Movement spreads to boycott Israel
Published Mar 7, 2009 6:23 AM
The Palestinian Unified Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
against Israel is taking hold and growing in unions, universities and among
political forces on many continents.
A worldwide focus is organizing for March 30—Global Boycott, Divestment
and Sanctions Action Day—when progressive forces are being asked to carry
out concrete, strong protests to further this key campaign in solidarity with
the Palestinian people.
Many exciting actions and commitments to the BDS campaign have taken place
within the last month.
Inspiring activists worldwide, Basque political prisoners at France’s
Fresnes jail strongly spoke out for the people of Gaza, despite threats of
reprisal. They avowed, “We, Basque political prisoners, refuse to buy
[Israeli] products [in the canteen] [to] show our solidarity with [the]
Palestinian people.” (www.bdsmovement.net)
On Boycott Israel Day, Feb. 14, picket lines circled grocery stores throughout
Denmark. Protesters targeted produce sold by Israeli companies, especially
Carmel Agrexco, Israel’s biggest exporter of fruits and vegetables, which
are grown in occupied Palestine.
The city of Stockholm, Sweden, has terminated an agreement with Veolia
Transport because it is connected to a tramway project in Israel.
The BDS call has swept through Norway’s union movement. Six top Norwegian
unions and many organizations are calling for a campaign to end state
investments in Israel. The Union of Trade and Office Workers, Norway’s
biggest union of store workers, has called on its members’ employers to
stop purchasing Israeli goods.
The Norwegian Trade Unions confederation, which represents 20 percent of the
country’s population, condemned Israel’s bombing and invasion of
Gaza and called for strong protests. (More than 28 cities were sites of
protests during the siege.) This union also expressed solidarity with COSATU
when South African dockworkers refused to unload an Israeli ship last
Italy’s largest metalworkers’ union, the FIOM, representing 360,000
members, has called for war crimes’ trials for Israeli officials for the
Gaza siege. The union also demands agreements be terminated between Israel and
Italy, and between Israel and the European Union.
An academic boycott of “all Israeli institutions participating in the
occupation [of Gaza]” was announced in a call by many French academics,
who are promoting a wide scale BDS campaign and want to see war crimes’
trials for Israeli leaders.
The Consumers Association of Turkey called for a nationwide boycott of Israeli,
U.S. and British goods that are sold by companies that “openly declare
their support and cooperation to Israel [and] the ones that transfer funds to
[the] Israeli Army.” Among companies listed are Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola,
Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King. (bdsmovement.net)
The Association of Social Workers of Mauritius has called for the removal of
Israeli products, including food and medicines, from store shelves and for a
University workers’ delegates in the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union
of Public Employees, which represents 200,000 public sector workers, just
passed a resolution which calls for an academic boycott of Israel. It calls for
an educational campaign on Israel’s “apartheid,” asks the
union to back the BDS movement, and more.
The Australia BDS campaign has picked up steam, especially in recent weeks in
Sydney. There have been direct actions, campus organizing and strategizing on
long-term campaigns. A key target is Max Brenner Chocolates, an Israeli-owned
company in the transnational Strauss group, which supports the IDF’s
Golani brigade, notorious for its ruthless offensives in Gaza, the West Bank
And as of March 1, the city of Tulkarem, which is in the Occupied West Bank, is
initiating an all-out boycott of Israeli food and other products.
March 1-8 will be the fifth annual Israeli Apartheid Week. It will be
commemorated with cultural events and protests in the Occupied West Bank at
universities and refugee camps, and in cities worldwide. Activities will help
to build the BDS campaign under the theme of “Standing United with the
People of Gaza.” (stopthewall.org)
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