BDS Movement

The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement called for by the majority of Palestinian civil society has made huge strides it was launched in 2005. People of conscience around the world are taking effective action to end Israeli impunity and hold Israel accountable under international law. This timeline, launched at the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the BDS call, charters the key successes of the movement.

Palestinian civil society calls for BDS

On July 9 2005 Palestinian civil society issued a call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.

British academic union severs links with Histadrut, boycotts Ariel College

At its annual congress, the University and College Union (UCU) made history by voting with an overwhelming majority to sever all relations with Israeli trade union federation the Histadrut. UCU also voted to "commence the investigatory process associated with the imposition of a boycott of Ariel College," a college-colony built on occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Stockholm drops Veolia from €3.5bn contract

The decision by the Stockholm City Council was taken following a lengthy campaign by Swedish civil society organisations

Unilever divests from Israeli factory in West Bank settlement

Food and soap manufacturing multinational Unilever announced it would sell its 51 percent stake in the Beigel & Beigel factory in Ariel settlement, illegally built on land confiscated from Palestinians.

Campaign forces Israeli cosmetics store out of Covent Garden, London

A spokesperson for the landlord said: “When Ahava’s lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one.”

Dutch ASN Bank ends relations with Veolia

The Bank once refused to deal with companies that were linked in any way with apartheid South Africa.

U of Johannesburg Boycotts Israeli University

Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) voted to allow its formal relationship with Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel to lapse on 1 April 2011.

Wave of famous musicians cancel Israel gigs in protest of flotilla attacks

Global wave of outrage at Israel’s deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, alternative band The Pixies, British indie band The Klaxons and the Gorillaz Sound System all canceled gigs in Israel.

Dutch pension fund divests from Elbit

ABP, one of the two largest pension fund in the Netherlands announced it had sold $2.7 million worth of shares in Israeli arms firm Elbit Systems.

American pension fund giant divests from Africa-Israel

US pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divested from Africa-Israel Investments, owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.

Hampshire college divests from Israel

Hampshire College in Amherst, MA became the first of any college or university in the U.S. to divest from companies on the grounds of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

U.K. hits Israel with partial arms embargo over Gaza war

Britain slapped a partial arms embargo on Israel, refusing to supply replacement parts and other equipment for Sa’ar 4.5 gunships because they were used in Israel’s 2008-2009 winter attack on Gaza.

Eden Springs closes factory in Scotland

Decision follows after loss of hundreds of contracts, including ones with Scottish councils.

Authors, filmmakers and musicians call for a cultural boycott of Israel

In a letter published in The Guardian, the 94 cultural icons call on their colleagues not to visit, exhibit or perform in Israel.

Caterpillar pulled from social indexes with Israel cited as reason

A U.S. investment firm has removed Caterpillar Inc. from three of its popular indexes that track socially responsible investments, citing concerns about the Israeli military's use of company bulldozers in the Palestinian territories.

US Presbyterian Church votes to boycott Israeli settlement products

The resolution, voted upon at the 220th PC (USA) General Assembly (30 June – 7 July 2012) in Pittsburgh PA, gathering representatives of the two million strong Presbyterian faithful in the US, makes particular mention of two Israeli companies, Ahava Cosmetics and Hadiklaim (Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd.), target of successful boycott campaigns around the world as part of the global BDS movement.[2] Both Ahava and Hadiklaim operate from settlements in the occupied West Bank and profit from the illegal exploitation of natural resources there.

Four countries downgrade diplomatic relations with Israel, withdraw ambassadors over Israeli flotilla raid: Ecuador, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Turkey

Four countries imposed diplomatic penalties on Israel following the Israeli attack against civilians on board of the the Gaza freedom flotilla.

Turkey expels Israel's ambassador over Gaza flotilla row

Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and cut military ties with Israel over the country's refusal to apologise for Israel's deadly raid on the Gaza Freedom flotilla in 2010.

