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HP Faces $120 Million Potential Loss Due to Complicity in Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Human Rights

IMEMC News & Agencies | June 13, 2018

Hewlett Packard (HP) faces over $120 million in potential losses since India’s largest student federation passed a resolution to support the BDS movement and to boycott Hewlett Packard companies over their well-documented complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights.

Apoorva Gautam, the India-based South Asia coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, explained:

The Students Federation of India (SFI) is more than 4 million members strong, and on June 9, they joined the global campaign to boycott HP. This means that Hewlett Packard companies now risk losing over 4 million potential clients in India because of their complicity in Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian human rights.

Given that the cheapest HP laptop in India costs about $300, this means that HP may be losing a potential student market of over $120 million. This is enormously significant.

What Palestinians and Indian students are showing is that companies seeking to profit from Israel’s military occupation and discriminatory regime face growing popular opposition and risk a serious hit to both their reputations and pocket-books.

HP has provided technology and services that support Israel’s military occupation and racial discrimination policies, including its devastating siege suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, and illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

Today, HP-branded companies provide the Israeli government with the servers that house its notorious population registry, a key component in the apparatus of apartheid. Records also indicate that HP-branded companies are still responsible for selling computers to the Israeli military. As such, HP products and services enable racial segregation and denial of basic rights.

In its resolution to boycott HP, the Students Federation of India (SFI) condemned Israel’s recent violence against unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, where Israel killed at least 121 Palestinians and injured more than 13,000 in just the last two months. It also criticized the current right-wing government in India for its “close security and military ties with Israel” and for having become “the largest arms buyer from Israel.”

Vikram Singh, the federation’s General Secretary, promised that the campaign to boycott HP in India would grow:

Our federation will spread the BDS movement and the HP boycott campaign in college and university campuses across India. We will work to convince university administrations to adopt procurement policies that prohibit doing business with HP companies until they prove that they are no longer complicit in Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights. Until then, this boycott will continue and will grow even stronger.

Abdulrahman Abunahel, a Gaza-based community organizer and coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) welcomed the resolution:

Palestinian students and youth movements deeply appreciate the solidarity expressed by our counterparts in the Students Federation of India. As a young Palestinian in Gaza, I know first hand how difficult it is to study, and to simply live, under decades of Israel’s brutal military rule and devastating siege. And I’m heartened by this important gesture of support from India, which reaffirms that where governments fail, people have the the power to act and make a difference.

In the past few years, US church denominations such as the US Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ have divested from HP. Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the socially responsible investment firm serving over three hundred Quaker institutions in the United States, divested from HP in 2012. Most recently, the Dublin City Council joined the BDS movement and called for ending ties with HP because of the company’s complicity in Israeli apartheid.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Boycotting Israel is So Important and Necessary

DePaul students don’t want their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers who supply the Israeli government, army and prison services

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | May 26, 2014

Nothing, it seems, is too ridiculous for Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister, to contemplate. See him in this painful video ‘Nick Clegg welcomes the Jewish Manifestoaimed at EU election candidates and voters.

Fortunately Clegg received a bloody nose yesterday in the EU elections. His infatuation with the EU and all its rotten works caused his party (the Liberal Democrats) to be almost wiped out at the polls. His days as leader are probably numbered.

If you’re wondering what the Jewish community’s EU Manifesto says, you can read it here. This propaganda effort is a prime example of the ‘hasbara’ scribbler’s art. It tries to shrug off Israel’s sickening human rights abuses and unending dispossession and oppression of its Palestinian neighbours and urges Members of the European Parliament to side with the apartheid regime.

“We urge MEPs and prospective MEPs to resist calls for boycotts of Israel. By their very nature, such measures attribute blame to only one side of the conflict, and through this stigmatisation they perpetuate a one-sided narrative. This in turn prompts intransigence from both sides.”

It also whinges about the European Commission’s guidelines that exclude Israeli settlements from EU funding programmes, accusing the EU of trying to dictate Israel’s borders. As most people know by now, Israel refuses to declare its borders because it hasn’t finished expanding them. The EU’s action, it says, is hurting the peace process “by perpetuating intransigence on the Palestinian side and could cause the Palestinian leadership to become less likely to make concessions”.  The Palestinians have been robbed of everything, including their freedom. Why should they be asked to make more “concessions” to the thief?

The document also prods MEPs to oppose EU funding to Non Governmental Organisations who support boycott campaigns.

Campus ‘lies’?

