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‘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)

BDS impact round up for 2016

The year 2016 will be remembered by Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, among other things, as Israel’s year of waging an all-out war on the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement for Palestinian rights, in a desperate attempt to crush it.

In this respect, 2016 will also be remembered as the year of Israel’s spectacular failure, as BDS grew further into the mainstream, and its impact on Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid intensified.

In 2016, Israel deployed massive financial assets, intensive espionage, well-oiled propaganda, cyber “sabotage,” and, most importantly, legal warfare against BDS human rights defenders and networks.

Frustrated with the spread of BDS throughout the west, in Latin America, the Arab world, South Africa and parts of Asia, Israel has hoped to leverage its enormous influence on the US Congress and state legislatures, as well as on the governments of France, the UK, Canada, among others to suppress BDS. Israel has attempted to stigmatize, demonize and in some cases delegitimize BDS from above, after failing to crush the movement at the global grassroots and civil society levels.

Throughout this year, BDS has grown stronger and stronger.

Major multinationals, including Orange and CRH, abandoned their involvement in Israeli projects that infringe on Palestinian rights. This followed Veolia’s exit from Israel in 2015 after losing billions of dollars worth of tenders due to seven years of BDS campaigning.

Also this year, tens of city councils, mainly in Spain, announced themselves “Israeli Apartheid Free Zones,” and major churches in the US divested from Israeli banks or international companies that support the occupation.

BDS has also strengthened principled intersectional coalitions with movements for racial, economic, gender and climate justice, among others, around the world.

One exceptionally noteworthy achievement for the BDS movement in 2016 was its success in winning support for the right to boycott Israel in support of Palestinian rights under international law from the European Union, the governments of Sweden, Netherlands and Ireland, as well as from Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Federation of Human Rights, and hundreds of political parties, trade unions and social movements across the world.

The logic of appeasing Israel’s regime of oppression has started giving way to the logic of sustained international pressure, which proved instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa. The UN Human Rights Council, for instance, adopted in its March meeting a decision to create a database of Israeli and international corporations that are complicit in and profiting from Israel’s occupation regime. This remarkable development has made many companies nervous about their own involvement in Israel’s serious violations of international law.

The following timeline sums up some of the most significant indicators of direct and indirect BDS impact in various fields.


  • Orange drops Israel affiliate following intense BDS campaigning in Egypt and France.
  • The United Methodist Church divests from Israeli banks financing the occupation.
  • Hundreds of academics in Brazil and Italy join the academic boycott of Israel.
  • Irish corporation CRH becomes latest multinational to exit Israel.




#StopG4S protest in Lebanon for Palestinian political prisoners day





Movement for Black Lives activists during a delegation to Palestine


  • Dozens of city councils in Spain, including Gran Canaria, Sevilla, Córdoba and Santa Eulària in Ibiza, declare themselves “Free of Israeli Apartheid.”
  • UK composer Brian Eno refuses to license his music to any group sponsored by the Israeli state.



(Source / 29.11.2016)

BDS Movement Announces Global Week of Action Against Hewlitt-Packard (VIDEO)

20 NOV
8:32 PM

The International Boycott HP Network and the Palestinian BDS National Committee are calling for an international week of action against Hewlett-Packard, over its role in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

The week of action will take place November 25 – December 3, which includes the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29.



In Palestine, Hewlett Packard (HP) companies provide imaging for Israel’s apartheid checkpoints and ID cards system; enable Israel’s deadly blockade of the Gaza Strip; provide services to illegal Israeli settlements; and manage people for profit in Israeli prisons where torture is systematic.

While claiming to uphold values of social responsibility, HP companies are notorious for involvement in oppressive practices worldwide, like providing technology to enable deportations, mass incarceration, and solitary confinement in the United States.


(Source / 21.11.2016)

War on Roger Waters due to supporting Palestine

Waters called for colleagues to join BDS

Co-founder, ex-lead singer for rock music giant Pink Floyd, Roger Singer, found himself amidst fierce war after supporting pro-Palestine activists.

Waters urged musicians to join the BDS. He said: “[This is] a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott”

Co-founder, ex-lead singer for rock music giant Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, found himself amidst fierce war after supporting pro-Palestine activists.