Deutsche Bahn pulls out of illegal A1 rail project

Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, pulled out of an Israeli project that cuts through the occupied Palestinian West Bank, after pressure from activists and Berlin.

Artistis pull out of Salam.Orient festival

Palestinian MC Boikutt, Syrian singer Lena Chamamyan, Lebanese MC Malikah, and Palestine’s DJ Sotusura and Marwan Abado cancel participation citing Israeli embassy sponsorship.

Norway bans tax deductions for donations to Israeli settlements

Following advocacy-work and pressure from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE), the Norwegian Ministry of Finance today announced their decision to exclude the Norwegian organisation “Karmel-instituttet” from the list of organisations that the Norwegian public may get tax deductions for providing funds to. The reason behind the decision is that the organisation provides financial support to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Artists pull out of Creative Time Summit

Rebel Diaz, Iraqi MC The Narcicyst and Egyptian media collective Mosireen cancel participation in the 2013 Creative Time Summit citing the summit’s “in-depth” partnership with an institution funded by the Israeli government.

Earlham College’s Dining Services Decides to Stop Selling Sabra Products

Earlham College’s dining service agreed to have Sabra Hummus removed from the coffee shop after being informed of the involvement in Israeli human rights violations in Palestine by Strauss Group Ltd., of which Sabra Dipping Company, LLC is a subsidiary. The decision comes after a group of concerned students and faculty approached Earlham’s dining services requesting the removal of the product from the college’s facilities.

Lebanese group Mashrou’ Leila cancel performance with RHCP, due to play in Israel

Internationally acclaimed Lebanese group Mashrou’ Leila today tweeted “we will not be opening for the red hot chili peppers on september 6 in beirut.” This decision – also announced on their Facebook page – follows mounting calls on the group to cancel after Red Hot Chili Peppers rejected calls from the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to cancel a 10 September show in Tel Aviv.

Danish clients dump G4S

Danish Merkur Bank decided to terminate its contract with G4S. Spokesperson Karl Johnsen told me that the bank had canceled the contract “because of G4S’s involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” Merkur Bank is an ethical bank committed to social justice. Earlier, Amnesty International Denmark terminated its contract with G4S, after initially trying to influence their policies. “We do not want to work with G4S because the company’s global activities do not live up to Amnesty International’s requirements for corporate action in relation to human rights,” commented Amnesty secretary Lars Normann Jørgensen to Berlingske Business (translated from Danish).

University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) students adopt academic and cultural boycott of Israel

Posted on the website for BDS South Africa, the Wits’ student council’s resolution says that it will “not participate in any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions and will not provide support to Israeli cultural or academic institutions.”

South Africa mayors cancel trip to Israel

“Because of the treatment and policies of Israel towards the Palestinian people, we strongly discourage South Africans from going there,” South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations and co-operation has told the Mail & Guardian. The Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim added that this was South Africa’s “general policy,” but more so “in regard to municipalities, since they are part of government.”

Two major Italian chains suspend sales of settlement produce

COOP and Nordiconad, announced the suspension of sales of products from Agrexco, the former principal exporter of produce from Israel and the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Costco stops selling Ahava Products

A search of Costco’s web site reveals no Ahava products, confirming reports by Code Pink that its Stolen Beauty campaign against these products in retail stores is producing results. According to a letter sent from Costco management, “These items are pending delete in our system and once they have sold they are no longer available. Your concerns have been forwarded to our corporate offices.”

Zakir Hussain calls off Israel visit

Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain called off a series of performances scheduled to be held in Israel later this month, in the wake of an appeal made by 85 artistes, writers and activists. The Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (INCACBI) appealed to Mr. Hussain 'as an artist of conscience' to cancel the scheduled performance since it would “lend a stamp of approval to Israeli policies of colonialism, apartheid and occupation.”

