grow:

Our federation will spread the BDS movement and the HP boycott campaign in college and university campuses across India. We will work to convince university administrations to adopt procurement policies that prohibit doing business with HP companies until they prove that they are no longer complicit in Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights. Until then, this boycott will continue and will grow even stronger.

Abdulrahman Abunahel, a Gaza-based community organizer and coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) welcomed the resolution:

Palestinian students and youth movements deeply appreciate the solidarity expressed by our counterparts in the Students Federation of India. As a young Palestinian in Gaza, I know first hand how difficult it is to study, and to simply live, under decades of Israel’s brutal military rule and devastating siege. And I’m heartened by this important gesture of support from India, which reaffirms that where governments fail, people have the the power to act and make a difference.

In the past few years, US church denominations such as the US Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ have divested from HP. Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the socially responsible investment firm serving over three hundred Quaker institutions in the United States, divested from HP in 2012. Most recently, the Dublin City Council joined the BDS movement and called for ending ties with HP because of the company’s complicity in Israeli apartheid.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

(Source / 14.06.2018)

BDS calls for boycott of Israel’s ‘racist propaganda’ Netflix series

Fauda, an Israeli thriller show

The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is leading a campaign against the hit Israeli series, “Fauda”. Denouncing the widely acclaimed series as “racist propaganda for the Israeli occupation army”, BDS called on Netflix, which bought the rights to “Fauda”, to remove the show or face legal action.

In its statement announcing the campaign to boycott “Fauda”, BDS claims that the series serves as propaganda for Israel’s political and security establishment. It notes that the “Fauda” cast, including the production team, were hosted by the Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, last month along with Israeli soldiers. The crew expressed gratitude to the Israeli soldiers and were described as a “source of inspiration” for the series while Rivlin expressed “gratitude” to the series’ producers.

Read: Fauda brings Israel’s ‘shoots and cries’ genre to the Netflix generation

Explaining the reasons for calling for the boycott, BDS said that “Fauda” celebrates secret Israeli military units which are known to have carried out numerous assassinations and extrajudicial executions, murder and the brutal arrest of unarmed demonstrators, including children. Yamas, for example, which is the Israeli border police unit, is accused of violating the sanctity of universities and hospitals, which constitute crimes of war under international humanitarian law, BDS campaigners have said.

“The celebration by the Israeli political and security establishment by Fauda,” stress the BDS group “reveals the contribution made by the series to Israeli propaganda efforts in concealing Israeli crimes, including ethnic cleansing, particularly in Jerusalem, the Negev and the Jordan Valley, the demolition of houses and the bulldozing of agricultural land and the siege of two million Palestinians in Gaza and the establishment of colonies.”

(Source / 29.03.2018)

BDS Gulf Holds its First Regional Anti-normalisation Conference

25 NOV
5:39 AM

Last week, BDS Gulf held its first regional anti-normalization conference in Kuwait City, with a broad participation of speakers, organizations, activists and political figures from the entire Gulf region. The conference, which was followed by workshops focused on campaign strategies and a practical regional action plan, made several recommendations regarding anti-normalization and activating BDS campaigns in the Gulf summarized below.

 

G4S

In response to G4S’ complicity with Israel’s regime of oppression and its active involvement with the Israeli police forces, the conference called for launching a unified regional campaign targeting G4S’ contracts and bids in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

G4S is considered a strategic target for BDS Gulf as it plans to build on the milestone achieved when the Kuwaiti Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) divested its shares from the company last year. Additionally, G4S has lost dozens of contracts in Jordan and Lebanon over the past two years, giving the campaign in the Gulf a more fertile ground to build on the successes of the #StopG4S campaign in the Arab World.

Despite the sale of its Israeli affiliate, which continues to trade under the “G4S Israel” name and uses the G4S logo, the company still holds 50% of Policity Ltd. which was contracted by the Israeli police to build and operate Israel’s National Police Academy, inaugurated in January 2015. Located in a 55-acre plot in Beit Shemesh, the National Police Academy combines all of Israel’s police training under one roof, replacing 20 facilities throughout the country.

Israeli police forces are regularly condemned by human rights organizations for committing egregious violations of international law, including war crimes against Palestinians under Israel’s military occupation.

