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Sodastream, a carbonated beverage manufacturer is based in the Mishor Adumim settlement industrial zone. Mishor Adumim is an industrial are attached to the residential settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, East of Jerusalem in the Israeli occupied West Bank. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
The above sign shows some of the businesses and type of business working in Maale Efraim:
On Monday 21st November 2010 two campaigners locked themselves inside the Ahava Dead Sea laboratories store in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.
Ahava is an Israeli settler company, owned by the illegal settlements of Kalia and Mitzpe Shalem. The London store has admitted that all the products stocked in the shop, barring tweezers from China, are manufactured in their factory in Mitzpe Shalem. Read the rest of this entry »
Ein Zivan kibbutz presents itself as the perfect retreat for Israeli families who want some time away from the heat and buzz of cities like Tel Aviv; it is green, quiet and benefits from the cooler, more comfortable climate. It was also one of the first settlements in the Israeli occupied Golan. Established in 1968, it has a population of around 50 Israeli families and -like most Golan settlements- makes its money through tourism and fruit sales. Cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, pomegranates, plums, apples and various herbs are all grown on the land occupied by Ein Zivan. The kibbutz runs a popular ‘pick your own fruit’ service for tourists and locals, but its fields are covered in flags and signs for the Israeli fruit export and marketing company Beresheet, who clearly run the distribution part of their business (for a previous Corporate Watch article about Beresheet see https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/beresheet-exporting-the-fruits-of-occupation/ ).
The first of July 2010 saw the tenth annual ‘Israel Opportunity Investment Conference’ take place in London. Represented by the PR company Grayling (www.grayling.com), the aim of the day was to sell Israel as a secure investment opportunity and a promising emerging market worthy of attention. Only four weeks before the conference, Israel had been accepted into the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) despite the efforts of campaigners to prevent this by protesting that a country which include their illegal settlement activities and businesses in their economic data can hardly be seen as complying with the OECD motto “For a stronger, cleaner, fairer world economy’. However, since Israel had also been promoted from ’emerging’ to ‘developed’ market status by the MSCI a few days before the event, there was always bound to be a lot of interest from investors willing to find ways to benefit from Israel’s occupation economy.
Focusing on banking, energy and the biotech sector, the conference highlighted the already cosy relationships between Israel and global international companies. For instance, the sessions encouraging investment in the Israeli businesses Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim and the Strauss Group were facilitated by two representatives from Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital respectively. Both financial institutions have established offices in Israel already. The literature handed out to attendees at the conference gave, as one of the top ten reasons for investing in the country, that ‘The state of Israel is committed to encouraging local and foreign direct investment by offering a wide range of incentives and benefits, such as investment grants, tax benefits and exemptions to investors’, hence making it very clear to potential investors that should they choose to get involved with any of the companies exhibiting, they would be beneficiaries of Israel’s apartheid system. Read the rest of this entry »
If you are a follower of this blog you will have read a lot about the Jordan Valley -an area that comprises almost 30% of the West Bank. Because of its fertile land and border with Jordan, it is under urgent threat of annexation by Israel, who are issuing statements about their claim to the land with alarming frequency. In March this year Benjamin Netanyahu officially announced that “Israel will never cede the Jordan Valley” and since then the Palestinians there have been met with increasing repression. Only during the last few weeks, the Israeli Occupation Forces entered the Palestinian village of Al Farisiya and demolished 23 houses, leaving over 100 people homeless. When the villagers rebuild some of the destroyed structures the army returned to the area and yet again razed it to the ground
44% of the land in the Jordan Valley is controlled by closed military zones and 50% by the 37 illegal settlements -leaving the indigenous Palestinian population in control of a mere 6% of their land. Around 7000 illegal Israeli settlers and 50.000 Palestinians live in the parts of the valley which are on the Palestinian side of the Green Line. An uninformed visitor could be forgiven for thinking that the numbers were reversed; It is entirely possible to take a bus straight from inside Israel and along the Israeli controlled Road 90 through the valley, seeing only settler greenhouses with their lush, irrigated crops. This is a façade that Israel work cold-heartedly to promote.
