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Home arrow Blog arrow March 2009 arrow March 7, 2009

March 7, 2009
March 7, 2009: BDS: It worked in South Africa and it will work again.

Related links at end.

Global boycott efforts are starting to be felt in Israel, especially since the Gaza slaughter.
Hever provides examples of articles dealing with this issue, from the Israeli Marker magazine
for economic news.-Racheli Gai.

Additional comments by Sarah Anne Minkin:

Big news came out of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) world this week when the British Embassy in Tel Aviv pulled out of negotiations to move into an office building built and owned (in large part) by Africa-Israel, a company with heavy investments in the Occupied Territories. According to Ha'aretz, the British embassy confirmed that they made their decision because of Africa-Israel's involvement in Jewish settlements. (http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068545.html).

Numerous organizations and individuals, including Adalah-NY, and Jewish Voice for Peace, have been campaigning against Africa-Israel's investments in the the Territories for over a year; UNICEF publicly rejected any contributions from Lev Leviev, who controls Africa-Israel, last year. (A link to the UNICEF letter is inside this joint letter from multiple organizations about Leviev, here: http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_1114.shtml)

Africa-Israel, a holding company controlled by Lev Leviev, owns subsidiary companies that build in multiple settlements and is invested in the company that has a monopoly over gas supply to the Gaza Strip (http://whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=447). Lev Leviev also privately owns Leader company, which built Tzofim, a settlement built on confiscated land from the Palestinian village Jayyous (http://whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=448). Jayyous is now under regular invasion by Israeli forces trying to break the non-violent movement against the Wall in that village. Jayyous is discussed in this Jewish Peace News post from March 3, 2009: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com/2009/03/look-to-west-bank.html.

Shir Hever:  Israelis Are Beginning to See the Power of BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] /  Alternative Information Center (AIC)

Sunday, 01 March 2009

http://www.alternativenews.org/content/view/1605/381/


In recent years, there has been a gradual growth in the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, calling to put economic pressure on Israel until it recognizes the rights of the occupied Palestinian people and puts an end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, starting on 27 December 2008, which lasted for nearly a month, has given this movement a powerful reason to redouble its efforts. Dozens of BDS campaigns have gained momentum and publicity; dozens of new ones were launched during or immediately after Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip.

These campaigns range from calls to boycott goods from the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to calls to stop all economic contacts with Israel altogether. They include protests at sporting events, two countries cutting diplomatic ties with Israel (Bolivia and Venezuela), and many demonstrations around the world, attended by hundreds of thousands of protestors.

The growing protest against the atrocities committed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip have begun to change something in the Israeli political discourse, and the first indication of this can already be seen in the Israeli economic media.

Although the Israeli economic media doesn't concern itself with the moral dimension of the attacks on Gaza, the economic dimension of recent events have created a rising level of concern. In order to demonstrate this trend, here are summaries of four articles that appeared in the Israeli The Marker magazine for economic news:

1. On 2 February, Guy Grimland warned about a growing phenomenon of boycott of Israeli high-tech companies, and several Israeli companies received letters from European and U.S. companies explaining that they cannot invest in Israel for moral reasons.

2. In 3 February, Nehemia Strassler, one of Israel's most famous economic correspondents, attacked the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Eli Yishai, for calling on the Israeli military to "destroy one hundred homes in Gaza for every rocket that falls in Israel." Strassler had nothing to say about the Palestinians living in these homes or about the loss of life, but he warned:

"[the minister] doesn't even understand how the operation in Gaza hurts the economy. The horror sights on television and the words of politicians in Europe and Turkey change the behavior of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice. Intellectuals call for an economic war against us and to enforce an official and full consumer boycott.

Calls are heard in board meetings of economic corporations to boycott trade relations with Israel. So far deals were cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and the Gulf States, and visits by economic delegations were cancelled. It’s much easier now to switch providers while abandoning Israeli providers. Many company boards are required to take wide considerations into account with regards to the good of society and the environment, and they put political considerations in that slot as well.

