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The CEO of Soda Club, an Israeli company with a production facility in the settlement industrial zone of Mishor Adumim, has vowed to stop the protests happening outside its UK shop.

Daniel Birnbaum told local paper The Argus today that the firm will take legal action to clear the protesters from in front of their store.

Ecostream, Soda Club’s store in Brighton has faced biweekly pickets outside its shop in Western Road by supporters of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, occupation and militarism. These are accompanied by smaller counter demonstrations by a coalition of Zionists and Christian Zionists handing out material from the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) and the US based  ‘We Stand With Israel’. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Energy has decided to drop G4S as its meter reading contractor following complaints from customers that its contract with the notorious security giant flies in the face of its ethical policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Given at a talk at Garden Court Chambers organised by the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities – listen to it here

On February 22nd Anshel Pfeffer, writing about Corporate Watch’s recent book Targeting Israeli Apartheid in Ha’aretz, claimed that “while the movement has managed to mobilize thousands of supporters around the world to send online entreaties that convince performers, many of whom see themselves as human-rights activists, to avoid Israel, the corporations and some of the more famous performers who are less exposed to Facebook campaigns, have been impervious.” We feel that this is gross misjudgement of the BDS movement.

To say that the BDS movement has been confined to online activism is to ignore the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated in European cities during the massacre in Gaza and the great many acts of direct action against companies profiting from Israeli apartheid, militarism and occupation. To give just one example, during the 2009 attack on Gaza six British activists broke into the EDO/ITT weapons factory (now a part of ITT Exelys) and caused $300,000 worth of damage, disabling the production line and preventing the manufacture of weapons components bound for Israel. In 2010 a British jury found the activists not guilty on the basis that they had acted to prevent war crimes. Read the rest of this entry »

Smash EDO, the campaign to shut down the EDO MBM arms factory in Brighton, is planning three months of action, dubbed the ‘Summer of Resistance’ in May, June and July 2012. However, they are facing opposition from Tory council members. Read the rest of this entry »

Download Targeting Israeli apartheid hereThe rules of engagement

Order a copy

Taking its cue from the unified Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, Targeting Israeli Apartheid examines the Israeli economy and details the Israeli and international companies complicit in Israeli state repression. Based on original research in Palestine, the book shows how these companies can be targeted and provides the international BDS movement with the information necessary to bring the Palestinian struggle to the doorsteps of those who profit from Israeli apartheid. The book begins by examining the Israeli economy industry by industry and suggesting where the movement should focus its campaigning energy in order to be most effective. Part two contains five in-depth geographical case studies. The final section looks at how campaigners can bring the fight home to the UK. Targeting Israeli Apartheid picks out Barclays Bank as the British bank with the most substantial investments in Israeli companies, including companies based in Israeli settlements. The book goes on to examine the investments of several British universities and UK pension funds revealing investments in companies based in Israeli settlements and arms companies supplying weapons to the Israeli state. Finally, the book shows how charities registered in the UK donate to the Israeli army and settlements.

“Targeting Israeli Apartheid is the guide many of us in the movement have been waiting for. This forensic, clear and systematic account details the where, who, how and why of the flows of capital and contracts which enable the colonisation of Palestine to continue.”
– Ewa Jasiewicz – Coordinator of the Free Gaza movement

The rationale for this book is simple: information for action. Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a BDS Handbook provides the international BDS movement with the information necessary to bring the Palestinian struggle to the doorsteps of those profiting from Israeli apartheid. Click here to order a copy of Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Handbook

Arms manufacturer ITT has split into three independent companies. Its arms manufacturing business will be renamed ITT Exelis, its Industrial Process and Flow Control division will keep the ITT name, while the Water and Waste division will become Xylem. The companies will be listed separately on the New York Stock Exchange. There has also been speculation that US arms giant Raytheon may buy ITT Exelis. Read the rest of this entry »

The rules of engagement Order a copy

Taking its cue from the unified Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, Targeting Israeli Apartheid examines the Israeli economy and details the Israeli and international companies complicit in Israeli state repression. Based on original research in Palestine, the book shows how these companies can be targeted and provides the international BDS movement with the information necessary to bring the Palestinian struggle to the doorsteps of those who profit from Israeli apartheid. The book begins by examining the Israeli economy industry by industry and suggesting where the movement should focus its campaigning energy in order to be most effective. Part two contains five in-depth geographical case studies. The final section looks at how campaigners can bring the fight home to the UK. Targeting Israeli Apartheid picks out Barclays Bank as the British bank with the most substantial investments in Israeli companies, including companies based in Israeli settlements. The book goes on to examine the investments of several British universities and UK pension funds revealing investments in companies based in Israeli settlements and arms companies supplying weapons to the Israeli state. Finally, the book shows how charities registered in the UK donate to the Israeli army and settlements.

