STOP PRESS…STOP PRESS…
On Labor Day, September 6, 2010, about 40 local activists took part in the growing consumer boycott of Israeli goods with lively “back to school” actions at Best Buy and Office Depot in Emeryville. The actions focused on Hewlett Packard (HP), a multinational corporation based in Palo Alto, whose Enterprise Services “Basel System” technology is utilized by the Israeli state at military checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza. The checkpoints restrict Palestinian freedom of movement; they keep students from getting to school, prevent workers from reaching their places of employment, restrict farmers’ access to their land, enforce separations between families, and often make it impossible for Palestinians to access necessary medical care.
Activists performed a choreographed dance to Aretha Franklin’s song “Think” – with a rewritten set of lyrics and distributed flyers with the theme “Think Before You Ink”. They interacted with back-to-school shoppers about HP’s “Basel System”, letting HP’s customers know that HP profits from Israeli apartheid with the sale of this technology to Israel. They also said that HP’s ‘socially responsible’ rhetoric will not hide the blood that is on their hands.
Yesterday’s action was part of the international movement to support Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli state. BDS is a movement that is rapidly gaining moment and spreading on a global scale. Just last week, the Chilean Parliament decided to adopt the boycott of products made in Israeli settlements. In July, the Olympia Food Coop became the first U.S. grocery store to publicly remove Israeli products from their shelves. Last month, the Norwegian state pension fund announced that it was selling its holdings in Africa Israel and in its subsidiary Danya Cebus due to their involvement in settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Bay Area Campaign to End Israel Apartheid, (BACEIA), a local grassroots effort to engage people in ending Israeli apartheid through BDS, coordinated the actions and has developed a list of products to boycott in the Bay Area which is available at http://www.baceia.org. BACEIA is comprised of a number of organizations including Break the Siege; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; Global Women’s Strike; Don’t Buy into Israeli Apartheid; and Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism.
More information about the international BDS movement is available at bdsmovement.net