Visiting the Jordan Valley Meeting Point – an Israeli run rest stop and tourist centre along Road 90- is a disturbing and slightly surreal experience for anybody who knows what the real Jordan Valley, and life for its Palestinian communities, is like. Entering the meeting point area feels like joining some ethnically cleansed zone in a Zionist alternative universe, as everything Palestinian has been removed from view. Any tourist, or conscripted Israeli teenage soldier, stopping off there for a Coke and falafel will be presented with a version of the truth designed to brainwash them and airbrush anything Palestinian from the valley. The information points provided describe historical and archaeological sites, attractions and tour routes, state of the art agricultural technologies and Israel’s “battle legacies” in the area. Inviting tourists to join settler organised Jeep trips and walking tours, they highlight the possibilities to follow migrating birds and appreciate blossoming wild flowers in a stunning landscape. What they fail to mention, however, is that no Palestinian has the freedom to enjoy any of these things as all their villages are surrounded by closed military zones and they are prevented from taking a step out of line. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
The Bnei Yehuda industrial area is a business park connected to the Israeli Moshav settlement Bnei Yehuda in the occupied Golan. As is the case with all Israeli industrial zones, businesses operating in Bnei Yehuda enjoy preferential tax rates and other benefits and, in doing businesson occupied territory, ensure the profitability and sustainability of the settlement itself (see our previous report http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3477 ). Whilst most of the businesses trading from Bnei Yehuda, such as the skin care company Avanova (http://www.avanova.co.il ) and Kosher caterers Buffalo, seem to cater for the settlers and wider Israeli market, Corporate Watch found one company with wider international connections. BE Machinery, one part of the larger Beth El Industries, specialise in machinery and processing plants for the food industry or, in their own words “complete automation and integrated IT solutions for the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.” Their mother company Beth El is a multi faceted business which, like so many other Israeli enterprises, make most of their business from the production of various military and “safety” equipment, including bomb shelters, filtration systems and vehicle components. According to The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute’s web-site, where Beth El’s profile is located in the Aerospace and Homeland Security section, they are a supplier to many NATO forces throughout Europe, the Middle East and the far East. The UK is listed as both an importing and exporting partner of Beth El.
As is common amongst companies which trade in the settlements, BE Machinery are registered inside Israel, at the address if Beth El Industries: Food Processing Department, 1 Avshalom Road,
P.O. Box 166, Zikhron Yaaqov 30951, Israel
phone: 0097246601717 Fax: 0097246601919 Read the rest of this entry »
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/ ).
Throughout our research around the West Bank it has become obvious that one of the most common ways for international companies to profit from the occupation market is through secondary involvements, such as operating franchises, in Israel’s illegal settlements. Companies such as Blockbuster, Tower Records and Lee Cooper have franchises of their businesses in settlements, Western Union trade in settlements automatically through their deal with the Israeli Post Office.
International companies like these accept royalties from their franchisee’s for the right to use the brand, boost their brand recognition and open a maket for their goods. However, by operating in a less direct way, they hope to be held less accountable for their actions.
For the BDS movement to let this happen would be a mistake.
One good example of how a seemingly distant involvement by a company can have a huge impact on the ground is the agreement by the mobile phone company Orange, which is owned by France Télécom, to license the Israeli Partner Communications Company to use its name and logo. Orange now has a shop or kiosk in many of the larger settlements in both the West Bank and the occupied Golan and advertises very heavily in them. Orange mobile phone masts (operated by Partner Communications) are located both inside the settlements themselves and on land specifically confiscated for the masts. The masts are situated to benefit the settlements and the Israeli army. The Palestinian Authority, in its crack down on settlements and enforcement of the boycott, recently called for all Israeli mobile phone networks, including Orange, to be banned in Palestinian cities. Orange is entirely separate from the Partner Communications Company, but this does not mean that they are innocents in the situation.
