Dec 4, 2010

#BDS: Boycott roundup: French companies to drop out of Jerusalem rail project

In a significant victory for the global Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, French companies Veolia and Alstom have dropped out of the Jerusalem light rail project due to sustained pressure from Palestine solidarity groups. The companies were contracted by the Israeli government to construct and manage the tramway linking Jerusalem to several illegal Israeli settlement colonies in the occupied West Bank.

The Associated Press reported on 28 November that Yoni Yitzhak, the spokesperson for Veolia Israel, "denied the company had succumbed to political pressures," saying that "[a]ll decisions by Veolia Israel are based on financial, not political, considerations ("French firm drops out of Israeli light rail project," 28 November 2010).

However, a spokesperson for Dan bus lines, an Israeli company that hoped to secure the contract after Veolia dropped out, said that Veolia had told Dan executives that the company had decided to end its involvement in the Jerusalem light rail project specifically because of the mounting BDS campaigns and political pressure, according to the Associated Press report.

#BDS: Update on Sabra Hummus in Princeton University

This particular attack on Sabra hummus is seen as a pet project of the Philly BDS, which seeks to boycott, divest and bring sanctions against companies that support the Israeli Defense Forces. Essentially, this group seeks to condemn Israel and its powerful military forces by accusing them of human rights violations. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is not exclusively tied to the U.S., similar campaigns can be found in Canada, as:
Well hummus is just the latest target in a long line of commercial and ideological boycotts targeted at the Israeli government. Not simply an American movement, Canadian students have also actively supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign, which was initiated in 2005 with the intention of pressuring the Israeli government to “end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and “[recognize] the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.”