Policity, the company owned and operated by G4S, is responsible for at least 40% of the training instruction of Israeli police, amounting to about 40,000 hours in the current contract. The training provided by National Police Academy includes crowd control, house raids, interrogation techniques, target shooting and undercover operations — repression tactics aimed exclusively at Palestinians.

Additionally, in July, video evidence showed cars with the G4S logo supplying the security systems used by the Israeli government to restrict Palestinian access to the al-Aqsa mosque. FST Biometrics, the company that was expected to supply the smart surveillance cameras that Israel then planned to install at the doors of al-Aqsa Mosque, is a partner of AMAG Technology, a company owned by G4S.  

 

Ethical investment and procurement legislations

The BDS Gulf conference, which was welcomed by the speaker of the Kuwaiti parliament and attended by a number of parliamentarians from several GCC countries, called for the adoption of national laws and regulations that would require private entities and public institutions alike to exclude companies complicit in Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid from bids and contracts.

Such companies include G4S, Alstom, Hyundai Heavy Industries, HP, among others, especially those that are anticipated to be listed on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ database of companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlement regime in the occupied territory.

 

Divestment of sovereign funds  

The conference called upon public and sovereign funds, akin to the PIFSS in Kuwait, to divest their shares from international companies that are targeted by the BDS movement for their complicity in the occupation. Moreover, the conference recommended the publication of an investment screen, including a list of companies that are involved in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, to guide institutions as to which companies should be considered for divestment.

 

Anti-normalization

On a broader level, the conference was widely regarded as a timely step to reaffirm the massive popular support in GCC countries for Palestinian rights and strengthening public and popular opposition to any possible change of policies towards normalizing relations with Israel in the region.

The BDS Gulf conference reminded GCC states of their legal obligations to hold Israel to account through the imposition of sanctions including by ending military trade and actively seeking the expulsion of Israel from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), FIFA and other international forums.

(Source / 25.11.2017)

BDS Update: Palestinian Academics Urge European Universities and Scholars to Withdraw from LAW TRAIN

05 SEP
5:25 AM

European professors and academic institutions have urged to end cooperation with the EU-funded project over involvement of Israeli institutions known for illegal detention practices, routine torture, and violence against Palestinians.

The following letter was released by the BDS National Committee:

The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) call on European professors and academic institutions to immediately withdraw their participation from LAW TRAIN, a project aimed at unifying police interrogation methodologies while ignoring grave human rights violations.

We call on Belgium’s KU Leuven University, Portugal’s INESC-ID research institute, and UK academics who sit on the project’s advisory board to immediately end their involvement in the program out of respect for international law, and Palestinian human rights.  

LAW TRAIN  is a joint EU-funded project with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, the Israeli National Police and Israel’s Bar Ilan University.

The Israeli Ministry of Public Security and the Israeli police’s illegal detention practices, routine torture, and use of violence against Palestinian protesters have been criticized by the UN and human rights organisations. It plays an active role in the illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Israeli National Police, which includes the infamously brutal Border Police unit, is deeply implicated in war crimesextrajudicial executions and illegal violent attacksagainst Palestinians, including the brutal abuse of children detainees, as documented by Human Rights Watch. The police is also responsible for fostering a culture of impunity for Jewish-Israelis who terrorize or otherwise attack Palestinian civilians. In 95% of such attacks, the police fail to charge offenders.

The presence of the headquarters of the Israeli National Police on occupied Palestinian territory in East Jerusalem constitutes a serious violation of international law that amounts to war crimes. This implicates European participants in LAW TRAIN in violations of international law. It also risks violating the EU’s own policy of nonrecognition of Israeli sovereignty in the OPT and EU guidelines for participation in research programs, since the EU Commission has not been able to confirm that the project’s activities are not taking place on illegally occupied land.

Bar Ilan University is deeply complicit in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. It maintains close ties with the Shin Bet, Israel’s security services, which has been condemned by the UN Committee Against Torture for its use of torture and other illegal interrogation tactics.

Cooperation with these institutions through LAW TRAIN not only disregards Palestinians human rights; it provides a green light for these torture methods to continue, and worse yet, presents them as an example to follow in Europe.

We write to you after more than one thousand Palestinian political prisoners sustained a 40-day hunger strike this summer in protest of Israel’s inhumane conditions including torture, denial of medical care and routine solitary confinement, in which the Israeli National Police and Israeli Ministry of Public Security are directly involved. Israel currently imprisons around 6000 Palestinian political prisoners including 300 children, many of whom are held without trial or charge.