When Partner launched Orange Israel the brandname was registered by Hutchison Whampoa, who were a major shareholder in Partner. The success of the new network when it was launched in 1999 is generally considered one of the best advertising efforts undertaken in Israel, largely due to the brandname. Hutchison Whampoa divested their shares from Partner in 2009. Since France Télécom took over Orange PLC in 2000 they have made a conscious decision to keep supporting the activities of the Israeli company, whose success relies heavily on Orange brand recognition. By withdrawing the licence for their name and logo Orange could take a very visible stance against the occupation rather that silently aiding it.
Partner Communications (Orange Israel) has kiosks in the settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev and Modi’in Illit and has erected over 160 antennas and telecommunication infrastructure facilities on occupied territory.
For Who Profits’ page on the Partner Communications Company see: http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=713
Partner Communications Company is now controlled by Ilan Ben-Dov’s company Scailex Corporation which owns 51% of its shares.
France Telecom (www.francetelecom.com) is based in Paris. The company has offices and franchises worldwide
Beqa’ot is an illegal settlement located in the Jordan Valley. Established in 1972, it is agriculturally focused and controls around 1800 dunums of land which were stolen from surrounding Palestinian areas, such as the Bedouin community of Al Hadidya. Beqa’ot is a grower for the Israeli company Mehadrin Tnuport Export (MTEX), a part of the huge Mehadrin Group which also owns 50% of STM Agricultural Exports Ltd -another Israeli company dealing in vegetables. MTEX export around 70% of all their produce to outside Israel and are one of the largest suppliers for the Jaffa brand world wide. According to Palestinian workers in the settlement, Mehadrin has had a monopoly on exports from there for around two years. Before that they also used to work with Carmel Agrexco. Some Arava boxes were also spotted inside the settlement packing area. Read the rest of this entry »
Burger King has announced that it plans to pull out of the 55 branches of its Israeli franchise
Burger Ranch currently operates 107 resteraunts in Israel, including several based in illlegal settlements:
Burger Ranch is owned in Israel by Orgad Holdings.
Several companies were advertising construction work at the settlement of Kibbutz Kalia when Corporate Watch visited in April. At the gate to Kalia half finished homes can be seen, along with a sign for the Evelon (www.evelon.com) Real Estate Company. The ‘luxury villa project, dubbed “Qalya Vistas, The Cherry of the Dead Sea”, advertises 54 new housing units. The executing contractor is named as Ts. P Construction and ‘management and supervision’ by Peled Klein Civil Engineering (www.peled-klein.co.il) in Yoqne’am Illit (more about Peled Klein at http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=566).
Evelon seems be aimed at US buyers, a special drop down menu on their site allows customers to select the US state they live in.
Corporate Watch paid a visit to Agrexco’s packing house on the land of the illegal settlement of Kibbutz Kalia, on the Northern Coast of the Dead Sea, during April 2010. The packing house is next to fields of date palms. Thai migrant workers could be seen tending to the palms from cherypickers. Inside the packing house herbs were being packed into boxes marked ‘Carmel ECOFRESH: Produce of Kibbutz Kalia, USA’. ECOFRESH is one of Agrexco’s newer brands which is supposed to represent better food quality (see, for example, http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/articles.aspx?page=articles&ID=52941). Workers inside told us that the herbs were being exported to the US. Read the rest of this entry »
Above are pictures of the Readymix (www.readymix.co.il) site in Katzerin Industrial zone. Katzerin is an illegal settlement in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Readymix is a supplier of raw materials for the construction industry. The company also has plants in the West Bank in Mevo Khoron, Atarot industrial zone and Mishor Edomim industrial zone.
