G4S withdrawal from Israeli apartheid a victory for activism

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Private security firm Allied Universal, the owner of G4S, has decided to sell all its remaining business in apartheid Israel.

In 2016, G4S already dropped its Israeli security business which provided services to Israel’s prison system, military checkpoints and illegal settlements.

Allied Universal will now pull out of Israel’s national police academy, where Israel’s “finest” learn to repress Palestinians.

In a statement, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) claims the victory comes after human rights campaigns which caused G4S serious “reputational damage” and some lucrative investments and contracts.

“Along with the BDS movement, several other human rights campaigns have also targeted G4S over its long, violent record of human rights abuses against prisoners, migrants, and other communities worldwide, including the UK, South Africa and the US.”

The G4S role in Israel’s occupation of Palestine was most prominently exposed at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in 2010.

At that tribunal, corporate watchdog WhoProfits unveiled research revealing G4S’s services to Israeli jails, military checkpoints, settlement businesses and the Israeli police.

The report, The Case of G4S, laid a solid foundation for boycott campaigners ever since.

A long struggle

Palestinian prisoners’ rights and human rights organizations gave a boost to the BDS campaign against G4S in 2012, when Palestinian political prisoners waged a major hunger strike.

The Electronic Intifada also exposed the relationship between Israel’s violations of the rights of Palestinian prisoners and G4S’s role in securing Israeli jails in several articles, while reporting on the many victories around the world as the campaign against G4S gained traction.

These included victories in Denmark, Finland, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and the US and the US-based United Church of Christ.

But G4S’s 2016 decision to divest from Israel did not include the sale of its stake in the consortium that operates Israel’s police academy.

The StopG4S campaign therefore kept up the pressure. arguing that the Israeli police has perpetrated “war crimes and grave human rights violations” against Palestinians over decades.

The final push to convince Allied Universal to end its complicity in Israel’s human rights abuses appeared to have come with position taken by a large Canadian public pension fund manager, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ), according to the BNC.

Trade unions, BDS campaigners and American Friends Service Committee pressurized CDPQ to use its influence as the largest shareholder in Allied Universal.

That led to Allied Universal’s decision to sell its stake in Israel’s police academy to G1 Secure Solutions, formerly G4S Israel. The sale is pending approval of the Israeli authorities.




Welcome news to read that slow but sure perseverance on the part of StopG4S (and on the part of the author) wins out !

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