So, after Clegg’s spineless capitulation, it was heartening to read today that students at DePaul University in Chicago have voted in favour of a referendum calling for divestment from companies “that profit from Israel’s discriminatory practices and human rights violations” and help “violate people’s rights to life, movement, healthcare, education and freedom.”

They are calling on the university to divest its funds from “corporations that manufacture weapons and provide surveillance technology to the Israeli government, army and prison services”, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Caterpillar.

Students say the vote was won despite a massive counter-campaign of intimidation and disinformation by pro-Israel lobbyist group StandWithUs and the Israeli consulate general in Chicago. “It is clear that DePaul students do not wish to have their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers,” said a student organizer.

Following the DePaul vote, StandWithUs announced on their website: “We have seen divestment create this toxic campus environment wherever it rears its ugly head, as it has on several American campuses. Divestment advocates bring lies about Israel to campus, and display extreme ignorance about the complexities of the Middle East conflict, about Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas, about the anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian society, and about Israel’s repeated efforts to make peace. This movement singles out Israel and targets and intimidates pro-Israel and Jewish students, and resonates with anti-Semitism.” The words sound like they are scripted by the Lie Machine in Tel Aviv.

The ‘world’s most moral army’ and its war on students

DePaul students are to be congratulated for not flinching under Zio-pressure.  Other Western students, and indeed students and academics all round the world, who face the same bully-boy tactics when debating the question of boycott and disinvestment against Israel, need only remember what the Israelis do to Palestinian students.

The last thing Israel wants is masses of bright and clever young Palestinians next-door in the shredded remains of the Occupied Territories. But that’s exactly what Palestinian youngsters are… bright and clever, given half a chance. So they need repressing. They need humiliating constantly. They need to be discouraged. They need to have their education disrupted big-time, so that they become a broken, dispirited, docile mass without ambition, easily controlled and utterly dependent (as they are now) on a few crumbs of comfort from Western taxpayers.

So the Israeli authorities make spiteful war on students especially, as well as women and children generally. To get to Bethlehem University, or any other, many students have to run the gauntlet of Israeli checkpoints. “Sometimes they take our ID cards and they spend ages writing down all the details, just to make us late,” said one. Students are often made to remove shoes, belt and bags. “It’s like an airport. Many times we are kept waiting outside for up to an hour, rain or shine, they don’t care.” The soldiers attempt to forcibly remove students’ clothes or they swear and shout sexual slurs at female students.

Some tell how they are sexually harassed and spend the rest of the day worrying what the Israelis will do to them on their way home.

This daily abuse undermines student motivation and concentration. Many other obstacles are put in their way by the Occupation. Here are just three cases, about which I have written before, that illustrate why it is so vitally important for the Palestinians to achieve independence and security.

Merna

Merna was an honours student in her final year majoring in English. Israeli soldiers frequently rampaged through her Bethlehem refugee camp in the middle of the night, ransacking homes and arbitrarily arresting residents. They took away her family one by one. First her 14-year-old cousin and best friend was shot dead by an Israeli sniper while she sat outside her family home during a curfew.

Next the Israelis arrested her eldest brother, a 22 year-old artist, and imprisoned him for 4 years.  Then they came back for Merna’s 18-year-old brother. Not content with that the military came again, this time to take her youngest brother – the ‘baby’ of the family – just 16. These were the circumstances under which Merna had to study.

Israeli military law treats Palestinians as adults as soon as they reach 16, a flagrant violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Israeli youngsters, on the other hand, are not regarded as adults until 18. Palestinians are dealt with by Israeli military courts, even when it’s a civil matter. These courts ignore international laws and conventions, so there’s no legal protection for individuals under Israeli military occupation.

As detention is based on secret information, which neither the detainee nor his lawyer is allowed to see, it is impossible to mount a proper defence. Besides, the Security Service always finds a bogus excuse to keep detainees locked up “in the greater interest of the security of Israel”. Although detainees have the right to review and appeal, they are unable to challenge the evidence and check facts as all information presented to the Court is classified.

Under huge mental stress Merna nevertheless determined to carry on with her studies. The “most moral army in the world”, as the Israelis call their uniformed thugs, may have robbed her brothers of an education, but she would still fight for hers. Sleepless and tearful, Merna went to university next day as usual.

A fellow student recalled that when chatting to Merna online in the evenings, she often had to leave the computer because the military had barged into her home. But even if she’d been up all night while Israeli soldiers trashed her house and questioned her family, she always came to school the next day. “Coming to school is a way of getting away from what is happening in the refugee camp,” said Merna. “It’s like an oasis here for me.”  But her thoughts were never far from her cousin and brothers. “I only wish they were allowed this opportunity.”