Last August, following civil society pressure, the Portuguese government withdrew all involvement from LAW TRAIN, and we urge other European partners in the project to follow suit.

We call on Belgium’s KU Leuven University, Portugal’s INESC-ID research institute, and UK academics who sit on the project’s advisory board to end their facilitation of Palestinian human rights violations by immediately withdrawing from LAW TRAIN.

Sincerely,

Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

(Source / 05.09.2017)

Boycotting settlement ends Israeli violations, Amnesty says

‘Palestinian economy has been stunted by 50 years of abusive policies of the Israeli occupation,’ Amnesty director said

Amnesty International said on Wednesday that “international community must ban imports” from illegal Israeli settlements to end “50 years of violations,” a statement said.

“For decades, the world has stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit,” Amnesty said

Amnesty International said on Wednesday that “international community must ban imports” from illegal Israeli settlements to end “50 years of violations,” a statement said.

“The international community must ban import of all goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements and put an end to the multimillion dollar profits that have fuelled mass human rights violations against Palestinians,” the statement said.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Israeli occupation, the organisation is launching a new campaign calling on states across the world to prohibit settlement goods from their markets and to prevent their companies from operating in settlements or trading in settlement goods.

“For decades, the world has stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit,” Amnesty said.

Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty said that the Israeli occupation had exploited the Palestinian resources along the past 50 years of occupation.

“While the Palestinian economy has been stunted by 50 years of abusive policies, a thriving multimillion dollar settlement enterprise has been built out of the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population,” said Shetty.

(Source / 08.06.2017)

Timeline: International attempts to boycott BDS

1990-2005

  • 1990 – Yusuf Islam turned away from Israel along with his eight-year-old son
  • 13 January 2000 – Yusuf Islam deported from Israel for allegedly backing a militant Islamic group
  • 30 December 2001 – Israeli forces prevented 300 international peace activists from entering Hebron
  • 2 April 2002 – Australian International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer Kate Edwards sustained internal injuries from rounds fired by Israeli forces at a protest in Beit Jala. Edwards later succumbed to her injuries
  • 22 November 2002 – UNRWA relief project manager Iain Hook shot and killed at a protest in Jenin
  • 22 November 2002 – Irish ISM volunteer shot and injured by Israeli forces in Jenin
  • 2003 – French Lellouche law introduced which is later used to convict BDS activists. A person calling for a boycott in France can be fined up to €45,000 ($47,850) and jailed for up to a year
  • 16 March 2003 – Rachel Corrie crushed under a bulldozer in Rafah during the Second Intifada
  • 5 April 2003 – British photography student and volunteer for ISM Tom Hurndall is shot in the head by an Israeli sniper and left clinically brain dead
  • 5 April 2003 – Israeli forces shoot ISM volunteer Brian Avery in the face, seriously disfiguring him
  • 1 December 2003 – Stefan Christoff, member of ISM and media activist, barred from entering Israel after being deemed a ‘security threat’
  • 13 January 2004 – Tom Hurndall dies
  • 11 August 2005 – Israeli ex-solider who killed Tom Hurndall jailed for eight years

2006-2010

  • December 2007 – The Cour de Cassation in France officially ruled that boycotting Israeli companies in France is illegal and criminal
  • May 2008 – Former US President Jimmy Carter’s request to visit Hamas in the Gaza Strip is denied
  • 23 May 2008 – Norman Finkelstein barred from entering Israel
  • 24 October 2008 – Yusuf Islam uninvited to a peace conference in Tel Aviv
Yusuf Islam

Yusuf Islam

  • 14 December 2008 – Then UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories Richard Falk is denied entry to Israel
  • 13 March 2009 – American demonstrator Tristan Anderson critically wounded after being shot by Israeli forces with a tear gas canister near Nil’in. In hospital he underwent brain surgery and had to have a portion of his front lobe and fragments of shattered bones removed
  • 26 September 2009 – French activists accused of taking part in a demonstration at a Carrefour shop in Illzach, near Mulhouse, calling for a boycott of Israel
  • December 2009 – Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened the third conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, which focused efforts on fighting BDS and Palestinian activism
  • 3 April 2010 – Israel bans Apple’s iPad on the grounds it is too powerful. The ban is later lifted
  • 24 April 2010 – Maltese activist Bianca Zammit shot in the thigh by Israeli forces during a demonstration in Gaza
  • 16 May 2010 – Noam Chomsky denied entry into Israel on his way to lecture at Palestinian university Bir Zeit. Interrogators told the professor he had written things the Israeli government did not like
  • 31 May 2010 – American journalist Emily Henochowicz lost her left eye after being struck by a tear gas canister whilst protesting near Qalandiya checkpoint

