Coalition of Women for Peace Update: Global BDS Day of Action and New Activity Center

1. CWP Opens a New Activity Center in Tel-Aviv-Jaffa

After nearly a decade of activity, CWP is finally opening an office and activity center. The new center is located on Yad Harutzim Street, in South-Central Tel-Aviv, and will be open within the next few weeks. We hope that this center will become a home for local peace activists, serve as a space for political meetings and events and encourage new actions and initiatives. We also hope that the new space will be a meeting point for our international friends and supporters and enable them to join our activities and to work with us on joint actions.

2. Call for Action on Global BDS Day, March 30

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has issued a call for action to mark the second Global BDS Day of Action on March 30 2010, in solidarity with the Palestinian people and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions and corporations. This Day of Action coincides with Palestinian Land Day, which marks the struggle against the expropriation and colonization of Palestinian lands and commemorates six Palestinian demonstrators killed by Israeli security forces on the first Land Day in 1976.

BDS is an effective and nonviolent form of struggle, intended to generate international pressure on Israel to end the occupation and to bring justice to the Palestinian people. As Desmond Tutu noted with regards to the end of apartheid in South Africa: “We would not have succeeded without international pressure – in particular the divestment movement of the 1980’s”. The Palestinian call for BDS measures against Israel, issued in 2005, has grown into a powerful global solidarity movement. CWP has decided in its General Assembly in November 2009 to support the Palestinian call for BDS and we see ourselves as part of this international movement.

What can you do?

CWP’s online database, “Who Profits from the Occupation?”, was launched in January 2009 and has since become a leading source of information about corporate involvement in the occupation and a key asset to the global movement of economic activism and BDS. You can search the WhoProfits website to find ideas for action on March 30. Some suggestions:

* Demand that your university, church council, workers union or pension fund divest from Israeli and international companies that are involved in the occupation. The WhoProfits research team can help in surveying investment portfolios to identify these companies. For example, in May 2009, following a campaign initiated by CWP, the Norwegian

Pension Fund declared that it will divest from Elbit, an Israeli company that provides surveillance technologies for the Apartheid Wall.

* Organize a creative action targeting a corporation that is involved in the occupation. Hundreds of Israeli and international companies that violate international human rights law await you at the WhoProfits database. You might like to try: Carmel Agrexco – Israel’s largest exporter of agricultural produce. In a court case in November 2006, the General Manager of Agrexco UK at the time testified that Agrexco markets 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. 50% of Agrexco’s shares are owned by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and the company serves as a tool in Israel’s colonialist expansion and land expropriation. Agrexco exports are sold in many supermarkets around the world, particularly in the European Union.

Ahava – A privately held Israeli cosmetics company that manufactures products using minerals and mud from the Dead Sea, sold in beauty stores around the world. The company’s main factory and visitor center are located in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank and nearly 45% of the company’s shares are held by the Israeli settlements Mitzpe Shalem and Kalia.

Support existing BDS campaigns facing challenges. Last week, UC Berkeley’s student senate voted in support of divestment from General Electric and United Technologies because of their involvement in the occupation. A week later, the Senate president vetoed the bill. However, the veto can be overturned with just 14 senate votes – and the students need you to email the UC Berkeley senators to let them know why they should overturn the veto. Write a letter to (if possible, include in bcc). In France, the Israeli lobby is trying to introduce new laws that will deem any BDS activity as “anti-Semitic” and the French Prime Minister and Minister of Justice have been attacking the BDS movement. One activist, Sakina Arnaud from Bordeaux, is facing trial for putting BDS stickers on orange juice at a local supermarket. You can sign the petition in support of Arnaud and against the criminalization of BDS (endorsed by CWP).

3. Universal Jurisdiction Update

In December 2009, following an arrest warrant issued in London against Tzipi Livini for war crimes committed during the war on Gaza, the British government announced its intent to limit the principle of universal jurisdiction, which enables the prosecution of foreign war criminals. CWP initiated an urgent appeal to the British Prime Minister and to the British Foreign Secretary, urging them to not take this dangerous step. The letter was endorsed by 99 feminist peace organizations from 25 countries, among them 20 Israeli and Palestinian organizations.

The letter helped generate international and internal pressure on the British government. In March 2010, the British cabinet announced that it will postpone any changes to universal jurisdiction until after the general elections. We would like to thank all of the people and organizations, who helped us in signing and spreading this appeal.

4. Stay in Touch

We are currently in the process of rebuilding and improving our website. We apologize for the inconvenience, but in the meantime you can receive regular updates about our work through our Facebook fan page:

For any questions and comments, or to be subscribe to our international mailing list, please write to:

In Solidarity,
The Coalition of Women for Peace

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