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BDS victories

  • Palestinians thank Natalie Imbruglia for refusing to entertain Israeli apartheid

    Palestinian artists, cultural organizations and human rights supporters welcome the Australian-British singer Natalie Natalie Imbruglia- Photo by Benjamin McMahonImbruglia’s cancellationof her March performance in Tel Aviv.

    Palestinian artists, cultural organizations and human rights supporters have welcomed the Australian-British singer Natalie Imbruglia’s cancellationof her March performance in Tel Aviv and thanked her for deciding to be “on the right side of history, on the side of the oppressed.”

  • After appeal by leading writers, major US literary festival will proceed without Israeli government sponsorship

    February 23, New York, NY—Human rights advocates welcome the decision by PEN America to hold PEN’s annual World Voices literary festival without funding from the Israeli government. 

    The decision followed a campaign and a call supported by leading literary figures asking the organization to reject Israeli government sponsorship. PEN America accepted Israeli government support for the World Voices Festival four of the previous five years, and despite writers’ opposition in 2016. The leading US free expression and literary organization announced its program last week for the May 2017 World Voices Festival in New York.

    PEN America did not, however, offer a reason for the absence of Israeli government support for World Voices in a February 2017 email exchange with Adalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Since March 2016 over 240 well-known writers, poets, and publishers have signed onto a call for PEN America to reject Israeli government support. They include Susan Abulhawa, Nicole Aragi, Russell Banks, Angela Davis, Carl Dennis, Junot Díaz, Louise Erdrich, Richard Ford, Naomi Klein, Laila Lalami, Lucy Lippard, China Miéville, Eileen Myles, Michael Ondaatje, Claudia Rankine, Wallace Shawn, Raja Shehadeh, Gillian Slovo, Ahdaf Soueif, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Alice Walker, Cornel West, and Jacqueline Woodson. Twenty-two writers explained in more detail why they had supported the call. Over 17,000 other concerned individuals had also joined the call.

    PEN International, the organization’s global hub, has criticized the Israeli government in the past for "the killings and the reported deliberate targeting of certain journalists, media organizations, and their infrastructures” and “the practice of administrative detention against journalists and other writers."

    In a February 8 email to Adalah-NY and JVP, PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel wrote regarding World Voices, “Our support this year will come from contributions from a variety of private funders, as well as the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Poland.” Ms. Nossel explained, “Each year, our sources of funding for the Festival change depending on a wide range of factors.” In a February 17 follow-up email Ms. Nossel added, “Our approach to this centers on discussion and deliberation rather than formal policies.”

    Allison Brown from Adalah-NY explained, “PEN America’s decision not to accept Israeli government support in 2017 is a victory for Palestinian rights, and for the Palestinian-led BDS movement, which calls on institutions to reject cultural partnerships with the Israeli government because Israel attempts to use these partnerships to legitimize its apartheid rule. For example, Israel has held Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour in prison or under house arrest for 16 months for a poem, and has jailed Palestinian journalists like Mohammed Al-Qiq and Omar Nazzal without charges or trial.”

    Shalva Wise, JVP Artist Council Coordinator, commented, “Despite this victory, the lack of a public statement and a clear explanation by PEN America, or any formal policy, leaves us concerned that PEN America is leaving the door open to future partnerships with Israel and other repressive governments. PEN America should put in place a transparent policy prohibiting partnerships with governments like Israel that routinely violate the freedom of expression of writers and journalists. PEN America cannot mobilize actions against the Trump administration’s repressive policies with one hand, and burnish the image of other repressive governments with the other.”

    At least one Israeli writer is participating in the 2017 World Voices Festival. In line with the Palestinian boycott call’s support for freedom of expression, letter signers called for the rejection of Israeli government support, and not for barring the participation of individual Israeli writers.

    After PEN America dismissed the initial appeal from writers to reject Israeli government support, human rights advocates protested at the World Voices opening event in April 2016. Adalah-NY, JVP and writers then continued collecting signatures to the letter, including at several PEN America events this winter. With the 2017 festival approaching, Adalah-NY and JVP asked for an emailed update from PEN America on the status of Israeli government funding.

    2017 marks the first time in recent years that PEN America did not list the governments supporting the festival on the World Voices website. PEN America had accepted Israeli government support for World Voices in 201220132015 and 2016 – making the Israeli government, with the French government, the most frequent governmental sponsors of the World Voices Festival between 2012 and 2016.

    Adalah-NY and JVP support the global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to fulfill its obligations under international law and fully recognize the Palestinian people’s right to live in full equality in their homeland.

    Letter to PEN America with Signatories: /web-action/1450/tell-pen-america-don-t-partner-israeli-government

    Email Exchange between PEN America and Adalah-NY/JVP, February 2017: /document/1460/email-exchange-between-pen-america-and-adalah-ny-jvp-february-2017

    BDS Movement- 24/02/2017

       
  • And the Oscar goes to... BDS? Hollywood stars snub Israel swag bag visit

    A year ago Israel offered Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and other Hollywood stars all-expenses paid luxury trips, but it seems they have chosen to miss their cues.

