Update: G4S to divest completely from apartheid Israel
Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), June 1, 2023
In a major win for human rights activism against corporate complicity, the world’s largest private security company Allied Universal, which owns G4S, has decided to sell all its remaining business in apartheid Israel. This follows years of an effective #StopG4S campaign waged by the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.
This victory comes after human rights campaigns caused G4S serious “reputational damage” and some lucrative investments and contracts. Along with the BDS movement, several other human rights campaigns have also targeted G4S over its long, violent record of human rights abuses against prisoners, migrants, and other communities worldwide, including the UK, South Africa and the US.
The BDS campaign against G4S was launched by Palestinian prisoners’ rights and human rights organizations in 2012 to support the major hunger strike waged then by Palestinian political prisoners. This pressure led to high profile divestment from G4S by the Church of Sweden, the United Methodist Church, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a Kuwaiti investment fund, UN agencies, trade unions, universities, restaurant chains, among others, compelling the company in 2016 to divest from Israel’s prison system, military checkpoints and illegal settlements.
Yet, the #StopG4S campaign kept up the pressure to get G4S to divest from its remaining stake in the consortium that operates Policity, Israel’s police academy, given the well documented war crimes and grave human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli police over decades. Allied Universal, which acquired G4S in 2021, is now finally selling this share in Policity to the Israeli company G1 that is notorious for its complicity in human rights violations. The sale is pending approval by the Israeli authorities.
The final straw that compelled Allied Universal to end its complicity in apartheid Israel’s human rights abuses against Indigenous Palestinians seems to be the strong position taken by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which manages the funds of the Quebec Pension Plan and other public pension plans. Trade unions and BDS campaigners, led by BDS Quebec and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), have been pressuring CDPQ since Allied Universal’s acquisition of G4S, raising the issue in direct conversation with the fund and with members of parliament.
CDPQ became the largest shareholder in Allied Universal in 2019, and supported the company in its bidding for the takeover of G4S, in direct violation of its commitment to ethical and socially responsible investment. When a Quebec lawmaker earlier this month criticized CDPQ’s investment in Allied Universal in a parliamentary committee, saying that “cases of [Israeli] torture against Palestinian political prisoners, including children, are widely documented by human rights organizations,” CDPQ’s CEO replied: “I completely agree with you. This is not the kind of activity we endorse at all.”
Given apartheid Israel’s rising economic and financial troubles, especially the drying up of investments in high-tech, we may see an increasing number of multinationals divesting from it.
The BDS movement, with its intersectional partnerships worldwide, calls for intensifying pressure on other corporate criminals to make them respect their human rights obligations and stop profiting from oppression and injustice. Despite the enormous financial, legal and propaganda resources that multinationals have wielded against us, and despite the support they have received from Israel and its partners in crime, mainly the US, EU and UK, our strategic and collective pressure over the years has brought many of them to their knees, forcing them to divest from apartheid Israel.
They try to sear into our consciousness the impossibility of prevailing over them, but we have prevailed. With the growing support from racial, economic, climate, social and gender justice movements worldwide, we surely can prevail in many more corporate accountability struggles in pursuit of freedom, justice and equality.
Apartheid-Free Communities – Cut Your Ties to Israeli Apartheid
All people are equal and should be treated with dignity and respect
But for decades, the Palestinian people have faced Israeli settler colonialism and occupation enforced through racist and discriminatory legal regimes, forced displacement, blockade and movement restrictions, and systematic human rights abuses. According to legal scholars and the international human rights community, this situation constitutes the crime of Apartheid. It must end.
As people of conscience and loving communities, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their call for equal and full rights. Inspired by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, we want to declare our own communities “Apartheid-Free.”
Let’s build an Apartheid-Free world, starting with our own communities: our faith congregations, cities, campuses, and workplaces. We need to educate ourselves and others about racist laws and state systems at home and abroad, and we want to ensure that our communities do not contribute to the maintenance of Apartheid regimes. Together, we can work to promote freedom, justice, and equality for all.
There’s No Pride in Apartheid!
