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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)

BDS slams Gulf countries for normalizing with Israeli occupation


BDS Gulf on Monday slammed countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for normalizing with the Israeli occupation, calling for such ties to immediately be severed.

A statement by BDS Gulf said the movement has been keeping tabs with deep concern over underway attempts by a number of GCC countries to normalize with the Israeli occupation.

BDS Gulf condemned normalization and military cooperation with the Israeli occupation, urging Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to cancel all deals struck with Israel.

The statement referred to recent reports that the U.S. approved an arms deal with Qatar which included helmets manufactured by the Israeli Elbit Company based in Haifa, in 1948 Occupied Palestine.

Reports have also emerged on underway preparations by the Abu Dhabi MAR and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Company to manufacture warships for the Israeli occupation navy.

BDS Gulf expressed its deep disappointment over deals struck with Israeli military companies directly involved in the murder of the Palestinian people and in the deadly onslaughts on the blockaded Gaza Strip.

BDS urged the Gulf governments to respect the will of the peoples and sever all ties with the Israeli occupation, including official and unofficial meetings. It further pushed for impeaching all those who violate BDS provisos and policy, boosting the boycott-of-Israel movement, and rescinding all investments involving benefits for/from Israel.

(Source / 03.01.2017)

BDS has made major advances in 2016


Protesters holding a "Boycott Israeli Products" banner during a BDS march

Protesters holding a “Boycott Israeli Products” banner during a BDS march

By Asa Winstanley

Palestine’s BDS National Committee (BNC) leads and coordinates the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. It has been the biggest year yet for BDS, but it has also been a big year for anti-BDS oppression.

As the BNC put it in a recent round-up of the year, 2016 will be remembered “as Israel’s year of waging an all-out war on the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement.”

This has gone as far as arrests and travel bans against prominent Palestinian BDS leaders. The Israeli state this year also ramped-up its agitation against Palestinian BDS activists, threatening them with “targeted civil eliminations”.

There have even been moves in the US and Britain towards banning criticism of Zionism, and executive action towards suppressing BDS (although headline claims about a British “ban” on BDS turned out not to be true).

Prime Minster Theresa May even denounced the movement this week at the Conservative Friends of Israel annual dinner, claiming that “the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement is wrong, it is unacceptable, and this party and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to it.”

Nevertheless, none of this has stopped the BDS movement from gaining some impressive ground. In fact, the oppression seems only to add to campaigners’ determination to call for the boycott of Israel until it is forced to end the occupation of Palestine, grant equal rights and allow the Palestinian refugees to return.

The biggest win was probably the withdrawal of G4S, which finally announced this month that is it ending most of its business with Israel. The world’s largest private security firm, G4S had been involved in Israeli prisons and illegal settlements in the West Bank. The victory came after years of activism and local campaigns around the world against the multi-national. “We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights,” said the BNC’s Rafeef Ziadah.

Meanwhile, the BNC’s coordinator in Europe likened the struggle to that against apartheid in South Africa. “BDS pressure against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is making some of the world’s most powerful multinationals realise that profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights is not just unethical and socially-irresponsible,” explained Riya Hassan, “but it is also downright bad for business.”

The last gasp of G4S was a good bookend for a year which had begun with another major BDS win against CRH, the Irish construction materials firm. The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign had for a decade demanded that CRH cease its activities in Israel and the occupied West Bank. It had been involved in the supply of concrete to build Israel’s apartheid wall in the West Bank, as well as to Jew-only colonies, the Israeli settlements which are all illegal under international law.

In January, CRH divested completely from its Israeli operation. IPSC chair Martin O’Quigley said it was an “important victory for Palestinians” living under Israeli occupation.

French telecommunications firm Orange also seemed to feel the impact of BDS in January. After a big campaign against the company by BDS Egypt, the Orange Israel brand no longer exists, after the firm ended its contract with Israel’s Partner Communications.

The BNC’s Arab world campaigns officer Guman Mussa said the news was “a significant success for the BDS movement and shows that international companies and investors are waking up to the fact that being linked to Israel’s regime of colonisation, occupation and apartheid is bad for business… We congratulate and thank all of the activists and organisations involved in this inspiring six-year international campaign.”

Orange denied that it was acting in response to BDS campaigners’ calls, but that seems highly unlikely. Not wanting to appear vulnerable to human rights campaigns, corporations more often than not deny the reality of BDS victories. The simple fact is, though, that the BDS Egypt campaign was hugely significant; Orange’s Egyptian subsidiary has 33 million customers.