    Campaigners are claiming victory as it appears none of the 26 Oscars stars offered a free personalised tour valued at up to $55,000 has visited.

  • Arctic freeze on Israeli settlement products

    A second major city in Norway has voted to boycott Israeli goods and services produced in Palestinian territory occupied in 1967.

    The 25-18
     vote by Tromsø city council followed a similar action in Trondheim in November.

    Tromsø’s resolution was sponsored by council members Jens Ingvald Olsen and Mads Gilbert, known worldwide for his medical work in the Gaza Strip.

    With a population of 75,000 and one of only a handful of world cities north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø has a long tradition of solidarity with Palestine, Gilbert told The Electronic Intifada.

  • AS CONGRESS TRIES TO CRIMINALIZE BDS, THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA ENDORSE IT

    SOME MEMBERS OF CONGRESS are trying to criminalize supportfor the campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel for The Democratic Socialists of America its occupation of Palestinian territories.

  • BDS Activists Score A First Victory In Ecuador

    February, 20, 2017, Quito, Ecuador – A Quito-based research institute — the International Center for Advanced Studies in Communications for Latin America (CIESPAL) — decided against renewing its contract with the British security company G4S after meeting with BDS activists who informed it about G4S’s complicity with Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. 

    This is the first victory for BDS activists in Ecuador working to advance Palestinian human rights, and the second loss for G4S in Latin America, due to BDS pressure, in less than a year. In early 2016, another strong BDS campaign for Palestinian human rights led a major restaurant chain in Colombia to announce that it would end its contract with G4S. Notably, CIESPAL cut ties with G4S without laying off any workers.

    G4S, the world’s largest security company, has a history of helping Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. G4S has also been involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police buildings.  

    Under strong pressure from BDS activists participating in the international Stop G4S campaign, G4S has for the last several years been losing major deals and investments around the world. In 2016, the company was forced to sell most of its business in Israel, but still has contracts in training Israeli police and in relation to illegal settlement buildings on stolen Palestinian land. As such, G4S remains complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.

    BDS Movement- 20/02/2017

  • BDS impact round up for 2016

    Israel's war of repression has failed to stop the continued growth of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.


    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 Unionthe governments of Sweden, Netherlands and Ireland, as well as from Amnesty Internationalthe American Civil Liberties Unionthe 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.


    January

    • 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.


    February


    March


    April

    #StopG4S protest in Lebanon for Palestinian political prisoners day


    May


    June


    July


    August


    September

    • 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.


    October


    November

     

    December

    • G4S, the world’s largest private security company, ends most of its involvement in illegal Israeli business, but BDS campaign against it to continue until the company ends all complicity in Israel’s human rights violations. Also this month, UNICEF in Lebanon and the UN World Food Program in Jordan drop their respective contracts with G4S.
    • 200European legal scholars issue a statement defending the right to support BDS for Palestinian Rights,dealing a significant blow to Israel’s legal warfare on BDS.
    • The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) withdraws from an Israeli propaganda event in Osaka involving illegal settlements’ wineries.
    • The city council of Valencia (Spain) votes unanimously to declare the city “Free of Israeli Apartheid,” joining dozens of other city councils across Spain.
    • The municipal councils of Clermond-Ferrand and St. Pierre des Corps (France) vote to boycott products of Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory, joining the Paris-region councils of Bondy and Ivry-sur-Seine.
    • The city council of Tromso (Norway) endorses a boycott of Israeli goods and services produces in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territory, joining the city council of Trondheim.
    • The University of Manchester (UK) student senate votes overwhelmingly for endorsing BDS against Israel.
    • The Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz votes to boycott all Hewlett Packard (HP) products because of the company’s role in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
    • The Dutch government rejects Israel lobby calls to cease funding of organizations that advocate BDS against Israel, insisting that BDS advocacy is constitutionally protected under freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. The Netherlands was among the first governments in Europe to uphold the right to BDS against Israel.
    • The Green Party of Canada calls for “economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes” to nonviolently pressure Israel to end its occupation, afford its Palestinian citizens equal rights, and respect the UN-stipulated right of return for Palestinian refugees.
    • The City of Portland (Oregon) becomes the first in the US to endorse divesting from Caterpillar, among other corporations that violate socially responsible investment guidelines. Palestinian rights group, Occupation-Free Portland, is part of the coalition that campaigned for this divestment.

    BDS Movement- 28/11/2016

     

  • Jordanian companies end their contracts with G4S

    7 private and public companies in Jordan have discontinued their service contracts with G4S, the security company, in response to BDS Jordana global boycott call against G4S’ parent company for its complicity in Israel’s regime of occupation and settler-colonialism.

  • Largest Israeli Public Transportation Company Loses Netherlands Contract Worth 190 Million Euros Following Campaign by BDS Activists for Palestinian Rights

    Last month, Egged Bus Systems (EBS), a subsidiary of Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society, Israel’s largest public  transportation operator, lost a bid for a decade-long contract to run public transportation in the North-Holland region of the Netherlands, which includes the country’s capital, Amsterdam. This contract was valued at 19.1 million euros a year, with a total worth of 190.1 million euros. 