She became a senior member of the Bethlehem University Student Ambassadors Programme and an example to fellow classmates. Young minds like Merna’s continue to persevere against the odds. Though greatly distracted by the cruel fate of her close family, the ordeal forged a steely resolve. The purposeful way she lived her university life, say the Brothers at Bethlehem Uni, gave her added strength and confidence. Merna managed to turn the tables on adversity. Her loss was actually her gain.

Berlanty

This Christian girl, a 4th year Business Administration student, was originally from Gaza but lived  in the West Bank after receiving a travel permit from the military to cross from Gaza to the West Bank. She was snatched by the Israeli military while returning from a job interview in Ramallah. The 21 year-old, due to graduate in a few weeks’ time, was suddenly deported to Gaza “for trying to complete her studies at Bethlehem University”. She was about to be robbed of her degree at the last minute.

The “most moral army in the world” blindfolded and handcuffed her, loaded her into a military jeep and drove her from Bethlehem to Gaza, despite assurances by the Israeli Military Legal Advisor’s office that she would not be deported before an attorney from Gisha (an Israeli NGO working to protect Palestinians’ freedom of movement) had the opportunity to petition the Israeli court for her return to classes in Bethlehem.

When they’d crossed the border the world’s most moral army dumped Berlanty in the darkness late at night and told her: “You are in Gaza.”

“I had refrained from visiting my family in Gaza for fear that I would not be permitted to return to my studies in the West Bank,” she told Gisha on her mobile phone before the soldiers confiscated it. “Now, just two months before graduation, I was arrested and taken to Gaza in the middle of the night, with no way to finish my degree.”

The Israeli embassy in London, when asked for an explanation, said that Berlanty held a permit that had expired and she’d been living in the West Bank illegally. “As you probably know, every Gaza resident who stays in the West Bank requires a permit, failing to do so is a breach of the law.” If she wished to complete her studies at Bethlehem, she should apply for a permit to the relevant authorities. However, Bethlehem University told me that of the 12 students from Gaza who had applied to attend the University NOT ONE had received permission from the Israeli authorities.

Her appeal, handled by Gisha, was turned down. It was a classic example of how Israel’s administrative ‘laws’ are framed to ride rough-shod over citizens’ rights enshrined in international law. For example, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are internationally recognized as one integral territory and under international law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within a single territory. The state of Israel also has an obligation under the Oslo Agreements to “respect and preserve without obstacles, normal and smooth movement of people, vehicles and goods within the West Bank, and between the West Bank and Gaza Strip”.

While Israel’s embassy here in London pronounced the ruling on Berlanty’s fate, their Ambassador was whining about a warrant issued in London for the arrest of ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes. Livni had overseen the murderous assault on Gaza the previous December/January, which killed 1400, including a large number of women and children, maimed thousands more and left countless families homeless.

If Berlanty, who had committed no crime, could not come and go as she pleased in her own country — the Holy Land – what made Israel’s Ambassador think that the blood soaked Livni, and others like her, should be allowed to come and go as they pleased in the UK? But that’s another shameful story.

Samer

A few months before he was due to graduate the Israeli military arrested Samer and threw him in jail… for 6 long years. Then, at 27, he returned to campus to finish what he started.  “I feel like a regular student again,” he said with a wide grin. “I have a university notebook and textbooks.  I can ask and answer questions freely.  I can communicate openly with students, professors, and staff.  It’s a real life, an authentic life.”

When imprisoned he was denied access to a lawyer for 55 days, then moved from one Israeli jail to another for more than six years. He was tortured on numerous occasions, he says, and regularly interrogated eight hours a day for four to five days, in just a T-shirt, squatting on the cold ground with his hands tied and an air conditioner blowing on his back.  He was held in solitary confinement for more than a year.

Membership of a student group in Palestine is outlawed under Israeli  military law, and students who engage in campus politics risk arrest by Israel’s uniformed gangs who barge into Palestinian society and academic life to abduct them. Many Western leaders began their political careers making a name for themselves at the Oxford Union and similar student debating groups or taking part in demos. How would they have reacted to being clapped in irons for it?

A good many of them, to their everlasting shame, are now signed-up Friends of Apartheid Israel. Members of the Israeli cabinet went to university too, presumably. Are we to believe that they never engaged in student politics?

