Showing posts with label corporate accountability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corporate accountability. Show all posts

Friday, January 20, 2012

London's Natural History Museum Blasted for Collaborating with Ahava

In the summer of 2009, US Campaign coalition member group CODEPINK launched the Stolen Beauty Campaign against Israeli cosmetics manufacturer Ahava Dead Sea Labaratories. Since then, the boycott campaign against Ahava has grown into an international campaign that continues to raise awareness about Ahava's deceitful business practices, which include labeling products manufactured in the occupied West Bank as 'Made in Israel', in violation of international law.

This past Tuesday, prominent intellectuals in Great Britain demanded that the Natural History Museum in London pull out of a research project which involves Ahava. In an open letter to the British newspaper, The Independent, top British filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, along with other leading cultural and academic figures in Great Britain, condemned the museum for "coordinating an activity that breaks international law."

The museum is coordinating a European Union-funded project studying the environmental and health risks of nanoparticles. Avaha is one of several companies and institutions collaborating on the project, however, it is the only one operating in an illegal settlement in occupied territory. In their letter, the 21 signatories conveyed their outrage over the museum's collaboration with Ahava:

Ahava/DSL is based on occupied territory. It extracts, processes and exports Palestinian resources to generate profits that fund an illegal settlement. Israel's settlement project has been held by the International Court of Justice to break international law. Organisations which aid and abet this process may well themselves be found to be in violation. We find it almost inconceivable that a national institution of the status of the Natural History Museum should have put itself in this position.

We call on the museum to take immediate steps to terminate its involvement in Nanoretox and to establish safeguards that protect against any comparable entanglement.

The letter has generated a fair amount of negative publicity for Ahava, including a separate article in The Independent, and featured articles in the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Rueters, YNet News and leading science websites like Nature and Science.

Check out CODEPINK's Stolen Beauty website for more information on how you can get involved in the boycott campaign against Ahava!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weapons maker target of area protest

Below a newspaper in Meadville, PA, covers Monday's protest against Combined Systems, Inc., which manufactures the tear gas projectiles illegally used by the Israeli military to injure and kill Palestinian demonstrators. As we posted yesterday, US Campaign member group Adalah-NY discovered important details on shipments of U.S. tear gas to Israel linked to the injury and killing of both Palestinians and U.S. citizens in this article. To organize with us to end military aid to Israel, sign up here!

By Keith Gushard
January 16, 2012
Meadville Tribune

JAMESTOWN, PA — “Silence is betrayal,” “End chemical warfare,” “Democracy for all” and “Honor Dr. King and the right to protest oppression” were just some of the signs carried by protesters.

Why about two dozen people chose to march two miles on a cold Monday morning from downtown Jamestown into rural Mercer County was straight-forward, according to Werner Lange of the Coalition for Peace in the Middle East.

 “We’re here to try to put an end to one of the major weapons manufacturers whose products have killed countless people,” said Lange, who also is a professor of sociology at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. “It’s time to put a spotlight on it.”

The protesters picketed peacefully Monday in front of Combined Systems Inc. of Jamestown, a maker of tear gas, smoke munitions, other non-lethal and lethal munitions and crowd-control devices. The company’s production complex is located two miles west of the borough on Route 58.

The company’s security director said Monday that company officials were out of town and would have no comment on the protest. Messages left for company officials by the Tribune on Friday and Monday did not get a response.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flash Mob Tells Bed Bath & Beyond: "Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!"

The three groups involved in this action -- CODEPINK, 14 Friends of Palestine, and Keep Hope Alive -- are all coalition members of the US Campaign, which offers its exclusive flash mob resources here.

Brides, Professional Choir and Minister Flash Mob at Bed Bath & Beyond with Message:
"Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!"

Action in Solidarity with Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

[LARKSPUR]: On Saturday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, a flash mob took over the wedding registry section of the Bed Bath & Beyond in Larkspur.  The flash mob consisted of a mock wedding in which four brides committed to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products, namely Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream home carbonation systems, and local Reverend Dr. Walt Davis pronounced the brides "married to a life of peace and justice."  The Justice Voices choir sung a parody of "Ode to Joy" that asked Bed Bath & Beyond to deshelve these products.  Store employees asked the flash mobbers to leave the store and called the police.  No arrests were made.  Caroling continued outside the store where the group received positive feedback from holiday shoppers.

