Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

John Lewis Stops Stocking Ahava Products

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A significant victory for the BDS campaign!

John Lewis’ Managing Director, Andy Street, wrote to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in a letter dated 7 January:

Andy Street

As a socially responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of workers and their working conditions. We expect all our suppliers not only to obey the law, but also to respect the rights, interests and well-being of their employees, their communities and the environment.


In relation to your specific enquiry about Ahava Dead Sea products, I can confirm that John Lewis has ceased stocking these particular products.

Read the full press release on the PSC website: John Lewis Stops Stocking Ahava Products in Britain

Find out more about Ahava at CODEPINK’s

Unsuprisingly, Jpost has a different interpretation of the letter(!): British retailer denies boycotting Israeli cosmetics

BDS: Criticisms of Israel not anti-Semitic

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Letters published in the Yorkshire Evening Post in response to the Leeds PSC picket at Johnny Rotten’s concert:

IN response to Kevin Hartley’s letter (below), Palestine solidarity supporters do not demonise Israel – there is much that Israelis should be duly proud of. This does not mean there are not criticisms of Israel and that these are anti-Semitic.

The criticisms are that Israel violates international law and human rights as recognised by the UN – by continued expansion of its settlements in the Palestinian West Bank (as commented on by Barak Obama re: East Jerusalem), the blockade on Gaza (which even David Cameron described as a prison) and the system of check points, lack of freedom of movement and the apartheid wall that makes Palestinians’ lives and livelihoods acutely difficult in the West Bank and in Israel.

Many of the most active Palestine campaigners in the UK are Jewish and we are clear that it is the Israeli State (and not Jews) that we are critical of.

This anti-apartheid boycott campaign is the peaceful one, in which we can all take part, to collectively pressurise Israel to stop the above violations and to start a peace process with Palestine.

Whilst John Lydon may or may not boycott Israel, many other artists have (Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Ian Banks etc).

For Mr Hartley’s information, I do campaign and support campaigns against injustice and poverty here and abroad and don’t just boycott Israeli goods. I also promote fairtrade and buy fairtrade products, including Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil. I believe we can use our consumer power by supporting and boycotting and hope others will consider doing the same.

C MacDonald, Leeds (Published Date: 05 August 2010)

in response to:

Further to your report of July 22 regarding the Palestinian supporters’ campaign to boycott Israel and urge entertainers like rocker John Lydon not to perform, this is saddening.

Israel is not an “apartheid” state as was suggested; all of its citizens have equal rights under the law regardless of race or religion despite what these misguided campaigners say.

Israel’s situation is totally unique and her need for security is paramount.

The attempt by these campaigners to demonise Israel and portray it as malign is an obvious form of distasteful anti-semitism which we can do without.

I suggest these campaigners turn their attention and efforts to far more worthwhile causes, such as the real poverty and injustices that exist right here in the UK.

Kevin Hartley, by email (Published Date: 28 July 2010)

Original July 22 YEP report on the planned protest.

The cultural boycott and the outraged artist

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Our fellow BDS activist has a piece published on Mondoweiss:

The cultural boycott and the outraged artist

When you arrive in Israel as an internationally-renowned artist to give a concert or accept a cultural award, it is only natural that you not be spat at and knee-capped by Jews. I say this apropos of the odd comments made over the last couple of months by Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Vega regarding their crossing of the BDS picket line.

In Israel, it is no surprise that people will be polite to you: “Recently I was in Israel. The Israelis I met could not have been more welcoming” (Atwood). You might even meet with excellent Israeli human rights organizations: “I went to Israel, I played two concerts there. I also met with B’Tselem” (Vega). And the general public will discuss politics with you: “I’d been told ahead of time that Israelis would try to cover up the Shadow, but instead they talked about it non-stop” (Atwood). All that is encouraging – after all it is some ‘shadow’ to live under!

Read the rest at…

Another Rotten Picket in Liverpool

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From Liverpool Friends of Palestine:

Protest at O2 Academy on Saturday evening

Liverpool Friends of  Palestine will be leafleting outside Liverpool’s O2 Academy on Saturday evening. Public Image Limited are playing there that evening.  The band is headed by John Lydon, formerly and better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols.

The protest is held because the band’s tour culminates at the end of August with an appearance in Tel-Aviv (Israel’s capital city). This is in violation of the cultural and economic boycott which Friends of Palestine supports. The group say that PIL and other bands should not visit Israeli venues until there is justice for the Palestinians.

A growing number of artists have decided to observe and support the cultural boycott. Last month Friends of Palestine leafleted Elvis Costello’s Liverpool concert to thank him for cancelling his planned gig in Tel-Aviv. Other artists who have taken this stance include Gil Scott-Heron, The Pixies, Carlos Santana and the Klaxons.

The attitude of John Lydon has been quite unrepentant. There have been protests at earlier concerts on this tour, most recently in Bristol on 20 July.

Tom Bimpson, chairman of the Friends of Palestine group, said “There is something rotten in the state of Israel even before Johnny gets there. He should stay away and show some support for the Palestinians. If he thinks his ‘one-man army’ will bring about change in Palestine he is sadly mistaken”

A copy of the leaflet is here… (pdf)

end of release

Cultural BDS: Leftfield Cancel Israel Tour

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Following pressure from fans and BDS campaigners (FB) Leftfield have cancelled their planned gig in Israel citing:

Cancellation of Israel show
Unfortunately Leftfield will not be able to perform at the Heineken Music Conference, Israel on the 31st August due to unforeseen production problems.

Leftfield Blog

This adds to the growing list of artists who have made similar decisions, including: Gil Scott-Heron, Elvis Costello, The Pixies, The Gorillaz, Carlos Santana and The Klaxons.

