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International Criminal Court founder Cherif Bassiouni defends violation of Israel boycott http://t.co/SpgJll3erB #BDS #Palestine1 day 13 hours ago
University of Helsinki cancels G4S contract over support for Israeli prisons http://t.co/wWueea7R5V #BDS #Palestine3 days 10 hours ago
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ICC co-founder Cherif Bassiouni under fire for violating Israel boycott http://t.co/oDL31nYXXF #BDS #Palestine5 days 10 hours ago
Princeton graduate students back Israel occupation divestment by wide margin http://t.co/OKRaoUH4qI #BDS #Palestine5 days 18 hours ago
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Check out our round-up of some of the most exciting recent #BDS successes http://t.co/z1ivHtIpzS1 week 1 day ago

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The Palestinian BDS National Committee website
Updated: 8 hours 12 min ago

Marinah becomes first singer in Spain to cancel concerts

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 6:54pm

— Marinah had planned to participate in the Méditerranée Festival in Ashdod the upcoming 11th June and also at the World Music Festival of Tel Aviv

— The Ashdod Festival has broad institutional support and is financed by companies which are directly linked to the violation of Palestinian rights

The former vocal leader of the Catalan group Ojos de Brujo, Marina Abad, had organized to perform at the Festival Méditerranée of Ashdod (south of Israel, next to the Gaza Strip) the upcoming 11th of June, next to other Spanish artists such as Tomatito, Diego Guerrero, Rycardo Moreno and Javier Limón. Marinah’s concert was part of the Idan Raichel Project, where the Portuguese António Zambujo will also perform. The Valencian artist had also planned to sing at the World Music of Tel Aviv.

As soon as we grew aware of these concerts, several BDS Catalunya activists asked Marinah via social networks not to sing in Israel, since it would represent a violation of the cultural boycott the Palestinian civil society is asking for. Knowing how supportive Marinah is of international causes and social movements, we thought it was a paradox that she had decided to participate in a festival organized by the same Israeli regime which has been oppressing the Palestinian people for the last 67 years. After several phone conversations, Marinah has decided to cancel her two concerts in Israel.

This important victory for the BDS has been achieved some days after the American singer Lauryn Hill (former singer of The Fugees) decided to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv, due to a strong international campaign asking her to not violate the call for cultural boycott launched by the Palestinian civil society in 2004. The artist didn’t disappoint us and decided not to sing for Apartheid.

The Israeli “whitewash” phenomenon

The Festival Méditerranée of Ashdod is a clear example of how Israel uses culture to whitewash its image and show itself to the world as a modern and open-minded country, hiding its occupation, colonization and apartheid policies. By giving an image of multiculturalism and tolerance, this festival is covering up the Zionist colonizing machine, and is trying to show Israel as a «normal» country.

If we look at the sponsors and organizers of the festival, it’s obvious how they are closely linked to the violation of Palestinian rights. Among the sponsors there is Tfahot, a bank which finances illegal colonies in occupied West Bank; Ashdod port, which exports agricultural products produced in stolen land; Adama, a food company linked to the company Agan-Machteshim, which produces glass fibre in an illegal Jewish colony; and wide institutional support of the Jewish state (Ashdod Council, the Ministry of Culture of Israel and the National Lottery).

As is established by the PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) guidelines “a cultural event is boycottable if it is partially or fully sponsored by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution”, and as we have already mentioned this Festival is a clear example of the above.

The on-going Nakba

We want to emphasize that Marinah has announced the news today 15th May, the day we commemorate the Palestinian Nakba (the «disaster» in Arabic), which started 67 years ago. On the 15th of May of 1948 the State of Israel was created, forcing 70% of Palestinians to leave their houses and dispossessing hundred thousands of them from their homes. The Nakba is not an isolated event in time, but an on-going event which keeps being repeated systematically. For 67 years now, Israel has been violating, without been punished or sanctioned, the Palestinians rights and their freedom, increasing its attacks in the recent years.

Today we remember the Nakba. BDS Catalunya and RESCOP celebrate Marinah’s decision and we fully support her. We want to emphasize the importance of her decision, since she is the first Spanish artist to cancel a scheduled concert in Israel. Marinah has set an example of compromise, values and solidarity which we hope encourages the rest of Spanish and International artists to intensify cultural boycott against Israel.

