issue 105

Boycott News from Issue 105 March/April 2007


Boycott Japan over Whaling

In 1994 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) established the International Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica as a safe haven. The sanctuary protects approximately 80% of the world's whales. Despite international outcry against whaling, last November Japan's whale hunters set sail for slaughter in the sanctuary.

Japan hunts under the guise of so-called "scientific" whaling, a clause that allows it to continue killing despite a global ban on commercial whaling imposed by the IWC in 1986. In the 2005/2006 season Japan's whalers killed 853 minke and 10 fin whales from the Antarctic.

This year Japan may also start hunting endangered humpback whales, with a self-allocated quota of 50. Japan's whale hunt started just weeks after Iceland resumed commercial whaling for the first time in 20 years.

The IWC has passed 33 resolutions condemning Japan over its refusal to stop killing whales. Lawyers say Japan is violating not only the IWC, but the Law of the Sea, the Antarctic Treaty System, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, and the Convention on Migratory Species.

Campaigners claim that the anti whaling nations have refused to take legal action against Japan for fear of disrupting lucrative trade agreements. Japan has just lifted trade sanctions against US beef imposed because of mad cow disease and the Australian Government is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement. 

The Boycott Japan campaign calls for a boycott of Japanese goods and travel to Japan and calls on people who are willing to take action on the internet to save the whales to register online at

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) campaigns for the conservation and protection of whales and co-ordinates letter writing campaigns to the Icelandic, Norwegian and Japanese governments. For more information call IFAW UK on 020 7587 6708.



Call for a Cultural Boycott of Israel Grows

Critic John Berger, musician and artist Brian Eno, song-writer and author Leon Rosselson, film maker Sophie Fienne, and novelist Arundhati Roy are among 93 authors, film-makers, musicians and performers who have called on their colleagues not to visit, exhibit or perform in Israel.

The support for a cultural boycott of Israel appeared in a letter to the Guardian on 15th December 2006. The letter, signed by artists from across Europe, North and South America, as well as Israelis and Palestinians compares the situation of the Palestinians to that of black South Africans under apartheid:

The non-violent international response to apartheid was a campaign of boycott, divestment, and, finally UN imposed sanctions which enabled the regime to change without terrible bloodshed. Today Palestinians teachers, writers, film-makers and NGOS have called for a comparable academic and cultural boycott of Israel as offering another path to a just peace.”

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals. The campaign has won the endorsement of South African Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu.

The British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) is an organisation of UK based academics, set up in response to the Palestinian call for an academic boycott to support Palestinian universities, staff and students, and to oppose the continued illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. For further information contact BRICUP on 0207 713 1709 or email.



Starbucks' Social Conscience

“Starbucks is a company with a social conscience,” proclaims the company's website. Last year Starbucks earned £3.9 billion - for every cup of coffee that Starbucks sells, farmers in coffee-growing countries such as Ethiopia earn about 2p.
Log on to Starbucks' website and you can learn of “Starbucks' ongoing commitment to share the comfort of coffee during times of crisis, [with] the men and women serving in the U.S. military overseas.”

The commitment extends to the provision of a Starbucks' coffee shop at the US Guantanamo Bay military prison. Providing military personnel with a latte and blueberry muffin between “interrogation” sessions is reason for some to call for a boycott of the ubiquitous coffee chain. For others, the corporation's ability to price independent coffee shops out of the high street is reason enough.
The US National Lawyers Guild has called for a boycott of Starbucks following the 'retaliatory firing' of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer, Daniel Gross. Mr. Gross was fired after his participation at a union rally and was the fourth IWW employee terminated for union activity in less than a year.

The National Lawyers Guild will also have more information. Telephone (001) 212-679-5100.



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