Samer’s experience is similar to that of hundreds of Palestinian students who find themselves political prisoners.  Many are left to rot in jail indefinitely, denied due process, a fair trial and legal representation. Some wait up to two years to be charged. Others are charged under Israeli military law, which falls a long way short of the justice standards required under international law.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reckoned that seven Bethlehem University students were at that time in Israeli prisons for taking part in ‘student activities’. In Samer’s case, he was abducted for joining Fatah’s resistance movement after the 2000 Intifada (uprising). It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to resist an illegal occupier.

Coming back to university after prison is no easy thing. Samer suffered the cruel effects of six years’ incarceration and was often tired, depressed, stressed and jumpy. But he knew that the University was his anchor, the main hope in his young life.

So there you have it…. the evil of Israel’s ‘snatch squads’ that prey on Palestine’s young people, and the regime’s cruel disregard for their well being and education while in its clutches.  The apartheid regime, after 66 years, still hasn’t emerged from the swamp.

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who Profits report: Corporations profit from Israeli prisons

Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | January 26, 2014

Who Profits report: Corporations profit from Israeli prisonsWho Profits released the following report on the involvement of Israeli and multinational corporations in the Israeli prison system:

On December 2013, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) responded to a freedom of information request by Who Profits, which was submitted three months earlier, regarding twenty-two corporations that provide services to Israeli prisons.

These companies mainly provide security equipment and services to incarceration facilities that hold Palestinian prisoners and detainees inside Israel and in the occupied West Bank. These incarceration facilities hold Palestinian political prisoners in violation of international law, and torture and systematic violations of human rights take place within their walls. According to Addameer’s latest monthly detention report (December 2013), there are 5033 Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli prisons, 173 of whom are minors and 145 are administrative detainees.

The following table is an English translation of information provided by the Israel Prison Service to Who Profits, regarding twenty-two corporations that provide services to Israeli prisons and detention facilities.

Company Name Characteristics of Contract End of Contract Comments Financial Scope
G4S Maintaining supporting management systems, magnetometer gates, scanning machines and ankle monitors During the fiscal year 2015 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels
3M Based on occasional bids
MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS ISRAEL Maintaining wireless systems and lighting bridgesRepairing wireless devices During the fiscal year 2016 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels
HEWLETT- PACKARD (HP) PrintersMaintaining HP systems and central servers During the fiscal year 2016 Tenders by the Accountant General + tenders by the IPS Tens of millions of shekels
MERKAVIM TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGIES Based on occasional bids
MAYER’S CARS AND TRUCKS Based on occasional bids
VOLVO GROUP Based on occasional bids
Biosense Supplying and maintaining a dog-bark identification system During the fiscal year 2014 According to an IPS tender Hundreds of thousands of shekels
Myform Based on occasional bids
MIRS COMMUNICATIONS Purchase of battery servicesProviding wireless services During the fiscal year 2016 Tenders by the Accountant General + Tenders by the IPS Hundreds of thousands of shekels
AFCON HOLDINGS Installing, providing year-round service and maintaining fire detection systems During the fiscal year 2015 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels
Contact Based on occasional bids
SHAMRAD ELECTRONICS Relocating communication infrastructureSupplying electronic equipmentRepairing sound system During the fiscal year 2015 According to an IPS tender Tens of millions of shekels
B.G. ILANIT GATES AND URBAN ELEMENTS Based on occasional bids
Dadash Hadarom Distribution Purchase of canteen products 31/07/14 According to a tender
Shekem Based on occasional bids
Shiran Based on occasional bids
S.I.R.N. Based on occasional bids
Shekel Based on occasional bids
ASHTROM GROUP Based on occasional bids
Lymtech Based on occasional bids

Who Profits also provides documentation and research on several of these companies at the links below:

G4S Israel (Hashmira)
Hewlett Packard (HP)
Motorola Solutions
Merkavim Transportation Technologies
Mayer’s Cars and Trucks
Volvo Group
Mirs Communications
Afcon Holdings
Shamrad Electronics
B.G. Ilanit Gates and Urban Elements
Ashtrom Group

January 26, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wherefore by Their Friends ye Shall Know Them: Zionists vs UNSW BDS

By Vacy Vlazna | Palestine Chronicle | May 7, 2013

boycott_logo_art

In Australia there are 30 Max Brenner shops providing funds for the Strauss Group that filter towards the maintenance of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Another Brenner outlet is ‘coming soon’ to the campus of The University of New South Wales (UNSW), the site of the present Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) protest organised by Students for Justice in Palestine.