Readymix supplies construction materials for the Gilo ‘Security Wall’ and several military checkpoints in the West Bank as well as being a partner in Yatir quarry, where Palestinian land is exploited by the Israeli settlement of Teneh Omarim.
Readymix is owned by Cemex (www.cemex.com), a Mexican owned multinational company engaged, primarily, in manufacturing cement and other construction products. Cemex operates on a large scale in the UK – there site locations can be found here: http://www.cemexlocations.co.uk/
For more info on Readymix see http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=645
Beresheet (www.pri-beresheet.co.il), an Israeli fruit export and marketing company based in the Galilee and Golan Heights, has a depot and packing house in the illegal settlement of Merom Golan. The company has dozens of plantations on illegal settlements in the Golan heights (see their plantation map) and advertises that it exports to Europe. Beresheet advertise apple, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, kiwi fruit, lychees, pears and persimmons on their website. An address in Merom Golan is given as their main contact address on their site. Read the rest of this entry »
Merom Golan (www.merom-golan.org.il) is an illegal Israeli settlement in the Northern Golan heights. It was established in 1967, after Israel’s invasion and military occupation of the area. Merom Golan was established on land belonging to the Syrian area of Al Mansura. It now has a population of 497 people. Read the rest of this entry »
El Rom is an illegal settlement, established in 1971, in the Northern Golan heights. El rom is situated on the land previously occupied by the Syrian settlements of Ein el-Hajal and Buq’aata. The settlement has 300-350 residents. There is now a large expanse of apple fields, possibly bound for export, stretching toward the border on the far side of the road from El Rom.
The fruit export company, Beresheet, advertise that ‘kibbutz’ El Rom is one of their partners (see ).
When Corporate Watchers visited El Rom in February 2010, a car belonging to the Golan Heights winery (which is based in the illegal settlement of Katzerin) was seen leaving the settlement. The Golan Heights Winery lists El Rom as one of the places where they have vineyards, the other illegal settlements where the winery grows its grapes are Alonei Habashan, Gshur, Yonatan, Mevo Hama, Merom Golan, Nov, Kidmat Tzvi, Ramot Naftali, Ein Zivan, Ramot Mashimim, Tel Fares and Sha’al.
El Rom is also trying to market itself as part of the Golan settlements tourist trail with a ‘movie experience’, advertised from the highway, where visitors can watch a film about the Yom Kippur war, should they so wish.
Netiv Hagdud and Gilgal are two illegal Israeli settlements set back from Route 90 South of Fasayil and Tomer in the occupied Jordan Valley. Between the two settlements is a fenced agricultural area which exports fruit and vegetables internationally. Produce in Waitrose has previously been seen bearing the label ‘Netiv Hagdud’. In March Corporate Watch paid the two settlements a visit. Read the rest of this entry »
Tomer is an illegal Israeli settlement of nearly 300 people close to the Palestinian community of Fasayil. It employs Palestinian and Thai workers, the bosses are Israeli. Tomer was established in 1976 on the lands of the people of Fasayil, Al Auja and other nearby Palestinian communities.
Some companies working inside Tomer:
TBP Export – http://www.tbp-export.com – Have a packing house in Tomer. They are, according to their website, an international marketing company for fresh produce set up by two Israeli agricultural companies, Mor-Li and Bar-Mor. Despite basing its packing house on an illegal settlement TBP export boasts that it is certified by EUREPGAP, an international certifier of “good agricultural practice”. They are also approved to British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards, suggesting they are marketing their goods in Britain. The company advertise potatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, peppers, herbs and organic products. TBP list many locations where they source their produce, although not the Jordan Valley. TBP does list Beit Shean and the Arava as two of their growing areas, the areas directly North and South of the valley. TBP’s contact address is in Ein Vered near Israel’s South Coast. TBP use the brandname ‘Rimon’, Corporate Watchers saw a truck emblazoned with this logo picking up produce from Tomer.