From BDS Catalunya and RESCOP we won’t stop calling for BDS until Israel: 1/ ends its occupation and colonization of all the Arab territories occupied in June 1967 and dismantles the Apartheid Wall; 2/ recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3/ respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Thank-you Marina! Free Palestine!

BDS Catalunya
Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP)

More than 10 000 South African School Students March Against Woolworths over Israel Trade

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 6:06pm

More than 10 000 South African school learners protested earlier today against Woolworths Stores over its Israeli trade. The #BoycottWoolworths protest was led by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in the Free State. COSAS represents school children in all 9 SA provinces and is arguably the largest school learner organization in the country. Click here for photos from today’s COSAS protest against Woolworths.

The 15th of May was chosen for the protest to also mark the 67th year of the Palestinian Nakba “Catastrophe” (the 1948 establishment of the modern State of Israel that was the start of the displacement and oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people).

According to COSAS Free State the protest march by COSAS against Woolworths is “in solidarity with the people of Palestine who continue to experience the harshest form of apartheid by the Israeli regime”. Sipho Tsunke of COSAS Free State said: “We are therefore mobilizing all young people and parents to boycott Woolworths which continues to have relations with Apartheid Israel. We will not be misled by Woolworths and their silly PR campaigns for example their MySchool programme or that of bringing USA musician Pharrell Williams to South Africa. We are telling Pharrell Williams, as school learners of South Africa, to cancel his shows in South Africa until Woolworths ends its relations with Israel.”

Today’s protest march started at Thabong Community Center at 09h00 and ended at Goldfields Mall (where Woolworths store is located) in Welkom in the Free State. The protest, according to police estimates, drew between 10 000 and 13 000 young learners from various areas in and around the Free State province of South Africa. Further COSAS protests against Woolworths are due to take place in coming weeks in other provinces.

In August 2014 a call for the complete boycott of Woolworths until it ends its Israeli trade links was made by BDS South Africa, COSATU, ANC Youth League, MJC, SACP, YCL, SASCO, PSA, COSAS and various others including the National Coalition 4 Palestine  (a coalition of more than 30 organizations, trade unions and other groups). An independent #BoycottWoolworths impact report by a Wits University researcher has found that Woolworths is losing over R30 million (close to R8 million per month) since the start of the BDS #BoycottWoolworths campaign. According to the report the actual impact “could be in the hundreds of millions”.

On Nakba day, Palestinian civil society in besieged Gaza decries collective failure to ensure accountability for Israeli massacre

Fri, 15/05/2015 - 1:33pm

As Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe in 1948 when more than 700,000 indigenous Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionist militias and later the State of Israel, life in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip is reaching a fatal tipping point, as the UN has warned.

Close to 2 million Palestinians are incarcerated by Israel in a small space condemned to a life of misery, where not even water, the source of life, is fit for human consumption. The provision of basic services such as health and education faltering and the alarm must be sounded. This is an Israeli-made “tsunami” that can be stopped if enough people of conscience around the world would hold Israel to account and pressure their institutions and governments to do so. Israel must pay a heavy price for its criminal behaviour.

If ever there was a right time to isolate a rogue regime to prevent it from committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is now. We, the undersigned Palestinian civil society organisations in Gaza, call for urgent and effective measures of accountability, including boycotts, divestment and meaningful sanctions, against Israel and the corporations that are complicit in its serious violations of international law to save hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza from a fate of unspeakable suffering and slow death.

Israel’s massacre in Gaza in the summer of 2014 left more than 2,300 of our people dead and damaged or destroyed our schools, hospitals, UN shelters and thousands of our homes. Eight months on, Gaza remains in ruins, yet at least 100,000 people remain homeless. Of the 12,600 houses that were totally destroyed, not one has yet been rebuilt. To Palestinians everywhere, and in Gaza in particular, the 1948 Nakba is ongoing.

Despite the so called cease-fire, Israel’s often deadly attacks on Palestinians in Gaza are continuous, especially on fishers in the access restricted areas (ARA) along the border with Israel and off the Gaza coast. ARA were among the most hit during the massacre and still continue to suffer from Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

At the root of this grave human suffering is Israel’s ongoing occupation and illegal eight-year siege, which severely restricts movement of people, goods and reconstruction materials. Health and education services have been severely impaired as well. The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been open for just a handful of times so far this year. On average, just 198 people have been able to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing each week during 2014, down from 955 during 2014. As of February 2015,  just 1,661 trucks (containing around 105,307 tonnes) of the 800,000 trucks of material needed to reconstruct destroyed homes and other buildings have been allowed to enter Gaza. The failure of international donors to release pledged funds has exacerbated severe energy shortages. Electricity is still only available for a few hours per day.

The UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), the international community’s main response, is fundamentally flawed in a way that deepens the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. The GRM makes the international community, and the UN in particular, the enforcers of the Israeli siege and makes aid to Palestinians conditional on Israeli approval.

As much as 71% of the aid pledged by international donors is expected to benefit the Israeli economy, effectively rewarding Israel for its massacre of Palestinians. Many of the companies supplying the construction efforts are illegally involved in the crime of pillage of Palestinian natural resources and/or participate in the construction of illegal settlements.

Many western governments are seeking to prevent Palestinians from taking cases against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last July, the US voted against and several EU member including France, Germany and the UK abstained from voting on the establishment of a UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry.

The US and Germany look set to continue their vast military support for Israel, while the European Union has maintained its Association Agreement with Israel, affording Israel access to EU markets and programs, and the Canadian government has even signed a raft of new agreements with Israel. Even those countries in the global south that speak in clearer terms of their support for the Palestinian people’s right to self determination have failed to translate their symbolic gestures into ending their military links and preferential trade agreements with Israel.

Given the human catastrophe that Gaza is facing and Israel’s threats of more atrocities, we call on governments and international bodies to take immediate action to:

– Ensure Israel is held to account for its war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, including by supporting Palestinians in seeking justice at the ICC.

– End direct support for Israeli war crimes, including by imposing a comprehensive military embargo and suspending free trade agreements and other bilateral agreements until such time as Israel complies with international law, including lifting the siege on Gaza.

– Provide immediate international protection to civilians in Gaza, including by providing financial and material support to help Palestinians to cope with the immense hardship they continue to experience.

We warmly thank the countless people of conscience and principled organisations across the world who stand in solidarity with our struggle for freedom, justice and equality, and call on international civil society, including trade unions, NGOs, grassroots networks, political parties and parliamentarians to:

– Join and build the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a key tool to ensure Israel is held to account for its violations of international law in Gaza and against Palestinians everywhere, including by pressuring universities, banks and pension funds to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation and war crimes.

– Pressure governments to impose military embargoes and trade sanctions.

– Campaign against corporate criminals such as military company Elbit Systems, security firm G4S and key Israeli military supplier HP that enable Israeli violations of international law.

Signed

Palestinian BDS National Committee
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
University Teachers’ Society in Palestine
Palestinian Medical Relief Society
Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction (PADR)
Medical Democratic Assembly
Palestinian Student Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Medical Initiative Assembly
Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
Union of Health Work Committees
One Democratic State group
Herak Youth Center
Badr Campaign for Boycott of Israeli Goods

 

BDS roundup: Lauryn Hill cancels Israel concert and Israeli company loses Olympics security contract

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 5:13pm

In the first of a new series of regular round-ups from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, we bring you a summary of some of the incredible recent developments from across the global BDS movement.

Take action: Tell Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil to cancel their Israel concert

Sign the petition here: goo.gl/LWIXst

Brazilian Tropicalia music stars Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, whose music has aways been connected to struggles for freedom, justice and equality, are scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv. The concert is due in July, when Palestinians will be marking the anniversary of Israel’s massacre on Gaza.

Ask Veloso and Gil to do as Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters and so many others have done and refuse to entertain Israeli apartheid.

Sign the petition now: goo.gl/LWIXst

US hip hop star Lauryn Hill cancels Israel concert

US hip hop star Ms. Lauryn Hill has cancelled her concert in Israel following appeals from Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organisations and a big social media campaign.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza-based steering committee member with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, said:

“We’re delighted that Lauryn Hill has decided not to perform in Israel. A growing number of mainstream artists are catching up with public opinion and now understand that playing in Israel helps it to whitewash its colonial oppression of Palestinians. Israeli promoters are finding it increasingly difficult to book big names to perform in Israel.”

Go to thankyoulaurynhill.org to send Lauryn Hill a thank you message.

Watch a video interview about Lauryn Hill’s decision with BDS Omar Barghouti here.

Veolia sells Israeli businesses targeted by BDS movement


 

 

 

In a huge victory for the BDS movement, French corporate giant Veolia has sold off nearly all of its business activity in Israel. The sale follows a worldwide six-year campaign against the company’s role in illegal Israeli settlements that cost the firm billions of dollars of lost contracts.