Alstom loses Saudi Haramain Railway contract worth $10B

Alstom lost the bid for the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway project, worth $10 billion US dollars, after pressure from the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, including effective campaigning from the newly launched KARAMA, a European campaign to Keep Alstom Rail And Metro Away.

Director Ken Loach joins boycott of Israel

Ken Loach: "I support the call by Palestinian filmmakers, artists and others to boycott state-sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and urge others to do join their campaign. Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after 40 years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians. They have no immediate hope that this oppression will end."

Elvis Costello cancels concerts in Israel in protest at treatment of Palestinians

Elvis Costello has cancelled two concerts he was scheduled to play in Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians. Costello, one of the most gifted British songwriters of his generation, was due to play on 30 June and 1 July but says his "conscience" dictated that he pull out of the performances. On his website, Costello wrote: "Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent."

British dance group Faithless decline Israel summer gig

Maxi Jazz: “While human beings are being wilfully denied not just their rights but their needs for their children and grandparents and themselves, I feel deeply that I should not be sending even tacit signals that this is either normal okay. Its neither and I cannot support it."

Gill Scott-Heron cancels Israel concert

Scott-Heron announced at his London concert that the tour would “end in Athens, not Tel Aviv” and that he would only play in Israel “when everyone is welcome there”.

French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard has scrapped plans to attend a Tel Aviv film festival

As reported by Reuters, a source close to his office, which declined public comment, cited political pressure for his reason to cancel the visit.

Author Naomi Klein declares her support for BDS

Klein: "It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa."

Roger Waters calls on music industry to heed Palestinian boycott call

Waters: "Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government's policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel."

140 Irish creative and performing artists pledge to boycott Israel

"In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights."

Singer Cassandra Wilson cancels Israel show

Wilson was scheduled to perform at the Women’s Festival in Holon. She is quoted as saying, “as a human rights activist, I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.”

American musician Cat Power cancels Israel show

The singer cited on a tweet the conflict as reason to cancel.

Alice Walker refuses Israeli edition of Color Purple

The African-American writer wrote to the Israeli publisher, Yedhiot Books, saying she cannot permit publication of the book "at this time" due to Israel's policy of "apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people".

Establishment of the European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI)

The first European meeting of academics in support of the PACBI Call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel convened in Paris on 25 and 26 September 2010.

Dutch Triodos Bank announces that Veolia and Alstom do not meet its criteria for investment

When asked about their policy on investing in Veolia and Alstom, the bank replied it does not and will not invest in the companies.

Swedish national pension fund AP7 divests from Alstom

AP7, which manages pension savings worth around 90 billion kronor ($15 billion), listed in its annual report for 2008 the companies it has to exclude from investment for ethical reasons. Alstom is pointed out as a company AP7 would have liked to invest in. However, the report said Alstom’s involvement in reported human rights abuses regarding the company’s participation in a railway project in Jerusalem made it not suitable for AP7’s investments.

Dublin City Council approves motion to exclude Veolia from contracts

Dublin City Council passes resolution calling on the City Manager not to sign or renew any contracts with French multinational Veolia – the operators of the LUAS who have also tendered for the Metro North project.

Swansea City Council passes resolution to bar future contracts with Veolia

Veolia currently had contracts with the Welsh authority for local bus, park & ride to the tune of £699k per annum and home school to the tune of £238k per annum.

Scottish Council Dumps Veolia

Veolia had been shortlisted to take over environmental services contracts, including refuse collection and street cleaning, but a Council report indicated that the firm is no longer being considered.

London council votes to sever ties with Veolia

The second UK local authority to pass a motion to exclude Veolia from local procurement contracts over its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

Veolia dumped from £1bn contract in South London

SLWP’s decision is a victory for the coalition of Palestine solidarity activists, local human rights groups and concerned local residents from the London boroughs of Kingston-upon-Thames, Sutton, Merton and Croydon, who have been campaigning tirelessly for the past year against Veolia’s involvement in the procurement process due to its activities in illegally occupied Palestine.

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