The growth of BDS in the Arab world was another significant trend in 2016. As well as that important BDS Egypt win in January, more recently BDS Jordan has seen a massive publiccampaign against the kingdom’s gas deal with Israel. There were also campaigns in Kuwait and Morocco.

Intersectional struggles were advanced when acts of solidarity came from the Black Lives Matter movement in the US. A Movement for Black Lives delegation to Palestine informed the decision made by that important coalition (containing 50 organisations) to endorse the BDS movement as part of its platform. For this, it was slandered and smeared as “anti-Semitic” but the BLM movement didn’t seem to miss a beat. Dream Defenders hit back, appealing “to all those who believe in a world in which all people are free; join us. For those who no longer stand with Black people because of this belief, goodbye. We do not need nor want you in our movement.”

The biggest new target for BDS in 2016 was Hewlett Packard, the IT giant. It provides technology for Israel’s military checkpoints in the West Bank, a vital part of the illegal occupation infrastructure which causes untold misery for Palestinians every day, and sometimes even death.

Campaigners said that more than 150 actions were held against HP in a November-December week of action, with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign detailing 40 in British towns and cities alone. The campaign is already showing early signs of success, with one California church votinglast week to boycott all HP products.

What else can Israel’s “war” against BDS come up with in 2017? We shall just have to wait and see. One thing is certain, though: support for BDS is growing, and the bigger it gets, the more effective it will be.

(Source / 23.12.2016)

‘Largest’ student union in Britian adopts BDS



University of Manchester’s student union adopted BDS motions on Thursday as activists seek to pressure university administrators to withdraw investments from Israeli companies.
A British university’s student union adopted BDS motions on Thursday following student activists’ calls that sought to pressure university administrators to withdraw investments from Israeli companies involved in human rights abuses.
The congress of the University of Manchester’s student union – which claims to be one of the largest student union bodies in the UK – approved the BDS movement’s calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions from Israeli companies to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

Student activists called for the university to divest millions of pounds in Israeli-linked companies and to cut ties with Israel’s Technion – State of Technology Institution over involvement in the development of hi-tech weaponry for Israel’s military.

President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society Huda Ammori – who proposed the motion – said this was a symbolic step for the movement.

“We believe this is a large symbolic step in the BDS movement and we are asking for students from institutions all over the UK and internationally to campaign for BDS,” Ammori told The New Arab.

Manchester University’s BDS campaign said it discovered the university holds just under £15 million worth of investments in companies “that facilitate and are involved in the atrocious war crimes being committed by the state of Israel”.

With the student union now endorsing BDS, “we will pursue to campaign for full divestment and an end to all financial and institutional links with Israel’s war crimes”, Ammori said.

Critics of the BDS campaign claim that the movement unfairly focuses on Israeli organisations, overlooking companies linked to other military abuses around the world.

Ammori argues that is because Israel is “the longest modern day military occupation” which the international community has failed to end.

“Palestine has been under occupation for nearly seven decades,” Ammori told The New Arab, “The international court committee has failed to bring justice to Israel’s continuous war crimes, illegal settlements and human rights abuses.

“If we unite and boycott these injustices, we will set a precedent for the whole world that such violations of international law and human rights will not be taken by the international community.”

Ammori also asserted that the BDS movement targets the Israeli government and not individual groups.

(Source / 11.12.2016)

European dignitaries: Anti-BDS measures violate human rights


Around 200 European lawyers and academics have said steps by Britain and other countries to discourage support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement may violate fundamental human rights.

According to The Independent newspaper, a recent open letter signed by legal experts from Britain and 14 other European states said the boycott of Israeli companies and goods manufactured in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was “a lawful exercise of freedom of expression.”

“France, the United Kingdom, Canada and certain state legislatures in the US, have adopted laws and taken executive action to suppress, outlaw and in some instances, criminalize the advocacy of BDS,” the letter stated.

“Such measures aim to punish individuals, companies and private and public institutions that adopt ethically and legally responsible business, investment and procurement decisions.”

The letter has also warned that the states that outlaw BDS are undermining freedoms and threatening the credibility of their respect for human rights by exempting a particular country.

Signatories to the letter include Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, chair of the British Institute of Human Rights, Alain Pellet, Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in France, Guy Goodwin-Gill, a former legal adviser to the UN and Lauri Hannikainen, a member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.