Under BDS pressure, Veolia has failed to win massive contracts with local authorities across Europe​,​ the US​ and Kuwait​​, and many investors sold their shares in the company.

The campaign against Veolia is set to continue however, as the company maintains a role in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail project.

2016 Olympics: After BDS pressure, Brazilian government denies relations with Israeli company ISDS 


More than 30 Brazilian social movements and progressive organisations had called on the Brazilian government to exclude International Security and Defence Systems from Olympics contracts after the Israeli company announced in October 2014 that it had been awarded a $2.2bn deal to coordinate security at the games.

On April 8, the Ministry of Justice’s Special Secretariat for Mega-events (Sesge/MJ) replied to their letter by explaining that ISDS has not been awarded any contracts.

Campaigners are now preparing to pressure the Olympics Committee to cancel a separate “official supplier” deal with ISDS.

Barclays no longer listed as Elbit shareholder

Campaigners occupy a Barclays bank in London as part of a national day of action

UK high street bank Barclays is no longer listed as a shareholder in Elbit Systems, the major Israeli military company that manufactures drones used in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and helps Israel build its illegal Apartheid wall.

The news follows a high profile campaign launched after Barclays emerged as the named owner of $2.9 million worth of shares in Elbit.

More than 1.7 million people signed a petition organised by Avaaz calling on Barclays to divest from Elbit Systems. On November 28 last year, campaigners held occupations and protests at more than 15 Barclays branches across the UK.

20 South African businesses boycott G4S

Activists in South Africa march against G4S on Palestinian prisoners day in 2014


More than 20 businesses across South Africa have cancelled contracts with G4S, the British security company that helps Israel run checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza and the prisons that hold Palestinian political prisoners. The cancelled contracts covered more than 140 sites across South Africa and were worth more than $500,000.

G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars with unions, charities, NGOs and banks across the world since the campaign against the company’s support for Israeli apartheid was launched in 2012.

Meanwhile Jordan BDS Movement, known in Arabic as Alurdun Tuqate’ Jordan have launched the campaign against G4S in their country by holding a demonstration at the company’s Amman headquarters on April 17, Palestinian political prisoners’ day. More than 50 people attended the protest, which was backed by unions, parties and NGOs and widely covered in the media.

Read Addameer’s updated fact sheet on the role of G4S in Israel’s prison system here.

Israeli Supreme Court upholds anti-BDS law

Israel’s highest court has upheld a law prohibiting Israeli citizens, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, from calling for a boycott of Israel.

The so-called Law for the Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott allows entities to sue and win compensation from individuals or organizations that call for economic, cultural or academic boycott. It also allows the finance ministry to financially penalize any organization that receives state funding that participates in such calls.

The court cancelled a minor provision of the law, which allowed companies to claim large amounts of compensation without the need to prove damages, but left the rest of the law intact.

Read reaction from Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, here.

BDS campaign launched in Egypt

A coalition of eleven political parties, four revolutionary movements, six unions, six student movements, and a large number of individuals, have come together to start up the BDS Egypt movement.

Read more here.

Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Canada joins BDS

The Central Council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, Quebec, Canada resolved to join the BDS movement and support the call to impose military embargo on Israel. The CSN represents 325,000 workers in all sectors of activity in nearly 2,000 unions across Quebec. Read more here (French).

Also, the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3902, which represents 7,000 teaching staff at the University of Toronto recently voted to endorse BDS.

Arab Labor Organization adopts BDS resolution

The Arab Labor conference – Kuwait (18-25 April) adopted  a BDS resolution which resolves that the A.L.O to support the BDS movement against Israel till it complies with international law. The Arab Labor Organization is one of the Arab League organizations which consists of representative of governments, private sectors, and trade unions in the Arab countries. Read the motion in full here (Arabic).

Irish PSC launch arms embargo campaign

A campaign calling for an end to the Irish arms trade with Israel was officially launched by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). The campaign, which is supported by many public figures and civil society groups, is calling on the Irish government to place an immediate arms embargo upon the state of Israel.

Ireland has bought €14.7m worth of arms and military components from Israel over the last decade, while Irish-based companies have exported €6.42m worth of military and ‘dual use’ hardware to Israel since 2011. Take action in support of the campaign here.

