Boycott news from Ethical Consumer magazine issue 143 July/August 2013.
Hawking backs academic boycott
Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking turned down an invitation to speak at the Israeli presidential conference in June, offering support to a growing academic boycott of Israel. This move not only raised the profile of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, but hit Israel where it hurt: science.
Professor Hawking’s motivations for declining the invitation were enclosed within a letter sent to the conference organisers on the 3rd May. The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine’s website (BRICUP) reported that the letter read “I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”
BRICUP is an organisation of UK based academics, set up in response to the Palestinian call for an academic boycott. They aim to support Palestinian universities, staff and students, and to oppose the continued illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. BRICUP has said that Israeli institutions, especially universities, are complicit in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people by collaborating on research and training projects with the Israeli army, and by supporting Israel’s ‘Brand Israel’campaign.
For more information visit http://bricup.org.uk
Friday April 17th marked Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and a day of action against the security company G4S. The Scottish Trades Union Congress voted in favour of calls made by civic and human rights organisations in Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine for a boycott of the company in light of its involvement in the illegal Israeli occupation and continued oppression of Palestinian people.
G4S has provided a range of security equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints, police, illegal Israeli settlements and prisons within the occupied territories and Israel. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions website (BDS) reported that G4S had supplied services to two Israeli prisons known to detain Palestinian political prisoners, and have linked the company to detention centres
criticised by human rights organisations for the “systemic torture and ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners”.
G4S responded to protests with a statement made to the Financial Times claiming it “would quit a number of contracts which involve the servicing of security equipment at the barrier checkpoints, prisons and police stations in the West Bank by 2015”.
A similar statement was issued in March 2011. Further pressure will be applied on G4S during a protest at its shareholders annual general meeting in London on the 6th June.
You can find out more at www.bdsmovement.net
In other news, Good Energy recently stopped using G4S as a supplier of meter reading services following pressure from consumers. Attention has now focused on Ecotricity to encourage them to follow suit.
India’s Andaman Islands:A tourist free zone?
Survival, the tribal rights organisation, has called for a boycott of tourism to India’s Andaman Islands. The call was made in response to the failure of the island’s authorities to protect Jarawa tribe members from degrading ‘human safaris’.
Human exploitation, poaching, sexual abuse and the spread of disease are all symptoms of the illegal Andaman trunk road that encroaches onto the Jarawa tribe’s land in South Andaman.
Access to the jungle reserve has attracted thousands of tourists, both Indian and international, some of whom treat tribal members like wild animals in a safari park. A typical tour into the reserve was described by the Guardian in 2012: “the beauty of the forest functions merely as a backdrop.
The goal of the trip is to seek out the Jarawa, a reclusive tribe only recently contacted, which is taking the first tentative steps towards a relationship with the outside world.”
Tour operators and policemen have been reported for making members of the tribe dance in return for food. Tribe members have exchanged money begged off tourists for tobacco – something not previously used by Jarawa tribe members.
Survival has been campaigning since 1993 for the trunk road’s closure, for tourism to be banned in the area, and for the Jarawa tribe to be able to make their own decisions about their future. A lack of co-operation from the island’s authorities has sparked the recent boycott call. Survival’s website states that “the tourism boycott will be maintained until the Andaman authorities put an end to the ‘human safaris’ along the illegal road through the land of the Jarawa tribe, and provide an alternative route which does not cut through the tribe’s land”.
To find out more or to make a pledge not to travel to the islands visit: www.survivalinternational.org
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