Spin-doctors against the BDS action, present the issue as an unjustified anti-Semitic attack against an innocuous chocolate shop, however the Max Brenner company and its supporters have direct and indirect vested interests in the Zionist enterprise that brutally, to this day, has destroyed the political and human rights of the indigenous people of Palestine.

Max Brenner is owned by the Strauss Group which, closely connected with the Israeli military and armament industry, provides care rations to the vicious Golani and Givati Brigades to ‘sweeten their special moments’. These units perpetrate, in their special moments, war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians.

In the 1982 Lebanon War, Golani soldiers lit flares to assist the Phalangist death squads to massacre Palestinian men women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps deemed an act of genocide by the UN. The Golani Brigade led a vicious offensive against the Jenin refugee camp in 2002 demolishing  hundreds of homes while burying some Palestinians alive and killing terrified residents.

In 2004 a Givati commander callously murdered 13 year old Iman Darweesh Al Hams by firing two bullets at her head from close range while she was lying wounded on the ground. To verify the kill, the commander emptied his entire magazine into her little body. He was charged, exonerated and promoted.

The Givati Brigade led the ground offensive against unarmed Gazan families  in the 2008-9  Operation Cast Lead for which the UN Goldstone Report accused Israel of war crimes.

Chairperson, Ofra Strauss also sits on the board of HESEG, which provides scholarships for ‘lone soldiers’, along with General (Res.) Yitzhak Eitan: Chief Commander of the Israeli military in Gaza and the West Bank, and Head (GOC) of the IDF Central Command during the years 2000-2003; Shabtai Shavit: Head of Mossad (the Israeli foreign intelligence) 1989-96 and the controversial Major General (Res.) Doron Almog who was Commander of the IDF’s Southern Command from 2000-2003. In 2005, he evaded a warrant issued in the UK for his arrest on suspicion of war crimes for ordering the demolition of 59 houses in Rafah, occupied Gaza; an act of illegal collective punishment under international law and on 22 July 2002, for ordering a one-ton bomb to be dropped on a home in Gaza to assassinate Salah Shehadeh killing 15 people, including 9 children.

Doron Almog is also Executive Chairman and Member of Investment Committee of Athlone Global Security Ltd. which he co-founded in 2007 providing specialised military and surveillance training equipment and services for the illegal Annexation wall and checkpoints. The Athlone team includes  Moshe Horev, who headed the Israel Ministry of Defense R&D Division, the Avionics and Armament Division and the Guided Weapon system program office of the Israeli Air force. He is a former CEO of Hewlett Packard and is currently the CEO of Oracle Systems Israel Ltd which has a longstanding strategic partnership with the IDF as one of the IDF’s main suppliers of computer solutions.

Ofra Stauss also sits on the executive of The Jewish Agency which was established by the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) in 1929 founded to take over the whole of Palestine. On behalf of the government, it assigns stolen lands to its 400,000 illegal Jewish colonists in Palestine. Chairperson of the JNF Board of Governors is American billionaire James S Tisch who is also president of the Jewish Communal Fund which channels donations to violent settler militias that oppose the return of land captured in 1967 and promote the “transfer” of all Palestinians to neighbouring countries.

Thus, associating Brenner chocolate with war crimes is a no-brainer, nevertheless  Australian apologists for Israeli war crimes roll over and go brain dead at the whiff of BDS. Politicians, journalists, commentators try to out-tourette each other’s idiotic assertions that BDS activists are anti-Semitic: Ex-PM-ex-FM-ex-rational Kevin Rudd pompously spluttered, ”As an individual citizen – that is me, K. Rudd – I am here because I object to the boycotting of Jewish businesses”; Gerard Henderson blurted,  “Then there are the historical parallels. In the mid-1930s, Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists used to go on rampages outside Jewish-owned shops in London’s East End – some were boycotted, others smashed up.”; Senator Stephen Conroy blabbered, “The Gillard Government remains concerned by any groups advocating a boycott of Israeli products or services or Jewish businesses and business people like Frank Lowy and Revlon’s chairman, Ronald Perlman, who is a trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre,”

Ironically and gratefully, the sound bites of the anti-BDS spinners on mainstream media have boosted awareness of the BDS matter and given activists voice to justify their actions.

UNSW’s unconscionable support of the opening of the Max Brenner campus shop makes sense  considering chancellor David Gonski and vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer  have a tweedledum and tweedeldee  relationship: both are Jewish, both have sat on the boards of  Coca-Cola Amatil, Westfield Group, ( and John Fairfax Holdings). Consequently both have career long affiliations with Israel’s interests.

