BDS Newsletter #15 – May 2009
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BDS Newsletter #15 – May 2009


Edition: 15 – May, 2009


Protesting Leviev, remembering Bi’lin on Mother’s Day

On the day before Mother’s Day, 40 New York human rights advocates gathered at the Leviev jewelry store on Madison Avenue and called on throngs of weekend Madison Avenue shoppers to boycott Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev over his companies’ construction settlements on Palestinian land in West Bank villages including Bil’in and Jayyus.
Mother’s Day is one of the biggest jewelry shopping periods in the US annually.

The New York protest came as controversy is growing in Norway over Norwegian government investments in Leviev’s company Africa-Israel. The New York protesters also commemorated Basem Abu Rahma from Bil’in who was killed last month at a protest against the Wall, which is isolating land from the village for the Leviev-financed Mattityahu East settlement. [MORE]

Ongoing Campaigns

Protestors in the UK remove Israeli produce from shelves
On May 17 a group of Londoners joined in protest against the sale by British supermarkets of Israeli goods and produce from settlements. The action took place in a West London Tesco. The group assembled around a trolley full of goods labelled ‘produce of Israel’, explaining the issues around the sale of Israeli goods to the public, alternating facts and chants, drawing the attention of both customers and staff. [MORE]

Putting words of support into boycott action
The Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign, operating in full coordination with the leadership of the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), is in full swing. After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized Israel in Geneva, the BNC called on Iran to cut its business ties with Veolia Environment and Alstom. [MORE]

Latest News

Alstom could be sole IEC equipment bidder
The IEC will shortly publish a $400-500 million tender for the supply of generators for the Ramat Hovav, Eshkol, and Hagit power stations. Siemens AG and General Electric Company have unofficially told IEC that they will not participate in the tender. This means that France’s Alstom SA is shaping up to be the sole bidder. [MORE]

Israeli insurance firms buy London building
Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. and Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. have bought an office building in central London from Land Securities Group plc for ₤40 million. [MORE]

Clal is a major shareholder of Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises, which most likely provided cement for the construction of the Wall, settlements and infrastructure in the West Bank, as well as Golf&Co, a retail store which has a branch in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in the occupied West Bank. [MORE]

Israeli tech firms in Spain
Two Israeli tech firms won contracts in Spain. WiMAX solutions developer Alvarion Ltd. has won a contract with Spanish telecommunications company Iberbanda to expand the current WiMAX network at 3.5GHz in Catalonia. The expansion results from a tender won by Iberbanda to supply WiMAX services to the Government of Catalonia. [MORE]

Also, mobile marketing solutions developer Amobee Media Systems Ltd. has launched its mobile advertising platform for Telefonica SA in Spain. [MORE]

BrightSource Energy signs expanded California solar deal
BrightSource Energy, Inc., parent company of BrightSource Industries (Israel), has signed contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for a total of 1,310 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power. [MORE]

Major cleantech investors to visit Israel
A delegation of 40 representatives of 25 US and European cleantech venture capital funds will visited Israel on May 18-21. They inspected Israeli energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water technologies. The delegation was organized by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce following a meeting last September in California between Israeli cleantech companies and investors and US companies. [MORE]

NICE Systems wins order from San Jose Police Department
The Police Department for the City of San Jose in California will implement NICE Inform and other NICE solutions to enhance handling of critical calls at its communications center. [MORE]

Electra wins follow-on contract in Nigeria
Electra Ltd. subsidiary Etco Nigeria Ltd. has signed a NIS 90 million (€16 million) contract to install electro-mechanical systems in the Nigerian National Assembly’s Senate and House of Representatives Building in the capital, Abuja. [MORE]

French firms seek renewed Tel Aviv light rail bid
Three French firms – Alstom, Veolia Transportation (formerly Connex), and Vinci SA – recently asked the Ministry of Finance to reopen the tender for the Tel Aviv light railway’s Red Line, in view of the difficulties of the tender’s winner, Metro Transport Services (MTS), in securing financing. The three companies were members of the Metro Rail consortium that lost the tender in favor of MTS, the consortium headed by Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. [MORE]