“Targeting Israeli Apartheid is the guide many of us in the movement have been waiting for. This forensic, clear and systematic account details the where, who, how and why of the flows of capital and contracts which enable the colonisation of Palestine to continue.”
– Ewa Jasiewicz – Coordinator of the Free Gaza movement

The rationale for this book is simple: information for action. Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a BDS Handbook provides the international BDS movement with the information necessary to bring the Palestinian struggle to the doorsteps of those profiting from Israeli apartheid. Click here to order a copy of Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Handbook

Press Contact: Tom Anderson

tel: 02074260005

Email: contact@corporatewatch.org

Corporate Watch has just released a book, Targeting Israeli Apartheid: A Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Handbook, encouraging campaigners to take direct action against the British companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, militarism and colonisation. Read the rest of this entry »

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is a pension fund in the United Kingdom. Its members include staff in United Kingdom universities, mainly those that were universities prior to 1992. (Staff in the post-1992 universities are mostly members of the Teachers Pension Scheme.) USS claims to be “the second largest pension scheme in the UK by fund size”.1 Read the rest of this entry »

The North Yorkshire Pension fund is invested in by dozens of UK employers. They include local councils, universites and charities. A full list of employers investing in the fund can be found here

The following is a list of companies which the fund invest in that are complicit in Israeli apartheid, militarism and occupation, companies who operate in Israel, sell Israeli goods or invest in an of the above.

This is not a divestment list, simply a guide for campaigners hoping to put pressure on the fund

Read the rest of this entry »

Mexican multinational building materials company Cemex says it is “committed to abide by the laws and regulations of every jurisdiction in which we operate.”[1] However, research by Who Profits?, a project of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, reveals a different picture. It found that the company is, in fact, involved in several illegal activities in the occupied West Bank, Adri Nieuwhof writes. Read the rest of this entry »

Joint talk by Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity and Corporate Watch

view at http://www.inminds.com/article.php?id=10503

by Adri Nieuwhof and Basma Salem

On 11 March 2011, the Danish-British security firm G4S announced its exit from some contracts in the West Bank. The company will continue to deliver security services to illegal settlements in the West Bank and to prisons in Israel.

G4S came under scrutiny after Who Profits, part of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, and Danish financial watchdog DanWatch, revealed in November last year that the company supplied equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints, police stations and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons.

See http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11678.shtml and http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11718.shtml

Following the disclosure of G4S involvement in the Israeli occupation, which was extensively reported in the Danish media, local politicians from socialist parties in Copenhagen, Gladsaxe, Roskilde, Odense and Aarhus have put the contracts of the municipalities with G4S on the agenda
of their city council. Read the rest of this entry »

Volvo and Caterpillar machinery carried out the illegal demolition of a historic building in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday 9th January 2011[1] (see photo here http://www.presstv.ir/detail/159400.html and video at http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/jerusalem/3165-video-shepherd-hotel-demolition-)[1]

The Shepherd Hotel before the demolitions - Picture by Corporate Watch April 2010

The demolition of the Shepherd Hotel - Photo from activestills.org

The Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem,  constructed in the 1930s,  was once the home of the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.  It was confiscated by Israel in 1967.[2] The demolition was carried out on behalf of American millionaire, and supporter of  the Judaization (the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in favour of Jewish colonisation) of Jerusalem, Irving Muskowitz, of the Muskowitz Charitable Foundation (http://www.moskowitzfoundation.org/).[3]  Israeli and Palestinian activists have been protesting against the planned demolition since March 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Tear gas canisters fired from a vehicle mounted launcher during a weekly demonstration in Bil In Photo courtesy of Bil In Popular Committee

The Israeli government and its army have been for years now using the West Bank and Gaza as their testing ground. The Palestinians are their guinea pigs. The Israeli army uses tear gas that would probably be banned in any other countries in the world. They shoot tear gas, directly at protesters, once again, an illegal act. But a very rewarding one. Israel’s security industry is booming. It’s never been this good. Countries all over the world are buying Israel’s expertise in security, crowd control and weaponry every day. Israeli soldiers are training other countries commandos all over the planet”[1]

From the blog, Bil’in: A Village of Palestine, 02/01/11

Jawaher Abu Rahma - Killed by teargas inhalation on 31/12/10 - Photo by Oren Ziv, Active Stills

Bassem Abu Rahma - Killed by an impact wound from a Teargas canister fired at him while demonstrating in Bil In in April 2009 - Photo from Active Stills

On New Year’s Eve 2010, whilst much of the world was celebrating, over a thousand people demonstrated in the Palestinian village of Bil’in against Israel’s encroachment on the village’s land, Israeli tear gas and rubber bullets rained down on the protesters and Jawaher Abu Rahma, who had joined the march to the apartheid wall and retreated to the sidelines after the first Israeli volleys of gas, choked to death as gas enveloped the village.

A report from Bil’in residents said that “Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas from the moment protestors entered their sight. It is obvious that for the army, the mere presence of unarmed demonstrators is reason enough to use chemical weapons against them.”[2]. Read the rest of this entry »

Vichy advertising in the illegal settlement of Ariel

I am writing to you from Corporate Watch, a London based research group. We have recently returned from a research trip in the occupied West Bank.

In the West Bank we noted with concern that Vichy promotional material and sales/display areas were set up in several pharmacies in illegal Israeli settlements. We noticed Vichy window displays and products for sale in the settlements of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim (photos attached).