Coca-Cola Amatil is the Australian subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company. In 2002, the parent company announced the proposed building of a plant on stolen Palestinian land at Kiryat Gat, in return for millions in incentives from the Israeli government. The land, Kiryat (Qiryat) Gat, has an industrial park built on the lands of the villages of al-Faluja and Iraq Al Manshiya. which were ethnically cleansed and demolished in 1949 in hasty contravention of an agreement between Egypt and Israel and of International Law. Coca-Cola Israel also directly owns dairy farms in the illegal Israeli settlements of Shadmot Mechola in the Jordan Valley and a plant in the industrial zone of Katzerin in the occupied Golan Heights. Coca-Cola Israel also supports the Jewish National Fund.

In 2004, Coca-Cola merged with Neviot Water which takes its waters from the Ein Zahav springs in Kirat Shmona built on the village of al-Khalisa after its 1500 villagers were ethnically cleansed and from wells dug by Mekorot. Mekorot, the Israeli national water company has been  accused of crimes against humanity for its theft of Palestinian water and discriminatory water shortages for Palestinians while illegal Israeli settlements enjoy a constant supply of water.

In 2009 a Coca-Cola sponsored award went to Israel’s Lobby AIPAC for its successful lobbying of the Senate to reject of the UN call for “immediate ceasefire” and endorse the continuation of the Israel military assault on Gaza.

Gonski and Hilmer are ex directors of Westfield Holdings. Westfield owner, billionaire Frank Lowy, is a Czech Jew who served  as a commando in the Haganah and later in the Golani brigades during the Nakba; the ethnic-cleansing of Palestine. He spends 3 months of the year in Israel. Through tax evasion, Lowy cheated the Australian people of $68m. SMH reports that Lowy said ‘he had given the money to Israeli charities and insisted he had met all his tax obligations’. In 2003 he set up the Lowy Institute for International Affairs ‘which promotes Israel and US foreign policy’. In 2005, Lowy was implicated in the corruption charges against his longtime friend, Ehud Olmert in the Bank Leumi affair. Lowy also set up the Institute for National Security Studies, attached to the University of Tel Aviv. ‘ As its chairman, Lowy has gathered some of the most influential policymakers in Israel and wealthiest international benefactors to sit on its boards.’ (Koutsoukis SMH 2008)

Gonski is chairman of Investec Australia part of the Investec banking group, founded in South Africa, Gonski’s birthplace. Investec SA has strong Zionist affiliations. In February 2013, it hosted an event featuring avowed Zionist Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, a zealous public defender of Israel’s policies.

In 2004, due to the economic downturn, Investec divested its Israel operations of which Maj. Gen. (Res) Danny Rothchild was a director. In the 80’s, he was Commander of IDF Units in Southern Lebanon and later became Israeli Defense Force Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and Deputy Director of Military Intelligence & Chief of Intelligence Research and Analysis  enforcing Israel’s illegal occupation. He now owns and runs an Israeli-based security company, Netacs (Security) Ltd.

Avron Kregel, legal advisor to Investec is Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation. He negotiated to bar Judge Goldstone  from attending his grandson’s  bar mitzvah. It was the UN Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes in its 2008/9 war against unarmed Gazan families. Zionist pressure on Goldstone led to his unethical retraction, in 2011, of the claim that Israel intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians. His 3 co-authors rejected outright any nullification, “We consider that calls to reconsider or even retract the report, as well as attempts at misrepresenting its nature and purpose, disregard the right of victims, Palestinian and Israeli, to truth and justice.”

Investec CEO, Stephen Koseff, a recipient of Israel’s highest tribute- the Jubilee Award, is a trustee of the King David Schools Foundation. The schools’ Zionist vision states ‘We recognize that Aliya is the ultimate expression of Zionist and Jewish identity.  Our students are encouraged to develop a commitment to the centrality of Israel, an understanding of its history and present reality and identification with its future.’ Aliya is the right of Jews anywhere in the world to make their home in Israel while simultaneously Israel forbids all Palestinians their right of return under international law.

Gonski is a board member of Ingeus Ltd owned by Therese Rein, wife of the grand poobah of BDS opposition, Kevin Rudd. Ingeus also operates in Israel.