“We hope Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares hears our plea and stops selling products that are in clear violation of international law,” said Rae Abileah, flash mob "bride" and co-director of CODEPINK.  “Consumers have a right to know the ugly truth behind Ahava beauty products: they’re stealing Palestinian land! SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible. Save a few plastic bottles at the expense of trashing Palestinian land and people?  We don’t think so.”

Ahava and SodaStream products are fraudulently labeled as “Made in Israel”, but are in fact produced in illegal settlements under the conditions of the military occupation in the West Bank, outside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel.  Ahava cosmetics are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava’s fraudulent labeling is under investigation in the UK and in The Netherlands. The Stolen Beauty Boycott and international boycott pressure have successfully pressured many stores to drop Ahava.  Stores that have pulled Ahava from their shelves include Canada’s major department store The Bay, UK retailer John Lewis, the National Cathedral in DC, the U.N. commissary in Vienna, and many more.

A recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices.  SodaStream is another occupation profiteer located the illegal industrial zone called Mishor Adumim, one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank, which prevents a future contiguous Palestinian state.

"This month, we mark three years since the Israel's deadly assault on Gaza that killed about 1,400 Palestinian men, women, and children. Let us all recommit ourselves to ending US financial and diplomatic support to Israel, and to supporting the inspiring, growing, global, Palestinian-led  movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Palestinians enjoy the freedom, equality, and justice that they deserve,” said Anna Baltzer, flash mob "bride" and national organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  

“I invited the CODEPINK women to Marin so that we could do a boycott action at our local Bed, Bath, and Beyond,” said Jane Jewell, founder of 14 Friends of Palestine and Justice Voices. “BDS is one of the most important non-violent activities we can do to oppose the cruel Israeli Occupation of Palestine that causes such terrible suffering to the Palestinian people. I consider it the duty of those of us who enjoy a life of freedom and privilege to help those who do not. If I lived under horrendous oppression like the Palestinians do, I would like to think that somewhere in the world there were people looking out for me. "

The action was coordinated by 14 Friends of Palestine, CODEPINK Women for Peace, and Keep Hope Alive.

More information on both campaigns is available at and

Monday, November 28, 2011

Israelis Accuse BNP Paribas of Caving to BDS Pressure

In an article (below) in last Thurday's Haaretz, Israeli officials angrily accused French bank BNP Paribas of pulling out of Israel in response to civil society pressure in France. While BDS activists are currently directing robust campaigns against French companies like Veolia, BNP Paribas does not appear to have been targeted by BDS activists. The bank itself has said that it is pulling out in response to the ongoing financial crisis in Europe.

While it may be difficult to ascertain exactly why BNP Paribas is exiting Israel, it is not difficult to explain Israel's enraged response: it is terrified by the growing international momentum of BDS. The palpable fear and anxiety exhibited by Israeli officials in the Haaretz article is further evidence of the strength of BDS as a powerful nonviolent resistance strategy.

Rage in Israel as BNP Paribas pressured to pull out

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank’s board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.

By Moti Bassok

The powers that be are furious at BNP Paribas for shuttering its operations in Israel, and suspect it is acting due to Arab and anti-Israeli pressure in France, the bank’s home base.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank’s board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.This is the first case in years of a foreign bank leaving Israel. BNP Paribas has had operations in Israel since 2003. Most of its business here involved financing large projects that involve French companies.

The bank recently decided to shut down its local offices and dismiss its 60 employees. The bank claims this is because it sustained serious damage from the Greek crisis. Yet the only foreign branch is closing is its Israeli one, even though BNP Paribas has branches all over the world, including in Israel’s neighbor countries.

The French bank is leaving a very limited representation in Israel. It does not need the Bank of Israel’s approval for this, even though its operations are still supervised by the central bank.

Fischer and Zaken held several harsh discussions with BNP Paribas executives, which brought no results, and also denounced the bank’s actions in internal meetings. Fischer reportedly said that one of his goals as Israel’s chief banker was to convince large foreign banks to do business in Israel. There is no reason for BNP Paribas to leave, he reportedly said.