Last February, the British cabinet office issued diktat slamming procurement boycotts by public authorities as “inappropriate,” and threatened to take punitive measures against any authority in Britain boycotting Israel.

In a statement, the cabinet office claimed such boycotts “undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarizing debate, weakening integration and fueling anti-Semitism.”

“Any public body found to be in breach of the regulations could be subject to severe penalties,” it threatened.

Leicester City Council is among those public authorities which have boycotted products produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank with a law passed in 2014.

But it was cleared of anti-Semitism alongside two other councils at the High Court of Justice in England last June after a Jewish charity lodged a complaint.

Anti-boycott measures were signed into the US Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by Barack Obama last year, while BDS activists have been found guilty of inciting discrimination in France, and the Canadian parliament passed an anti-boycott motion in February.

Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. The UN high commissioner for human rights recently reiterated serious concern over Israel’s settlement expansion plans.

At least 570,000 Jewish settlers live in around 130 illegal settlements and 100 outposts in the West Bank, according to UN statistics.

(Source / 11.12.2016)

Legal experts back Palestinian BDS as ‘free expression’

Lawyers say Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel is ‘lawful exercise of freedom of expression’.

A number of Western states are considering outlawing BDS

Around 200 leading legal experts have signed a statement defending the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) as a lawful exercise of freedom of expression.

The legal experts from 15 countries agreed the BDS movement should be treated the same way as the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa.

Lawyers backing Friday’s statement include South African jurist John Dugard, who served at the International Court of Justice, and Guy Goodwin-Gill, former legal adviser for the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“No government ever attempted to outlaw or criminalise the Anti-Apartheid Movement for advocating boycott, disinvestment or sanctions to compel South Africa to abandon its racist policies,” Dugard said. “BDS should be seen as a similar movement and treated accordingly.”

Robert Kolb, a legal expert who served with the Swiss Foreign Ministry, said BDS activism should be legally protected.

“The right of citizens to advocate for BDS is part and parcel of the fundamental freedoms protected by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,” said Kolb, who was part of the group that signed the statement.

BDS groups welcomed the lawyers’ statement, terming it a “defining moment” before saying the backing would help quell attempts by pro-Israel groups to proscribe the movement.

“This is a defining moment in the struggle against Israel’s patently repressive legal war on the BDS movement for Palestinian rights,” said Ingrid Jaradat of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, a coalition of civil society groups at the forefront of the movement.

“Leading European jurists have now confirmed that advocating and campaigning for Palestinian rights under international law is a legally guaranteed right for Europeans and indeed all citizens of the world.

“Israel’s desperate attempts to outlaw the BDS movement and to legally bully its supporters into silence threatens democratic space.”

Crackdowns on BDS

A number of measures targeting the BDS movement have been introduced in Israel and Western countries with varying degrees of success.

Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama approved legislation that required official non-cooperation with groups that comply with boycotts of Israel. Around 20 US states have passed anti-BDS bills or are in the process of doing so.

In France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has tried to equate the BDS movement to the “loathing of Jews”, a charge activists reject.

Attempts at censoring BDS activism have not been successful, however.

A French court in Tolouse overturned a ban on a BDS event in May, describing attempts by the town’s mayor to stop the gathering as illegal.

In England, a court struck down a legal challenge attempting to force councillors in the city of Leicester to reverse a motion to boycott Israeli goods.

Student activism

Supporters of the BDS movement argue attempts to stifle it are proof that it is an effective means of protesting Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

The movement is particularly visible among students and activists on campuses across the world who are attempting to pass motions backing Israel’s boycotts despite strong opposition from pro-Israel groups.

On Thursday, students at the University of Manchester in northwest UK passed a motion forcing their union to support the BDS movement.

Etisha Choudhury president of the pro-Palestinian student group Action Palestine said attempts to stop BDS were part of broader efforts to prevent criticism of Israeli policies.

“BDS is a call from 171 Palestinian civil authorities from within the occupation so essentially they [opponents] are just trying to block the Palestinians,” Choudhury told Al Jazeera.

Huda Ammori, who put forward the motion, said BDS was one of the few remaining ways Palestinians could effectively challenge Israeli occupation.

“I think BDS is the last hope for Palestinians,” said Ammori, describing efforts by the international community to help Palestinians to date as lacking. “The movement is a call to wake up and bring attention to the cause.”