Israeli agents conducted raid against militants in civilian area, killing a child
Videos from a March 16 raid in Jenin show increasingly deadly tactics by Israeli officers
See the Washington Post article for videos and a 3D reconstruction of the March 16 Israeli raid in central Jenin in the West Bank. (Telegram/The Washington Post)
Imogen Piper, Meg Kelly and Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, May 26, 2023
The traffic was barely moving on March 16 in central Jenin, an unusually busy Thursday afternoon in the West Bank. With the holy month of Ramadan just days away, restaurants were full and shoppers wove between cars as they hustled from store to store.
A father pushed a stroller past a silver sedan. Inside the car, Israeli undercover agents were in place, waiting to carry out an operation against two Palestinian militants who were walking nearby. Omar Awadin, age 14, pedaled by on his bicycle, having just completed his last errand of the day.
Moments later, four plainclothes security forces burst from a second silver sedan nearby in pursuit of the militants and opened fire.
Such scenes are increasingly common in the West Bank, where more than 3 million Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation and a new generation of militants has risen to prominence. Israel says raids like this one are vital to disrupting terrorist networks and protecting its citizens from attack; Palestinian officials say they are war crimes that should be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Israeli military operations have long been a fixture of life here, but they once happened mostly at night, and usually ended in apprehensions. This year, under the most right-wing government in Israeli history, a growing number of incursions have been carried out during the day, in densely packed urban areas such as Jenin. As of May 15, 108 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including militants and civilians, had been killed by Israeli forces, according to the United Nations, more than double last year’s toll from the same period. At least 19 were children — including Omar, who was fatally shot during the raid in Jenin.
The Washington Post synchronized 15 videos and reviewed dozens more from March 16, including CCTV footage from surrounding businesses, some of which took nearly a month to surface. The Post also spoke to nine witnesses and obtained testimonies from four others to produce a 3D reconstruction of the raid.
The analysis yielded three key findings:
- Israeli forces killed Omar. Israeli authorities have not publicly commented on his death.
- Omar was among at least 16 civilians in the area as the officers charged down the street with AR-style rifles and a handgun, firing more than 20 shots and killing the two militants, neither of whom was visibly armed. Israeli authorities referred to the militants as “armed suspects” in an initial statement but provided no evidence to support their claim.
- One of the militants was shot multiple times by Israeli forces after he was incapacitated — an apparent extrajudicial execution that experts said could violate Israeli law.
The raid additionally appeared to violate an international ban on extrajudicial killings, experts consulted by The Post said, arguing that the illegality was magnified by the fact that the militants appeared to pose no imminent threat, coupled with the presence of so many civilians.
The raid was conducted by Yamam, the elite unit of Israel’s border police that focuses on counterterrorism operations, including raids in civilian areas.
Dean Elsdunne, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said that security forces were in the area to “apprehend terrorists responsible for shooting attacks on IDF soldiers, some production of bombs and other terrorist activities.”
In response to initial questions about Omar, Israeli police said in an email to The Post that “the subject of your inquiry took an active part in the violent riot while endangering the lives of the troops.” It’s unclear what riot they were referring to, but the visual evidence reviewed by The Post showed no such riot before the shootings took place.
The police declined to review The Post’s evidence or to respond to follow-up questions.
Previously unreported files from the trove of classified U.S. documents recently leaked online through the Discord messaging platform highlight mounting American concerns that Israeli incursions in the West Bank — including a Feb. 22 raid in Nablus where Israeli troops fired into a group of civilians — would jeopardize international efforts to de-escalate violence in the region.
One secret assessment of a March 7 raid in Jenin warned that it “will almost certainly prompt Palestinian militants to retaliate.”
Omar spent the day of March 16 delivering packages for his father’s medical supply shop. At about 3:10 p.m., he dropped off his last package at a nearby pharmacy, CCTV footage obtained by The Post shows.
Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition hosts Nelson Mandela’s grandson at launch of Nakba tour
Sandra Whitehead, Wisconsin Muslim Journal, May 23, 2023
Photos by Mouna Photography
Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of globally respected icon of resistance against injustice Nelson Mandela, meets members of Milwaukee’s Muslim community.
About 40 community and interfaith leaders joined the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition at the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield May 15 to welcome the grandson of anti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela on the launch of his six-city U.S. tour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland.
Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomes activist and South African parliament member Nkosi Mandela (center) to the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield.
Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the South African parliament member and chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, repeated the well-known message of his grandfather: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians.” In his weeklong U.S. tour, Mandela spoke in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
Following the dinner at the IRC, Mandela began his tour with a speech at Turner Hall in Milwaukee in which he called on the audience to consider what they could do individually and collectively to support the Palestinian cause. He spoke about how the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) had been effective in South Africa and would work to liberate Palestinians.
“His message was uplifting,” said MMWC president and IRC director Janan Najeeb. “If it is possible for South Africa to be free after 350 years of colonialism and six decades of apartheid, it is possible for Palestinians to also one day be free.”
MMWC president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomed community leaders to a reception for South African activist and parliamentarian Nkosi Mandela (right). Haitham Salawah (center) represented the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, which co-sponsored Mandela’s U.S. tour.
Continuing his grandfather’s legacy
Haitham Salawdeh, the U.S. Palestinian Community national treasurer and Milwaukee chapter co-chair, introduced Chief Mandela. The national tour was hosted by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Madison for Palestine was also instrumental in bringing Mandela for this tour.
Salawdeh thanked Mandela for visiting six U.S. cities “to tell the story of our people. Coming from the leadership of anti-apartheid and speaking on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, your visit here today is historic.”
After thanking USPCN and Madison for Palestine for the invitation, Mandela said, “When the invitation came, I immediately accepted the call to duty.”
Upcoming Events: May 21-28, 2023
Sunday, May 21: WORT Show Her Turn with Cassandra Dixon
Sunday, May 21: Zoom Film & Talk Back: Two Kids a Day
Tuesday, May 23 – Thursday, May 25: Online: Palestine Digital Activism Forum
Tuesday, May 23: Webinar on Palestinian Children & Families Act
Thursday, May 25: Rev. Don Wagner discusses his book Glory to God in the Lowest: Journeys to an Unholy Land
Friday, May 26: Palestine Partners at The Bodega, Breese Stevens Field
Sunday, May 28: Green Olive & Zochrot present From Nakba to Return
UPCOMING EVENTS DETAILS
Sunday, May 21:
WORT Radio’s Her Turn interviews Cassandra Dixon
Cassandra will be the guest on WORT’s Her Turn, a magazine radio show by and about women. Cassandra will discuss her recent trip to Palestine including the situation on the ground and her assault by Israeli settlers.
Tune in at 89.9 FM or listen live online.
And here’s WORT’s earlier interview with Cassandra and Masafer Yatta activist Ali Awad.
Sunday, May 21:
Film Screening & Talk Back: Two Kids a Day
2-4 pm CT
On average, two Palestinian kids are arrested every night by the Israeli army. They are interrogated, tried, and sent to prison. The film Two Kids a Day describes the use of minors’ arrests to control and repress Palestinian society. Join Churches for Middle East Peace on Sunday May 21st at 12 pm Pacific/ 3 pm Eastern for a virtual screening of the film and a conversation with the film director and co-producer. If you are interested in hosting a satellite screening of this event at your church, contact Jennifer at email@example.com.
Tuesday, May 23:
Zoom Webinar on Rep. McCollum’s
Palestinian Children and Families Act, HR 3103
11:00 am Central
HR 3103 aims to prohibit Israel from using our taxes to violate Palestinian human rights. More information about the bill
Join this webinar sponsored by the No Way to Treat a Child campaign and Defense for Children International-Palestine to learn how you can help push this critical bill forward. More information and registration (If you can’t attend but would like to get a recording of the event, please register and it will be sent to you afterwards.)
ALSO NOTE: Rep. Mark Pocan is an original co-sponsor of this act, so if you are a constituent, please consider thanking him.
Tues May 23 – Thurs May 25: Online:
Palestine Digital Activism Forum
NOTE: YOU MUST REGISTER FOR THIS IN ADVANCE.
A comprehensive three day online conference aiming (1) to develop Palestinian digital activism and create a space for exchange of experiences and expertise with local and international counterparts; (2) to increase awareness among members of the Palestinian public about digital rights issues and challenges; and (3) to increase Palestinian digital rights activists access to local and international power holders to facilitate changes in policies and practices.