The Bank of Israel said it could not comment on a specific bank.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BDS Victory: Alstom loses Saudi Haramain Railway contract worth $10B

The BDS National Committee (BNC) has declared a long sought-after victory as Alstom lost the bid for the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway project, worth $10 billion US dollars, after pressure from the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, including effective campaigning from the newly launched KARAMA, a European campaign to Keep Alstom Rail And Metro Away. 

In 2008 the BNC, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition, with partners in Europe and Israel, launched the Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign, due to the two companies’ involvement in Israel’s illegal Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) project, which explicitly aims to “Judaize Jerusalem,” according to official Israeli statements, by cementing Israel’s hold on the illegal colonial settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in and around Jerusalem. Since then, Veolia has lost more than $12B worth of contracts following boycott activism in Sweden, the UK, Ireland and elsewhere. Alstom, too, suffered substantial blows when the Swedish national pension fund AP7 excluded it from its investment portfolio, after having been excluded from the Dutch ASN Bank due to the company’s involvement in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and has recently announced its intention to withdraw from the project.

The decision is in line with a decision adopted by consensus at the Arab Summit held in Khartoum in 2006 which condemned in the JLR project and called on “the two French companies [Alstom and Veolia] to immediately withdraw from the project,” and demanding that punitive measures be taken against them “if they don’t comply.” The Arab Summit also urged the French government to take the necessary measure in this respect to honor its obligations under international law. In March 2010, the UN’s Human Rights Council denounced Israel’s JLR project for being “in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.”


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cambridge Students Vote to Dump Veolia

A student referendum calling on Cambridge University to sever ties with Veolia due to its complicity in Israeli human rights abuses passes with 58% of the vote. Read blogger Ben White's article on the vote, the opposition's smear tactics, and what the vote means in the fight against Veolia at Cambridge.

Want to start a Dump Veolia campaign in your area? Check out the excellent resources at Global Exchange and join the growing movement to hold Veolia accountable for its complicity in violating international law!

From the Cambridge Bin Veolia campaign:

58% of students vote to break contract with company implicated in Israeli human rights abuses

Students at Cambridge have voted to call on the University to cut ties with a company implicated in Israeli human rights abuses.

The vote calls on CUSU (Cambridge University Students Union) to campaign to have the University cut ties with Veolia, a company involved in infrastructure projects in Israeli settlements, and employed by the University on a waste disposal contract. The referendum, which closed yesterday, passed with a majority of 58% to 41%: there were 898 votes yes, 637 votes no, and 21 ballots spoilt. While a strong majority was in support, the referendum was inquorate: 7.2% of the student body voted, short of the 10% required.

Students involved in the campaign pledged to continue the campaign to ensure that Veolia’s contract, which expires in September 2012, is not renewed.

As previously reported on the blog, student campaigners had been boosted in the lead up to the referendum with letters of support from Palestinian trade unionists and students, as well as a list of Cambridge academics.

While voter participation was too low to make the motion automatically become CUSU policy, the students behind the push to cut the University’s ties with Veolia are encouraged:

Daniel Benjamin, a student involved in the campaign, said: “With this vote, Cambridge students make a strong statement against Veolia’s criminal actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We won’t stop fighting until Veolia is off campus, but this vote itself is a fantastic show of support in the broader campaign for Palestinian human rights through boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli companies and institutions.”

Owen Holland, a student involved in the campaign, said: “The impressive turnout shows significant student support for the campaign. We are concerned with a number of irregularities in the vote, such as lies in the ‘no’ flysheet that went uncorrected, a lack of ballot boxes in colleges, and a number of students who found themselves unable to vote online. Though the referendum did not meet the threshold to become CUSU policy, we will be campaigning to have CUSU adopt it anyway and push the University to drop its contract with Veolia.

The “lies” of the ‘No’ campaign, referred to by Owen Holland, can be read here (and they are rebutted here). The ‘No’ flysheet prepared by members of the Cambridge University Jewish Society described “the wider BDS movement” as “antisemitic”, even if the motion in question “is not explicitly” so. Despite such smear tactics, the majority of Cambridge students who voted backed the call for the University to cancel its contract with Veolia, and the campaign continues.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Omar Barghouti on the Moral Imperative to Boycott Israel

Omar Barghouti is a featured presenter at this year's 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference of the US Campaign, in Washington, DC, from September 16 to 19.

Omar Barghouti spoke at Socialism 2011 in Chicago on July 3, 2011, to explain why boycotting Israel is the right approach and a moral imperative for people who support justice and universal rights. Omar Barghouti is one of the founders of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and author of BDS, The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.