Gonski is also a recipient of the Richard Pratt Business Leadership Award. In the 90s, Fred Hilmer had a lucrative consultancy with Visy Industries, owned by the late Richard Pratt who paid a $38m fine for fixing prices. His Pratt Foundation (PF) still supports charitable programs in Israel some of which channel funds to the Jewish Agency. The PF funds The Park of the Australian Soldier in the Negev affiliated with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) notorious for its theft of ancestral lands of the impoverished Bedouins.

Hilmer, a rigid business automaton, apart from his directorships of  Coca-Cola Amatil and Westfield Holdings was made, in 1998, CEO of Fairfax media which is curious given his dismal record that “cost NSW taxpayers at least $48 million’ when he was chair of Pacific Power ‘when it entered into the series of flawed electricity supply contracts with a Victorian distributor Powercor.’ The 1997-98 financial report of Pacific Power, showed their profits dropped from $552 million in 1996/97 to $43.8 million in 1997/98. (Electricity Week,1999)

Hilmer’s tenure at Fairfax was similarly lacklustre particularly when he “decided not to invest in fledgling internet site  Seek.com.au. James Packer didn’t make the same mistake, turning a $33 million investment into a $400 profit (which much of that profit coming at the expense of Fairfax)… “With Fairfax sacking 2000 workers and radically reducing its commitment to journalism, the blame lies clearly at the feet of Fred Hilmer, David Kirk, Brian McCarthy, Ron Walker, Dean Wills, Roger Corbett and the slew of highly paid executives and directors who have mismanaged one of Australia’s great companies through not one, but a series of inexcusable blunders.’ (Schwab, Crikey 25-6-13)

Now, as vice-chancellor, Hilmer is hell bent on further corporatising UNSW by pushing for universities to set their own fees. According to Prof. Stuart Rees, ‘The characters setting the fees would presumably be the same invisible, unaccountable managerialists who have already contributed to the financial woes of Sydney University and UNSW, among others.’

Key stakeholders of UNSW, its staff and students, should well take heed of Kerry Packer who “once said of Fred Hilmer, the McKinsey consultant who went on to head Fairfax Media Ltd: “I wouldn’t hire him as a fxxx sweeper. For Fairfax to be run by a management consultant I think is just an act of stupidity. I think it’s ridiculous … He came from McKinsey and he has never run a business in his life.” (Knox, The Monthly, June 2010)

The drama of the UNSW Max Brenner protest, like Star Wars, is the archetypal clash between the Dark Side and the Light: the DeathVaders of government, business and mainstream media aligned to ruthless power versus The Force championed by the Students for Justice in Palestine defending the political and human rights of the Palestinian people as set out in the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions; legal obligations that the Empire has shamefully abrogated along with its humanity.

– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters.

May 8, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UC Berkeley student senate votes to divest from companies that profit from Israeli Occupation

IMEMC | April 18, 2013

After a ten hour debate that began Wednesday evening and continued through the night, the Student Senate at the University of California – Berkeley voted to divest University funds from three companies that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Three years ago, UC-Berkeley’s Student Senate passed a similar resolution calling for divestment, but the then-President of the Student Union vetoed the measure. Thursday’s vote follows the narrow defeat of a similar divestment resolution at UC-Santa Barbara last week. Two weeks ago, students at UC-Riverside overturned a resolution they had passed the week before calling for divestment.

The heated debate at UC-Berkeley included the voices of dozens of Jewish and Arab students who supported the divestment resolution, and led some students to break down in tears as emotions ran high.

“There are few experiences more traumatic than losing your home or being forced out of the place you call home,” said UC Berkeley junior Kamyar Jarahzadeh, according to the student newspaper The Daily Cal. “This university’s money — our money — is complicit in the deprivation of human rights.”

In addition to the students, many community members attended the hearing – most were in favor of the resolution, but some opponents also attended. Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker spoke in favor of the divestment resolution, as someone who participated in a flotilla to Gaza that attempted to break the Israeli siege put in place in 2007.

Students opposed to the resolution organized a party called ‘SQUELCH!’, aimed at stopping the divestment resolution from passing. In the Daily Cal newspaper, SQUELCH! Party chair Noah Ickowitz commented, “We will take home that this body takes divestment as a weapon of choice when that is not the only weapon in our arsenal.”

According to the Daily Cal, “SB 160, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, calls the UC system a “complicit third party” in Israel’s “illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses” and seeks the divestment of more than $14 million in ASUC and UC assets from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Cement Roadstone Holdings. According to the bill, these companies provide equipment, materials and technology to the Israeli military, including bulldozers and biometric identification systems.”

