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Calls mount to boycott Israel in Wales

21 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Photo by Takver, CC BY-SA 2.0

Martin Shipton

Pro-Palestine groups in Wales are intensifying a campaign aimed at causing economic damage to Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) was founded in 2005 following a call from Palestinian civil society for the international community to use economic means to oppose what was described as Israel’s “regime of settler-colonialism, military occupation and apartheid”.

Now branches of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in Wales have come together to reinvigorate their efforts as the death toll rises in Gaza.

A statement issued by the PSC in Wales said: “As the world watches the genocide of the Palestinian people with world leaders doing so little, it is time for people of conscience across the world to act.

“The PSC groups in Wales have taken up the call from Palestine and we are asking the people of Wales to join us as we intensify our actions for justice with a Wales BDS Campaign (BDS).

“Throughout Wales, we urge a boycott of Israel, including goods, services, academic, cultural and sporting links; local authorities, universities and other investors to end investments in, and purchases from, any company or body complicit in the oppression of Palestinians; and consumer action against companies participating in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

”Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the Palestinian BDS campaign urges non-violent pressure on Israel. This includes putting pressure on companies and institutions to cut their ties with Israel until it complies with international law. A campaign in Gwent is calling on the Greater Gwent Council Pension Fund to divest from companies supplying weapons and military technology to Israel.

“The three demands are to end the colonisation and occupation of all Palestinian land, and dismantle the apartheid wall; to recognise the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and to respect, protect and promote the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.”

Labels

The campaign is calling on people to check the label on goods and not buy Israeli consumer produce; not to bank with Barclays; and not to buy HP electronics. It has a full list of targeted companies here.

The statement added: “PSC has uncovered that Barclays holds over £1bn in shares in, and provides over £3bn in loans and underwriting to, nine companies whose weapons, components and military technology are used by the Israeli military in armed violence against Palestinians.”

Impunity

Honorary President of PSC Betty Hunter, of Abergavenny, said: “Israel’s impunity must end. If not, the genocide will continue. We must stop arming Israel. We must support BDS. It is by this nonviolent direct action that we can support the Palestinian people in their just cause. We of course continue to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, and an end to the genocide.”

PSC groups are planning a day of action across Wales on Saturday March 9. The organisation’s statement concluded: “The BDS Movement is building an economic boycott of Israel and developing effective campaigns against companies that participate in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

“International companies aid and abet Israel’s violations of international law, including by operating in illegal Israeli settlements and acting as contractors for the Israeli military and government.

“Campaigning has led to major companies such as Veolia and Orange selling up and leaving Israel altogether and a range of investors divesting from Israeli and international companies.

“The UN, the World Bank and other experts say that BDS is having an important economic impact on Israel and that this could well grow as the movement develops.”

Orly Goldschmidt, a spokesperson for the Embassy of Israel to the UK, responded: “The sole objective of the BDS Movement is to demonise and delegitimise Israel, the world’s only Jewish state. The effect of which is the dehumanisation of Israelis and often Jewish people.

“Israel is a democratic country, which welcomes criticism; it has a very active civil society. However, BDS does not criticise Israel, it attacks Israel and questions its very right to exist.

“Israel will continue working to achieve its objectives: the freeing of the remaining 134 hostages in Gaza and eliminating the threat posed by the Hamas terror group.”


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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

Products to watch out for – avocados, and medjoul dates. Look at the labels. Boycott Israel – apartheid state.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Can you see the metropolitan types even checking where their effin’ avocado comes from ? These people are so wrapped up in their own fluffy lifestyles they just want to shut down anyone that produces food here in Wales and ship in faddy nonsense from all over the globe. So much for their concern about air miles ! On a wider front Wales should ban supply of armaments, munitions and any other killing device to a whole list of countries. e.g Saudi for the obvious reason that they have been wrecking Yemen for no good reason for years, chuck out… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Israel is not an apartheid state. There are 2 million Arab citizens of Israel, including Muslims, Christians, Druze and others. They are not forced to use separate public toilets, cafes, beaches, services etc. as was the case with native South Africans during the Apartheid era. I am not condoning everything the Israeli Government does, they do lots of things that are wrong – and the Israeli people are certainly critical of them. I have lived in Israel and have several Israeli friends and acquaintances, both Jewish and Arab. They certainly do not think it is an apartheid state. I, like… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

*whose, not who’s.

DarkMrakeford
DarkMrakeford
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

In the Palestinian territories they do meet the definition of aparthied. According to amnesty international and two israeli NGOs Yesh Din and B’Tselem. Apartheid is an afrikaan word so the comparison can be as strict as you want. But as we’ve seen with the loose categorisation of genocide in China, Russia and now Gaza, who determines what is up to international debate. But for Israel to accept they have done nothing wrong and pretend they are some middle east bastion of equality is insulting to anyone that values human rights. The treatment of Arab-israeli’s is a complex one, casually discriminated… Read more »

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Who is getting wrong? Is Israel slaughtering thousands of children and babies and their mothers? YES! What the hell has criticism of this unforgivable behaviour is Anti-semitic? Even Jewish people are going online condemning this behaviour, Are you one of those who think the Israeli Government has a ‘right’ to butcher these defenceless people?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

Anti-Semitism in all of its forms, and disguises, is not welcome in Wales!

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

It can sometimes be difficult, but it is possible to criticise Israel without being anti-semitic.

Plenty of Jewish people, even of those in Israel, do so.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
1 month ago

A perennial issue is what is regarded as antisemitism. According to the UN definition of antisemitism, criticism of the Israeli State is not considered as being antisemitic. It is time this definition became far more widely known, it would save a lot of time and heartache. We should direct our criticism toward the Israeli government and not the Israeli people.

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
1 month ago

And right on cue, Israel sends out its trolls to shut down any debate or opinion by accusing critics of being “anti semitic”.

Israel IS a genocidal, apartheid state. Ignore anyone who says differently – including the shocking numpties in Plaid Cymru who should know better. It makes you wonder if they get some of their funding from the Israel lobby…

Gerry Scanlon
Gerry Scanlon
1 month ago

“Man argues anti-semitism doesn’t exist, by making anti-semitic comment” 🙄

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
1 month ago
Reply to  Gerry Scanlon

Nah, that’s not going to work.

Drew Anderson
Drew Anderson
1 month ago
Reply to  Gerry Scanlon

Where, exactly, did the OP make an anti-Semitic comment?

Anti-Semitism is defined as hostility, prejudice and discrimination towards Jews or Judaism. The state of Israel, its army or members of its government are not covered by the accepted definition. Criticism of Israel is not in and of itself anti-Semitic. No more than criticism of the Church of England appointing up to 28 Lords Spiritual, in the House of Lords is anti-Anglican.

I don’t know if you’re just ill-informed and being assertively incorrect, or are deliberately clouding the issue; but you are wrong and your input is unhelpful.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

The term ‘israel lobby’ is a standard anti-Semitic trope. If you really are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people you do their (just) cause no good by peddling such baseless bigoted nonsense.

Benjiman Angwin
Benjiman Angwin
1 month ago

This is misleading. There is no genocide. The Palestinian population has increased by 4 million (or %300) since 1960, one of the highest population growth rates in world history. Genocides are when a population decreases (like Armenia, Uganda, Nazi era).

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
1 month ago

Oh look, there’s another.

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