Israeli firms win two contracts in Germany
Two Israeli companies won contracts in Germany this month. NDS will supply its digital TV end-to-end solution to Kabel Deutschland GmbH, Germany’s largest cable network operator and biggest triple play provider. NDS did not disclose the size of the deal. [MORE]

Secondly, ECI announced that it will participate in the replacement of Deutsche Telekom’s telephony network. Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s largest telecommunications company. ECI said that the contract was worth tens of millions of euros; as far as is known the amount is some $100 million. [MORE]

Israel stripping West Bank quarries
Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din is taking the Israeli military, the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court. The rights group alleges they are illegally stripping Palestinian West Bank quarries of raw construction material for the benefit of the Israeli construction industry and the building of illegal Israeli settlements. [MORE]


Confronting Israeli arms profiteers across the globe
In recent months, the Israeli arms trade has been the target of numerous BDS actions in India, Italy, Brazil and the UK.

In India, the CPI (M) continued to pressure the government to end military dealings while in the UK, as a result both of work from arms trade activists and the Gaza massacres, government officials have decided to review military ties with Occupation forces. In Rome, unionists protested against arms trade cooperation between Italy and the Israeli military. [MORE]

In Brazil, merchants of war visiting for the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Trade Show were met with a noisy protest made up of social movements, unions, student organizations, left parties and other popular organizations. [MORE]

Ongoing Campaigns

Universal jurisdiction has hounded Israel for 7 years
The decision of Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu to try to bring seven Israeli officials to trial over the Gaza bombing that killed Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh and 14 others marks the fourth time in the past seven years that foreign courts have sought to try Israeli leaders under the principle of universal jurisdiction. [MORE]

Legal activism in Europe
A growing number of lawyers and activists are utilizing European courts to prosecute Occupation military figures for war crimes. In Spain, an older case is moving forward, while in Norway a new war crimes investigation is beginning. UK lawyers have also expressed interest in pursuing this track, despite efforts by the British government to dissuade them from doing so. This legal activism is being utilized not only to prosecute war criminals, but also to push forward divestment by targeting companies like Veolia and Alstom which are engaged in violations of international law. [MORE]

Latest News

Rafael joins Stryker vehicle armor protection deal
Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. will share in a contract awarded to a General Dynamics unit to protect Stryker military vehicles. Rafael’s ordnance systems division will produce some of the armor in Haifa. Rafael is considered a strategic partner. [MORE]

IAI speeds-up delivery of UAVs to Russia
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is speeding up delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Russia after the Russian government announced last week that it was suspending the sale of its Mig 31 fighter aircraft to Syria. IAI is also expected to sell long range missiles to Russia.

At the same time sources close to the Indian Defense Ministry report that the Indian government is negotiating with IAI for the purchase of three AWACS aircraft for $1.35 billion. This is in addition to the three AWACS aircraft that the Indian government is currently buying from IAI for $1.1 billion. [MORE]

Rafael wins US Navy anti-terror tender
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has won a US Navy tender to supply $48 million of its Mini-Typhoon anti-terror gun stations. [MORE]

ITL wins night vision deal in Europe
ITL Optronics Ltd. has won a NIS 21.5 million follow-on order for night-vision equipment for the land forces of a European army that is a member of NATO. [MORE]

IDF publishes $15m virtualization tender
The IDF has published its first virtualization tender, worth $15 million. The IDF is due to pick an Israeli company to install systems made by VMware Inc. at IDF units. IBM, Hewlett Packard Co., and Dell Inc. are all reportedly bidding in the tender, and have linked up with Israeli companies in order to meet the tender criteria. [MORE]

Rabintex unit gets Lockheed follow-on order
Rabintex Industries Ltd. US subsidiary Burtek Inc. has signed a $10.9 million follow-on contract with Lockheed Martin Co for the delivery of antenna transport and position systems and command and control carriages for radar systems. [MORE]