An Interview with Omar Barghouti - July 9, 2011

Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian political and cultural analyst whose opinion columns have appeared in several publications. He is also a human rights activist involved in civil struggle to end oppression and conflict in Palestine. Barghouti is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, PACBI. He is a featured presenter at this year's 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference of the US Campaign, in Washington, DC, from September 16 to 19.

Video also available in HD and 16:9
For more info, please visit PACBI.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

AFSC Joins Jewish Voice for Peace on Divestment Campaign

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are two of our coalition members, along with six of AFSC's U.S. regional chapters. Spearheaded by JVP, the "We Divest" Campaign targeting TIAA-CREF is a US Campaign-sponsored initiative. AFSC has distributed the following press release.

In its meeting on June 12, 2011, the Board of Directors of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace organization, united in support of joining the divestment campaign led by Jewish Voice for Peace.  The campaign calls on the financial services organization TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that:

  • Directly profit from or contribute to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
  • Provide products or services that contribute to the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements and/or the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law; or
  • Provide products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.
The campaign also calls on TIAA-CREF to establish investment criteria to exclude any such companies in the future.  The TIAA-CREF campaign does not target the government of Israel or Israeli companies for divestment; it is directed at divesting from all corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation.

The AFSC Board affirmed that the decision to join this campaign is “rooted in our Quaker beliefs that we speak with love to ‘that of God’ in every person, that we ‘utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons for any end or under any pretense whatsoever’, and that we testify to this by removing the ‘seeds of conflict’ - including economic seeds - from our own lives.”

This decision is a response to ongoing Israeli violations of human rights and international law and is a rejection of any actions that might support these violations. Consistent with AFSC’s investment screen, this campaign seeks to change Israeli government actions and to end its continued occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

AFSC’s work is shaped by its recognition of Israelis’ and Palestinians’ shared humanity and the importance of working with both peoples to end the conflict based on the principles of equality, rights and justice. As the Board said, “In joining this campaign, Friends reaffirmed our commitment to approach it with a loving spirit and openness to hearing all sides in a conflict. In communicating with Jewish Voice for Peace and others we will hold up our broader concerns for the resolution of all conflict and violation of human rights in the region.”

For more information about AFSC’s joining the Jewish Voice for Peace campaign, see our frequently asked questions.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIAA-CREF Censors Shareholders... We Flash-Mob!

Above: Palestinian boy calls on people worldwide to boycott Elbit and end Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Traveling through Palestine during the past few weeks, co-leading a delegation organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, I witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid.

I watched Caterpillar bulldozers leveling earth for illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. I stood under Motorola-equipped watchtowers and thermal cameras at checkpoints and terminals that separate Palestinians from their schools, jobs and basic human services. I saw Elbit equipment used in patrolling the Apartheid wall. I documented Veolia buses operated on roads forbidden to non-Jews in the West Bank. On the first anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I honored the nine civilians killed by Israel with Northrop Grumman helicopters and other U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.

The growing "We Divest" Campaign demands that retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia and Northrop Grumman because all five are profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation.

TIAA-CREF presents itself as committed to "serving the greater good," in part by engaging with companies behaving poorly. This is why 20 investors and anti-occupation activists filed a shareholders resolution earlier this year, asking TIAA-CREF to engage with companies profiting from the occupation.

Despite a stated commitment to transparency, TIAA-CREF asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help suppress the resolution. The SEC agreed not to sue TIAA-CREF for refusing to submit the proposal to a shareholder vote. TIAA-CREF bills itself as socially responsible, yet it is blocking its investors from choosing whether or not to retire on money acquired through an illegal, immoral occupation.

Above: BDS activists protest outside TIAA-CREF offices in Denver during Israeli Apartheid Week. Click image to enlarge, and click here to see video.

It's time to show TIAA-CREF that they cannot silence investors and violate their own proclaimed investment standards while we sit idly by! We need to keep the pressure on.

Many of you have already signed the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation. Now it's time to take the next step. In the spirit of this spring's Flash Mob Frenzy, there will be a coordinated week of flash mobs across the country, starting June 20.

Have you been itching to stage a flash mob in your community? Here's your chance! There's a song everyone knows, catchy lyrics, and simple but groovy dance steps all ready to use!