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council calls upon “all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories” (1979). This was strengthened by the International Court of Justice’s 2005 ruling that states should ensure that no assistance is given to the settlements. The construction of settlements like Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim has resulted in home demolitions, expulsions and the fragmentation of the West Bank into isolated cantons.

Will Vichy make moves to ensure that your products are not sold in Israeli settlements?

 

 

Vichy advertising in Ma'ale Adumim

Vichy advertising in Ma'ale Adumim

Demolitions using Volvo machinery in the Jordan Valley village of Abu al Ajaj- Photos from Jordan Valley Solidairty

Volvo machinery was used to demolish houses of bedouin in the Palestinian village of Abu al Ajaj on Wednesday 24th November 2010. The same week a wave of demolitions occurred across the West Bank and Israel, including the demolition of the village of Al Araqib in the Naqab (Negev).

Abu al Ajaj is situated in the Al Jiftlik area of the Jordan Valley, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, next to the Israeli colony of Massua. At 5am two Volvo bulldozers and 200 soldiers raided and demolished one house and three animal shelters in the Abu al Ajaj. Three tin buildings and one tent were also destroyed, two men were arrested and several injured. Several baby goats were killed and many were injured in the destruction. The estimated cost of the damage stands at around 120,000 NIS.[2]

Goats killed during demolitions in Abu al Ajaj

Read the rest of this entry »

Impertec Supergum in Maale Efraim

Impertec/Supergum Industries – One of the companies in Ma’ale Efraim is Impertec ‘Supergum’.

Impertec is part of the ‘Supergum Group’. Impertec and Supergum are sister companies with the same owners.  Impertec manufactures gas masks, riot gear and rubber extrusions. Supergum manufacture rubber, plastic and sealing products. Both product ranges have military applications Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate Watch visited the Ma’ale Efraim industrial zone during May 2010. Ma’ale Efraim is the only industrial zone in the Jordan Valley, situated on the road to Nablus. The industrial area is attached to the settlement of Ma’ale Efraim, an illegal settlement home to 1641 colonisers.

Ma’ale Efraim was established as a military  settlement in 1978 on land seized by military order. The settlement was civilianized in 1979 and further land was seized as ‘state’ land. To the West of the settlement is an IDF military base.

Ma’ale Efraim industrial zone is largely dormant, a holding exercise to monopolise the land. Many of the factory buildings are empty. However a few Palestinian workers were working in the warehouses.

Sign at the entrance to Maale Efraim Industrial Zone

The above sign shows some of the businesses and type of business working in Maale Efraim:

“Maale Efrayim Industrial Zone,
1 –  Administration, Fior, Karabian Woodshop, Ami Koren – Food Marketing, Raphi Cohen, Fuller Strapping Products, Avia Printing, Radio Mars, Peer Israel
2 Brom, GBIG, Aqua Print
3 Jordan Valley Productions, Steel Mills, B. erushalmi, SuperGum, Center Gas, Metuman 2000, Tel Bar
4 Faber Bros, Cactus Plantation
also – Meir Moving, General and Crane Haulage, Apartment Removals, Moran Professional Cleaning Equipment” 

The logos displayed in the middle section read – “Maale Efrayim and Jordan Valley Industrial Area Administration, State of Israel, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Jewish Agency Settlement Department, Maale Efrayim Local Council, Jordan Valley Regional Council”

Impertec Supergum in Maale Efraim

Moran Professional Cleaning Equipment van in Maale Efraim settlement industrial zone

Israel has recently sealed a deal to purchase 20 F-35 Joint Striker Jets from Lockheed Martin. This contract, the largest purchase made by the state of Israel is covered by a US military aid package. The F-35 is expected to replace the F16 as Israel’s main attack weapon. Israeli F-16s were used in attacks on civilian target, including police stations, government buildings and hospitals, during Israel’s massacre in Gaza in January 2009. The deal had stalled over negotiations as to whether the jets could be fitted with Israeli made missiles and electronic warfare systems. Lockheed refused, saying that the package was a “closed deal”. This stipulation will ensure that the IAF is reliant on the global arms trade for weapons components over the coming years. However, as a sweetener, it has been pledged that some Israeli made weapons systems will be installed on future F-35 purchases. Other companies working on the project are Pratt and Whitney in Connecticut and General Electric in Ohio.

See http://www.israel-palestinenews.org/2010/10/israel-seals-unprecedented-weapons.html and http://www.dsca.osd.mil/PressReleases/36-b/2008/Israel_08-83.pdf and http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/israel-plans-to-buy-over-100-f35s-02381/

Israel tourism advert from G2

A few weeks ago the Guardian’s G2 supplement ran a series of adverts for tourism in Israel. One of them,  shown above, describes a holiday in Israel as a ‘unique experience’. Damn right its a unique experience; interrogation by surly airport security, sharing buses with hordes of armed to the teeth Israeli adolescents and the chance to see the old city of Jerusalem policed by racist goons with a quota of Palestinian residents to harass. For the more adventurous tourist there’s the deserted and terrorised streets of the old city of Hebron, daubed with xenophobic graffiti, the apartheid wall, collective puishmment, targeted assassinations, house demolitions, torture and repression – the possibilities are endless.