Carmel Agrexco – http://www.agrexco.co.il – Agrexco has several packing houses in Tomer and several Agrexco vans could be seen visiting the settlement every day. Agrexco are the largest agricultural company operating in the Jordan Valley and use the brandnames Carmel, Jaffa, Biotop, Coral, Jordan Plains, Alesia and Ecofresh. Agrexco subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS, Dalia (Germany). Agrexco have a regional office in the occupied Jordan Valley, at the Arovot HaYarden Regional Council, and are building a new refrigeration centre there. The company operates packing houses in most of the Jordan Valley settlements including Netiv Hagdud, Ro’i, Argaman, Mehola and Bet HaArava .
There has been a long running direct action campaign against Carmel Agreco in the UK (See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2008/carmelagrexco/). Activists have repeatedly shut down Agrexco’s depot in Hayes, Middlesex, with blockades and occuptions. In 2006 a case against campaigners who had blockaded the company’s premises was dropped after the defendants had obtained disclosure from the company of its business in the occupied territories. The managing director, Amos Orr, stated in court that 60-70% of all produce from the West Bank was exported through Agrexco.
Carmel’s site boasts that they have branches in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rotterdam, New York, Zurich, Vienna, Madrid and Milan. Several interviews with Carmel workers in the Jordan Valley by Corporate Watch and the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group (www.brightonpalestine.org) have found that workers picking fruit and vegetables for the company in the occupied Jordan Valley are paid 70 – 75 shekels (about 13 pounds), less than half the Israeli minimum wage.
Nirav – http://www.nirav.co.il – Marketing company for greenhouses, sheds etc.
EDOM – http://www.edom.co.il – A partially British owned company. More info at https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/further-information-about-edom-uk-signs-of-more-mislabelling/. Read the rest of this entry »
Arava – http://www.arv.co.il – Arava 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.
After finding a packinghouse bearing Edom UK signage inside the settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley a few weeks ago, we decided to look more closely into this joint Israeli and British company and their exports.
As mentioned in the previous report, the British company Valley Grown Salads own 20% of the shares in Edom UK, and since then we have found out that another British company, Glinwell PLC, own another 20%. 30% is owned by a company called Chosen Agricultural Products, which consists of farmers from Moshavs in the Arava region, and a further 30% by a company called Magnolia UK holdings. Read the rest of this entry »
Western Union, the international money transfer operator, can be found in most big Israeli settlements including Ariel, Kiryat Arba and Ma’ale Adumim. The Israeli post office is the licensed operator for Western Union in Israel, and as the post office branches operate in the settlements it means that Western Union do too. Through this deal Western Union accept by default both Israel’s acts and language of occupation.
For instance, if you want to find a Western Union agent in occupied East Jerusalem, you get no results on their web-site when you search for agents in The Palestinian Territories, as all locations in Jerusalem -including illegal settlements such as Pizgat Zeev and Palestinian areas like Shu’fat- show up only under a search for Israel. There is also no distinction made between settlement branches and locations within Israel.
Agent deals like this one should alert any company doing business in Israel about how working with an Israeli company can automatically implicate them in illegal settlement trading, and for the boycott movement it should highlight the importance of focusing on a full Israeli boycott rather than just a settlement one, as the two can not be fully separated.
For a full list of Western Union locations through the Israeli Post see http://www.israelpost.co.il/WL.nsf/6/City.pdf/$file/City.pdf
Field Produce, an Israeli date exporter, have several packing house in the occupied Jordan Valley
For more info on Field produce click here
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.
