Private security firm G4S is to divest completely from Israel, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement reported yesterday in an announcement billed as a "major win for human rights activism against corporate complicity." G4S' parent company, Allied Universal, is said to have sold all its remaining business in apartheid Israel following years of campaigns waged by the BDS movement for Palestinian rights. G4S suffered serious "reputational damage" and lost lucrative investment contracts because of pro-Palestine activism. Several other human rights campaigns have also targeted G4S over what campaigners have said is the security firm's "long, violent record of human rights abuses against prisoners, migrants, and other communities worldwide, including the UK, South Africa and the US."
The Belgian city of Verviers has become the latest city in Europe to cut its ties with the Israeli “apartheid regime” to “strengthen its support for the Palestinian people,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. In its meeting, Verviers Municipal Council discussed a motion introduced by members of the Socialist Party (PS), the Labor Party (PTB), and the Ecologist Confederation (ECOLO) that says that the City of Verviers wants to strengthen its support for the Palestinian people by cutting its ties with the Israeli apartheid regime. The draft proposal said that the municipal council of Verviers undertakes not to open relations with the state of Israel and its institutions as long as the apartheid system persists and the violation of international law by the Israeli authorities.
A new bill would prevent New York state-based registered charities from funding illegal Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. Introduced by state Assembly member Zohran Mamdani, the bill is the first of its kind in targeting US-based not-for-profit organizations involved in the violent dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians from their land. Mamdani told The Electronic Intifada that representatives of human rights groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace, the Adalah Justice Project, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, came to his office “and provided us with evidence of the fact that there were a number of New York registered charities sending at least $60 million a year to Israeli settler organizations.”
A succession of events starting in Barcelona, Spain, in February, and followed in Liège, Belgium, and Oslo, Norway, in April sent a strong message to Israel: The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is alive and well. In Barcelona, the city’s Mayor canceled a twinning agreement with the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. The decision was not an impulsive one, although Ada Colau is well-known for her principled positions on many issues. It was, however, an outcome of a fully democratic process initiated by a proposal submitted by left-wing parties at the city council.
Palestinians are being killed in record numbers. Racist, hate-filled fanatic Zionists are invading the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinian worshipers are being terrorized by Israeli forces. Yet it is Indonesia that is being penalized internationally merely for engaging in discussions about not allowing an Israeli soccer team to play on its soil. The Israeli under-20 soccer team was supposed to play at a FIFA tournament in Indonesia in the summer. But after internal Indonesian discussions about blocking Israel from playing, FIFA decided to take away the tournament and not allow Indonesia to host it.
Roger Waters is facing pushback from Germany. City authorities have canceled his upcoming concert over claims the Pink Floyd frontman is anti-Semitic. Yet activists say his experience is not an isolated incident when it comes to support for Palestine. In February, Frankfurt’s City Council canceled Waters’s concert scheduled for May 28, stating in a press release that the musician “is considered one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world.” City officials cited Waters’ advocacy for a cultural boycott of Israel as one of the reasons for his alleged anti-Semitism. When reached for comment, Frankfurt City Council referred MintPress News to its aforementioned press release.
While the far right Israeli regime escalates its repression of Palestinians, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to disturb an Arkansas law that requires government contractors to certify they are not boycotting Israel or “Israeli-controlled territories.” The high court didn’t specifically uphold Arkansas’s anti-boycott law. However, the court declined to review the case because there were not four “justices” who agreed to hear it. So Arkansas’s anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) law remains in effect. The BDS movement was launched in 2005, when 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for boycott, divestment and sanctions — “non-violent punitive measures” — to last until Israel fully complies with international law.
On Sunday, February 19, security personnel repressed a sit-in organized by progressive forces and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement’s national campaign in Morocco’s capital city of Rabat. The protest was called against French multinational retail corporation Carrefour and its complicity in Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime. Protestors gathered outside a Carrefour building in Rabat, waiving the Palestinian flag and raising slogans of solidarity. However, they were soon violently shoved back by uniformed guards and a non-uniformed man carrying a walkie talkie.
In the closing statement of the 36th ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the regional bloc confirmed its “complete support” for the State of Palestine. The AU condemned ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians, including forced evictions, extrajudicial detentions, illegal settlement expansion, and apartheid. This statement came just one day after an Israeli delegation was unceremoniously booted from the summit’s opening ceremony. On Sunday, AU commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat confirmed that Israel’s observer status has been suspended since last year and that no Israeli officials were invited to the summit this year.
On July 14 U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint strategic declaration that highlights the bonds between the two countries, pledges further bilateral cooperation, and vows to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It also takes aim at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), the nonviolent effort to pressure Israel in meeting its obligations under international law. “The United States and Israel affirm that they will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or de-legitimize Israel, to deny its right to self-defense, or to unfairly single it out in any forum, including at the United Nations or the International Criminal Court,” reads the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration. “While fully respecting the right to freedom of expression, they firmly reject the BDS campaign.”
Little Rock, Arkansas - In June, a federal appeals court upheld an Arkansas law barring state contractors from boycotting Israel, sparking concerns over First Amendment rights in the United States. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision made last year by a panel of three judges who found that mandating a pledge to not boycott Israel is unconstitutional. However, the recent court ruling determined boycotts are not expressive conduct and instead related to commercial activity and therefore the state can regulate such actions.
Unilever has sold Ben and Jerry’s Israeli business to its Israeli licensee, one year after the American ice cream company announced that it would end sales in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). After a year of backlash, legal challenges, and Zionist lobbying, Ben and Jerry’s products will return to illegal settlements, in direct contradiction of the company’s will. In July 2021, when Ben and Jerry’s declared that selling in the oPt would be “inconsistent with [its] values,” the company also revealed that it would not be renewing its agreement with its Israel-based licensee at the end of the year.
The Center For Constitutional Rights And Palestine Legal Filed An Amicus Brief In The Fifth Circuit Court Of Appeals In Support Of A Lawsuit Seeking To Strike Down A Texas Law That Requires Government Contractors To Pledge Not To Engage In Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions (BDS) Campaigns For Palestinian Rights. After A Court Blocked An Earlier Version Of Texas’s Anti-Boycott Law Following Lawsuits From Individuals With State Contracts, Texas Amended The Law To Exclude Companies With 9 Or Fewer Full-Time Employees And Contracts Under $100,000. While The Revised Law Mooted The Previous Lawsuits, Its Underlying First Amendment Challenges Remained. The Center For Constitutional Rights And Palestine Legal’s Brief States That The New Texas Law Still Violates The First Amendment And Unconstitutionally Targets Protected Political Speech In Support Of Palestinian Human Rights.
Tel Aviv, Israel - This month, City University of New York’s (CUNY) law school faculty unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, joining a chorus of American universities advocating for Palestinian rights. Harvard University’s Crimson newspaper endorsed the movement earlier this year, with 50 of the school’s faculty members supporting the decision. And in March, the Middle East Studies Association also voted to endorse the BDS movement. As college campuses across the U.S. grow in their support for Palestine, their administrations – many still having relations with major Israeli universities complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine – appear less likely to agree.
In March, both the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), collectively representing more than 300,000 workers in the state, passed a resolution calling for the state of Oregon to divest from the fund that owns Israeli spyware firm NSO. The resolution also calls on the state to implement a human rights screening for all future investments. And just weeks ago, the Oregon Education Association, representing more than 40,000 teachers, passed a similar resolution at its convention. The passing of these resolutions comes after multiple investigations revealed a shocking record of human rights abuses committed by governments around the world using NSO’s controversial Pegasus spyware.