None of that was mentioned in the G2 adverts. Readers are presented with a picture of a couple enjoying the Dead Sea Coast – much of which is in illegally occupied territory (see https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/kibbutz-kalia-part-1-a-holiday-in-israeli-apartheid/). Read the rest of this entry »

Greenhouses in Ro'i illegal settlement

As part of Corporate Watch’s efforts to map settlement exports from the Jordan Valley, we visited the illegal Israeli settlement of Ro’i earlier this year.

Established in 1976, Ro’i is a “typical” Jordan Valley settlement in that it has a low population (of less than 150 settlers), but has stolen large areas of land from the indigenous Palestinian population. With its private security, army protection and rows upon rows of greenhouses, Ro’i poses a challenge to the existence of Bedouin communities such as nearby Al Hadidya and Ras-Al Ahmar, who are under constant threat of house demolitions and army harassment aimed at the  ethnic cleansing of bedouin from the area. The Israeli’s described these communities as a “security threat” to the settlers.

Al Hadidya is located just next to Ro’i, which was partially built on their land, and inhabitants have to more or less drive through the the outskirts of the settlement in order to reach their home. Any company trading from Ro’i, or importing their produce, are directly responsible for the very real possibility of Al Hadidya’s forced extinction.

Al Hadidya's - in the shadow of Ro'i settlement

Read the rest of this entry »

On 9 June 2010 activists in Al-Walaja lock themselves to Volvo equipment to disrupt Israel's illegal activities.

by Adri Nieuwhof,

Photos by Activestills: Keren Manor, Anne Paq and Oren Ziv

Over the past few years the use of Volvo equipment in Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of the wall has been documented. Mr. M. Wikforss, Vice President of Media Relations & Corporate News of Volvo Group, response to an article in The Electronic Intifada of 2 July 2007, was that Volvo Group does not condone the destructive use of Volvo equipment and would regret the use of its products for destructive purposes. Wikforss claimed, “we do not have any control over the use of our products, other than to affirm in our business activities a Code of Conduct that decries unethical behavior.”

In its advisory opinion on the wall of July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed the illegality of the construction of the wall and Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. According to the ICJ construction activities should stop immediately and the wall and settlements should be dismantled. Palestinians who lost property because of the illegal construction activities should be compensated for their loss.

The Volvo Group Code of Conduct states that “within its sphere of influence, the Volvo Group supports and respects the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensures that it is not complicit in human rights abuses.” Read the rest of this entry »

given by Corporate Watch at the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair:

http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2010/05/451860.html

Almost every morning, between 3 and 4am, hundreds of workers from outside the Jordan Valley, from towns as far away as Nablus and even Jenin, queue at Al Hamra checkpoint, sometimes for hours, to get to work at the Israeli settlements in the valley. Often workers arrive too early, for fear of losing their job if the delays are bad, and sleep in the fields on the other side of the checkpoint.

Palestinian workers on Israeli settlements are routinely paid below minimum wage.

The settler bosses are seldom seen before the more civilised time of 9am.

Workers often encounter repression at Al Hamra checkpoint. Corporate Watch has heard reports and witnessed Palestinians being bodysearched, stripsearched or forced to wear blindfold while soldiers check IDs. Travellers are often subjected to insults and abuse by soldiers at Al Hamra.

Workers on their journey to work near Al Hamra

Al Hamra checkpoint

Al Hamra checkpooint

Al Hamra

Factories in Barkan Industrial Zone

The Barkan industrial zone, part of the Ariel settlement block, was founded in 1982 and is the second largest industrial zone in the West Bank. As all industrial zones connected to settlements, businesses operating there receive generous tax reductions from the Israeli government. During the last few years Barkan has been making the BDS headlines through campaigns against companies such as Mul-T-Lock (Assa Abloy) and Beigel and Beigel. One company located in Barkan is the Israeli owned kosher food distributor Shamir Salads (51% owned by Willi-Food) who, according to their web-site, export their produce to Russia, the UK, Holland, Denmark, France, Ukraine, Canada and the US. Specialising in ready made salads and various houmous and aubergine dips, they also service “several food distribution routes for the Israeli Defence Forces”. Shamir Salads have been exposed as deliberately mislabelling their settlement produce, with the latest evidence being produced by Gush Shalom, an Israeli group calling for a boycott of Israel’s settlements, in March, when they found Shamir Salads products in the Netherlands labelled as Israeli despite being made in their Barkan facility (see http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/press_releases/1269703726/ ).

Read the rest of this entry »

Arava Export Packing House in Tomer

Arava – http://www.arv.co.ilArava Export Growers is the third largest agricultural export company in Israel, with export sales of about € 60 million. It is 50% owned by B. Gaon Holdings and 50% by farmers in the Arava region of Israel. Arava advertise that their products comply to organic EUREGAP and British Retail Consortium Standards, suggesting a focus on exports to Europe. Arava have a sales office in the UK run by Mill Associates. Arava have subsidiaries in the US and Holland with head offices in New York and Bleiswijk respectively.

