BDS roundup: 10,000 signatures delivered to Irish corporation demanding divestment from Israeli contracts

This week in BDS news around the world: 10,000 signatures delivered to Irish building materials corporation demanding divestment from Israeli business contracts; Palestinian BDS National Committee, Popular Struggle Coordination Committee call for 24 hours of hunger in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and boycott of international security firm G4S for its involvement in the Israeli prison service; and the campaign to demand the Red Hot Chili Peppers cancel their scheduled Tel Aviv gig continues.

24 hours of hunger in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

Amid current rumors that the hunger strikers have struck a deal with the Israeli government, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) and the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee have released a joint statement on Monday calling for a global 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The statement reads:

The prisoners have decided to live in dignity or starve to death in their isolation cells, and a global mobilization is urgently needed to break the deafening silence! A month into the hunger strike, join a Global 24-hour hunger strike in front of Israeli embassies, consulates and UN offices [on] May 17, 2012.

Along with the planned action, the organizations implored international activists to “endorse the Palestinian civil society call for a boycott of [security company] G4S due to its complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian prisoners’ rights.”

Our correspondent and blogger Adri Nieuwhof has done extensive reporting on the boycott campaigns against G4S, and recently reported that “on 17 April [Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, when many prisoners began a mass hunger strike], Palestinian organizations called for action against G4S for its role in Israeli prisons where Palestinian political prisoners from the occupied territories are held in contravention of international law.”

The joint statement added:

Emphasizing imprisonment as a critical component of Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid practiced against the Palestinian people, Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations have called for intensifying the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

The organization has direct links which global activists can click to pledge to join the Global 24-hour hunger strike and to email them if you are organizing a sit-in in your community.

Irish and Palestinian activists to CRH: Stop cementing apartheid!

10,000 signatures were delivered on 9 May to board members at the annual meeting of Irish multinational building materials corporation CRH by activists with the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

In a press release, John Dorman, Divestment Officer of the IPSC, stated that the call for divestment came because “CRH owns 25 percent of the Israeli company Mashav Initiative and Development Ltd, which in turn owns Israel’s sole cement producer Nesher Cement Enterprises Ltd. Nesher provide up to 90 percent of all cement sold in Israel, including cement used in the construction of Israel’s illegal [wall] and illegal settlements and checkpoints.”

According to the IPSC, CRH “remains under investigation by the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] after human rights activists from the IPSC lodged a complaint last year concerning the issue … For the past two year the issue of CRH’s investment in Israel has remained a major feature of the Annual General Meeting’s proceedings and press coverage of the event.”

The press release added that:

Two Palestinian women made impassioned pleas from the floor asking CRH to heed the 10,000 signature strong petition calling for CRH to “Stop Cementing Misery in Palestine.”

Outside, over 50 human rights activists created a colourful spectacle along Marine Road. 33 activists each held a single placard with one letter of the campaign slogan calling on CRH to divest while others held aloft 25 feet high Palestinian flags and 30 feet long Palestinian banners.

Huwaida Arraf, organizer and human rights lawyer, was one of the women speaking inside the board meeting. Arraf stated:

“I am here to plead with you not be complicit in building Israel’s ghettos of the 21st Century that my family is living in right now. You say that CRH has no control over the end use of the cement that the Nesher company produces. I’m sorry but Palestinians simply can’t accept that. We cannot accept it because you knowingly invested in this company, and you are aware that the company has built this wall and these settlements, declared by the World Court to be a violation of international law.”

Arraf added:

“CRH should divest from Israel like other companies are doing right now, or else they face the loss of massive contracts as companies like G4S and Veolia have seen recently as a result of their complicity with Israeli apartheid. It is tainting the reputation of your company, so please do as other companies, who care morally and ethically about their investors and investments, have done and divest.”

IPSC reported that Fatin al-Tamimi (from Hebron, in the occupied West Bank) explained to the board that:

“[My] hometown is now an apartheid city because of the illegal settlements and checkpoints in its centre, built with cement from Nesher. CRH says it is committed to the highest standards of ethical, legal and moral standards. All I have to do is look at my home town, and CRH’s facilitation of Israel’s apartheid regime of occupation in Palestine, to see that this is a hollow claim. And I am not the only one.”

Tamimi then said she “would like to present the Board of Directors with a petition which has over ten thousand signatures calling on CRH to stop cementing misery in Palestine and to divest from its Israeli business interests. While most signatories are Irish, there are names here from Jacksonville to Johannesburg to Jerusalem, all united behind this call. The question is, will you listen CRH?”

IPSC reported that the petition was then handed to the CRH board “in cardboard boxes decorated to represent [Israel’s wall], while Ms. Tamimi held aloft a large placard calling on CRH to listen to the call.”

Thousands of signatories continue to pressure Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel Tel Aviv gig

An ongoing campaign to urge legendary US rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel a scheduled performance this Fall in Tel Aviv is hoping to deliver at least 10,000 signatures to the band.

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is continuing to gather signatures for this campaign and is promoting the action on social media outlets.

Recently, as The Electronic Intifada reported, popular Irish band Dervish recently decided to heed the boycott call and canceled their performances in Israel.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).