Friday, July 31, 2009

U.S. Boycott and Divestment Campaigns Get the Attention of Israeli Media

In an important sign of the growth of the boycott and divestment movement in the United States, U.S. groups have been receiving coverage of boycott actions in the Israeli press. Recently, the US Campaign's Hang Up on Motorola boycott campaign got the attention of the Ha'aretz daily newspaper after a rally in New York City organized by the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (NYCBI). You can view some great video of the demonstration by clicking here. The Ha'aretz article describes Motorola's connection to the Israeli military and even notes Motorola's previous apartheid connection:
"Motorola has been active in Israel since 1964; it currently provides the IDF with a cellular network through a subsidiary, MIRS. MIRS provided the IDF with a military-encrypted cellular communication system, nicknamed "Mountain Rose," which is worth $100 million and was especially constructed for field conditions. The company's radar detectors' and surveillance systems have been reportedly installed in West Bank settlements....Motorola was previously boycotted due to its support for the apartheid regime in South Africa. The company supplied South African police with mobile radio transmitters used to suppress demonstrations against the government."
Now, US Campaign member group CODEPINK Women for Peace has gained Israeli media attention with a Washington, DC protest of Ahava beauty products, as part of their "Stolen Beauty" campaign. Ahava makes products using minerals from the Dead Sea and has a factory and a visitors center in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, which, like all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, is illegal under international law. CODEPINK's Washington, DC action got coverage in YNetNews, the online version of the most read Israeli newspaper. CODEPINK members had the chance to explain their campaign to the Israeli public, although the YNet editors couldn't restrain themselves from putting quotes around Israeli occupation:
"Rae Abileah, a member of the movement who took part in the protest, said they are leading an international campaign against the company's products, in protest of their production in the "occupied Palestinian territory". Abileah added that it is immoral and unethical to purchase or distribute products that carry such a very heavy price tag and make their profit from the occupation. She said they had entered cosmetics stores and handed the managers letters with factual information on Ahava's production process, and demanded they stop selling these products, since it is against the Geneva Convention."
This media coverage is great news for the movement for human rights and international law in Israel/Palestine, but it's not enough. How can you get involved? First of all, take a look at the database of BDS news that we're aggregating on our website. We update this regularly, along with our US Campaign in the News and Apartheid in the News sites, so it's a great way to stay abreast of the discourse surrounding boycott and divestment. Next, check out our ongoing campaigns against Motorola and Caterpillar. Sign up to be a local organizer, sign a boycott pledge, or plan an action at a local phone store or CAT dealer. And check out the BDS actions that member groups like CODEPINK and Adalah-NY are doing as well. Finally, consider coming to our National Organizers' Conference in Chicago on September 12-13. We'll be discussing the current state of our boycott and divestment work, and how to move forward as a coalition. If you're a member of an organization, check and see if your organization is a member of the US Campaign. If not, encourage them to join and send delegates to the conference. You can also click here for resources on how to start a group! Join the conversation. Join the struggle. Join the fun!