Veolia truck picking up rubbish from Tomer settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley

Veolia, possibly the international company providing the largest amount of services to Israel’s illegal settlements, has been observed picking up waste from the settlements of Tomer and Massua in the Jordan Valley. In 2009 Corporate Watch photographed Veolia garbage trucks picking up waste in Massua settlement. Last week we spotted a Veolia vehicle picking up rubbish from Tomer.

Veolia are also part of Citypass, the consortium building the Jerusalem Light Railway on occupied territory, and run bus routes between several of Israel’s illegal settlements. They also run the Tovlan landfill waste dump, again on occupied territory, in the Jordan Valley.

See http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3433 for more details

For more information see Adri Nieuwhof in Electronic Intifada – http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10909.shtml

Veolia collecting rubbish from Massua settlement in the Jordan Valley

Cargo Terminal Close to Tulkarem

The Nitzanei Shalom settlement industrial zone was built on the land of the West Bank town of Tulkarem in the early eighties.  The land was confiscated by order of the Israeli military. The name means the ‘buds of peace’. Presently the zone houses eight factories owned by Israelis but worked in by Palestinians. The zone has been accused of causing a deterioration in health for the nearby residents of Tulkarem, unsafe working conditions and underpaying workers.

Corporate Watch interviewed several workers from the Solor and Yamit factories:

More info on Solor from Who Profits

More info on Yamit from Who Profits Read the rest of this entry »

Bobcat machines in Katzerin

Katzerin is a settlement of 6444 people situated in the occupied Golan Height. It was established on the land of the Syrian area of Fakhura.

Simmons – http://www.simmons.com International mattress company based in US. Simmons have an office in the UK:

Simmons Bedding Group plc
Knight Road, Rochester
Kent, England ME2 2BP
United Kingdom

Lithotech – Produce kidney stones’ removal devices, sold by special agreement worldwide by Cook Urology (USA). See ‘Who Profits’ for more details.

Bobcat – http://www.bobcat.com – Bobcat are a manufacturer of construction equipment who are known to hire equipement, through Emcol, for the construction and maintenance of settlements.  Bobcat Company is a business of Doosan Infracore International, a US-based subsidiary of Doosan Infracore (South Korea). Bobcat machnes were seen working on the road in Katzerin industrial zone. See ‘Who Profits’ for more details. Read the rest of this entry »

Lee Cooper are one of the only British retail companies to operate in the settlements. The company have a branch in Adumim Mall in theillegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim (see https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/evidence-of-british-company-lee-cooper-trading-in-illegal-israeli-settlement/)

They have a head office in London and branches in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, France, Australia, Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, Lebanon, Turkey and many more.  See:

http://www.thestoryworks.com/leecooper/newsite/store_UK_01.htm

Lee Cooper have head offices in London (brands) and Slough

Bnei Yehuda settlement was established in 1972 after Israel’s occupation of the Golan heights, it was reportedly set up by workers from Israeli Aircraft Industries (www.iai.co.il). It is on the site of the Syrian area of Scopia which was depopulated when the Israeli military forced most of the Syrian residents of the Golan Heights out of their homes. It now has 1036 residents.

Bnei Yehuda boasts a Carmel Agrexco packing house. Agrexco are the largest exporter of fresh produce from the settlements to Europe and elsewhere.

On the road leading to Bnei Yehuda a factory bearing the Elbit logo can be seen. The factory appears to be manufacturing aircraft. Elbit operate in the UK and are involved in testing unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) at ParcAberporth in Wales (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3470).

Near the entrance to Bnei Yehuda industrial area is a sign offering free land to people who want to settle, on the expropriated Syrian land, in Bnei Yehuda.

Sign offering free land for settlers in Bnei Yehuda

Read the rest of this entry »

Tram trial run

East Jerusalem tram line signpost

Depot near Shu'afat

JCB machines working on the tramline

Palestinian workers working on the tramline

 

Veolia, a French multinational, are involved in several projects in occupied Palestine, providing services to Israel’s illegal settlements (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3433, http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3474 and http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3514). Veolia has come under intense pressure to pull out of the Citypass Consortium, the group of companies responsible for building the Jerusalem Light Railway. After years of pressure Veolia has attempted to pull out of the scheme but has not been able to extricate itself from its contractual obligations to the Israeli government.

We decided to spend a few hours walking the route of the tramline from Jaffa St to the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev. The line connects illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem and the Old City. We walked along Jaffa Street to the walls of the old city. Past the border police checking Palestinian IDs at New Gate and on to Damascus Gate. From Damascus Gate the line runs west stopping frequently outside the hotels and Jewish religious communities built on occupied Palestinan land on Nablus road. The tramway runs past the settlement buildings and Palestinian houses occupied by settlers in Sheikh Jarrah and stops outside the settlement of Giv’at Ha Mivtar. The line passes through the Ramot Eshkol area, a settlement built on the land of the Palestinian area of Lifta and splits into two with one line running straight to the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev.

