BDS Newsletter #13 – March 2009
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BDS Newsletter #13 – March 2009


Edition: 12 – February, 2009

Highlights: March 30 and boycott impact

Global day of action a success!
On March 30, people across the world organized film screenings, sit-ins, demonstrations and new boycott campaigns on the first global BDS action day. Some highlights included South America, which is quickly taking up the BDS call, and Italy, which has mobilized on an unprecedented level. Click here to see photos from actions around the world.

Israel Manufacturers Association report
“In addition to the problems and difficulties arising from the global economic crisis, 21 percent of local exporters report that they are facing problems in selling Israeli goods because of an anti-Israel boycott, mainly from the UK and Scandinavian countries […]” [MORE]


Global momentum builds against Veolia/Alstom
The Swedish national pension fund AP7 is the latest institution to follow the socially responsible investment example of Dutch ASN Bank by excluding the French transportation giant Alstom from its portfolio. Alstom was excluded because of the company’s involvement in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. [MORE]

Also, Sandwell Council in the UK announced that Veolia failed to reach the shortlist of three companies bidding for a 25-year waste collection and recycling contract worth 1 billion pounds ($1.43 billion). The Palestine Solidarity Campaign started the Sandwell Bin Veolia Campaign, asking the public to sign a petition requesting that the council remove Veolia from the list of contractors approved. The petition argued that Veolia be removed because the company accepted contracts in Jerusalem in contravention of international law and United Nations resolutions. [MORE]

In Australia, the Dump Connex campaign was launched on 30 March, focusing on the Veolia subsidiary that runs the train service in Melbourne. Activists distributed 100,000 pamphlets to Melbourne’s train commuters. [MORE]

Veolia is not only involved in the illegal tramway in Jerusalem, but is also involved in illegally dumping waste from Israel and the settlements in Tovlan landfill in the Jordan Valley. In addition, Veolia is running bus services 109 and 110 from West Jerusalem to settlements in the West Bank. For instance, Connex bus 110 goes through road 443 in the West Bank to Mevo Horon and Givat Zeev settlements. [MORE]

Ongoing Campaigns

Consumer boycott felt in Europe
Supermarket chain Aldi admitted to misleading European consumers by selling re-labelled Israeli Grapefruit as a product of Cyprus before passing it on to the public. It has been claimed the decision to pass off the Israeli fruit by the German ALDI chain came after a widespread boycott of Israeli goods in the aftermath of the Israel’s invasion into Gaza in December.

Since then, shoppers across Ireland especially, have been turning their backs on Israeli goods such as fruit, vegetables and electronics and it is thought that stockpiles of Israeli produce are rotting at supply depots [MORE]

Goodbye Moto! Goodbye Apartheid!
A protest at the Motorola office in Brooklyn launched a new city-wide campaign to boycott Motorola over the company’s complicity in the Israeli government’s apartheid practices against Palestinians. Human rights campaigners from the newly formed group The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (NYCBI) chanted, sang and passed out a thousand flyers to passersby. [MORE]

The US Campaign also launched a new initiative for the Motorola boycott and is calling on people to create video shorts spoofing the company’s advertising campaign. The best video will be used in a nation-wide awareness campaign, including internet and possible television advertisements. [MORE]

Latest News

Exporters suffer anti-Israel boycotts
Local exporters are losing foreign markets and customers because of the global economic crisis and a growing anti-Israel boycott of locally made products following Operation Cast Lead, the Israel Manufacturers Association said Sunday.