French solidarity groups pressure major supermarket over settlement trade

Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) are campaigning to pressure the Carrefour supermarket to stop selling produce from illegal Israeli settlements, a step taken by many other supermarkets across Europe.

AFPS, FIDH and other French solidarity groups recently organised a day of action that saw campaigners hold protests and information stalls outside 40 Carrefour outlets.

Regarding the so-called “Friends of Palestine Association”

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 10:21am

It has recently come to our attention that an organisation calling itself the “Friends of Palestine Association” has been claiming to have donated money to and been in communication with the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). This is totally false. The BNC has never heard of this organisation nor has it ever accepted any donations from it.

The Friends of Palestine Association has been approaching a number of organisations that support BDS, lying to them about its alleged relations with the BNC.

Given that the Friends of Palestine Association has fabricated having a relationship with the BNC, and also given that organisations that have been in touch with Friends of Palestine Association have raised serious concerns about the organisation’s credibility, the BNC encourages Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organisations to avoid contact with the Friends of Palestine Association.

2016 Olympics: After BDS pressure, Brazilian government denies relations with Israeli company ISDS

Thu, 07/05/2015 - 8:27pm

The Palestinian national stadium in Gaza, which was destroyed during Israel’s 2012 attack

 

More than 30 Brazilian social movements and progressive organisations had called on the Brazilian government to exclude International Security and Defence Systems from Olympics contracts after the Israeli company announced in October 2014 that it had been awarded a $2.2bn deal to coordinate security at the games.

On April 8, the Ministry of Justice’s Special Secretariat for Mega-events (Sesge/MJ) replied to their letter by explaining that ISDS has not been awarded any contracts.

The reply from Sesge/MJ also stated that “any contract made by Rio 2016 won’t result in compromises by the Brazilian government”, a phrase campaigners are interpreting as a clear sign that government officials were sympathetic to their demands.

ISDS had originally announced it had been awarded a contract by the Organising Committee for the 2016 Games. When overall responsibility for security at the games shifted to the Brazilian government, Brazilian social movements began calling on the Brazilian government to ensure that the apparent deal would not remain in place.

The letter to key Sesge/MJ official Andrei Rodrigues signed by Brazilian social movements, political parties, workers unions, and different associations set out how ISDS is accused of having ties to coups, death squares and dictatorships in Central America, as well as close links with the Israeli military.

Campaigners are now preparing to pressure the Olympics Committee to cancel a separate “official supplier” deal with ISDS.

Jaman Juma, coordinador of the Stop the Wall movement, said:

“For us, boycotting this company is paradigmatic: Israel develops its methodologies and technologies through the killing and repression of the Palestinian people, and then it sells them worldwide. The end of military and security relations with Israel is an act of defense. Not only for the Palestinian people, it is an act of defense for humanity.”

Julio Turra, executive director of the biggest Brazilian workers’ union, CUT, one of the signatories of the letter to Coesrio2016, said:

“We are glad with the information the government distances itself from ISDS. It would be illegal and shameful to hire a company that develops its technologies in complicity with Israeli crimes and that accumulates complaints about its participation in Central American dictatorships.”

Mahmoud Nawajaa, General Coordinador of the BDS Palestinian National Committee (BNC), said:

“We welcome the fact that the Brazilian government categorically states it has no commercial relation with ISDS. We expect that no similar company will be hired. It is important that Brazil walks towards a fully military embargo against Israel”.

“Brazilians can be sure they will have the support from the Palestinian and international civil society on this campaign against ISDS in the Olympic Games”.

As for future actions, Soraya Misleh, from the Front in Defense of the Palestinian People explained:

“There will be a wide campaign against the contract celebrated with the 2016 Organizing Committee which makes ISDS an ‘official supplier’ for the Games. We won’t allowed the Olympic Games in our country to have such company’s logo in its publicity. It is an insult against all those who believe in human rights and justice”.

Maristela Pinheiro, from the Rio de Janeiro Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People added:

“There will be for sure a strong campaign against the supplier deal between ISDS and the 2016 Organizing Committee and we’ll keep monitoring Coesrio. The Olympics can’t beneficiate companies that profit through human rights violations. The Games can’t be intensifying repressive practices in our country, or endorse illegal and immoral actions”.

Felipe Butelli, from the Christian Group Kairos Brazil added:

“The call for military embargo has the support of important international names, the Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Perez Esquivel among them. Brazil can’t follow on the opposite direction”

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