The line conveniently bypasses the Hizmah checkpoint leading to the lands of Shu’afat and Hizma. These lands are encircled by a 6 foot fence, rolls of barbed wire and a military road overlooked by a military watchtower. About half a kilometre along the road the tram line returns from its detour in the affluent community of Pisgat Ze’ev. Pisgat Ze’ev is a settlement of over 4000 people established in 1985 on the land of Palestinians from Beit Hanina and Hizma.

Signpost for Ne'ot Golan

Ne'ot Golan Packing house

The illegal settlement of Ne’ot Golan was established in 1967 after Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights. It was established on the land of the Syrian city of Fiq. The above picture is of the apple packing house beonging to the settlement.  Apples from Israeli settlements in the Golan are exported internationally.

Above is a picture of the construction of a packing house on the land of the regional council of the Jordan Valley settlements. Local Palestinians say that this is to be a new packing house for Carmel Agrexco. Agrexco already run packing houses for fruit and  vegetables, bound for export, on dozens of illegal settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

The western Welsh county of Ceredigion is home to Danger Area D201, a former RAF missile testing ground, now converted into a 22km x 1.5km restricted airspace for the testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The area is the embodiment of the tangled relationships existing between corporate, governmental and private commercial interests. A section of the old RAF land is now operated by arms giant QinetiQ; the runway is owned by the same private businessman who runs the local airport; and at the centre of this hub of UAV promotion is the ParcAberporth facility, made possible, and owned by, the Welsh Assembly. Read the rest of this entry »

A Waitrose in South Woodford, north-east London, unwittingly played host to a group of demonstrators from Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign (WFPSC) and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) on 7th November. The campaigners were protesting against Waitrose’s policy of stocking illegal settlement produce. After Waitrose, protesters emerged at Morrisons in Chingford, where they stickered some Israeli-produced citrus fruit and dates with boycott slogans. The actions were part of a ‘week of supermarket boycott action’ in protest against supermarkets stocking Israeli goods, the sales of which fund the Israeli apartheid system of oppression and occupation in Palestine.

Link: http://wfpsc.blogspot.com/2009/11/chingford-morrisons-and-south-woodford.html

The Carmel Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex, was blockaded for three days (6th – 8th November) by Palestine solidarity campaigners to raise awareness over the continued sale of illegal settlement produce in the UK. Protesters endured freezing temperatures,and violence and aggression from both Carmel staff and the police.

Five protesters were arrested. Link: www.bigcampaign.org/index.php?mact=CGBlog

Kav LaOved, an Israeli workers’ rights organisation which provides support and advocacy for Palestinian workers in the West Bank, has issued a call for solidarity with workers from several factories based in the Barkan industrial settlement, built on stolen Palestinian land in the Salfit governorate. Read the rest of this entry »

Read the rest of this entry »

The mass mobilisation against September’s G20 Summit in Pittsburgh was met with a characteristically brutal response from US Homeland ‘Security’. In many ways, police repression of UK protests pales in comparison to American political policing, with activists being routinely arrested under various terrorism-related charges and local and federal law enforcement agencies rolling out military style operations, complete with temporary detention facilities and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each. The Pittsburgh police, however, may well have distinguished themselves as hitting a new low in the erosion of US civil liberty. Alongside US police staples such as rubber bullets, tear gas and ‘flash bang’ stun grenades, the Pittsburgh authorities unleashed an acoustic weapon, one of a new generation of ‘non-lethal’ military devices, used not only to disperse and intimidate protesters, but to gain control over their behaviour. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporations have an ever increasing role in wars and conflicts around the world. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was carried out with the participation of corporations, such as arms and private military companies, and for the benefit of private companies hoping to exploit the country’s market and resources. Similarly, arms companies in the UK benefit from Israel’s continued assault on Palestine. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate Watch and Disarm DSEi have produced a map showing the locations of all 924 exhibitors at the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair. The map is intended to show that the arms trade is present in every community in the UK. The map also represents the first stage in Corporate Watch’s ‘Mapping the Arms Trade’ project aimed at creating a comprehensive interactive map showing locations of arms dealers across the UK. The map can be viewed at www.dsei.org. Read the rest of this entry »

The Green Park construction company is engaged in building illegal settlements in the West Bank, notably, the settlements of Mattiyahu East and Modi’in Illit, which have been built on land annexed from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, by the Israeli apartheid wall. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate Watch’s new project, ‘mapping the arms trade’, will map the physical locations of arms companies across the UK and examine the UK arms industry. It will also be necessary to unravel the web of contradictory government statements and figures about the arms trade through which the state gives an impression of control on arms exports. In this first article, Corporate Watch focuses on UK arms sales to Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

As Palestine solidarity campaigners continue to hold protests and take direct action against Israeli exporter Carmel-Agrexco, the Israeli government tries to ‘confuse’ the boycott campaign against the company by allowing it to export flowers grown in Gaza in a Valentine-special PR exercise.


‘Goodwill gesture’?