The materials come with a how-to kit based on the US Campaign's BDS Flash Mob Step-by-Step Guide.

Click here to connect with others in your area to take part in the Flash Mob Action Week and demand that TIAA-CREF stop profiting from occupation, stop censoring investors, and start acting like a real socially responsible investment fund!

Hope to see you -- getting your socially responsible groove on -- soon!

Anna Baltzer
National Organizer

PS --
We can support grassroots BDS activism around the country only with grassroots support from people like you. Help us by making a general tax-deductible donation, or by joining our Olive Branch Club to make a recurring tax-deductible donation.

Caterpillar moves board meeting to avoid protests

Caterpillar, Inc., moves board meeting to Little Rock, AR, to avoid protests on sale of militarized bulldozers to Israel

Caterpillar Inc., the Peoria, IL based heavy equipment manufacturer, has moved its annual shareholder meeting to Little Rock, AR, from the Chicago area in order to avoid continued protests over its sale of militarized bulldozers to Israel. Instead of seeking to resolve the issue, Caterpillar’s response to the submission of resolutions seeking to hold it accountable to its own code of conduct and protests inside and outside of the shareholder meetings in prior years is to avoid corporate responsibility.

Chicagoan Against Apartheid in Palestine (CAAP, successor to StopCAT) joins End the Occupation and Jewish Voices for Peace in telling Caterpillar “YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE!” Moving the shareholder meeting to Little Rock will not stop the protest for justice for those killed, injured and dispossessed through the destruction of Palestinian homes with Caterpillar bulldozers.

Since 2004, CAAP, End the Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Sisters of Mercy and others have sought to end sales of militarized bulldozers by Caterpillar to Israel. These bulldozers are principally used to destroy homes of Palestinian families in a form of collective punishment (in violation of international law) and in furtherance of the occupation of Palestinian lands. Caterpillar’s response has been to claim no control over end use of the bulldozers even in the face of mountains of evidence of just such use.

Moving the meeting will not end our protests and goal of an immediate end to these sales. We will continue our campaign for justice.

See and US Campaign for more information on the campaign to stop Caterpillar sales to Israel.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Performance artists plant trees in luxury cosmetics store linked to Israeli land grabs

June 10, 2011

A group of international artists staged a performance today in a Turkish branch of luxury cosmetics store Clinique in protest against its chairman's involvement with Israeli ethnic cleansing and occupation in Palestine. This is the latest action in the growing campaign against the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a Zionist organisation which facilitates the transfer of Palestinian land to Jews while parading as an environmental charity.

Five members of performance arts group Rezoning Group entered the store in Istanbul dressed up as members of the JNF and proceeded to “plant” trees over the Clinique shop space on Friday 10th June, forcing the store to temporarily close.

This was to draw a parallel with the actions of the JNF, which has been involved in forcibly appropriating Palestinian homes and ”rezoning” them under an ecological reforestation scheme. By this “planting” of trees without prior announcement or permission, the Rezoning Group say they wish to highlight the very activity engaged in by the JNF on Palestinian lands.


Friday, May 27, 2011

U.S. Announces Sanctions Against Israeli Company

Although clearly this news has nothing to do with our movement to end U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid -- which we pursue partly through boycott-divestment-and-sanctions campaigns -- still it might serve as a useful answer to anyone who claims that we cannot boycott or sanction Israel.

By Isabel Kershner
May 26, 2011

JERUSALEM -- Even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was praising the United States in a speech on Tuesday for imposing tougher sanctions on Iran for its nuclear activities, the State Department announced that it was imposing sanctions on a leading Israeli company, Ofer Brothers Group, for activities supporting Iran’s energy sector.

While the State Department’s decision caused Israel considerable embarrassment, it was the timing that created the greatest stir. It came soon after Mr. Netanyahu’s friction with Mr. Obama over using the 1967 borders as a basis for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Nobody wants to over-interpret the choice of timing,” said an Israeli official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity for diplomatic reasons, “but there was no objective reason for the State Department to come out with the announcement on that precise day.”

“Does this carry meaning? I am unable to tell you. But you cannot blame anybody for being suspicious,” he said.

The Obama administration dismissed any connection between the sanctions and Mr. Netanyahu’s visit. “These sanctions take months” to work through the Department of Treasury’s vetting process, a senior administration official said. “There is a process.”