“In addition to the problems and difficulties arising from the global economic crisis, 21 percent of local exporters report that they are facing problems in selling Israeli goods because of an anti-Israel boycott, mainly from the UK and Scandinavian countries,” said Yair Rotloi, chairman of the association’s foreign-trade committee. [MORE]

Veolia makes first foray into solar power on kibbutzim
The French firm will upgrade water and power infrastructures on the kibbutzim. Environmental Services Israel Ltd. has signed a contract with the Kibbutz Movement to build photovoltaic power plants on kibbutzim and jointly upgrade their water systems and electricity grids. The company is participating in the tenders to build and operate photovoltaic and thermosolar power stations at Ashelim, at an estimated investment of $700-800 million. [MORE]

Two deals this month for Amdocs
In Switzerland, an agreement was signed with Alcatel-Lucent who manages the second-largest provider of mobile, fixed-line and Internet services in the country on behalf of Sunrise Communications. Under the terms of the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will extend the existing Amdocs OSS maintenance plan at Sunrise for core product support to 2015. [MORE]

In Costa Rica, Amdocs will support the operational support systems (OSS) requirements of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica’s national service provider of energy and telecommunications. [MORE]

Other Israeli companies have recently signed deals with Costa Rica’s ICE. Teledata Networks signed a $16.2 million deal in February to supply ICE with its new BroadAccess-1000E platform. Alvarion Ltd. won a $6 million deal to implement a turnkey project to provide advanced broadband services. [MORE]

MobileMax and Tata Communications
MobileMax Technologies Ltd. has won its first order from India’s Tata Communications Ltd., worth NIS 249,000. MobileMax said that the order is important, given Tata’s global presence and large share in the international communications market. It added that the order might be the basis for the launch of additional services by Tata based on the company’s products and technology. [MORE]

Gilat in West Africa deal
Nigeria-based Netcom Africa will deploy the SkyEdge broadband satellite network for the corporate, energy and financial sectors. Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. will supply a SkyEdge II network to Nigeria-based Netcom Africa Ltd. for the corporate, energy and financial sectors in West Africa. [MORE]

Gilat provides military antennas to the Israeli military that are installed at the Beit Iba checkpoint near Nablus. The Beit Iba Checkpoint is in between the villages of Beit Iba and Deir Sharaf, west of Nablus.

Israeli cleantech seeks piece of $6 billion US stimulus
The $800 billion US stimulus package launched by President Barack Obama will affect both domestic and foreign industries. The US stimulus package includes federal government loans for renewable energy projects. Until now, such guarantees were only available for innovative technologies, but they are now available for commercial technologies as well, which creates opportunities for Israeli companies like Ormat Industries Ltd. and Solel Solar Systems Ltd. [MORE]


Stop Rio de Janeiro from promoting Israel’s war industry

This year the Latin America Aero & Defense trade show will be held in Rio de Janeiro from April 14 – 17. The show will host and promote the world’s most renowned merchants and producers of war, repression, torture and mass murder. Israeli war criminals feature prominently among them. Nearly every major state and private Israeli military firm will be represented, in addition to the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

Among those listed as attending are Elbit Systems Group, Rafael, Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI), and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Ltd. The firms are key enablers of the decades long war against the Palestinians, benefiting not only from the consumption of weapons and ammunition by the Israeli military, but also from the use of West Bank and Gaza Strip as testing grounds for new military equipment and technology.

Click here to read the full statement from the BNC.

Ongoing Campaigns

Challenging IAI and the India – Israel arms trade
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced that, on February 27, it signed a $1.4 billion contract with India for air defense systems. Under the deal, IAI will develop and manufacture seaborne and shore-based systems against missile attack.

IAI stated that it delayed announcing the contract until now, because India informed the company that early disclosure was liable to cause material difficulties in execution of the contract, and even result in its cancellation. IAI added that it felt that this risk would be substantially reduced once the advance payment was received. [MORE]

In response, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the United Progressive Alliance government forthwith suspend the air defence missile deal it had struck with Israel and order a CBI probe into the circumstances leading to the purchase and the alleged kickbacks involved in it. [MORE]

An Indian daily from New Delhi, DNA, says it has information showing that $120 million of the overall deal is described as “business expenses.” According to Josy Joseph, a journalist, officials familiar with the deal told him that an IAI representative explained these costs are meant to cover insurance, bank and transportation costs. However, the newspaper hypothesizes the actual payments are for commissions, or even bribes, for senior Indian government officials who approved the deal. [MORE]

Latest News

Defense co Aeronautics buys Motorola fuses unit
Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. has acquired Motorola Israel Ltd. unit Government Electronics Department (GED) for $20 million. Tel Aviv-based GED developments and manufacturers electronic fuses for the defense industry. Motorola Inc. abandoned the electronic fuses business a long time ago, and only Motorola Israel still kept the business, whose primary customer is Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI).