On 12th February, two days prior to Valentine’s Day, the Israeli army allowed 25,000 carnation flowers grown by Palestinian growers in the Gaza Strip to cross the border into Israel, through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and be shipped to the Netherlands by Agrexco in time for Valentine. According to the Israeli army, the clearance of the carnations – the first export permitted out of besieged Gaza for more than a year– was in response to a request from the Dutch government, which has apparently been promoting the production of carnations grown in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military spokesman Major Peter Lerner, of the military’s Civil Co-ordination Office, claimed the move was a “goodwill gesture” to the Dutch government, a statement that was later transformed in some media reports to “a goodwill gesture from the Israeli government to the people of Gaza.” Palestinian farmers, however, saw the move merely as “propaganda” and “a publicity stunt”. According to Abdel-Karim Ashour, director of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee in Gaza, “What happened today is only propaganda. It is nothing. The season is almost finished now.”

Too little, too late

The ‘gesture’ came too late to salvage the carnations crop, most of which had either rotted or been fed to sheep. About 70 percent of Gaza’s carnation crop had already been lost due to the Israeli siege, which had prevented growers from importing seeds and pesticides early enough and from exporting their flowers. The situation worsened further following Israel’s brutal 22-day aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza earlier this year. The losses in flower sales suffered by growers in Gaza, who used to export 37 to 40 million carnations a year, are estimated to have already reached $4 million. Major Peter Lerner clearly stated that there were no plans to allow further exports beyond those for Valentine’s Day. The blockade was not lifted for vegetables or Gaza’s traditionally high-quality strawberries. Israel has not allowed any exports from Gaza since June 2007. Further, the carnations were unlikely to reach Europe in time for Valentine’s Day. By Agrexco’s own admission, the flowers would most probably not have been sold on Valentine. “It’s borderline,” said Ishai Sharon of Agrexco in Aalsmeer, Holland. “But even if they don’t make it in time, they can still be sold to Russia and Eastern Europe for [the International] Women’s Day on 8th March.”

Produce of ….?

According to Agrexco, the Gazan flowers will be sold with the label “Product of Gaza Strip”. However, it is often harder to detect the source of flowers than of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Many Agrexco flowers grown in Israel or the Occupied Territories are sold on or packed in Holland and labelled accordingly. It is widely known now that some of the ‘Israeli’ fresh produce exported through Agrexco is grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. In a court case in November 2004, the general manager of Agrexco UK at that time, Amos Orr, testified that his company markets 60 to 70 percent of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd. markets most of Israel’s exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. 50 percent of the company’s shares are owned by the Israeli government and 25 percent by an Israeli settlers cooperative called Tnuva, although a ministerial committee last year decided to privatise it (see here).

The company is worth half a billion Israeli Shekels (approximately £78m) and employs about 500 people. Agrexco’s biggest fresh produce brand is Carmel. Other brand names include Jaffa, Coral and Jordan Plains. The company’s subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS and Dalia (Germany). For more information on Agrexco, see here.

‘We don’t want your bloodstained flowers’

Under the slogan “Don’t flirt with Israeli Apartheid – Boycott Israeli goods”, the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign (BIG) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called for a ‘mass picket’ at the Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex, on 7th February, as part of an international week of action against Agrexco. About 70 protesters gathered at the warehouse, surrounded by a massive number of cops, who blockaded the depot since early morning. On 12th Feb, a group of 15 women locked themselves to the gates of Carmel-Agrexco’s depot to stop the delivery of Valentines roses. They were met with heavy force from security and police. Emma Goldman, a member of the London Anarchafeminist Kollective, said: “This Valentine’s Day, women in Palestine will be struggling to piece their society together against the brute force of the occupation. Carmel-Agrexco, a state-owned company, is at the heart of Israel’s colonisation and exploitation of Palestinian land.” On 23th February, a small protest was held at the London headquarters of Apax Partners, a UK-based private equity giant that holds a majority stake in Israeli agricultural co-op Tnuva, which owns 25 percent of Agrexco Agricultural Export Company. Earlier in the morning, an anonymous protester had D-locked the building’s main door, causing some disruption to the baffled employees arriving to work (see here).

The campaign against Carmel-Agrexco in the UK has been growing ever since seven activists blockaded the company’s depot in Hayes in November 2004 for over 11 hours, using metal fencing. The ensuing prosecution of the blockaders failed after campaigners argued that Agrexco was ancillary to Israeli war crimes under the International Criminal Court Act 2001. In September 2005, a Judge ruled that Agrexco (UK) must prove that their business was lawful. Charged with proving that the lawfulness of their business, Carmel-Agrexco withdrew their case. The acquittal of the seven activists before they were able to present their defence, however, meant that the court did not have to rule on the legality of Agrexco-Carmel’s involvement in the supply of produce from illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since then, dozens of blockades have occurred each year; Carmel’s offices have been subject to extensive damage by protesters; and their depot occupied. Yet, the company has not been willing to take prosecutions against campaigners for fear of having their business practices exposed and questioned in court.

For more on the actions against Carmel Agrexco in the UK over the years, see Indymedia UK’s special topic page.

