Concern for the people of Palestine has been growing worldwide, not just alone in the Muslim world. It has risen dramatically considering the horrific events that have happened this year in the State of Palestine.
With the debate growing on how the masses can help, many intellectuals and political activists have said the best way is through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from occupation policies. These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon and they may not be the ones you’d expect!
The automobile giant has been criticized by BDS campaigners for supplying equipment to bulldoze Palestinian homes. Interestingly enough, the Swedish automobile manufacturer also holds a 27% stake in Merkavim, whose buses are used to transport Palestinian prisoners to and from Israeli prisons.
2. Hewlett Packard
Hewlett Packard’s slogan is “If you’re going to do something, make it matter.” For Palestinians it definitely matters a lot. The tech giant owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems for Israeli Defense Forces and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System, a biometric permit system that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.
HP equipment is also used by Israeli prisons and the army. If that is not enough the company has also invested in the technological development of illegal settlements, taking part in the Smart City Project in the town of Ariel.
Intel operates plants in Kiriyat Gat, site of the former Palestinian villages of Iraq al-Manshiya and Faluja. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris it was in the 1948-49 war that the residents of these villages were expelled, in line with Israel’s strategic plans.
Intel, whose processors can be found in most of the world’s computers, has reportedly invested $2.7 billion to upgrade its Kiryat Gat plants where it is working on new chips that will make computers lighter and faster. That brings its total investments in Israel to about $10 billion, plus it has also benefited by more than $1 billion in the form of Israeli government grants.
BDS supporters have targeted telecommunications giant Motorola for providing surveillance equipment around Israeli settlements, along the Israeli-built separation barrier and along the Israel-Gaza border. In addition to that, the American multinational has signed a $100 million deal this year with Israel for encrypted smartphones for its soldiers and security personnel.
The largest fast food chain in the world has long been targeted by Pro-Palestinian groups for its longtime partnership with the Jewish United Fund. Through its Israel Commission, the Jewish United Fund “works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel”
The largest soft drinks manufacturer in the world that houses numerous carbonated drinks under its umbrella, including Sprite, Fanta and Schweppes amongst many others has been surrounded by many controversies over its supposed support of Israel. Amongst them include the fact that its Israeli subsidiary – Coca-Cola Israel owns dairy farms on occupied Israeli settlements of Shadmot Mechola in the Jordan Valley and a plant in the industrial zone of Katzerin on the occupied Golan Heights.
Back in the year 2009 the company hosted a special reception at the Coca-Cola world headquarters to honor Brigadier-General Ben-Eliezer. Eliezer is claimed by Pro-Palestinian groups to be a war criminal, during the Six-Day War his unit was responsible for the execution of over 300 Egyptian POWs. Under Sharon, Ben-Eliezer served as the Defense Minister presiding over the massacre at Jenin.
Close to 2 decades ago Danone opened its R&D facility in Israel – the Danone Institute. Not that surprisingly enough the French company also owns a 20% share of Israel’s second largest food company, the Strauss Group.
8. Estee Lauder
The American Conglomerate, home to big brands such DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, M.A.C, Clinique amongst many others has been targeted by BDS activists due to the pro-Israeli activities of its chairman, Ronald Lauder. Lauder is also the current president of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) – a quasi-governmental agency whose main function is to legitimize Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. In fact an American based group led a boycott in the country with their “Estée Slaughter” campaign.
9. Marks and Spencer
Since its beginning M&S has been linked inextricably to Zionism. A book on M&S by Lord Marcus Sieff – long time Chairman of M&S – in it he cited that one of the fundamental objectives of M&S is to aid the economic development of Israel (Management: The Marks & Spencer Way, Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1990). As per an article in the Jerusalem Report dated 5/6/2000 M&S supports Israel with approximately $233 million in trade every year.
Furthermore in 1998 Sir Richard Greenbury the CEO of Marks & Spencer, received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the “State of Israel” in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.
fhe close relationship of this brand with the state of Israel has been doing the rounds for quite sometime. They escalated when Howard Schultz an active Zionist – the founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks was honored by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah with “The Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award” for his services to the Zionist state in “playing a key role in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel”.
Starbucks proudly displayed the award on the company’s website under the section of ‘awards and accolades’ that the coffee giant has won, however, once the boycott started to bite, the award mysteriously disappeared from its website.
The Swiss multinational has a good share of controversies and criticism surrounding its big brand name. For Pro-Palestinians activists one of the main problems they had with the food and beverage company was the fact that it bought 51% shares in Osem investments in the mid 90′s. Osem Investments is an Israel based company that is directly engaged in the production and distribution of food products in Israel and abroad.
Moreover in 1998, Peter Brabeck – the former CEO of Nestle received the Jubilee Award (the highest tribute offered by the state of Israel) in recognition of his company’s efforts to support the state of Israel.