In a press released issued December 2, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement said the the world’s largest security company, G4S, announced today that “it is selling most of its Israeli business after an effective campaign against the company, waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, caused it ‘reputational damage.'”
Reacting to the breaking news and to “the fact that G4S will nonetheless maintain some illegal projects in Israel,” Rafeef Ziadah, speaking for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), said:
“We have succeeded to push one of the world’s largest corporations into selling its key business in Israel. Our globally coordinated campaign has had a real impact. We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.”
Canadians condemn anti-BDS motion passed in Ontario as attack on free speech https://t.co/9ycS0gkbgd
— Electronic Intifada (@intifada) December 3, 2016
Here are excerpts from the BDS statement:
“A domino effect is at play here,” said Ziadah. “Some investment fund managers are recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from international and Israeli corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s persistent violations of international law.”
G4S is a British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It is also involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police facilities.
The international Stop G4S Campaign has cost the company contracts worth millions of dollars in Europe, the Arab world, South Africa and elsewhere.
G4S’s list of lost clients includes private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.
Despite the sale of its subsidiary, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights through Policity, the flagship national police training center it co-owns, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group.
Israel’s police operates in occupied East Jerusalem, instead of the Israeli military in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, serving as the guardian of Israel’s illegal annexation, protecting the illegal settlements, and oppressing the city’s Palestinian population.
- In March 2016, G4S announced it would sell its Israeli subsidiary in the coming “12 to 24 months.” In describing the move, The Financial Times reported that G4S was “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”
- More recently, UNICEF in Jordan and a major restaurant chain in Colombia became the latest high-profile bodies to end their contracts with G4S following BDS campaigns.
- The Norwegian sovereign fund divested from Shikun & Binui in 2012, as did the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which cited the company’s “involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
- In June 2014, the Bill Gates Foundation divested its entire $170m stake in G4S following an international campaign. That same month, the U.S. United Methodist Church divested all G4S shares from its $20bn investment fund. The Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) in Kuwait decided to divest from G4S in June 2016 following calls from BDS Kuwait and the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).