Original articale at http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3209

US women’s anti-war movement, CODEPINK, has launched a new campaign highlighting the role Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli settlement-based spa products company that exploits Palestinian resources and land. After a number of high-profile protests, which spread from the USA to the UK, continental Europe and Israel, Stolen Beauty has already scored some significant goals. Sarah Irving talks to the campaign’s Nancy Kricorian.

What is the Stolen Beauty campaign against Ahava’s Dead Sea Products about?

In the wake of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, CODEPINK Women for Peace felt it was time to take up the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel for its violations of international law.

Why did you select Ahava as a target?

We chose Ahava because its practices are against international law. Ahava’s main manufacturing plant and visitor center are based in Mitzpe Shalem, a Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Mitzpe Shalem is also part-owner of Ahava and the company’s profits are subsidizing this settlement (all West Bank settlements are illegal under international law). Additionally, Ahava excavates mud from the shores of the Dead Sea north of the Green line (the pre-1967 armistice line between Israel and Jordan), which means it is also violating the 4th Geneva Convention, which explicitly forbids an occupying power from exploiting for profit the captured natural resources of an occupied territory. Ahava also misleadingly labels its products as ‘Made in Israel’ when they are made in the Occupied West Bank.

How have you gone about campaigning against it? What combination of tactics have you used?

We have employed store protests, with Bikini and Bathrobe Brigades going into stores to let consumers know about Ahava’s illegal practices. We have also put pressure on Ahava spokeswoman, Oxfam Ambassador and Sex & the City star Kristin Davis to stop letting Ahava use her face and name to cover up their dirty practices. Her contract lapsed in September, which we counted as a victory. She is no longer working for Ahava, but continues her association with Oxfam.

Has the publicity around celebrity involvement with Ahava been a help or a hindrance?

It is always good to have a celebrity (Kristin Davis) and an ethical non-profit organisation (Oxfam) to use as leverage points in a boycott campaign. A boycott campaign is both ethical and strategic and garnering publicity is one strategy to use in tarnishing Ahava’s reputation.

How important has the Internet and international networking been for the campaign?

The internet has been crucial to our campaign. We have been able to stay in touch with CODEPINK groups around the country as we organize store boycotts, and we are also in touch with groups in the UK and the Netherlands who are also targeting Ahava. The internet has also allowed us to be in close touch with the Israeli women who run Who Profits (www.whoprofits.org), a website investigating and exposing the corporations involved in the Israeli occupation.

What impacts have you had on Ahava so far?

The fact that Ahava lost its celebrity spokesperson is a big deal. Beyond that, we heard through the grapevine that Ahava was looking for refinancing, and every bit of bad publicity we can generate makes it harder for them to find investors. This is a relatively new campaign and we have only begun our work. We are currently putting together a plan for going after Shamrock Holdings, the private fund of the Roy E. Disney family that owns 18% of Ahava.

How does the Stolen Beauty campaign fit into the wider Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement?

As I said before, a boycott is a moral and a strategic instrument. In terms of strategy, we feel that by targeting this particular company, which is based in a settlement and sells settlement products, we can publicize the illegality of all the settlements and the profits that are being made from these illegal actions. As a women’s peace group, it made sense for us to select a cosmetics company, and one that is widely available in the States. The Stolen Beauty Campaign is our contribution to the BDS Movement.

What would your ideal campaign outcome be? Can you envisage an ‘acceptable’ version of Ahava as a company, or do you see them as inherently unethical?

Our ideal outcome would be that the company would move its plant out of the West Bank, and it would stop exploiting Palestinian natural resources. But as two illegal Jewish settlements own and profit from the company -they are in fact subsidized by the company’s profits- they would also have to be bought out and/or move themselves out of the West Bank. In the unlikely event that all of this should happen, we would likely select another boycott target. The ultimate goal of the Stolen Beauty Campaign is to work for a just, sustainable peace for Palestinians and Israelis, one in which human rights and international law are respected and upheld.

What advice would you have for other people thinking of conducting an anti-corporate campaign on this kind of issue and company?

My advice would be to do a lot of research so you know all the possible moving pieces of your campaign before you start. I would also suggest reaching out to a broad coalition of partners, including Palestinians, anti-occupation Israeli Jews and European activists. Our work has been possible due to the example of, and the advice we have received from, friends in Adalah-NY (http://adalahny.org), the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement (www.bdsmovement.net) and the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, specifically their project Who Profits.

For more information of the Stolen Beauty, see the campaign’s website at http://www.stolenbeauty.org.

Original article at http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3446

On October 15th, another mass demonstration against the arms trade will be held in Brighton. The Smash EDO campaign is calling for groups from around the country to come to the ‘Smash EDO, Shut ITT’ demonstration, aimed at closing down the Brighton arms manufacturers. Read the rest of this entry »

The Camden Green Fair and Bikefest, held to coincide with the World Environment Day, advertises itself as aiming to “inspire Londoners to help make their capital a world-class green city, letting visitors find out about the huge and growing number of sustainable companies, products, campaigns, and lifestyle choices that are available to us all.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Handbook

Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Handbook