The British-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) used the month of September as their Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) Month of Action, as PSC supporters from over twenty towns created eye-catching and impact-achieving demonstrations. In order to support the demonstrations, the PSC also held meetings and film-screenings as a means of spreading their message about the BDS campaign.
***image2***The highlight of the month came on 28 September, when activists occupied and shut down the UK freight warehouse and HQ of Carmel-Agrexco. Agrexco is one of the largest settlement agro-businesses and a key exporter of settlement produce to Europe. Both gates to the Carmel-Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex were blocked for twelve hours, as four protestors locked themselves inside a cage blocking one gate while another was D-locked to the other gate.
Protests against the sale of Occupation produce have taken place outside supermarkets around the country, which account for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco’s total exports. According to one of the blockaders, Sam Harwood, âAgrexco is responsible for human rights crimes against the Palestinian people. The British supermarkets which buy produce from Agrexco are also complicit. Agrexco must by held liable for its unlawful business.â
The Israeli government has a 50% stake in Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd., whose exports include flowers, avocadoes, and herbs grown in Jordan Valley settlements. Agrexco’s harvesting and sale of goods from settlements built in the Jordan Valley have been enabled by eviction, murder and theft of resources. The profitable settlement industry has been established at the expense of local farmers, who are being slowly pushed off their land.
***image3***In addition to the action against Carmel-Agrexco, protestors focused their efforts on local shops, supermarkets, and press offices across Britain. In some cases dressed as Jaffa oranges, activists distributed BIG campaign leaflets and explained to shoppers how buying Israeli herbs, dates, avocados and other produce encourages and legitimizs Israeli apartheid the colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, destroying Palestinian lives and livelihoods.
Letters of protest were also sent to supermarket HQ and local branches, as well as to national and local press, and government offices. According to the PSC, the British Foreign Secretary âprofesses to be taking the issue of exports from the settlements âvery seriously,â and it is hoped that some action will be taken as a result of the high-profile demonstrations.â