Of course there is an economic cost to severing diplomatic ties. Qatar cut its trade relations with Israel, Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic relations. Mauritania recalled its ambassador and the relations with Turkey worsened considerably—and this bad ambience seeps into the business sector decisions. Here, just yesterday Dudi Ovshitz, who grows peppers for export, said that 'there is a concealed boycott of Israeli products in Europe.'"

3. On 6 February, Shuki Sadeh wrote about even more companies that have decided to boycott relations with Israel. A Turkish company demanded that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza before they can offer their services for it. Sadeh quoted Naomi Klein's recent call for boycott, the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott and Israeli organizations that support the boycott and provide information for the global BDS movement. Sadeh's article also had concerned quotes by Israeli businessmen who demanded government intervention to protect them from the growing boycott.

4. In 11 February, Ora Koren reported that the Israeli business sectors feel the effects of the attack on Gaza. She reported that Israeli businessmen in Turkey are hiding their names so that the local BDS organizations won't learn about their activities, and that the situation is even worse in the UK.

These four articles are a sign that there is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel, and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel, or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law, and ending the occupation.



Jewish Peace News editors:
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Judith Norman
Lincoln Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman

Jewish Peace News archive and blog:
http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com

Jewish Peace News sends its news clippings only to subscribers. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or manage your subscription, go to http://www.jewishpeacenews.net


Related Articles @ http://www.alternativenews.org/content/view/1605/381/

An Open Letter to the Authors of a Petition against the UCU Vote for an Academic
Citizens of Israel in support of the proposal for a UNISON Economic and Cultural
UK University and College Union Boycott Resolutions: Full Text and Results
Squeezing Palestinians into Mission Impossible
The Embarrassment of the Wretched
Faculty Perspective UNI Michigan


Press Release
Wednesday 4th March 2009

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was launched today at a press
conference chaired by Stéphane Hessel, Ambassador of France. The
initiators, Ken Coates, Chairman of the Bertrand Russell Peace
Foundation, Leila Shahid, General Delegate of Palestine to the
European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg and Nurit Peled, Sakharov Prize
for Freedom of Thought, discussed the history and reasons on why they
called for the creation of this Tribunal. Speaking for the Organising
Committee, the former Belgian Senator Pierre Galand explained how it
will work. Amongst more than a hundred international personalities who
have given their support to this Tribunal, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty,
Raji Surani, Jean Ziegler, François Rigaux, Jean Salmon and François
Maspero were present to give encouragement.

In the tradition of the Russell Tribunal on War Crimes in Vietnam, the
Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a citizens’ initiative that aims to
reaffirm the primacy of international law as the basis for solving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and at raising awareness of the
responsibility of the international community in the continuing denial
of the rights of the Palestinian people.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine will base its work on Experts’ and
Witnesses’ Committees that will establish the factsand build up the
legal arguments that will be presented to the Tribunal. National
Support Committees will contribute to the preparation of experts’
reports, promote popular mobilisation and media coverage and
participate in fundraising. We can already count on strong support
from the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Austria,
the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Lebanon, Algeria, Australia,
Italy, South Africa, Egypt and, of course, from Israel and Palestine.
Further contacts are under way for the creation of such Committees in
other countries and continents.

Once the accusation has been fully prepared and the witnesses
summoned, the sessions of the Tribunal will be organised at the
beginning of 2010 in several major capitals. A jury made up of
well-known personalities who are respected for their high moral
standing will consider the reports and hear the witnesses for and
against.

The jury will announce its conclusions which, we are persuaded, will
attract widespread international public and political support, thereby
contributing to a just and durable peace in the Middle East.

– Contact –

Tel / fax: 00 32 (0)2 2310174
Cell Phone: 00 32 (0) 479 12 95 32
E-mail:

Website: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com

 


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