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PSNA Announces Consumer Boycott Priorities For BDS (Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions) Against Israel

At a national meeting earlier this week Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa decided on key priorities for consumer boycotts to support the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel.

The key consumer boycott priorities we will be focussing on are:

· Obela Hummus:

Obela is 50% owned by Israel’s largest food company, Strauss Group, which is known for its support of the Israeli military, namely the elite Golani and Givati infantry brigades, whom they fund and provide care packages for. Since 1948, the Golani and Givati Brigades have been notorious for their severe human rights abuses in Lebanon and Palestine. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on a team of fighters from the Golani Brigade committing hate crimes against Palestinians in Nablus in the occupied Palestinian territories. Former members of the Golani Brigade describe the use of the "neighbour procedure", a term for the use of Palestinian civilians, often children, as human shields to protect Israeli occupation soldiers. The procedure was ruled illegal by Israel's own high court in 2005.

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· AHAVA products:

(“Dead Sea Mineral Skin Care Products”) Ahava manufactures its cosmetics in a factory in the illegal Mitzpe Shalem settlement in the occupied West Bank. However, AHAVA labels its skin care products imported into the EU as originating from "The Dead Sea, Israel." AHAVA uses Palestinian natural resources without the permission of or compensation to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israel denies Palestinians access to the shores of the Dead Sea and its resources, although one-third of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies in the occupied West Bank.

· SodaStream:

Soda Steam is actively complicit in Israel's policy of displacing the indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Naqab (Negev). SodaStream have a long history of mistreatment of and discrimination against Palestinian workers.

· HP (Hewlett-Packard):

HP-branded corporations provide and operate technology that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid, occupation and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people.

Aside from providing services and technology to the Israeli army and police that maintain Israel’s illegal occupation and siege of Gaza, HP provides Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority with the exclusive itanium servers for its Aviv System. This system enables the government to control and enforce its system of racial segregation and apartheid against Palestinian citizens of Israel and is directly involved in Israel’s settler colonialism through its “Yesha database”, which compiles information on Israeli citizens in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

· BP and Caltex:

Both brands are involved in extracting petroleum products from the Eastern Mediterranean, within Palestine’s maritime boundary, for Israel’s benefit at the expense of Palestinians. Stealing from the occupied people of Palestine is a breach of international law.

· McDonald’s:

McDonald’s franchises in Israel have been openly supporting the Israeli Defence Force’s genocide in Gaza with free meals for Israeli soldiers. McDonald’s International have been happy for their brand to be associated with the slaughter of Palestinians. Active boycotts of McDonald’s in different countries have already hit their sales and some franchises in the Islamic world are now flying the Palestinian flag to distance themselves from the Israeli franchise. This adds to the pressure on McDonald’s to close its Israeli restaurants.

BDS is a key strategy to pressure Israel to abide by international law and United Nations resolutions. It was successful in bringing intense pressure on apartheid South Africa in the 1970s – 80s and it will succeed in doing the same against apartheid Israel.

BDS against Israel has three specific goals:

  • End Israel’s military occupation
  • End Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians
  • Allow Palestinian refugees to return to their land and homes in Palestine

The New Zealand government has policy supporting each of these goals but refuses to back that up with effective pressure on Israel.

In announcing boycotts of these consumer products we are building on the success of previous BDS actions taken in Aotearoa New Zealand which includes:

  1. Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer abandoning the New Zealand Womens Tennis Open after protests here
  2. Lorde abandoning a planned concert in Israel in 2017
  3. The New Zealand superfund withdrawing investments from Elbit Systems in 2012 and in 2021 doing the same with five Israeli banks involved in funding illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land
  4. Taking part in the successful global campaign to get PUMA to stop sponsoring Israeli soccer teams in illegal Israeli settlements

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