The promises of “social Europe,” launched 25 years ago to sell EU treaties to the labour movement, are being replaced by the realities of “anti-social Europe” with attacks on workers’ rights across Europe driven by the EU institutions.
The Israeli air force has been removed from the list of armed forces now taking part in multinational military training exercises on the Italian island of Sardinia following a campaign by anti-war activists.
During Israel’s deadly 51-day bombing campaign on Gaza in July and August, anti-militarization and Palestine solidarity groups mobilized against the military drills in general, and Israel’s participation in particular.
Palestinians in Gaza, standing in the rubble of destroyed homes, posted photographs appealing directly to Italy not to “train the pilots who bombs us.”
The prospect of Israeli F-16s using the island to train for bombing missions, combined with the ill-timed delivery to Israel of two Italian trainer jets just after the attacks on Gaza began, created public outrage in Italy, with multiple calls for an embargo on weapons cooperation with Israel.
On 31 July, the Italian defense ministry published a note in an attempt to calm the waters. Without mentioning Israel, the ministry note stated that the planning stages for the drills had not yet been completed and only upon completion would the participating countries be confirmed.
The drills started last month and are scheduled to run until December.
As speculation on the possible exclusion of Israel continued, so did the mobilizations. A demonstration on 13 September at the Capo Frasca firing range, where Israel was to train, saw large-scale participation.
More than 350 people broke into the military area in an act of civil disobedience.
On 25 September, Gioacchino Alfano, Italy’s deputy defense minister, responded to a parliamentary question by claiming that military drills with the Israeli air force were never in the plans and therefore could not have been suspended.
That statement contradicted a March 2014 document from the Capo Frasca firing range, which clearly indicated that Israel was to take part in drills during the second half of 2014.
Furthermore, Israel has participated in similar drills undertaken in Sardinia in recent years, as photographs posted by the Israeli military prove.
October 20, 2014 – See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/israel-excluded-from-italy-military-exercises-after-protests-12750#sthash.mXU6sbT0.dpuf or http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/israel-excluded-from-italy-military-exercises-after-protests-12750
The government of Kuwait has announced that it will not deal with 50 companies due to their role in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory in a move being welcomed by campaigners as a landmark success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The blacklisted companies include some of the top corporate targets of the BDS movement, such as Volvo, Heidelberg Cement, Dexia, Pizzarotti, Alstom as well as Veolia. Veolia was recently excluded from a $750m contract, and “all future contracts,” by Kuwaiti authorities over its role in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail project and other projects that serve illegal Israeli settlements.
The blacklisted companies are expected to be excluded from contracts worth billions of dollars, especially if other Arab countries take similar steps.
According to media reports, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry is also investigating the Kuwaiti operations of G4S, the British security company that secures Israeli military checkpoints and colonies and helps Israel run prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are tortured, with a view to cancelling its license to operate if it does not terminate its participation in Israeli violations of international law.
Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition of Palestinian trade unions, parties, NGOs and popular committees that leads the global BDS movement, said:
“This landmark decision means that international companies will now pay an even heavier price for participating in Israeli violations of international law.
“As European banks and pension funds continue to divest from Israel’s occupation and companies such as Veolia and G4S lose billions of dollars as a result of sustained, effective grassroots campaigning, many firms will now be wondering whether supporting Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid is good for business,” said Shuaibi.
Many European governments have taken steps to discourage firms from having economic links to the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, but this is the first time a government has decided to boycott international companies over their role in illegal Israeli settlements.
The Kuwaiti move, which follows lobbying by the Palestinian BDS National Committee and its partners in Kuwait, implements a decision of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), taken at a summit of foreign ministers at the height of the Israeli massacre in Gaza in August, to “impose political and economic sanctions on Israel, and boycott the corporations that operate in the colonial settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory.”
The Arab Summit of 2006 in Khartoum unanimously called for punitive measures against the companies, including Veolia and Alstom, involved in Israel’s colonization of Jerusalem.
The Block the Boat coalition of Los Angeles claimed another victory this weekend after an Israeli cargo ship, the Zim Savannah, delayed docking at the port of Long Beach for at least 34 hours.
Cookie Partansky, an organizer with the LA Block the Boat coalition, told The Electronic Intifada that approximately 150 activists gathered at the Los Angeles port at 6am on Saturday, 18 October. The morning’s action followed weeks of communication with the longshoremen’s union and educating workers about Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine, as well as the group’s reasons for targeting Zim, an Israeli shipping line.
The coalition — representing nineteen different activism groups — showed up at the port Saturday morning despite being informed at 5am by a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 13 that the ship was still at sea and no workers had been called in to unload it.
“The fact that the boat is delayed for 24 hours is already costing Zim shipping a significant amount of money because they’re entire schedule will be delayed. This is already a victory for us,” Partansky said Saturday afternoon.
Another protest planned
The Block the Boat activists had planned to return to the port Sunday morning, in hopes to again stop the unloading of the ship after the 24 hour delay ended, but were informed by the union on Saturday at 4pm that the morning shift had been canceled.
Now the group plans to return to the Long Beach port Sunday afternoon, at 4pm, when the ship has been rescheduled to unload.
Partansky said that while the rank and file members of LA’s ILWU Local 13 have been more “reserved” in their support for the Block the Boat actions than those in the Bay Area union chapter, the LA coalition has continued to reach out to the union and the port truck workers in order to secure their support, and increase their understanding of why the anti-Zim picket lines have been organized.
Block the Boat LA, which delayed a Zim ship from unloading on 23 August, was formed in the image of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Block the Boat coalition. That group aimed to prevent the offloading of Zim ships at the Oakland port in response to the brutal, 51-day military assault by Israel on Gaza this summer.
The Bay Area Block the Boat campaign was launched in August and delayed the Zim line for four straight days — widely considered a historically successful action in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Other Bay Area activists also delayed the ship from unloading in Oakland on 27 September, and the Bay Area Block the Boat coalition is readying for yet another port shutdown on 25 October.