Palestine Update 252 / June 9, 2019
Trade unions, movements, artisans, businesses and cultural, recreational and sports centers join campaign for Palestinian rights in what is also a clear stand against the mounting racism and nationalist closure that is fomenting hatred and intolerance across Europe and around the world.
More than one hundred associations, trade unions, movements, artisans, businesses and cultural, recreational and sports centers in Italy have declared themselves free of Israeli Apartheid (Spazi Liberi dall’Apartheid Israeliana – SPLAI). While ensuring ethics is integrated into their activities, they are taking a stand in defense of human rights and against all forms of discrimination, in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s demand for freedom, justice and equality. [List of endorsers].
Today, June 5, marks the 52nd anniversary of the Naksa, when Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip during the so-called Six Day War [June War], bringing all of historic Palestine under Israeli control while intensifying its policies of ethnic cleansing, dispossession and colonialism that started in Palestine long before 1948.
Similar Apartheid Free Zone campaigns are present in several countries, including Belgium, Norway and the Spanish State, with more than three hundred endorsers, including dozens of local administrations. The Apartheid Free Zone campaign promotes effective solidarity with the Palestinian people through the creation of a network of spaces that declare themselves free of all forms of discrimination and commit to have no relations with institutions and companies complicit in Israel’s systematic violations of international law.
The launch of the campaign in Italy is also a clear stand against the mounting wave of racism and nationalist closure that is fomenting hatred and intolerance (including true forms of anti-Semitism) not just in Italy, but across Europe and around the world.
Craft beer brewery Birstrò in Rome commented:
“Beer is 90% water. We know the problems that Palestinian breweries have due to Israel’s theft and restrictions on water. Being a part of the SPLAI network was a natural choice for us. Our craft brewery spreads a culture that is respectful of the Earth and of people. Beer doesn’t go well with apartheid!”
Fair trade shop ExAequo in Bologna said:
“Our social cooperative, which deals with fair trade and ethical consumerism through the management of a Bottega del Mondo shop, just as we stand alongside the rights of small producers in the global south and beyond, willingly endorses the SPLAI campaign because we have always supported of the rights of the Palestinian people that are denied to them due to Israel’s obtuse and oppressive policies.”
The B&B Domu e Luna in Sardinia explained:
“The philosophy of our B&B is focused on hospitality, openness and against all forms of discrimination. For us, joining SPLAI means contributing to spreading an anti-racist culture and standing with the oppressed.”
Caffè Basaglia, an ARCI cultural club in Turin created for social and labour integration of psychiatric patients and committed to inclusion, exchange and solidarity, said:
“We endorse the campaign because political and economic interests must never be a means to crush the aspirations for freedom of a people, any people.”
The Apartheid Free Zone campaign is part of the international movement for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. Established in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, the BDS movement practices nonviolent resistance to end Israel’s policies of occupation, colonization and apartheid.
The BDS movement is supported by trade unions, movements, churches and NGOs around the world as well as artists and intellectuals, including Ken Loach, Roger Waters and South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. Inspired by the historic struggle for the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, the BDS movement is based on respect for international law and the protection of universal human rights, and supports equal rights for all. The BDS movements strongly opposes all forms of racism, fascism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ethnic and religious discrimination.