Still, the awkward fact remains that a corporation owned by one of Israel’s most prominent business families has been blacklisted for dealings, however indirect, with Iran.


Monday, May 16, 2011

AHAVA's Twitter campaign jammed with BDS messaging

This post was added five days ago, so we wish it wasn't displaying under Monday, May 16. :-( Stolen Beauty is a boycott campaign organized by CodePink, which is a member group of the US Campaign.

By Maureen, May 11, 2011
Electronic Intifada

The Stolen Beauty campaign focusing on a boycott of Ahava cosmetics, which are illegally manufactured in the occupied West Bank using Palestinian natural resources, has launched a culture jamming initiative currently underway on Twitter:
This Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12, is sponsoring an Ahava Twitter contest. They are calling on people to Tweet skincare question with the hashtag #AHAVAreborn. People who Tweet using that hashtag - part of Ahava’s REBRANDING campaign -will be entered into the contest and given a chance to win $300 worth of Mineral Magical Skincare. (See details below by clicking on the link.)
AHAVA Twitter Contest! Win $300 Worth of Mineral Magical Skincare
We are asking Ahava boycott supporters to use the hashtags #AHAVAreborn & #stolenbeauty on Wednesday & Thursday to help get out the word about Ahava’s illegal practices and its occupation profiteering. PLEASE TWEET OFTEN. PLEASE SHARE THIS ACTION ALERT WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
So many people have responded to this call, that I can’t see any tweets that AREN’T about BDS and Israel’s rights abuses when searching #AHAVAreborn on Twitter. AHAVA is having an increasingly hard time covering up its human rights blemishes. It is has been dropped from retail stores in Canada and the UK and taken to court in France. As The Electronic Intifada reported last June, “Bad publicity caused Sex & the City star Kristin Davis to be dropped as a spokesperson for Ahava and as a goodwill ambassador for the international organization Oxfam after activists called on her to end her paid promotional appearances for Ahava. ”


Monday, May 9, 2011

TIAA-CREF campaign update

Jewish Voice for Peace is one of more than 350 member groups in our nationwide coalition.

Campaign to Divest from Retirement Giant TIAA-CREF, Nationwide Right to Education Tour

Jewish Voice for Peace

Our TIAA-CREF campaign continues to gain strength. We are asking the retirement giant to divest from companies such as Caterpillar and Veolia, both heavily implicated in human rights abuses connected to the Israeli occupation. With your help, we plan to bring thousands of new signatures in favor of divestment to the CREF shareholder meeting in July, where some of our members will be presenting a shareholder’s resolution to encourage divestment. Help us spread the word by asking shareholders to sign our public pledge at our new website ( where you can also get additional information about the campaign and how to take action.

In support of the campaign, we launched a “Right to Education” tour featuring Palestinian students who are speaking in fifteen cities across the United States, from campuses to community centers to high schools. At one of our early events in Boston, we heard that students were talking in the hallways, at lunch, and in classes about what they had heard from the Palestinian students about their lives and the obstacles they face due to the Occupation. You can find the whole tour schedule at


Hear, o Israel! Food Co-op boycott moves a tiny step forward

By Gary Buiso, The Brooklyn Paper, May 4, 2011

Let them eat hummus!

A wildly controversial ban on Israeli-made or -grown products over alleged human rights violations in the homeland first proposed two years ago will get an airing at the Park Slope Food Co-op, a plotz-worthy development for pro-Israel members who say the boycott amounts to nothing short of anti-Semitic venom.

Members who collectively call themselves More Hummus Please — a reference to the whipped chickpea spread imported from the Land of Milk and Honey — are trying to convince ban backers to bury the boycott once and for all, before the controversial proposal ever comes to a vote.

“Most people, unfortunately, join things without thinking,” said Harvey Lang, a member of the private Union Street market since 1988. “I’m really afraid that people will join a movement that is evil.”

The boycott was first broached in the 16,000-member market’s newsletter, the Linewaiter’s Gazette, in 2009, setting off an international firestorm of media coverage.

“I don’t know whether or not we carry Israeli products,” said the woman, who identified herself as Hima, “but I propose that we no longer carry them.”