The Jordan Valley is the Palestinian area most relentlessly exploited by settlement agricultural companies. Most famously campaigners have been focusing on the Israeli national exporter Carmel Agrexco for their illegal exports from the area. However, Corporate Watch has uncovered a new company to add to the target list. During a trip to the area we found a packing house bearing the signage of the Israeli company ‘Edom UK’ (http://www.edom.co.il/), 20% owned by the British company Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk). The packing house is based in the agricultural area of the settlement of Tomer. There was also a truck marked EDOM UK picking up produce from the settlement. Read the rest of this entry »
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
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 »
Despite increased publicity regarding the labelling of Israeli settlement produce, and the recent DEFRA guidance on the matter which states that produce from the settlements should be labelled as such, it only took us a few minutes inside the illegal Jordan Valley settlement of Mehola to find herbs bound for a British company being mislabelled. Herbs bearing the logo of Fresh Direct, who have their head office in Oxfordshire, were spotted inside the Halpert Moshe ‘fresh herbs’ packing house which operates under the Carmel Agrexco banner. At this location herbs being prepared came with a joint Fresh Direct/Carmel Agrexco label which clearly states the product as being “Produce of Israel”, despite being packaged in an organic farm on an illegal settlement in the Israeli occupied West Bank. The label we collected was for 70 grams of sage with the text written in English, indicating that the contents were intended for export to Britain. There were also herbs labelled in German (without the Fresh Direct logo) inside the packing house. Read the rest of this entry »
The settlement of Mehola is situated in the Northern Jordan Valley. It is comprised of a gated, fenced residential settlement and an agricultural area. The agricultural area is close to the Palestinian village of Ein al Beida and Palestinian workers, including child workers, work in the fields and packing houses. Workers are paid from 60-80 shekels per day, half the Israeli minimum wage, and have no contracts or health insurance. There have been documented incidents of employers in Mehola falsifying wage slips in order to appear to be paying proper wages. Read the rest of this entry »
Capernaum Vista Olive farm – www.oleaessence.net: Producers of olive oil and olive oil based skin products. Seem to market themselves primarily over the internet and to wholefood stores. Their contact address is in California.
Nistec – www.nistec.com: Nistec is a high-tech/arms company who opened a new plant in Katzerin in 2009. Nistec also has offices in Petach Tikhvah annd Maalot.
Sealy – http://www.sealy.com: Sealy advertise themselves as ‘America’s best selling mattress company’. They are a multinational company and the factory in Katzerin is run by an Israeli licensee They have a UK base in Cumbria (http://www.sealy.co.uk/contactus.php)
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.
Mey Eden/Eden Springs – http://www.meyeden.co.il/www.edensprings.co.uk: Mei Eden extract water from the occupied Golan and sell it throughout Israel. Eden Springs supply water coolers to businesses, local authorities and universities across the UK. A successful campaign in Scotland has seen boycotts of Eden Springs at universities and pressure on Edinburgh City council to pull out of its contract with the company (http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/index.php?option=com_sectionex&view=category&id=23&Itemid=200208). Eden Springs’ Scottish depot has recently closed.
Click more for more companies Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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 »
Years of weekly protests against the Israeli separation wall in Bil’in in the West Bank have proved successful following an announcement by the Israeli military that part of the wall will be re-routed. This comes two and a half years after an Israel Supreme Court ruling ordering the Israeli state to return land to Palestinian farmers in the village of Bil’in, over which the state has twice been held in contempt. Read the rest of this entry »
December 19th saw the international day of action against Ahava, an Israeli settlement-based spa products company that is known for exploiting Palestinian resources and land. In London, around 20 campaigners held a protest at the company’s store in Covent Garden. Besides the police, protesters were this time confronted by some Zionists demonstrating ‘in support of Ahava.’
Origial article at http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3505
In a climate in which the call for a consumer boycott of Israeli goods is finally gaining strength, one area of Israel’s economy is, as yet, surprisingly under-researched. Most of Israel’s industrial zones in the West Bank are connected to illegal residential settlements and provide an indispensable economic backbone to the local settler economy. Mishor Adumim is the second largest industrial zone in the Occupied Territories and the one through which the Palestinians have the most to lose. Read the rest of this entry »
As part of an international day of action against the Languedoc-Rousillon regional council in France, Palestine solidarity campaigners picketed the Maison Languedoc-Rousillon offices in London, Milan, Brussels and Montpelier on 21st November in protest at the council’s plans to build facilities for Carmel-Agrexco in the French harbour of Sete.