The BDS movement is particularly visible among students and activists on campuses across the world

(Source / 10.12.2016)

Israeli minister calls for ‘blacklist’ of organizations supporting BDS


Palestinians walk past a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan has proposed that Israel set up a committee to blacklist organizations and individuals which advocate for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday.According to the news outlet, Erdan first recommended the maintenance of the blacklist to Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, before sending these recommendations to the treasury.Erdan’s proposal would block the blacklisted entities from bidding on government tenders or receiving financial benefits from the Israeli government.The news comes days after Israeli authorities denied entry into Israel to Malawi BDS activist Isabel Phiri, in what Israeli media reported was “the first time” the country “officially” denied entry to a foreign national who supports the movement for Palestinian rights.The Israeli government has grown increasingly concerned about the growth of the BDS movement, as the movement’s support base has expanded to include companies, universities, and religious institutions around the world divesting from organizations complicit in Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.As a result, Israel has enacted numerous policies targeting domestic and foreign nationals involved in the movement, and other pro-Palestinian activities.A bill banning supporters of the BDS movement from entering Israel was first submitted for consideration to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last month.Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and Erdan announced in August that they were forming a joint task force to “expel and ban the entry of BDS activists” into Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.The BDS movement was founded in July 2005 by a swath of Palestinian civil society as a peaceful movement to restore Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.The BDS movement has gained momentum over the past year, with activists targeting companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

(Source / 08.12.2016)

Under BDS Pressure, G4S Ends Most Illegal Business with Israel

Human rights campaigners to intensify pressure against the company

  • G4S announces sale of most of its Israel business, following intense BDS pressure
  • G4S remains involved in Israeli police training and settlement construction business
  • BDS human rights campaigners celebrate victory, call for continuing pressure

The world’s largest security company, G4S, announced today that it is selling most of its Israeli business after an effective campaign against the company, waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, caused it “reputational damage.”

Reacting to the breaking news and to the fact that G4S will nonetheless maintain some illegal projects in Israel, Rafeef Ziadah, speaking for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), said:

“We have succeeded to push one of the world’s largest corporations into selling its key business in Israel. Our globally coordinated campaign has had a real impact. We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.”

French multinationals, Veolia and Orange, and Ireland’s largest building materials company, CRH, have all exited the Israeli market since September 2015, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.

“A domino effect is at play here,” said Ziadah. “Some investment fund managers are recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from international and Israeli corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s persistent violations of international law.”

Guman Mussa, Arab World Coordinator in the BNC, added:

“It is not everyday that human rights campaigners can compel a massive multinational like G4S to end its involvement in serious human rights violations through sustained, strategic grassroots pressure. BDS is clearly working, and other complicit multinationals, like HP and Alstom, should take notice.”

“We dedicate this victory to all Palestinian political prisoners who in 2012 had called on the BDS movement to intensify our boycott of G4S due to its role in Israel’s prisons, where torture is rife.”

G4S is a British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It is also involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police facilities.

The international Stop G4S Campaign has cost the company contracts worth millions of dollars in Europe, the Arab world, South Africa and elsewhere.

G4S’s list of lost clients includes private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.

Despite the sale of its subsidiary, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights through Policity, the flagship national police training centre it co-owns, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group.

Israel’s police operates in occupied East Jerusalem, instead of the Israeli military in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, serving as the guardian of Israel’s illegal annexation, protecting the illegal settlements, and oppressing the city’s Palestinian population.

BNC Europe Coordinator, Riya Hassan, concluded:

“The BNC is determined to continue its campaign against G4S, in partnership with other justice struggles across the world. From the US to Palestine, from South Africa to the UK, G4S is profiting from the patently racist mass incarceration business.”

“As in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is making some of the world’s most powerful multinationals realize that profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights is not just unethical and socially-irresponsible. It is downright bad for business as well.”


  • In March 2016, G4S announced it would sell its Israeli subsidiary in the coming “12 to 24 months.” In describing the move, The Financial Times reported that G4S was “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”
  • More recently, UNICEF in Jordan and a major restaurant chain in Colombia became the latest high-profile bodies to end their contracts with G4S following BDS campaigns.
  • The Norwegian sovereign fund divested from Shikun & Binui in 2012, as did the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which cited the company’s “involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
  • In June 2014, the Bill Gates Foundation divested its entire $170m stake in G4S following an international campaign. That same month, the U.S. United Methodist Church divested all G4S shares from its $20bn investment fund. The Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) in Kuwait decided to divest from G4S in June 2016 following calls from BDS Kuwait and the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).

(Source / 03.12.2016)