Sponsored by 7amleh- Arab Center for Social Media Advancement
More information and registration
Thursday, May 25:
Book Talk and Signing
1301 Regent St, Madison
7 – 9 pm
A free event co-sponsored by MRSCP.
More info and reservation
Review of the book
Friday, May 26:
The Bodega, Breese Stevens Field
In First, Palestinian Displacement Commemorated at United Nations
The event, marking the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians when Israel was created, was condemned by the Israeli ambassador to the world body.
The United Nations General Assembly, composed of 193 member states, has often been sympathetic to Palestinians. Its commemoration on Monday came at a tense period in Israel, Gaza and the occupied West Bank, where violence has surged this year. While Palestinians celebrated the U.N. action as validation, the Israelis saw it as an attack on their state.
Mr. Abbas called for the suspension of Israel’s membership from the United Nations, saying that the Jewish state never “fulfilled nor respected its obligations and commitments” as a prerequisite to its membership, and had violated resolutions.
Mr. Abbas received a standing ovation and two rounds of long applause after his speech, which lasted over an hour. Chants of “free Palestine” and “end the occupation now” were shouted from the audience.
Actions for May 15: Marking 75 years of Nakba
As salaamu alaykum —
On this Faith & Action Friday, my heart is heavy as we approach Nakba Day.
The Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, is what Palestinians call the violent displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land. May 15 marks 75 years of loss.
But the Nakba isn’t just a past tragedy. It’s happening now, as millions of Palestinians live under apartheid amid constant attacks on their freedom, safety, and dignity. This very week, over 20 Palestinians were killed by Israel’s bombing of Gaza.1
The Nakba continues.
We grieve the weight of 75 years of ongoing Nakba and will never give up on our quest for Palestinian freedom.
This year, as the UN commemorates Nakba Day for the first time,2 and new members of Congress join the call for the US to recognize it as well,3 we must all do our part to center Palestinian narratives and struggles. This week, we want to share five things with you:
Action #1: Protest and Take Action: #Nakba75
The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights have put together an extremely helpful page of #Nakba75 Take Action resources.
Attend a protest or event, including art exhibits and community gatherings organized by Palestinian-led groups — their page has actions you can take, resources, and even posters you can print to take to the streets. Find an action near you and RSVP at uscpr.org/nakba-75.
Action #2: Tell PayPal: Stop Punishing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
Part of the Nakba is the ongoing dehumanization of Palestinians living under occupation. One everyday example: PayPal openly discriminates against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Israelis living in illegal settlements have access to this global banking platform — but Palestinians do not. That’s why we’re so proud to share this:
On May 24th, PayPal shareholders at their Annual General Meeting will be called to vote on a resolution to ensure Palestinians, so often shut out of basic banking tools under apartheid, will finally be granted access to PayPal.4
This is only possible because of your support of the MPower campaign and the work of our partners at Ekō and 7amleh. As we approach the big day, let’s remind PayPal that we’re watching. It’s past time that tech corporations like PayPal stop their collusion with Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians. Tell PayPal to stop discriminating against Palestinians.
Action #3: Demand No Tech for Apartheid
This month also marks two years since Google and Amazon signed the $1.2 billion Project Nimbus contract with the Israeli government and military — a contract that helps power the ongoing Nakba.
Israel’s apartheid system began with the Nakba—it’s a root cause of the injustices Palestinians face today. By doing business with the Israeli government, Google and Amazon are enabling and powering the expansion and entrenchment of that same apartheid system and expanding illegal settlements that force Palestinians off their lands.
Tech workers, students, and community members have been organizing to demand Amazon and Google be on the right side of history and stop doing business with Israeli apartheid.
Amazon and Google’s shareholder meetings are taking place in just a few weeks, and it’s an immense opportunity to challenge them on the human rights violations in their contracts. Email Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to demand they cut the contract and stop powering the ongoing Nakba.
Action #4: Learn about the Nakba by watching Farha on Netflix
Set in the early days of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the film Farha depicts the upheaval of Palestinian society from a 14-year-old girl’s perspective — and the historical reality of the Nakba. Maybe that’s why “the film — and the attention it is now getting on a major platform like Netflix — has angered Israeli officials, who have denounced [it] and even threatened consequences for its airing.”5
You can read more about the impact Farha is having here — and watch the trailer here.