  • Pizza Hut- "Israel” ridicules the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners

    Social media outlets have circulated a pamphlet from Pizza Hut- "Israel” that ridicules the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners and Pizza Hut-Israelone of their leaders, Marwan Barghouti.

  • Portuguese photographers launch Israel boycott pledge

    On World Photography Day, over 40 Portuguese photographers, teachers of photography and photography students have launched BDSa pledge not to accept professional invitations or financing from the State of Israel and to refuse to collaborate with Israeli cultural institutions complicit in  Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

  • Spanish Parliament Affirms Right to BDS as Protected Speech

  • Swiss Parliament & Spanish Government Reject Israeli Efforts to Criminalize Palestinian BDS Human Rights Movement

    In a significant setback for Israel’s campaign against the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, earlier this week the upper house of the Swiss parliament blocked efforts to criminalize BDS and ban government funding for organizations committed to promoting Palestinian human rights. These failed efforts were led by Swiss right-wing parties lobbying for Israel.

  • UK high court rules in favour of local councils who support boycott of Israeli occupation

    The High Court in the UK has dealt a blow to a pro-Israel group attempting to stifle local councils from taking action in solidarity with the Palestinian people and ruled in favour of three councils who passed resolutions in support of targeted boycotts of Israel’s occupation.

    The so-called Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW), an Israel lobby group, judicially challenged Leicester city council, Swansea city council and Gwynedd council over democratically passed resolutions in support of a boycott of illegal Israeli settlements’ produce.

    Lord Justice Simon dismissed all charges made by JHRW, including the claim that the resolutions breached equality law obligations, and failed to take into account “the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment of Jewish people.”

    Riya Hassan, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) Europe campaigns’ officer, welcomed the news saying:
    “This High Court ruling deals a serious blow to the efforts by Israel and its pressure groups to attack local democracy in the UK and the right of local councils to take effective action to end complicity in Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”
    “As with their case against the academic union UCU over its support for BDS measures, supporters of Israel’s regime of oppression who fail to win democratic votes in their attempts to suppress solidarity with the Palestinian people end up going to court, only to fail there as well.”
    “We look forward to working with councilors and local democracy campaigners to ensure that more local councils across the UK take steps in line with their fiduciary duty and ethical obligations not to invest in grave violations of human rights.”  

    The UK court decision follows news from France of a majority vote on June 23rd by the municipal council of Bondy, a Paris suburb, “to no longer buy produce from Israeli settlements.”

    An overwhelming majority of Bondy councilors voted for condemning the escalating repressive and anti-democratic attacks against Palestine solidarity activists and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in France. The motion asserted that “It is a legitimate civil right to be able to accept or refuse to buy merchandise according to its origin.” The BDS movement, inspired by the South African anti-apartheid struggle and the U.S.

    Civil Rights movement, calls for nonviolent pressure in the academic, cultural military and economic domains to isolate Israel’s regime until it complies with international law and respects Palestinian rights.  

    The Bondy council joins a growing number of local councils across Europe, especially in Spain, that are determined to respond to the Palestinians call for solidarity and hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and human rights. Over the past two years over 50 local councils from across the Spanish state have passed BDS-related motions in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

    Riya Hassan said, “This resolution in France is further a testament to the wide support for BDS as the most effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian people, despite well sustained Israel-induced attacks on the movement. ” 

    Israel’s war of repression on the BDS movement Israel’s failure to hinder the impressive upsurge in support and impact of the Palestinian-led BDS movement in mainstream civil society has prompted it to admit the strategic impact of BDS and launch an unprecedented anti-democratic campaign to silence Palestinian narratives and outlaw BDS advocacy.

    The Israeli-induced attacks on the BDS movement are advanced through putting pressure on governments, legislators and officials to fight BDS activity through implementing repressive measures that pose a threat to civil and political liberties at large.  

    JHRW and the UK’s Conservative government have both sought to restrict the ability of local councils to take action in support of Palestinian rights in recent months as part of a wider effort by Israel to undermine the BDS movement. In February, the UK government announced new rules regarding how local councils take procurement decisions, although they do not prevent councils from boycotting companies such as G4S that violate human rights. 

    New rules that seek to restrict councils from divesting from Israeli companies and arms companies are expected to be published later this year but have been met with widespread opposition from human rights organisations, unions and Palestine campaign groups.

    More than 350 European human rights organizations, trade unions, church groups and political parties, have called on the European Union to defend citizens and organisations right to boycott Israel in response to its occupation and violations of Palestinian rights. Representatives of the Swedish, Irish and Dutch governments have publicly defended the right to advocate and campaign for Palestinian rights under international law through BDS.

    BDS Movement- 01/07/2017

  • World Food Program (WFP) in Jordan dumps G4S

    The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Jordan has announced it will no longer contract with G4S.

    The group Jordan BDS hailed the decision as a victory for its year-long campaign, which included a meeting with WFP officials and an open letter signed by dozens of Jordanian organizations to urge the UN agency to end the contract.

    This makes WFP the fourth out of six UN agencies in Jordan to ditch the world’s largest security company, following pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

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