2011-2015

  • 11 July 2011 – Israeli Knesset passes a law to make it a civil offence to call publicly for a boycott of the State of Israel. A 2015 ruling on the law upheld most provisions
  • 14 April 2012 – 200 activists on a silent protest on bicycle, foot and bus, were stopped by Israeli forces near Highway 90 and asked not to continue for their own safety. Four activists sustained face and back injuries
  • 18 July 2014 – French authorities ban pro-Palestinian groups fromholding a rally in Paris planned for that coming Saturday against thewar in Gaza
  • 22 April 2015 – The Tennessee General Assembly pass a resolution condemning BDS
  • 4 June 2015 – South Carolina’s state legislature passes legislation banning the state from entering into contracts with companies that participate in certain kinds of boycotts
  • 22 June 2015 – New York State Assembly passes resolution denouncing BDS
  • 23 June 2015 – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner becomes the first state leader to sign the first anti-BDS legislation, considered the first state-based concrete action against BDS. It targets taxpayer funded public pension funds that invest in companies that have adopted a BDS stance towards Israel
  • 3 October 2015 – The UK Conservative party press release announces government’s intention to introduce ‘new rules to stop politically-motivated boycott and divestment campaigns by town halls against UK defence companies and against Israel’
File photo from the UK, where the supermarket giant, Tesco, is seen specifying Israeli settlements as a source for a pack of dates

File photo from the UK, where the supermarket giant, Tesco, is seen specifying Israeli settlements as a source for a pack of dates

  • 20 October 2015 – France’s court of appeals confirms rulings that people promoting a boycott against Israel are guilty of inciting hate or discrimination
  • 9 December 2015 – Four activists who support BDS tried in a court in Toulouse, France, under a month-old precedent that rendered the movement illegal
  • 30 December 2015 – California-Israel Commerce Protection Act passes; it requires the State of California and all public entities to divest from companies that participate in boycotts against Israel

2016- present

  • 20 January 2016 – New York State Senate approves bill prohibiting the state and state entities from doing business with companies that support the BDS movement
  • 16 February 2016 – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signs law SJR-6 states the BDS movement in Alabama is ‘harmful to the state’s relationships with Alabama’s Jewish citizens’, and unequivocally denounces and rejects BDS
  • 24 February 2016 – The Iowa House of Representatives votes to block the state from investing in companies that support BDS
  • 26 February 2016 – Colorado House of Representatives passes law HB-16-284 to add all companies that participate in BDS to a list of restricted companies, sends notices to them to stop supporting BDS within 180 days and if they don’t, to divest from that company
  • 1 March 2016 – Indiana State Senate approves bill HB-1378 requiring mandatory state divestment from any company that participates in BDS
  • 10 March 2016 – Florida’s Governor Rick Scott signed SB-86 calling for the repeal of US customs and border protection’s requirements that West Bank products are not marked ‘Made in Israel’
  • 10 March 2016 – Florida House of Representatives passes HB-527 to create a list of companies that engage in boycotts of Israel and instructing government entities to divest from them
  • 10 March 2016 – Both Virginia House of Delegates passed identical resolutions condemning BDS as ‘inherently antiethical’ and damaging for peace, equality and human rights
  • 18 March 2016 – Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed law HB-2617 which prohibits state investment in companies that participate in BDS
  • 26 April 2016 – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed bill SB-327 which prohibits the state from entering into contracts or agreements with companies involved in BDS
  • 27 April 2016 – Iowa State Senate approves SF-2281 making it illegal for a public entity in Iowa to invest or enter into a contract worth over $1,000 with a company that boycotts Israel
  • 10 May 2016 – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signs bill SB81 preventing Alabama government entities from contracting with companies engaged in Israeli boycotts
  • 5 June 2016 – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issues executive order requiring state agencies to divest from organisations and companies that participate in Israeli boycotts stating: ‘If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you’
Protestors outside John Lewis, protesting against the sales of 'Soda Stream' a product from an Illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank

Protestors outside John Lewis, protesting against the sales of ‘Soda Stream’ a product from an Illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank

  • 11 July 2016 – Israel passes the controversial ‘NGO transparency law’ which critics have said is a blow to groups who target human rights groups critical of Israeli government policy
  • 16 August 2016 – New Jersey Governor Christ Christie signs law S-1923 requiring state public worker pension funds to divest from companies that boycott Israel
  • 16 October 2016 – Cross-party committee of the UK House of Commons writes an open letter to President of the NUS Malia Bouattia to issue a full and formal apology to Jewish students accusing her of racism, anti-Semitism and of referring to Birmingham University as a ‘Zionist outpost’
  • 4 November 2016 – Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed HB2107 prohibiting the government of Pennsylvania from contracting with any entity that engages in BDS activity
  • 1 December 2016 – The Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed a resolution that ‘calls on the legislature to stand against any movement that promotes hate, prejudice and racism’ and reject the differential treatment of Israel by the BDS movement
  • 12 December 2016 – UK government announces it will formally adopt a definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism, which will include criticism of Israel.
  • 19 December 2016 – Ohio Governor John Kasich signed bill HB-476 to ban agents from entering into or renewing contracts with companies that don’t contractually declare they are not boycotting or disinvesting from Israel
  • 10 January 2017 – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs bills HB-5821 and 5822 to ensure that Michigan state agencies don’t enter into contracts with people unless the contract says they are not involved in a boycott with a ‘strategic partner’
  • 12 January 2017 – Israeli parliamentary committee advances a draft new law that allows the Interior Minister to ban anyone who supports BDS
  • 24 January 2017 – French BDS activist appeared in court in Metz because an Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA blames BDS for encouraging French pharmacists not to sell their medicine
  • 24 February 2017 – Israel denies a work permit for Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir, on the grounds that the organisation engaged in ‘politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda’
  • 3 March 2017 – Senior officer in Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS) censured for his role in the scandal to oust NUS President Malia Bouattia
Image of NUS President Malia Bouattia [Friends of Al Aqsa/Facebook]

Image of NUS President Malia Bouattia

  • 4 March 2017 – WUK, a cultural institution in Vienna, barred BDS Austria from holding an event during Israel Apartheid Week
  • 7 March 2017 – Israel’s parliament approved new law banning anyone found to support the BDS movement
  • 8 March 2017 – Swiss parliament passes a law to prevent the state financing any organisation which supports racism, anti-Semitism or BDS
  • 8 March 2017 – Israeli activist and author Jeff Harper detained by Israeli police in the illegal Ma’aleh Adumim settlement for suspected incitement. Police said they acted on a complaint he had ‘materials related to BDS’ in his possession
  • 10 March 2017 – Arcotel Kaisserwasser cancels a talk by lawyer and consultant for the human rights group Al-Haq Salma Karmi-Ayyoub after allegations of anti-Semitism
  • 12 March 2017 – Former chairman of BDS Hugh Lanning denied entry into Israel
  • 14 March 2016 – South African human rights activist, Mpho Masemola, is held for nine hours at the King Hussein Bridge between Jordan and Israel before he is sent back to Amman. He was on his way to speak at a conference on Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 16.03.2017)

The Times: BDS campaigns cost Israel tens of millions of pounds

BDS campagne

The Times newspaper revealed Wednesday that Israeli Knesset’s legislation prohibiting entry into Israel of foreign activists calling for a boycott against Israel aims to confront the heavy economic losses caused by the boycott campaigns.

Members of the Knesset described the legislationwas a necessary step to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global campaign that tries to place economic pressure on Israel, the paper said.

Approved late on Monday by a 46-28 vote, the bill applies to anyone who makes a “public call” for a boycott.

The law also applies to foreigners who support a targeted boycott of Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. It would include employees of organisations such as Jewish Voice for Peace, a liberal activist group in the United States.

“My grandparents are buried in Israel, my husband and kids are citizens and I lived there for three years, but this bill would bar me from visiting,” the paper quoted Rebecca Vilkomerson, the group’s executive director, as saying.

Economists say that the campaign has done only token damage to the Israeli economy, shaving tens of millions of pounds off the country’s £240 billion annual GDP.

(Source / 08.03.2017)

BDS heckles Israeli speaker at Colombia University

Danon, Israeli ambassador to UN, is a Jewish settler lives in an illegal settlement

BDS activists heckled Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon while lecturing to students at Columbia University on Monday.