Action #5: One Important Read
May 16 Capitol Calling Party: Palestine & the Nakba
May 16, 2023 at 7:00pm – 8:00pm (CDT)
On Tuesday, May 16, in honor of the million Palestinians driven from their homes in the 1948 Nakba, CODEPINK Congress invites you to join us as we examine the Palestinian resistance movement 75 years later.
From challenging censorship to organizing campus divest campaigns to expressing solidarity with Palestinians under attack, CODEPINK Congress will offer concrete suggestions for countering the power of the Israel lobby to suppress debate in Congress and educational institutions.
Our conversation will expose the Israel lobby’s intimidation tactics to silence the truth amid increasing Israeli state-enforced violence against Palestinians, including attacks in Gaza that kill entire families in an effort to assassinate resistance leaders.
Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian American activist and civil rights attorney who co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led organization using non-violent protests and international pressure to support Palestinians. In March, Arraf became the target of vicious lies after speaking about anti-Palestinian racism at an event on diversity and equity at a Detroit high school. Her appearance sparked such controversy the school’s principal, as well as the district’s superintendent, resigned!
Noura Khouri is Palestinian from the Bay Area/Ohlone land and has worked for the past two decades as a human rights activist, campaign strategist and community organizer. She lived in Palestine and Egypt, prior to which she co-led the Middle East Peace Program for the American Friends Service Committee. Noura currently works as a preschool teacher, and serves as an Al-Awda Palestine right to return coalition, national committee member, Green Party delegate and is part of Beloved Community circles – where she conspires to destroy walls, and build bridges of solidarity at the intersections of labor, faith and social justice.
Taher Herzallah is the Director of Outreach & Community Organizing for American Muslims for Palestine (known as AMP). He helps build campus groups and develop AMP chapters across the country. Tahir was one of the ‘Irvine 11,’ a group of students who were prosecuted when they walked out of a speech given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine in 2010. He was also arrested at a Senate Hearing for protesting the appointment of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel in 2017. Tahir received a BA in Political Science from UC Riverside and currently doing a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Minnesota.
They tried to erase us, but they failed
Last night, Americans for Justice Palestine (AJP Action) led a historic event alongside IMEU, Project48, AFSC, USCPR, VCHR, JVP Action, DAWN, and EMGAGE Action on Capitol Hill to acknowledge the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba with our partner Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.
Rep. Tlaib and the organizers commemorated Nakba75 on Capitol Hill with an overflowing room
Far-right speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, tried to deny us from commemorating the Nakba, our history, on Capitol grounds. But he failed. Despite his attempts to displace us from the buildings we pay for with our tax dollars, the event continued, and we were not silenced. The room was overflowing with attendees encompassing activists, advocates, reporters, and Palestinians from the homeland and diaspora. At the event, Palestinian American survivors of the Nakba shared their harrowing personal stories. Congresswoman Tlaib introduced a historical Nakba resolution alongside five cosponsors.
Rep. Tlaib honored a Nakba survivor with a signed copy of her Nakba resolution
McCarthy and his likes attempted to whitewash our history this week by denying the truth of what happened to Palestinians and trying to stop us from conveying what happened to Palestinians during the Nakba in 1948. The Nakba has shaped every Palestinian’s life and is the root cause of injustices Palestinians face today. Palestinians were massacred, families separated, and hundreds of Palestinian towns were destroyed for Israel to be established, leading to the violent expulsion of 75 percent of the Palestinian population. This was and continues to be a “catastrophe” for Palestinians, most of whom have never been able to return to their homes and continue facing daily Israeli violence, occupation, siege, and oppression.
This is beyond hosting an event; it’s symbolic of Palestinian resilience, resistance, proof of our authentic existence, and determination to make our true history known and recognized.
McCarthy may be aspiring to revive his own version of McCarthyism in America, and he may be confident in his ability to achieve this. However, we assure him and those of his likes that their efforts will fail, just as he failed to silence the voice of Palestine in the House of the People.
AJP Action is proud to have been one of the lead organizers of this event, and we reiterate our commitment to fighting for the rights of Palestinians. Here is to a free and liberated Palestine.
Executive Director, AJP Action
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action), an affiliate of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization lobbying for legislation that supports the human rights of the Palestinian people.