interview with Bruce Katz, co-founder of PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)

Boycott Campaign: Naot Shoes

[from CPJME website]:

Naot Shoes has a factory outlet store located in the illegal Gush Etzion colony (i.e. “settlement”) block located on occupied Palestinian territory between Jerusalem and Hebron in the West Bank. The Gush Etzion block is a group of 22 colonies with about 70,000 Jewish Israeli colonists.

The Naot Shoes factory outlet store plays a role in strengthening and legitimizing the Gush Etzion colony. The Naot Shoes Outlet provides employment for the colony’s residents, and attracts both international tourists and Israeli customers to the Gush Etzion complex. The Naot Shoes Outlet thereby not only serves to legitimatize the colony and sustain its economic growth, but also enables the colony to absorb new colonists.

Almost 66 percent of Naot Shoes is owned by Shamrock Holdings, which also owns nearly 18 percent of AHAVA Dead Sea products, currently being boycotted as well. Shamrock Holdings is the investment branch of Disney enterprises and is a large holding firm committed to Israel’s growth. Shamrock Holdings is further entangled in not only other illegal Israeli colonies, but also invests in the construction of Israel’s Wall.

Israel’s Wall has had massive repercussion on the humanitarian welfare of Palestinians living in the West Bank, and was unequivocally condemned by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

Why boycott Naot Shoes?

In July 2005 over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations issued a call asking the international community to boycott Israeli products in order to promote recognition of the Palestinians’ right to self determination. The Palestinian call asked the international community to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.  In addition to economically bolstering the existence and expansion of one of Israel’s largest illegal colony blocks in occupied Palestinian territory, Naot Shoes is “normalizing” this expansion by choosing to locate an outlet store within this illegal colony.

Naot Shoes boycott action alert

Boycott Chapters & Indigo

[from Can Pal Net website]:

The controlling shareholders of Chapters/Indigo use their profits to directly support Israeli soldiers enforcing the illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine. The Israeli military has a well-documented history of human rights violations and war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon.

Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz – majority owners of Chapters and Indigo bookstores – are the founders of the “Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers”, which provides scholarships and other financial support to soldiers in the Israeli Military on the basis of need and military “achievement”. At its peak, the foundation will distribute up to $3,000,000 annually to former “Lone Soldiers” – individuals without family in Israel who have chosen to join the Israeli military and remain in the country permanently.

Organizations across Canada are calling for a boycott of all Chapters, Indigo, Coles and Smith Books stores, and demanding an end to the financial ties between the majority owners of Chapters/Indigo and the Israeli military.

Many members of the Heseg Board of Directors are high-ranking Israeli military personnel. This includes Doron Almog, who avoided a warrant issued for his arrest on suspicion of war crimes by refusing to disembark from his plane when it landed in London last year.

Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz own or control over 68 percent of the shares in Indigo Books and Music Inc. which owns and operates bookstores under the names Indigo, Chapters, World’s Biggest Bookstore, SmithBooks, Coles, The Book Company or Indigospirit. Reisman is chair and CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc.

Why should we boycott programs associated with the Israeli military?

Israel systematically oppresses the Palestinian population within the state of Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through its apartheid system of discriminatory laws based on ethnicity and religion. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are forced to live in small, prison-like areas divided from each other by walls, military checkpoints and Israeli-only roads. Travel between these areas is extremely difficult and requires permission from the Israeli military authorities. Unemployment levels in some areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have reached up to 70% and there is a massive health crisis and widespread poverty as a result of Israel’s apartheid policies.

What is the Foundation for Lone Soldiers?

Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, majority owners of Chapters and Indigo bookstores, founded an organisation called the “Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers”. At its peak, it will distribute up to $3M per year to provide scholarships and other support to former “Lone Soldiers” in the Israeli military.

What is a “lone soldier?”

These are individuals who have no family in Israel but decide to join the Israeli military. As Israeli soldiers, they participate in a military that operates checkpoints that restrict Palestinian freedom of movement, enforces the occupation of Palestinian land, and has a documented history of human rights violations.

At any time there might be 5,000 “Lone Soldiers” in the Israeli military in all capacities including in combat units.

“…lone soldiers come from around the world, including North America, Brazil, Argentina, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and even Chechnya.”

Who is on the board of Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers?

The HESEG Lone Soldier Foundation Board of Directors is stacked with active and retired high level Israeli military personnel:

MAJ. GENERAL DORON ALMOG: avoided arrest in London in 2005 on suspicion of war crimes. “The former head of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip said Monday he was warned by diplomats not to leave an aircraft that had landed in London after a tip-off that British police were waiting to arrest him on war crimes charges”. Almog was in charge of the Israeli military southern command when a one-ton bomb was dropped on a house in Gaza, killing 14 civilians, nine of them children.

GENERAL (RES.) YITZHAK EITAN: Currently the International Chairman of the “Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers” (AWIS), Chief Commander of the Israeli military in Gaza Strip and West Bank, and Head (GOC) of the IDF Central Command during the years 2000-2003.

GENERAL ELAZAR STERN: Served as Deputy Commander Of the Central Brigade in the central sector of the Israeli-Lebanese border. Commander (res.) of paratroopers brigade. Commander of the Officers’ School

SHABTAI SHAVIT: Head of Mossad (the Israeli foreign intelligence) 1989-96

LT. COLONEL MIKE HARTMAN: Head of the marksmanship and sharpshooters section of the IDF.

Jewish colonist violence

more info:

CAIA: Consumer Boycott

BDS Movement

Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

United Methodists Call for Boycott of “products made by Israeli companies operating in occupied Palestinian territories”

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