He has lost a multimillion dollar sponsorship deal with American Express (Amex) for expressing support to students showing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

According to Page Six, the credit card giant has baulked on its plans to put up $4m (£3.2m) for his 2017 solo tour in North America following his comments at Oldchella festival – an event the company sponsored – earlier this month.

“I am going to send out all of my most heartfelt love and support to all those young people on the campuses of the universities of California who are standing up for their brothers and sisters in Palestine and supporting the BDS movement,” he said.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, better known as BDS, is a movement that seeks to apply non-violent, peaceful means of resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestine through the use of grassroots economic measures.

Back in 2012 Waters, who has been accused by some of anti-Semitism, joined the anti-Israel BDS movement.

He has previously urged fellow musicians to join the movement in an open letter published in the Guardian: “[This is] a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott.”

Waters added that he was supporting these students in their stand for the Palestinian people “in the hope that we may encourage the government of Israel to end the occupation.”

Rather than staying quiet on the issue, Amex then decided to leak the story of the contract cancellation to the New York Post, in what some have deemed as a retaliatory measure taken by finance company against the Pink Floyd frontman.

(Source / 16.11.2016)

EU guarantees right to boycott Israel

Israel allocated a 430-million campaign to fight the BDS

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini has confirmed that the EU Commission would defend the BDS activists’ right to boycott Israel.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini has confirmed that the EU Commission would defend the BDS activists’ right to boycott Israel.

In answer to a parliamentary question on whether the EU commission will commit to defending BDS activists’ right to exercise their democratic freedom of expression, Mogherini was clear: “The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association, including BDS actions.”

She also noted that the European Court of Human Rights has affirmed that freedom of expression applies to ideas “that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population.”

Meanwhile, Sweden, Holland, Ireland, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights — along with other countries and organisations — defended the right to boycott Israel as part of the struggle for Palestinian rights.

In France, the municipal council in Évry has adopted a resolution supporting the right to boycott Israel and called on the French government to end its criminalisation of BDS.

The Paris suburb’s decision also includes a boycott of Israel goods produced in illegal settlements; it called on the government to take similar measures.

The Green Party in Kibik, Canada, has responded to the BDS call for an academic, cultural, military and economic boycott of Israel pending the end of the occupation and Israeli apartheid.

Across the border in the US, the Student Council of Portland University in Oregon adopted overwhelmingly a decision calling for the university administration to divest from the occupied territories.

The Europe Campaigns Officer of the Palestinian BDS National Committee said that Israel has allocated $35 million to fight BDS. The campaign proposes to trace, monitor and damage BDS’ work on the internet and to expose the people who are behind the boycott movement.

In addition, the committee added that Israel has authorised the interior minister to refuse entry permits to any BDS activists trying to visit Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories.

(Source / 15.11.2016)

Israel recruits 13,000 Jewish youth to act against BDS Movement


Some 13,000 Jewish youth are expected to come to the occupied Palestinian territories this coming year to participate in Masa Judaization program, Israeli daily Maariv announced on Monday.

The Masa program provides Jewish youth the opportunity to participate in over 250 immersive Israeli programs ranging in length from six months to a year, which include internships, study abroad programs, and volunteer opportunities aimed to keep a tight rein on boycott movements across the world.

These experiences also aim to give participants practical academic or work experience while strengthening their connection to the Israeli occupation.

The Masa program is set to be officially launched on October 31st during a ceremony in Occupied Jerusalem with the participation of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency.

“The youth arrive to Israel to participate in a wide range of Masa programs, from government, to economy and culture, hi-tech, teaching English, medicine and more,” Liran Avisar-Ben Horin, CEO of Masa claimed.

She noted that in addition, Masa provides participants with tools to engage in hasbara (public diplomacy) for Israel, turning those who take part into informal ambassadors for Israel to the world.

According to a recent survey conducted by Midgam Institute and released by Masa, some 87% of Masa participants said they intend to actively work towards strengthening Israel’s image in the world, while 81% of participants said their vision of Israel “changed for the positive” because of participating in the project.

More than half, 58% of respondents, said they would “certainly” act against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Since its founding in 2004 by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency, over 120,000 young Jews from around the world have participated in Masa Judaization programs.

(Source / 02.11.2016)