Boycott news from issue 126 of Ethical Consumer magazine September / October 2010
Israel Anti-Boycott Bill
The Israeli state is firing back at boycotters by introducing an ‘anti- boycott bill’. The bill prohibits boycotts of all Israeli institutions and of settlement activities and products. Israelis who “promote boycotts” will be liable for fnes while foreigners engaging in boycotts will be denied entry to the country for ten years and banned from any economic activities in Israel.
The bill also calls for heavy sanctions on “foreign political entities” engaging in boycotts. Any government promoting a boycott will be “prohibited from carrying out any action in Israeli bank accounts, in shares traded in Israel, in land or in any other property requiring registration of transfer”, and no money or property will be transferred from Israel to that government.
Writing in the Guardian Miri Weingarten, director of Jnews, said: “Since the Palestinian Authority is defned by Israel as a ‘foreign political entity’, its recent decision to end its economic dependence on settlements for products, jobs and services will lead to punitive measures.” It seems that this could be the real target of the legislation and not those engaged in boycotts abroad. She adds that: “The geographical application of the anti-boycott bill to the West Bank and the potential annulment of prior agreements will signal a de jure annexation of the West Bank to Israel.”
In response Palestinian lawmakers made it illegal for businesses in the West Bank to sell products which originate on Jewish settlements. Buying settler-made products can lead to fnes of about (US)$15,000 or a fve-year prison term in the West Bank.
More Israel Boycott News
The union Unison has voted to support a full boycott of Israel including economic, cultural and sporting ties. It has joined the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and will suspend links with Histadrut (Israel’s trade union federation) in response to the fotilla attack at the end of May.
In late June, Swedish dockworkers launched a two week long boycott of cargo being shipped to and from Israel to protest against the raid on the Gaza-bound aid fotilla. Rolf Axelsson, a union spokesman, said the blockade was launched “because of the assault on the ship to Gaza, that we supported before they took off... and the blockade of the Gaza strip, which affects the civilian population”. They were joined by Norwegian dockers who followed suit a day later.
Uncaged is urgently calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to pull out of London 2012 sponsorship talks with Procter & Gamble (P&G). In a statement on their website Uncaged said: “ We lead a global consumer boycott of P&G in protest at their continued use of animals in cruel and deadly toxicity tests... By accepting sponsorship from P&G, the London 2012 Olympics would effectively be promoting gratuitous cruelty to animals that is heavily opposed by the majority of the public.”The UK banned animal testing for cosmetics on the grounds of unnecessary cruelty in 1998.
Procter & Gamble evade this by testing cosmetics on animals in the USA and other countries with weak animal welfare laws. Uncaged added that: “Testing cosmetics on animals also puts P&G in opposition to the fundamental principles of Olympism, which uphold ‘universal fundamental ethical principles’ and promote ‘a peaceful society’. It is hard to think of anything less ethical or peaceful than P&G’s practice of poisoning animals to death for such trivial purposes.”
For more information visit www.boycottpandg.co.uk or contact Uncaged on: 0114 272 2220.
John Lewis against mulesing
In the last issue of the magazine we covered the issue of mulesing as part of our buyers’ guide to outdoor gear. Since then the John Lewis Partnership has taken a stand against the practice. In a letter to campaign group PETA they said, “John Lewis... will require all suppliers of merino wool products to satisfy us, through declarations, that the wool used in their products comes from non-mulesed sources”.
PETA, who have been campaigning against mulesing for some time, commented that: “We commend John Lewis Partnership for adding its voice to the worldwide effort to stop cruel lamb mutilations in Australia. The company’s decision will hasten the day when Australian sheep farmers are forced to stop mutilating lambs for wool.”
BP boycotts begin in the US
There are now a number of very vibrant anti-BP campaigns taking place in the US in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. They are, in general, proposing a boycott until such time as reparations have been made in full.
The Facebook page www.facebook.com/BoycottBP has been listed as ‘I like this’ by 839,198 people. It was apparently mysteriously removed by Facebook for a time, but has now been restored. The websites and Facebook page that have sprung up are not, currently, being run or administered by named individuals or groups which can be traced to an address. Because these are a requirement of being added to our ongoing boycott list, we are not doing so just yet.
For more information see: www.bayoulee.com and www.boycottbp.org/why.
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