But the wheels of social justice turn very slowly at the Co-op, where proposals don’t become Co-op law until exhaustive debate. And in the case of Hima’s “proposal,” that debate didn’t happen. Until now.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Campus BDS Heating Up This Spring!

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer

This spring, the weather is not all that's heating up! April has brought a burst of U.S. campus boycott and divestment (BDS) initiatives following inspiring actions around the country on the BDS Day of Action, held on the annual Palestinian Land Day. Active campaigns in California, Arizona, Indiana and beyond are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

We are thrilled to welcome and support many of these campus groups as new members of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation!

Here are some of the exciting ongoing initiatives:

 At the University of California at San Diego, the UCSD Associated Students are voting tomorrow night on a resolution to divest fromNorthrop-Grumman and General Electric because they profit from violent conflict, including in Israel/Palestine. Click here to read the resolution and send endorsements to

Above: Students' wall on the UA campus. Click to enlarge.

 No Mas Muertes at theUniversity of Arizona (UA) recently issued this call for campus boycott and divestment from national targets Caterpillar andMotorola, due to their involvement in racist policies against Latina/o migrant communities and indigenous peoples in Arizona, Palestine and around the world.

 The statement coincided with the launch of a national "Mock Wall" Movement protesting U.S. support for Israeli occupation and discriminatory U.S. immigration policies, with students at six universities around the country constructing walls on their campuses to raise awareness about the destruction wrought by the walls in Palestine and on the U.S. border.

 At Earlham College in Indiana, students launched this BDS resolution to divest their campus from CaterpillarMotorola and Hewlett-Packard, which profit from Israeli occupation and violations of Palestinian rights. The students put together this terrific video

Northrop-Grumman, Caterpillar and Motorola are also three of the five companies targeted in a national campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace (a member of the US Campaign) to compel financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation.

Campuses are fertile ground for this growing campaign. Check out the comprehensive new campaign 
web site and resources here!

Don’t forget to check our 
"BDS on Campus" resources here, including ahandbook by veteran activists to guide students through campus divestment campaigns.

Whether your group is on a campus or not, we invite you to 
join our coalition too, by clicking here. We are more excited than ever to support diverse groups working around the country for corporate accountability and an end to U.S. supportfor Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Los Angeles JVP calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar

By Adolfo Flores, Pasadena Star-News, 12/10/2010

PASADENA - Members of the Los Angeles Jewish Voice for Peace on Friday protested a retirement planning office they claim profits from the conflict in the Middle East.

Organizers called on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar Inc. because the company allegedly supplied bulldozers to Israel that were used to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank, protest organizers said.

About 10 protestors gathered outside the office in conjunction with Human Rights Day.

"I think that they're making a mistake by not talking to people," said Estee Chandler. "We came with a petition with 650 signatures ... it asks them to divest from companies that directly profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands."


Thursday, December 17, 2009

This is what accountability looks like.

What does accountability for human rights abuses and violations of international law look like? Maybe like this: Following a letter from Oxfam to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown which "raised humanitarian concerns about the impact of the occupied Israeli territories [sic] on the Palestinian people," the UK is requiring retailers to clearly label products which come from settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Check out coverage of this development here. Or maybe it looks a bit like the Palestinian Christian community calling on churches around the globe to join the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Or perhaps like this effort to put the S in BDS:
"Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to Britain this weekend over fears pro-Palestinian lawyers would seek to have her arrested. Ms Livni had been due to speak at Sunday’s JNF Vision 2010 conference in Hendon, north-west London. She had also been expected to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown for private talks. But she pulled out of the trip for fear of lawyers obtaining an arrest warrant."
Or maybe it looks like this open letter from Labor for Palestine to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calling for a boycott of Israel's apartheid practices. Or perhaps it looks like the individual boycott efforts highlighted by Andrew Kadi of US Campaign member group Adalah-NY on Flashpoints this week. Get involved in this growing movement for accountability--get involved in BDS work in your community, faith group, or on campus today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

US Campaign Steering Committee member tells Columbia Sportswear to stop marketing to settlers...and they listen!