Original Aricle at http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3475
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 »
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 »
Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd. markets most of Israel’s exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, some of which are grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
In a court case in November of 2004, the General Manager of Agrexco UK at that time, Amos Orr, testified that Agrexco markets 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
Agrexco is worth half a billion Shekels (nearly £78m) and employs about 500 people. 50% of the company’s shares are owned by the Israeli government, although a ministerial committee last year decided to privatise it . Agrexco’s biggest fresh agricultural produce brand is Carmel. Other brand names include Jaffa 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 http://www.bigcampaign.org/index.php?page=who_exports_israeli_goods.
British supermarkets account for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco’s total exports. The company supplies Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose as well as discounters Lidl and Aldi. Carmel-Agrexco has been the focus of anti-occupation protests and actions. The company’s depot in Swallowfield Way in Hayes, Middlesex, has repeatedly been shut down by protesters
Tesco stores stock a large amount of produce grown in the Occupied Territories and purchased from the Israeli state, including fruit and vegetables from producer Carmel-Agrexco. Israeli products stocked by Tesco include fruit juice, mangoes, avocados, grapes, stonefruit, dates,herbs, pickled cucumbers, Exquisa potatoes, mixed peppers (from Israel and a second country of origin), Barkan wine, Yarden wine, biscuits, cold meat, dips, Osem soups and cakes, snacks by Beigel & Beigel, Telma (soup mixes and cubes, noodles etc) and socks (Tesco’s own brand). Tesco sells products from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, many of which are exported by Carmel Agrexco. The company admitted sourcing ‘a number of products’ from illegal settlements, including avocados, herbs, grapes and stonefruit, such as peaches, from farms in the West Bank and Golan Heights. In 2006 War on Want reported that Tesco sells Beigel and Beigel products sourced from the settlements. Tesco also sells gas cylinders for products made by settlement company Soda Club, and repackages settlement dates from Hadiklaim as Tesco own brand dates. Mehadrin-Tnuport Export Company (MTex) supplies Tesco with settlement citrus fruit and there are links between Tesco and the Arava settlement company. In October 2007, a group of campaigners from the Brighton Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group entered Tomer settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley and photographed medjoul dates, packaged by Carmel Agrexco, labelled ‘Made in Israel’ and marked as bound for Tesco stores. 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.
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
On the second big Gaza solidarity march in London on 10th January, angry protesters smashed the front of a Starbucks store on Kensington High St, near the Israeli embassy, while other activists occupied the Ahava beauty shop in central London.
Other actions in protest at the Israeli massacre in Gaza that month included occupying the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London, ‘decommissioning’ the ITT/EDO arms factory in Brighton and university occupations across the country calling for divestment. So, who are these companies and why are they being targeted by protesters and campaigners?
Corporate Watch takes a detailed look.
VisionOnTV and Corporate Watch host a video feed of grassroots films about resistance to corporate power. Every month we will showcase one of these films. All films are collected at http://corporatewatch.visionon.tv.
This month we have chosen Boycott Carmel-Agrexco, a short film about the campaign against Carmel-Agrexco. Carmel-Agrexco is an Israeli agricultural export company importing fresh produce into the UK from Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3192). The film features interviews with Palestinians working for Carmel-Agrexco and direct actions against the company in the UK. Watch the film here.
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
Human rights activists shut down the Carmel-Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex, for 12 hours on 28 September, 2008, as part of a week of action called by the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign. Both gates to the depot were blocked, with four protesters locking themselves inside a cage blocking one gate, while another was D-locked to the other. At least 14 trucks were prevented from entering the premises during the day. Read the rest of this entry »