Spectronix gets US Army follow-on order
Spectronix Ltd. has received follow-on orders for vehicle spare parts from the US Army worth more than $4.2 million. The new orders boost the company’s orders backlog by over $6.2 million. [MORE]

Elbit Systems in USA, Europe and Canada
This month, Elbit Systems Ltd. US subsidiary Elbit Systems of America, LLC, and a General Dynamics unit formed a joint venture to build unmanned aerial systems for the US military. [MORE]

Elbit Systems of America was also awarded a contract from the US Army to develop, produce, and integrate mortar fire control systems. [MORE]

Also in America, Elbit Systems was chosen to develop soldier-worn computers for US Army. Elbit and Rockwell Collins formed “Team Spartan”, which has been chosen to develop the next-generation soldier-worn computer system. [MORE]

In Europe, Elbit Systems Ltd. won a €25 million contract from the Austrian Army for the company’s new 12.7mm unmanned electrically remote controlled weapon stations. [MORE]

In Canada, Elbit and IAI joint unit Elisra Group won a $55 million contract from Lockheed Martin Canada Ltd. to supply the Canadian Navy. [MORE]

Also, Elbit is holding preliminary talks to acquire control of Soltam Systems Ltd. a manufacturer of artillery systems, ammunition and accessories for armies worldwide as well as kitchenware. Market estimates are that the deal could be worth tens of millions of dollars. [MORE]

Finally, in Turkey, it has been reported that Elbit’s UAV contract with the Turkish military could be facing problems. [MORE]


Norway moves in the right direction?
A number of developments in May indicate that Norway is moving toward taking up BDS. In May, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, the country’s largest labor union, urged the government to hold the Israeli state accountable and lead a boycott if a peace agreement is not reached. [MORE]

In addition, further appeals have been made calling on Norway to divest from Israel. The first came from the West Bank Palestinian villages of Bilin and Jayyus, along with 11 national and international networks from Europe, Palestine, Israel and the US, who have sent letters calling on Norway to comply with its ethical guidelines and divest from its pension fund holdings in the company Africa-Israel, owned by the controversial diamond magnate Lev Leviev. [MORE]

This call was followed by another from twenty different Israeli organizations calling on the Norwegian national pension fund to withdraw all investments in all Israeli and international corporations which are involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. [MORE]

These calls have not fallen on deaf ears. After under a week in Palestine member of Parliament Ågot Valle, spokesperson on foreign affairs for the party, spoke out about Norwegian investment in the Africa Israel Investments company. “No doubt we as a party cannot support investment in a company that violates human rights, contributes to an occupation and war,” Valle said in a telephone interview. [MORE]

This visit was followed by a visit by members of the Norwegian ethics committee to the West Bank for the purpose of inspecting the situation on the ground.

Ongoing Campaigns

Egypt continues to send gas to Israeli while police attack protestors
Police used violence to stop protestors demonstrating against the export of gas to Israel Monday outside the State Council building where the controversial case was being heard.

At around 12:40 pm around 25 protestors emerged from inside the State Council building carrying posters bearing the images of soldiers who died during Egypt’s 1973 war with Israel.

Member of the popular campaign to prohibit Egyptian gas exports Abdallah Helmy told Daily News Egypt that security forces prevented the protest from taking place, and arrested anyone who refused to leave the area. [MORE]

Meanwhile, the Egyptian media reports that the Cairo Court for Urgent Cases has overturned a ruling made by the Administrative Court to ban exportation of Egyptian natural gas to Israel. [MORE]

Latest News

Israel to head Europe’s Eureka R&D program
Israel will head the European Eureka Network for Market Oriented R&D in 2010-11, even though it is the only non-European country in the program.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said, “This is important precisely now, because projects we finance in this framework not only create jobs for engineers and technological personnel, but also shorten time to international markets, and give access to foreign sources of funding. I have no doubt that the Eureka presidency, beyond the unprecedented prestige it gives Israel, will enable us to maximize these advantages for Israeli industry.” [MORE]

Israeli PM in Egypt on first foreign trip
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Egypt on Monday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on his first trip abroad since taking office in March. [MORE]