April 19, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quakers Divest from Veolia and Hewlett Packard

By Anna Baltzer | US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

HP Protest

The US Campaign is thrilled to announce that the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) has become the first U.S. national fund to divest from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Veolia Environment following concerns expressed by Palestinian rights advocates about the companies’ involvement in the Israeli occupation. At last count, FFC held investments of more than $250,000 in HP and more than $140,000 in Veolia.

FFC handles investments for over 300 Quaker meetings, schools, organizations, trusts, and endowments around the U.S., with over $200 million in assets. According to the Executive Director of FFC, Hewlett Packard was dropped for providing information technology consulting services to the Israeli Navy, while Veolia Environment was removed due to “environmental and social concerns.”

The decision followed advocacy from member group Palestine Israel Action Group of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (AAFM), which also successfully urged FFC to divest its $900,000 in Caterpillar shares in May. FFC has a “zero tolerance for weapons and weapons components” and said, “We are uncomfortable defending our position on this stock.” Caterpillar produces and sells bulldozers to Israel that are weaponized and used to violate Palestinian rights and destroy Palestinian homes, schools, hospitals, olive groves, and lives.

The US Campaign commends AAFM and FFC, which made its recent decision, in line with FFC’s principled commitment to investment in companies that “contribute positively to a peaceful, sustainable world.”

HP maintains a biometric ID system used in Israeli checkpoints for racial profiling; manages the Israeli Navy’s IT infrastructure; and supplies the Israeli army with other equipment and services used to maintain its military occupation. Veolia is involved in a light rail linking illegal Israeli settlements with cities in Israel; it operates segregated bus lines through the occupied West Bank; and it operates a landfill and a waste water system that dumps Israeli waste on Palestinian land.

2012 will truly be remembered as a landmark year of victories in the global campaign to hold corporations accountable for profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and international law:

Earlier this month, the dining services of Earlham College, another Quaker institution, stopped selling Sabra products in response to concerns from students and faculty about the company’s links to the Israeli army. Other campuses have de-shelved Sabra recently. BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Earlham, a member group of the US Campaign, continues its exciting campaign to convince the college to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, and HP.

Shortly thereafter, the Student Union of the massive University of California (UC) system voted to protect students’ rights to advocate BDS on campus and demanded that UC stop profiting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights. The motion passed by a vote of 12 to 0 (with 2 abstentions).

And of course, Morgan Stanley Capital Investment decided this year to remove the company from its list of socially responsible companies, prompting financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest more than $72 million in Caterpillar shares previously held in TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Fund (though the company still holds Caterpillar shares in other funds). This was a major victory for the We Divest Campaign, the largest coalition-led U.S. divestment campaign in the country, which calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies involved in the Israeli occupation, including Veolia and HP.

These are just a few of the extraordinary victories this year in the movement to end U.S. institutional support for Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. Many more are surely on the way, as many campaigns forge ahead. This Thursday, September 27, 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals will hear arguments in an appeal brought by member group Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign against the Minnesota State Board of Investment. In the California Bay Area, a new campaign to Stop HP — led by member groups Friends of Sabeel, UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, American Friends Service Committee, Global Exchange, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Jewish Voice for Peace and others — is collecting pledges from individuals and organizations to boycott the company until it ends its complicity with the Israeli occupation.

Let’s continue to show our support for corporate accountability by clicking here to thank FFC for divesting from Veolia and HP!

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Technologies of Control: The Case of Hewlett Packard (HP)

Who Profits | February 2012

The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is maintained and preserved by daily practices of surveillance and control. In recent years, these practices have increasingly relied on technological mechanisms provided by international and local corporations. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is one of the companies that unable this technological supervision and oppression.

Through its subsidiary EDS Israel, HP is the prime contractor of the Basel System, an automated biometric access control system installed and maintained by HP in checkpoints throughout the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

Another control mechanism with which HP is involved, is Israel’s ID card system, which reflects and reinforces the state’s political and economic asymmetries as well as its tiered citizenship structure. HP was charged by the Ministry of Interior with the manufacturing of biometric ID cards for the citizens and residents of Israel (Jewish and Palestinians). In addition, HP also provides services and technologies to the Israeli army.

Furthermore, two of HP’s technological service providers in Israel are Matrix and its subsidiary, Tact Testware, which are located in the illegal West Bank settlement of Modi’in Illit. HP further participates in the “Smart City” project, implemented in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel, providing a storage system for the settlement’s municipality.

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on Technologies of Control: The Case of Hewlett Packard (HP)