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The anti-Israel BDS failure to boycott Puma and now Barclays Bank

Social media is a funny thing. Shout loud enough that the world will end, chances are millions will believe it. And that’s what’s happening with the boycott divestment sanction movement, the movement that protests against Israel, that the Palestinian solidarity campaign in the UK and others connect to, the home of BDS in the UK .

They had been shouting for years to boycott PUMA.

So why did the BDS boycott PUMA One of the largest sportswear companies in the world ? Their reasons was because one of the factories and outlets is supposedly built on Palestinian land ? Israel.

The main target was London’s Carnaby Street witnessing a decline in street protests from the anti-Israel lobby. Their blurb as follows “Join us as we take action outside Puma on Carnaby St, as part of the international day of action, calling on Puma to end their complicity with Israeli apartheid! Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. All Israeli settlements are considered war crimes under international law”?

They continue “As one of the world’s top athletic apparel makers, Puma’s sponsorship brings international legitimacy to the IFA and helps maintain its direct involvement with violations of human rights and international law off the field. Take action and support the call from more than 200 Palestinian teams for Puma to end its support for Israel’s military occupation by terminating its sponsorship deal with the IFA”.

This was supposed to be a UK and worldwide boycott. However things didn’t go as planned. The main demonstration in London had about 15 people turn up. A marked decrease from previous years which we are seeing across the board, where the BDS are limiting themselves in numbers. We also noted, that the general public when we were canvassing them were so happy to support Israel not just because it is a free and only democratic country in the Middle East, but because their support for the LGBT community is, and freedom of religion.

A few of us including “Eye on antisemitism” and “Campaign4T” decided to campaign in the streets of Carnaby Street giving out stickers to counteract the Palestinian narrative calling for the wish to return to their homeland “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free (of Jews of course).

Now, their next target is Barclays Bank. The reason?

“..Barclays invests over £1 billion, and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwriting, to nine companies whose weapons, components, and military technology have been used in Israel’s armed violence against Palestinians.  

By providing investment and financial services to these arms companies Barclays is facilitating and profiting from Israel’s militarised repression, which sustains its apartheid rule over Palestinians.”

During the 1980s, and Nelson Mandelas Incarceration in South Africa, as students we were told by campaigners to move our bank accounts from Barclays to end the Apartheid. Thousands did. However, South African Apartheid was factual , Israel is not an apartheid state .

Accusing Israel maintaining a “system of apartheid” is a distortion that deliberately misrepresents the security situation on the ground and fails to meaningfully acknowledge that Israel is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy, where Arab, Druze and other minorities are guaranteed equal rights under law.

Apartheid in South Africa maintained privilege for the white minority and doomed people of color to subservience; it determined every aspect of life — the school you attended, the work you did, where you lived, which hospital and ambulance you used, whom you could marry, right down to which park bench you could sit on without facing arrest.

By downplaying the existential threats and terrorism that Israel faces, Amnesty guides its readers to believe that Israel’s defensive actions are motiveless. Concerning tropes are utilised throughout the report including accusations of “Jewish domination”, yet there is no mention of Israel’s efforts to achieve peace by negotiations, or the rejection of all peace proposals by the Palestinian leadership.

Israel’s 1.9 million Arab citizens (many of whom self-define as Palestinian) are equal under law, participate fully in the Israeli political system, and fare far better than minorities in other countries in the Middle East. Israel’s coalition government includes an Arab political party, the Islamist Ra’am party led by Mansour Abbas. Polling has found that Arab citizens of Israel would prefer to live under Israeli rule rather than Palestinian, and a poll of Arab residents of Jerusalem in 2021 found that 93% of them prefer to remain under Israeli rule.

I could continue this,but what we are doing is to counter these lies and put the truth to not only PUMA, but now to Barclays, and make it clear.

Those that accuse the Jewish State of Israel, is purely Antisemitic and the organisations tagging this label on Israel are pure lies that need the spotlight on their propaganda, that leads to attacks on Jews, not only on social media but physical attacks on Jews across the world .

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