Mexican giant faces global campaign against Israel investments

The Mexican firm Cemex must end its complicity with Israel’s human rights abuses, campaigners in Latin America have urged.

Cemex – the world’s second largest construction materials company – has strong connections to Israel. Its subsidiary Readymix runs factories located within the settlements Israel has built in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.

Readymix has also provided products for the apartheid wall that snakes through the West Bank, for military checkpoints and for the tram network connecting Israel’s settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

More than 200 organizations and high-profile figures in Latin America have signed a new letter that is highly critical of Cemex. The letter argues that Cemex is “directly enabling and profiting from illegal and inhumane Israeli policies.”

Some of the largest trade unions and human rights organizations in Latin America have lent their support to the campaign targeting Cemex. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and political activist who was detained and tortured at the behest of Argentina’s dictatorship in the 1970s, has signed the letter, along with Mexico’s third biggest political party, the social democratic PRD.

“Enabling apartheid”

After a decade of plundering Palestinian natural resources, Cemex sold its shareholding in Yatir, an Israeli-controlled quarry in the West Bank two years ago.

But its subsidiary Readymix has remained actively complicit in Israeli crimes. Readymix operates factories in the industrial zones of Mevo Horon, Atarot and Mishor Adumim. All of those zones are within Israeli settlements that are illegal under international law.

Readymix also runs a plant in Katzrin – a settlement in the Golan Heights, an Israeli-occupied part of Syria.

The Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has signalled that Cemex will be the focus of a worldwide campaign.

The BDS National Committee, a Palestinian umbrella group coordinating boycott activities, argued that Cemex is “enabling Israel’s regime of occupation, land theft and apartheid.”

Abdulrahman Abunahel, a spokesperson for the committee, said that the campaign against the Mexican firm will “not only expose its complicity in serious violations of international law but will also affect its contracts.”

Other corporations which have invested in Israel’s occupation activities – including Veolia, G4S and Orange – have been subject to international divestment campaigns. According to Abunahel, Cemex will “face the same.”

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Adri Nieuwhof

Adri Nieuwhof's picture

Adri Nieuwhof is a human rights advocate based in the Netherlands and former anti-apartheid activist at the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Twitter: @steketeh