Aeronautics is estimated to have had $150 million revenue in 2008. The Yavne-based company is owned by Avi and Aharon Shaked, Moshe Caspi, and CEO Avi Leumi. It develops and manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), mini-UAVs, Aerial intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance systems (observation balloons), and command and control systems for the IDF and other armies. [MORE]

Dutch government signs agreement for Israeli drones
Israeli firm Aeronautics signed an agreement valued at approximately NIS 200 million with the Dutch Ministry of Defense, to provide a UAV Service to the Royal Netherlands Army supporting their operational deployment in Afghanistan, as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Uruzgan Province. [MORE]

War crimes in Gaza
The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals. [MORE]

One part of the report was dedicated to the use of drones that were used to murder at least 48 civilians. According to the report, “The drones are operated from a remote position, usually outside the combat zone. They use optics that are able to see the details of a man’s clothing and are fitted with pinpoint accurate missiles. Yet they killed Mounir’s family sitting in their courtyard, a group of girls and women in an empty street, two small children in a field, and many others.” [MORE]

Rafael present at exhibitions in Australia and USA
This past month, Rafael attended several events where it promoted it’s weapon systems to international consumers. On 10 March, the firm participated in the Australian Air Show in Victoria where it displayed guided weapons kits and missile defense technology. [MORE]

Earlier, at the end of February, Rafael had a booth at the AUSA Winter Symposium and Exhibition where it promoted it’s assault and remote controlled weapon systems. [MORE]

Rafael is an Israeli government firm that develops military technology for Israeli forces as well as for export.

India buys Israeli spy satellite, IMI to build artillery munitions plants
Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) has signed a $240 million agreement to build five artillery munitions factories over three years in Bihar State. The munitions factories will be built along the lines of IMI’s ordnance factory in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon. IMI said that the contract was the result of its collaboration with Indian government organization Ordnance Factories Board (OFB). IMI will be the chief contractor in the deal, and will use Israeli and Indian firms as subcontractors. [MORE]

Also, India has bought day-night satellite from Israel. [MORE]

Elbit Systems in March
Elbit Systems Ltd. reported fourth quarter revenue of $697.9 million, up 18.1% compared with the $591.1 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2007. The company’s backlog of orders at the end of the year was $5.03 billion, compared with $4.87 billion at the end of the third quarter, and $4.62 billion at the end of 2007. Approximately 72% of the backlog relates to orders outside of Israel. [MORE]

Elbit’s Elisra was also awarded a $25 million contract to supply Korea with airborne electronic warfare suites for its Republic of Korea Air Force C-130 transporters. In February, Elisra won a $7 million contract to supply airborne electronic warfare systems to Korean Aerospace Industries Co. Ltd. (KAI) for use in Korean Air Force FA-50 light attack jets. [MORE]


Egyptian regime continues to ignore Palestinian cause
Egyptian ambassador Yasser Rid attended a Jerusalem ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Speaking at the ceremony, Defense Undersecretary Amos Gilad called relations with Egypt “a cornerstone of Israel’s national security” and lauded Mubarak’s regime as Israel’s “partner” against Iran’s alleged nuclear program. [MORE]

Also this month in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities banned and suppressed Palestinian cultural celebrations in the city. Police dispersed a meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem of the organizers of the planned cultural activities, and confiscated related material and computers. Later, under instruction from the Ministry of Internal Security, police entered a number of schools in East Jerusalem, including St. George’s Boys School and the Schmidt Girls School, as well as community centers such as Burj al-Laqlaq, in order to prevent the performance of sports and cultural activities inside the respective institutions. [MORE]

