BDS movement achieves breakthroughs in India, Spain, Germany

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The 4-million strong Students Federation of India will boycott HP for its links with the Israeli military

The Dawn News / June 15, 2018

Close on the heels of the Argentinian football team opting out of a match in Israel, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has made more significant breakthroughs across the world. Last week, the Students Federation of India (SFI), a four-million strong organisation, passed a resolution calling for a boycott of Hewlett Packard (HP) over its extensive commercial and technological ties with the Israeli military which helps in sustaining and advancing Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

BDS is aimed at ending Israel’s occupation by exerting international economic and cultural pressure on the Israeli state and government institutions, international companies and individuals that either aid and abet and profit off doing business in the occupied Palestinian territories, or try and normalise and whitewash the state of Israel through cultural and academic events.

Apoorva Gautam, coordinator for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee for South Asia, announced that the SFI joined the campaign on June 9, and explained “this means that Hewlett Packard companies now risk losing over 4 million potential clients in India because of their complicity in Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian human rights.”

In its resolution to boycott HP, the SFI condemned Israel’s recent violence against unarmed protesters in Gaza, which led to the deaths of close to 130 Palestinians and injuries to more than 13,000 in two months.

SFI general secretary Vikram Singh promised that the campaign to boycott HP in India would grow, saying, “Our federation will spread the BDS movement and the HP boycott campaign in college and university campuses across India. We will work to convince university administrations to adopt procurement policies that prohibit doing business with HP companies until they prove that they are no longer complicit in Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights. Until then, this boycott will continue and will grow even stronger.”

HP risks losing a market of up to $120 million, Apoorva explained.

HP in the past has provided the Israeli government with servers for the country’s population registry used at military checkpoints, and is involved in the creation of an ID card system that is used to put in place restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.

The BDS movement also gained significant ground in another part of the world with the third largest city in Spain, Valencia, joining the movement and declaring itself to be an ‘Israeli apartheid free zone’ last month. According to Telesur, Valencia’s city council has committed to refrain from any contract or cultural event with Israeli authorities or companies. Close to 60 Spanish cities and towns are now apartheid free zones. Dozens of other local councils across Ireland, Norway, Sweden, France, the UK, Italy, Belgium and Australia have passed resolutions that support the movement or that pledge not to deal with specific companies identified by it.

After Valencia’s decision, the invitation extended to the Israeli Netanya Chamber Orchestra and ballet group to perform at the autumn cultural program was withdrawn.

The Palestinian BDS movement also convinced four international artists to boycott Berlin’s international Pop-Kultur festival since the Israeli embassy was among the sponsors. US musician John Maus withdrew from the festival, saying that his band preferred “not to play in a politicized setting.” Shopping, Richard Dawson & Band and Gwenno also cancelled their shows at the three-day festival, which is to begin on August 15. 42 British bands have also joined the cultural boycott of Israel, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of BDS, told Voice of Palestine radio.


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