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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2010
Land Day marked across the world with actions calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel
BNC, Occupied Palestine – As Palestinians commemorated Land Day, solidarity activists around the world took to the streets to call for a comprehensive campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international and humanitarian law. Creative and bold actions took place in London, Toronto, New York, Paris, Rome, Cairo, Melbourne and dozens of other cities around the world.
Today marks the 34th anniversary since Israel killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel protesting the expropriation of their land to build new and expand existing Jewish-only cities. Palestinian protests on this first Land Day were triggered by the “Koenig Report”, a government commissioned study investigating how to encourage Israel’s Palestinian citizens to vacate their lands that resulted in a wave of discriminatory measures, including land confiscation, against the Palestinian minority in Israel.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) appealed to “people of conscience and their organizations around the globe to mobilize in creative, concrete and visible BDS actions to make this day a historic step in the movement against Israel’s apartheid, colonialism and occupation, for accountability of the oppressor and for the fulfillment of the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.”[i] The response to this call has been met across the world.
In Toronto, activists carried out flash mob protests at Chapters Indigo and Mountain Equipment Coop stores to draw attention to the business relationships that the stores have with companies profiting from Israeli apartheid and occupation.[ii]
Activists in London protested inside a Waitrose supermarket store, drawing shoppers’ attention to the fact that that the store sells goods from illegal settlements and calling on shoppers to boycott all Israeli products. Waitrose has consistently rejected calls from campaigners to reveal information about the sale of settlement goods.
Similar flash mob actions took place at supermarkets in Italy and the Netherlands.
Also in London, protesters yesterday disrupted a lunchtime performance by the Jerusalem Quartet in London. The concert at the Wigmore Hall was being
broadcast live by the BBC. The protesters drew attention to the Quartet’s strong links to the Israeli Army and Israel’s use of “cultural ambassadors” to whitewash its crimes against Palestinians. [iii]
US activists dressed up in spa attire (bathrobes and towels) protested at stores selling AHAVA Dead Sea cosmetics as part of the Stolen Beauty campaign[iv]. The Israeli company is based in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. Protestors carried signs saying “AHAVA: Made by Israeli Profiteers in Occupied Palestine.”
Adding to the many victories of the growing BDS movement, the biggest Swedish pension fund announced yesterday that it has barred the Israeli military company Elbit Systems from its investment portfolio for its role in the supply of surveillance equipment for the illegal wall built in the occupied West Bank. This comes after a similar decision last year by the Norwegian government’s pension fund to divest from Elbit Systems. The pressure has been mounting on companies with military ties with Israel such as Motorola and Caterpillar, with UC Berkeley students being the latest in supporting divestment from Israel through a senate resolution last week.
Across Europe, a well-established campaign against Agrexco is gaining force. The Israeli government company exports 70% of the total agricultural produce from illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, mostly to Europe.
A successful campaign against Veolia, a company involved in East Jerusalem Light Rail project that will link west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, cement Israel’s hold on the occupied Palestinian city and tie the settlements even more firmly into the State of Israel, has forced the company to consider abandoning the project.[v] Campaigners have convinced local councils in the UK, Ireland, Australia and France to commit to excluding Veolia from future contracts in light of their involvement in the project.
In Palestine, Land Day was marked with the customary marches of protest against Israel’s policies of dispossession against Palestinians. A town hall meeting was organized in West Bank town of Salfit by the BNC to debate strategies to forward the global BDS movement, which has wide support inside Palestine.
“The BDS movement has been growing exponentially since the Palestinian civil society call for BDS was launched in 2005, and especially after Israel’s criminal assault on Gaza. While all forms of international intervention appear unable to force Israel to comply with international law, the BDS campaign is applying a new form of pressure on Israel,” a spokesperson said at the Salfit meeting. “This BDS Day of Action is the biggest ever and it is now impossible to ignore this growing global movement,” the speaker added.
Michael Deas (UK) – firstname.lastname@example.org +(0) 44 7794 678 535
Hind Awwad (Palestine) – email@example.com +(972) 599837796 +(972) 599837796
For videos and report-backs from creative actions of Land Day BDS actions please visit:
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee is a wide coalition of the largest Palestinian mass organizations, trade unions, networks and organizations. The 2005 unified call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel: http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52