Last week, US Campaign Steering Committee member Adam Horowitz posted a report on Mondoweiss about Columbia Sportswear's efforts to market to settlers in Israel with an advertising campaign boasting that Columbia clothing is "Suitable for active work in various regions, including outposts." The term "outposts"--"gvaot" (or "hills") in Hebrew--is a code term, used to describe new "seedbed" settlements that are often started by the most extreme right-wing of the Israeli settler movement. All settlement colonies are illegal under international law; many such outposts are illegal even under Israeli occupation "law" : US Campaign Steering Committee member Peter Miller, who is part of Portland-based US Campaign member group Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, decided he couldn't give Columbia a pass on this one. He contacted Columbia with his concerns...and, to his surprise, they listened! Columbia responded the next day and announced that they will discontinue the ad campaign, effective immediately. Here are the emails:
"Customer (Peter Miller) 12/02/2009 07:36 AM December 2, 2009
Dear Columbia Sportswear -
I have purchased your products for many years. I was dismayed to learn recently that your clothing was advertised in Israel as "Suitable for active work in various regions, including outposts." The word "outpost" is rather unique to Israel and it means a specific thing: an illegal settlement colony planted, against international law and in violation of Palestinian human rights, right in the middle of Palestinian land. Outposts are created by radical, right-wing Jewish Israeli settlers. Unfortunately, these settlers have the tacit and often explicit support of the Israeli government. The outposts are a direct violation of the fourth Geneva conventions as well as the so-called "road map to peace" and numerous other documents and declarations. The UN Security council calls the Israel’s settlements "a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention." And the outposts represent the vanguard of these settlements. The "active work" these settlers are engaged in is increasing Israel’s hold on Palestinian land, making future peace and a just resolution impossible. The "active work" is part of Israel’s setting up of an Apartheid system, ruling over the Palestinians who are crowded into smaller and smaller areas, who are separated from each other by Settler roads, separation walls, settlements, military checkpoints, and forbidden zones.
I sincerely hope that Columbia Sportswear is not in the business of supporting these outposts and I ask that you investigate how your products are being promoted in Israel. I ask that you not promote your products in this manner and that you not attempt to promote your products in support of illegal activities and human rights violations. I, for one, don’t want to be associated with "outposts." I do not wish to wear clothing if it is being promoted as being "suitable for active work" in "outposts".
I would be happy to discuss with you the issues involved with these outposts. I give you some background information below including a links to an article depicting the offensive ad.
Peter Miller
"Israel’s settlements are on shaky ground" International law mandates that they must be removed and that the Palestinians should be compensated for their losses. By Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, from The LA Times
"Columbia Markets to the Active Settler on the Go" The Hebrew translation of outposts there is "gvaot" (hills) a euphemism for the illegal outposts populated by the "hilltop youth", notorious for their violence against Palestinian civilians. By Adam Horowitz"
And Columbia Sportswear’s response:
"Response 12/03/2009 04:20 PM Thank you for bringing this advertisement to our attention and for sharing your concerns with us.
We investigated and determined that neither the original Hebrew text of the ad created by our independent Israeli distributor, nor the erroneous English translation supplied by the newspaper, was submitted to or approved by Columbia Sportswear as called for by our standard practices.
Columbia Sportswear and our Israeli distributor have agreed to immediately and permanently discontinue the ad, as well as to reinforce our standard pre-approval practices pertaining to all marketing materials in order to avoid such unfortunate errors in the future.
We value your input and we take all customer feedback seriously. While we cannot always promise specific changes, we do consider and incorporate comments from customers like you when planning our marketing communications for the future.
Thank you for caring. We hope we can count on your ongoing support."
Of course, we all would love for Columbia's response to have been "Wow, this settlement stuff is messed up, what can we do about it?" But the fact that the ad was not approved, and was so quickly discontinued, seems to indicate a tacit admission that supporting such illegal apartheid activity in your ad slogans is beyond the pale for this company. We may never get the full on apology that we want from any corporate supporters of the Israeli occupation, but every victory for accountability counts! When we take the time to write letters, attend shareholder meetings, and do the tough work of holding corporations and governments accountable, we never know when our efforts will pay off. Good work, Peter! Now, let's make sure that no company can get away with supporting Israeli settlements and Israeli occupation--starting with Motorola. Take action today to let the U.S. Department of Energy know about Motorola's support for human rights abuses and violations of international law and demand that they end a $900,000 contract they are set to award to Motorola Israel. If one email can get Columbia to stop advertising to the worst of the settler movement, then civil society pressure can get Motorola and other corporate criminals to end their overt support of occupation and apartheid.