Jan 4, 2011

#BDS: Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel

Dear Brother Trumka:
As labor and anti-apartheid activists, we strongly disagree with your October 27 speech denouncing the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The BDS campaign was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society — including its entire labor movement. Inspired by the international boycott that helped topple apartheid South Africa, it demands Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of refugees to return to the land from which they have been ethnically cleansed since the Nakba of 1947-1948, and equal rights for all throughout historic Palestine.
Support for BDS has grown rapidly, especially since December 27, 2008, when Israel broke a truce with the democratically-elected Palestinian government and attacked Gaza. In the resulting massacre, Israel killed more than 1400 Palestinians, hundreds of them children; maimed and wounded thousands more; and utterly devastated Gaza’s infrastructure, including the Gaza headquarters of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions.
In the best tradition of labor solidarity, South African and Australian dockworkers responded by refusing to handle Israeli cargo, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) “call[ed] on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.”
Read more and sign the petition

#BDS: Israeli food company Strauss defends supporting IDF

One of the Facebook pictures from “Boycott Sabra Hummus” page

The chairwoman of an Israeli food and beverages company slammed a campaign by students at Princeton University and Chicago's DePaul University to boycott a popular brand of hummus, the Sabra label, co-owned with PepsiCo, as “against all the good things” her company does.

Students sympathetic to the Palestinian cause in Princeton carried out a vote on the popular hummus and the results showed that Sabra's abuses were "tenuous" at most, according to a report recently published by Forbes magazine.
The story was picked up by international media in furious op-ed pieces against the Sabra label and a Facebook page ("Boycott Sabra Hummus") was created to further push for a boycott of the product.

The student campaign against the hummus came after Strauss Group, Israel’s second largest food and beverages company, posted a statement on its website saying that it commits funds "for welfare, cultural and educational activities" to officers in the Israeli Army’s Golani Brigade, which has fought in every major war since the Jewish state was created in 1948, according to Forbes.

Strauss Group’s 50-year-old chairwoman, Ofra Strauss, who is a third-generation member of the family business, is a proud supporter of the Israeli forces.

"For us, Israeli soldiers are not army; Israeli soldiers are our kids," Strauss told Forbes in an interview. "When children of this country are in need, we will be there." 

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#BDS: Petition to the Board of Directors of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board


We, members of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, ask the Board of Governors of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board to initiate the process that will make the necessary changes in legislation and investment policy which would enable the Plan to:

1. Immediately divest from the following five companies in its portfolio: Lockheed Martin, Finning International, Cement Roadstone Holdings, Siemens AG, and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates; 

2. Become a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Investment Initiative;


3. Divest from, as well as refrain from investing in, any company that contributes to violations of human rights or international law by:
- directly profiting from, or contributing to, the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
- providing products or services that contribute to the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements and/or the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law;
- providing products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.

#BDS: Opposition groups urge Jordanian government to sever ties with Israel

Statement comes in the wake of reports that national security chief Uzi Arad met secretly with Jordanian FM in Amman last week.

A coalition of Jordanian opposition parties and trade unions on Monday rebuked the government for secretly receiving the chief of Israel's National Security Council, Uzi Arad, in Amman last week, and urged the rupture of ties with Israel.
The protest follows reports that Arad paid a secret visit to Jordan on December 27 and met with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
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#BDS: Jerusalem marathon changes course

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Sportswear company Adidas forced the Jerusalem Municipality to reroute a planned marathon to avoid occupied Palestinian neighborhoods, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv said Adidas threatened to withdraw sponsorship from the event after the company was lobbied by human rights organizations.

The newspaper reported that several organizations threatened to boycott the company over the issue.

The report said the March race would be held within the Green Line, in what Ma'ariv described as a submission to Adidas.

Three municipal council members wrote to Adidas in December urging the sportswear retailer to withdraw sponsorship unless the route was changed. 

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#BDS: MKs urge boycott of Israeli companies building new Palestinian city

Forty-eight Knesset members have signed a petition calling to boycott Israeli companies which are involved in building the Palestinian city of Rawabi and who committed to divest from Israeli settlements during their work there.
"Israeli companies have sold their Zionist souls and their national solidarity for a handful of dollars," the petition read, which called on cabinet ministers to refrain from cooperating with some 20 Israeli companies who committed to boycott Israeli products from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.
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