Danon invited BDS activists to listen to his lies and whitewash of his Israeli crimes against Palestinians. “Instead of inciting and lying, sit down and maybe you will learn something”

BDS activists heckled Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon while lecturing to students at Columbia University on Monday.

About 100 activists assembled outside the lecture theatre while screaming slogans against Danon, against Israel and against the immigration policies of President Trump.

The activists carried signs urging boycotts against the Israeli occupation state. The activists drowned Danon’s speech to the chants of “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea, Israel is a terrorist state” and “Israel has no right to exist.”

Danon is an Israeli Jewish settler, who lived in one of the illegal settlements built illegally in the occupied West Bank. However, he was accepted by the UN to be ambassador for the occupation state of Israel.

Shortly thereafter, the BDS activists were forcefully forced away from vicinity of the theatre and Danon was given the full opportunity to impart his own lies about his racist state.

Before the BDS students were removed, Danon told them: “We will not be quiet in the face of lies that you spread about Israel. We will continue to make our voice heard and we will continue to insist on our righteous truth.”

He invited them to listen to his lies and whitewash of his country’s crimes against the Palestinians. “Instead of inciting and lying, sit in the seats and maybe you will learn something.”

Then, he said: “This is precisely the problem of the Palestinians. They lie, incite and do not recognise Israel’s right to exist. But I have an announcement for those students—The people of Israel will never leave the Land of Israel.”

Planning to use the new American president to get rid of the Palestinians, he said: “With the help of the new administration in the US we will see a new era in the UN, an era in which Israel receives fair treatment like all countries in the world.”

(Source / 14.02.2017)

Tzipi Livni to face Belgian arrest warrant

Tzipi Livni

Belgian police has confirmed that it intends to question former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at her arrival in Brussels today for suspected war crimes. Livni is listed as a speaker  at a European Parliament event taking place later today. However it is no longer clear whether Livni will participate in the event as her name has been removed from the official event website.

Livni’s presence was part of Israel’s PR offensive against the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law. Israel considers BDS a “strategic threat” to its regime of impunity. In its efforts to criminalise BDS in Europe Israel hopes to enlist the support of MEPs.

This could be the third time Livni evades justice for her role in Israel’s 2008/9 assault on Gaza, which saw more than 1400 Palestinians killed. At the time she famously boasted “We will have no pity” as Israel bombed schools, hospitals and homes indiscriminately, as a the subsequent UN investigation confirmed.

In 2009, a UK court issued an arrest warrant against Livni but she narrowly escaped arrest. Embarrassed by the incident, the UK government rushed to change its universal jurisdiction laws to ensure that alleged war criminals from so-called “protected countries” are granted immunity. The move was met with protest from campaign groups including Amnesty International.  Last year Livni admitted to Israeli media she had been summoned by UK police again during a second London visit.

The latest Belgian warrant comes as a result of a complaint filed in 23 June 2010 by a group of Palestinian victims with the Federal Prosecutor against Israeli officials, including Tzipi Livni, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Gaza Strip.

The complainants wrote to the Federal Prosecutor last week communicating Tzipi Livni’s imminent visit and demanding her arrest when she steps off the plane in Belgium on 23 January.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Livni will be intercepted by the Federal Judicial Police for questioning following the complaint lodged against her and that it would ensure the necessary follow-up to this case.

Aneta Jerska from European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) said :”The fact that Tzipi Livni may once again escape arrest clearly shows that grassroots Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigning is needed today more than ever in order to hold Israel accountable and bring Israeli war criminals to justice. We appeal to the International Criminal Court to take action in this regard.”

MEPs and BDS campaigners are hosting at the same time today a counter-event reasserting the right to BDS at the European Parliament in Brussels, between 16:00 – 19:00, room PHS 5A033. Supporters of Israel’s war of repression against BDS have threatened to disrupt the event.

(Source / 23.01.2017)

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: What is BDS?

Everything you need to know about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and what’s being done to combat BDS.

File: Israeli border police and soldiers block Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank

What is BDS?

BDS stands for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (and not, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, for “bigotry, dishonesty and shame”).

The BDS movement’s three aims are grounded in international law and fundamental rights.

It seeks to end the occupation and dismantle Israel’s illegal wall and settlements, demands full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and calls for the rights of Palestinian refugees to be upheld.