Ongoing Campaigns

Norwegian Pension Fund divestment campaign
In 2008 the Norwegian Government Pension Fund invested 5.5 million NOK (860,000 US dollars) of tax money in the Africa-Israel investment company, which has been linked to the Israeli settlement industry. The company has built and continues to build settlements in the occupied West Bank through its subsidiary construction firm Danya Cebus. The Norwegian State Pension Fund also invested in the House and Construction Group, which is involved in building the Wall, according to a statement from the Joint Advocacy Initiative. [MORE]

Latest News

JNF water projects to include Turkey
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) plans to invest $100 million in water projects in Israel over the coming years. JNF officials made the announcement to the State Inquiry Committee into the Management of the Water Economy. Projects under consideration include importing water from Turkey, construction of environmentally friendly water reservoirs on IDF bases in the Negev, and sewage treatment plants. [MORE]

Turkey’s fallout with Israel deals blow to settlers
A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighborhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.

After the Israeli army’s assault on the Gaza Strip in January, lawyers for the families were given access to Ottoman land registry archives in Ankara for the first time, providing what they say is proof that title deeds produced by the settlers are forged. [MORE]

Gaza attacks may affect EU-Israel relations
Replying to a petition concerning the EU-Israel Action Plan, the commissioner admitted the recent escalation of the situation in Gaza had “not contributed to an atmosphere conducive to concluding the upgrading process with Israel.” [MORE]

Israel opens first tourism office in Beijing
Israel is looking to China as a lucrative source of tourism, and the Tourism Ministry opened its first tourist office in Beijing last Sunday – one of only 15 such offices around the world. A Chinese-language course for tour guides also began instruction last Sunday in preparation for an expected influx of Chinese tourism. [MORE]

Japan threatens economic sanctions on Israel
A Foreign Ministry delegation which recently visited Tokyo was told by Japanese officials that they are considering imposing sanctions, delaying and even freezing new trade deals with Israel. The threat was made on the backdrop of a recent Israeli decision to freeze a special budget allotted for encouraging exports to Japan.

Japan is Israel’s ninth largest trade partner. According to IEICI figures, the volume of trade between Israel and Japan totaled $3.1 billion in 2008, a 17% growth compared to 2007. More than 1,300 Israeli exporters work with the Japanese market, most of them in the software field. [MORE]

Israel asked by Mauritania to close its embassy
Mauritania has requested that Israel close its embassy in the West African country. Relations between the two countries have been strained during Israel’s recent military operation in the Gaza Strip, resulting in Mauritania freezing relations and closing its Tel aviv-based embassy on January 16. [MORE]

AIPAC, Espionage and the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement
US trade with Israel shifted from surplus to a cumulative $71 billion deficit (adjusted for inflation). The 2008 $7.8 billion deficit with Israel was equivalent to 126,000 US manufacturing related jobs. It is the only bilateral FTA producing multi-billion dollar losses to the US every year for the last decade but total losses are still unknown. According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith the agreement was the beginning of a chain reaction of intellectual property theft documented by industry associations and US counterintelligence agencies: “US corporations were betrayed by the leaks of their intellectual property during treaty negotiations in 1984. US pharmaceutical, defense and other industries continue to lose billions in revenue to Israeli copy-cat merchandise. We are only beginning to fully understand the larger impact of AIPAC and the Israeli government’s ongoing acquisition of classified US information.”[MORE]

Amendment to Mexico-Israel accord to ease trade
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister, Eli Yishai, and Mexican Economics Minister, Eduardo Sojo Garza-Aldape, signed an amendment to the Israel-Mexico Free-Trade Agreement of 2000. The newly signed amendment allows for goods originating in Israel or Mexico to undergo minimal processing or storage in a third country, before shipment to Mexico or Israel without this transit affecting the goods’ duty-free exemption, under the bilateral free-trade agreement. [MORE]