In addition to the Johnny Rotten protests occurring around the UK, a number of Facebook pages have been setup to pressure other artists:

We are working on a calendar to highlight UK gigs and events where artists who plan to visit Israel will be performing:

Food Co-Op in Rachel Corrie’s Hometown Boycotts Israeli Goods

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A small but important step in the BDS campaign. The Co-op has had a boycott process/policy since 1993, they have used it to boycott Norwegian and Chinese goods in the past. Their statement on the Israeli boycott reads:

Boycott Announcement

The Board of Directors has decided that the Olympia Food Co-op will boycott Israeli made products and divest from any investments in Israeli companies. The Co-op would stop carrying the Israeli products it currently sells and would not stock new products from Israeli companies. If the Co-op has money invested in Israeli companies or bonds, we would terminate those investments. We would refrain from dealing with non-Israeli companies that sell products or services to Israel that are used to violate the human rights of the Palestinians.

Members requested that the Co-op honor the international call for boycott. The Board made the decision while following the Olympia Food Co-op Boycott Process (available at the Co-op website at The Board consulted and used the Co-op Mission Statement and the By-Laws to guide in making this decision:

  • From the Mission Statement: Support efforts to foster a socially and economically egalitarian society
  • From the By-Laws: Adopt policies which promote achievement of the mission statement and goals of the Cooperative

Read the full statement here (pdf) – includes: Why boycott?, Why an Israeli products boycott?, Isn’t this “anti-Israel”?, What ends the boycott? & Why should the Co-op honor the boycott?

Please take a moment and email the Olympia Food Co-op’s board to congratulate them on their decision: board [at] – or on Facebook

Natasha Mozgovaya’s op-ed in Ha’aretz:

In some places the mainstream Jewish community has reacted vigorously against boycott attempts, but many Israel supporters are worried that the battle “might be already lost at the campuses.” – Read more at ISM…

Local paper, The Olympian, reports:

Olympia Food Co-op members will get another chance next month to discuss a controversial board decision to boycott Israeli products at its two stores.

Nine of the co-op board’s 10 members voted Thursday to participate in the international boycott. Harry Levine, a staff representative to the board, said he didn’t take a stand on the issue.

Not everyone on the co-op staff agrees with the decision, Levine said. He said that outside of his role as a board member, he supports it.

“My personal view is that boycotts can be effective tools in changing governments,” he said. “I personally support it, and I’m an American Jew.”

The board voted to boycott Israeli products as a way to “compel Israel to follow international law and respect Palestinian human rights,” according to a statement the board released. The boycott announcement has been posted on the co-op’s website,, as well as at its two stores.

Israeli products removed from the stores include gluten-free crackers, ice cream cones and a moisturizing cream, Levine said.

This is not the first time that the 33-year-old co-op has taken part in a boycott, he said. It has boycotted products from Norway and China in objection to whaling and human rights violations. – Read more…

Mentioned in the comments of The Olympian article is a US “Antiboycott Law” which:

.. discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott.

This ‘law’ appears to apply only to exports, but definitely only applies to Israel.

Rotten Picket in Bristol

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Bristol PSC’s press release about their protest at Johnny Rotten’s Bristol gig:

Rotten Picket in Bristol

Palestine supporters maintained a vigorous picket throughout the evening outside the O2 Academy, in Bristol on Tuesday 20th July.

Chanting “Johnny Rotten, Johnny Rotten, Gaza must not be forgotten” they waved flags and placards.

They spoke to fans attending the gig and handed out fliers and cards.

Accompanying the picket were two eight-foot high stilt-walkers.

These were dressed as Johnny Rotten in his punk-rock era garb of union-jack jacket and spiked hair, plus a machine-gun armed Israeli Soldier.

Former Sex Pistols frontman, Johnny Rotten is currently embarking on a European Tour which culminates with a headline appearance in Tel Aviv at the end of August. Campaigners throughout the UK are appalled at his decision and are aiming to get their message across to fans urging them to appeal to Johnny to cancel his Israel date.

Several hundred fans attended the gig from all across the South West.

Some weren’t interested in talking to the protesters, and a few obviously misunderstood the issues.

Read more »

July 9: BDS Day of Action – Supermarket Phone In

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0845 611 6111

0800 636 262

Join PSC and BDS campaigners by calling Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s TODAY!

Some questions you should ask:

Morrisons/Sainsbury’s claims to have an ethical policy, yet it stocks produce from Israel, a country which is in daily breach of international law and international human rights legislation.

  1. Does Morrisons/Sainsbury’s condone Israel’s illegal actions? If not, how do Israel’s flagrant violations of international law fit into the supermarket’s ethical policy?

  2. Is Morrisons/Sainsbury’s aware that produce from Israeli settlements is grown on land that has been stolen from the Palestinians of the West Bank?

  3. By stocking settlement goods, Morrisons/Sainsbury’s is tacitly acknowledging the right of countries to invade and occupy land, and to ignore UN resolutions calling for the return of that land to its indigenous population. How does that square with the supermarket’s ethical policy?

  4. Are you aware that the Palestinians who work in settlement farms and industrial zones do not have equal rights with the Israeli citizens who also work there?

  5. How does the sub-standard treatment of Palestinian workers in the settlements, and the clear breach of their human rights on a daily basis, fit in with the supermarket’s ethical policy?

PSC’s website has some useful points that can be used to reinforce your case when asking these questions, read them here…

6th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week

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March 1-7, 2010

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement.

IAW 2010 takes place following a year of incredible successes for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on the global level. Lectures, films, and actions will highlight some of theses successes along with the many injustices that continue to make BDS so crucial in the battle to end Israeli Apartheid. Speakers and full programme for each city will be available soon.

Cities around the UK supporting IAW:


Thanks to Oxford PSC for the tip!

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