When did it start and why?

The BDS movement began when a coalition of 170 Palestinian civil society groups issued a call to “people of conscience” around the world on July 9, 2005.

Palestinians argue that a global citizens’ movement is necessary because – despite decades of “peace process” facade – political leaders have failed to end Israel’s settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid practices. In fact, they continue to enable them.

Therefore, only bottom-up pressure from ordinary people will force governments to end Israel’s impunity and help create a just peace based on freedom, justice and equality.

What has the BDS movement achieved?

In the decade since its launch, the BDS movement has gradually accumulated successes around the world, from US churches to UK campusesEgyptian trade unions to the Bolivian government.

In the economic sphere, Veolia and G4S – multinational corporations involved in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians – lost billions of dollars due to BDS campaigns and announced withdrawals from Israel. Foreign direct investment into Israel dropped 46 percent in 2014.

Tens of thousands of students globally have pushed forward the academic boycott, backed by figures such as Stephen HawkingAngela Davis and Judith Butler. Meanwhile, the likes of author Alice Walker, ex-Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters and critically acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach have lent their support to the cultural boycott.

Importantly, the BDS movement has also been endorsed by anti-colonial Israelis and other Jewish groups, as well as Black Lives Matter.

Is BDS racist?

Some of Israel’s defenders claim that BDS is racist. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Far from targeting individuals on the grounds of ethnicity or nationality, BDS targets institutions on the grounds of complicity in human rights violations and explicitly opposes all forms of racism. That’s precisely why it seeks to end Israel’s entrenched system of racial discrimination and ethnic privilege

In this sense, BDS is comparable with – and takes direct inspiration from – the historic anti-apartheid movement which helped to isolate South Africa globally and end white rule.

Who opposes BDS?

Since around 2010, Israel has stepped up its fight against BDS and so-called “de-legitimisation”. In 2011, the Knesset passed a draconian law against advocating boycotts within Israel. But internationally, this was counterproductive.

By mid-2015, panicky Israeli leaders were calling the non-violent movement a “strategic threat”. Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan was given the task of leading the counter-boycott effort, with an annual budget of $25m and supported by military intelligence agencies.

Erdan stresses the need for cooperation with a network of Zionist groups abroad, because ostensibly independent groups are more credible messengers in civil society. He explained: “It’s not necessarily good that the government is at the front of this battle.”

Because of this, Israeli embassies – many of which have dedicated anti-BDS staff – work closely with Israel lobby groups behind the scenes, as Al Jazeera’s investigation “The Lobby” shows. The investigation also confirms another official tactic: establishing front groups and bodies which appear to be grassroots but are actually “astroturf”.

Wealthy supporters of Israel such as Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban in the United States and Trevor Pears in the UK have pumped large sums of money into a plethora of anti-boycott initiatives. And increasingly, the Israeli government and pro-Israel groups team up to create global public-private partnerships against BDS.

What has the counter-BDS movement achieved?

Unable to win the argument politically, Israel and its allies are waging an aggressive “lawfare” campaign.

Thanks to friends in high places, they have had considerable success promoting laws to criminalise BDS, with about 20 US states considering anti-boycott bills. Another dimension has been prosecutions of activists, everywhere from Australia to France.

However, BDS continues to grow rapidly. Legal experts and the European Union have defended the right to boycott as a free speech issue. And several pro-Israel lawfare cases – for example in the UK where attempts to suppress BDS are also facing a legal challenge – have failed spectacularly.

What does the future hold?

Can a voluntary grassroots movement facing off against a well-funded, state-led, and elite-driven counterattack really hope to survive?  

Expect to see the fight get even nastier with more lawsuits, McCarthyism, “black ops” and smear tactics, covert intelligence gathering and restrictions on BDS activists’ freedom of movement. As Amnesty International has noted with concern, there have even calls for “targeted civil eliminations”.

But Israel’s forte has always been the hard power of military coercion. Indeed, its diplomats appear unable to comprehend the BDS movement without comparing it with a war. It is clueless about how to deal with a non-hierarchical social movement waging a struggle on the terrain of moral persuasion.

As long as Israel flouts international law, no amount of money, repression or “Brand Israel” propaganda will stop the BDS movement continuing to grow and make crucial contributions to Palestinians’ struggle for justice.

(Source / 11.01.2017)