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BDS: Security Company G4S Announces Plans to Exit Israeli Market

Business  (tags: BDS week of action, BDS campaign, BDS campaign, BDS international, BDS movement, G4S, Israeli prisons, torture, checkpoints, illegal settlements-occupation, Palestinian Human Rights Violationsusa, americans, news, investors, money, world, consumers )

- 1191 days ago -
G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars in many countries following BDS pressure to end its complicity in Israeli prisons, where Palestinians are tortured and held without trial, as well as in Israeli checkpoints, settlements and


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fly b (26)
Thursday March 10, 2016, 8:53 pm
G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars in more than a dozen countries following BDS campaigns protesting its role in Israeli prisons, settlements and checkpoints
Campaign against G4S to remain “high BDS priority” until sale is finalized
BDS to continue supporting boycotts against G4S over mass incarceration globally

British security company G4S, the world’s largest, has responded to a four-year long global BDS campaign protesting its role in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights by announcing yesterday it will 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.”

Since 2010, G4S has lost contracts worth millions of dollars in many countries following BDS pressure to end its complicity in Israeli prisons, where Palestinians are tortured and held without trial, as well as in Israeli checkpoints, settlements and a police training centre. Their lost clients include private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.

The Bill Gates Foundation in 2014 divested its $170m stake in the company following protests at its offices in Seattle, London and Johannesburg.

In recent weeks, 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.

“As at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition in Palestinian society that leads the BDS movement.

“Investment fund managers are increasingly recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from Israeli banks and companies that are implicated in Israel’s serious human rights violations, such as G4S and HP, because of the high risk entailed. We are starting to notice a domino effect,” he added.

French multinationals Veolia and Orange and CRH, Ireland’s biggest company, have all exited the Israeli market in recent months, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.

In January, the United Methodist Church put five Israeli banks from Israel on a “blacklist” due to their complicity in human rights violations, including the financing of illegal Israeli settlements.

Palestinian lawyer Sahar Francis, Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, commented:

“This latest news from G4S is welcome but it has no immediate effect on those facing serious human rights violations inside Israel’s prisons today.”

“At a time when Israel is stepping up its campaign of mass incarceration as a way of repressing Palestinian society, G4S should immediately end its role in the notorious Israeli prison system, as well as its involvement in securing Israeli checkpoints and illegal settlements.”

Nawajaa said:

“We are grateful to all of the dedicated grassroots organizers around the world who are working in solidarity with Palestinians seeking freedom, justice, and equality. But G4S is infamous for breaking pledges to end its participation in Israel’s crimes.”

“Our boycott of G4S will remain among the BDS movement’s top priorities until we actually see its back out of the door of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”

“We also welcome the news that G4S is also selling its businesses that operate youth detention centers in the US and the UK, both of which have seen G4S targeted by campaigners over its abusive practices and both of which are part of deeply racist incarceration systems.”

“From the US to Palestine, from South Africa to the UK, G4S is deeply involved in racist mass incarceration business. We remain determined to work closely with partners to hold G4S to account for its participation in human rights abuses.”

G4S also has a long and documented track record of participation in human rights and workers’ rights abuses elsewhere in the world, especially in prisons and migrant detention centres it has run in the US, the UK and South Africa.

Nawajaa added:

“Failing to stop the impressive growth of BDS in pursuit of freedom and justice, Israel is desperately trying to smear and delegitimize our nonviolent movement, including with anti-democratic laws in Europe and the US aimed at silencing dissent and suppressing our freedom of speech.”

“We believe strongly that our ethical approach and just cause will prevail, as this latest G4S announcement shows.”

In September 2015, French corporate giant Veolia sold off all of its businesses in Israel. This was a direct result of a 7-year campaign against its role in infrastructure projects for illegal Israeli settlements that cost it more than $20 billion in lost tenders and contracts.

A leading France-based Israeli businessman recently told the Israeli media that the growing strength of the BDS movement means that most major European companies now avoid investing in Israel.

Foreign direct investment in Israel dropped by 46% in 2014 as compared to 2013, according to a UN report, partially due to the impressive growth of the BDS impact, as stated by one of the report’s authors.


G4S announced in 2013 that it would end its role in illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and one Israeli prison by 2015 but did not implement the withdrawal. In 2014, G4S announced it “did not intend to renew” its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it expired in 2017 but is yet to implement that decision.

March 2016 – UNICEF in Jordan ends its contract with G4S following campaign pressure. UNHCR in Jordan had ended its contract with G4S in December 2015.

November 2015 – UK Labour party votes to end its conference security contract with G4S.

April 2015 – More than 20 businesses in South Africa terminate their contracts with G4S, costing the company more than $500,000.

November 2014 – The municipality of Durham County in North Carolina, USA, ends its contract with G4S following a campaign by local Jewish Voice for Peace activists.

May 2014 – The Bill Gates Foundation sells the entirety of its $170m stake in G4S following an international campaign involving a petition launched by 100 organisations from across the world and demonstrations at the Gates Foundation’s Johannesburg, London and Seattle offices. The​ US​ United Methodist Church divests all G4S shares from its $20bn investment fund.

January 2014 – The student union at the University of Kent in the southeast of England votes to terminate its contract with G4S following an “outcry” over its role in human rights abuses in Palestine. Student unions across the UK later vote to take similar steps. King’s College London and Southampton universities later decided not to renew contracts with G4S following student pressure.

December 2012 – As a result of a vibrant student campaign, the University of Oslo announces that it will terminate its contract with G4S, stating it does not want to “support companies that operate in an ethical grey area”. Universities in Bergen, Norway and Helsinki, Finland later announce similar steps.

April 2012 – On the eve of a historic hunger strike by more than 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners, 13 Palestinian prisoner and human rights organisations call for a campaign to hold G4S accountable for the role it plays in maintaining Israel’s prison system, where torture prevails.

Full timeline available at:

fly b (26)
Thursday March 10, 2016, 9:00 pm
"All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing."

- Edmund Burke, Brittish political philosopher

fly b (26)
Thursday March 10, 2016, 9:15 pm
G4S to Sell Off Operations in Israel as BDS Claims Victory


Sam H (410)
Friday March 11, 2016, 1:55 am
Thanks Jess! Sorry didn't see it earlier!

Animae C (509)
Friday March 11, 2016, 2:38 am
Thanx Jess

Evelyn B (63)
Friday March 11, 2016, 7:35 am
Of COURSE it was a purely commercial decision - commercial interest of getting out of the BDS labelling!! Potential losses if they continued to run the places holding people with no trial under a normal justice process ... administrative detention is not the same as Justice, not exactly easy to defend when faced with questions of ethics ....

Sandra Penna (135)
Friday March 11, 2016, 7:45 am
thank you, Jess.

Birgit W (160)
Friday March 11, 2016, 1:08 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Janet B (0)
Friday March 11, 2016, 1:09 pm

Angelika R (143)
Friday March 11, 2016, 1:28 pm
Thx jess for picking up and posting the story and thx to Sam for the heads-up!
I read it in The Guardian where the G4S CEO, of course, tried to paint a different picture, somehow linking it to the refugees need for accomodation-lol- ;-)
There cannot be the slightest doubt of BDS success and, as Evelyn says, business, yes, to rid themselves of the stain, though suffering immense financial losses, indeed.

Angelika R (143)
Friday March 11, 2016, 1:41 pm
Not on topic, but where else should I post this PETITION- do sign if you've not already!

** Bernie Sanders: Tell AIPAC that Settlements are not Israel **

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday March 11, 2016, 2:43 pm
Noted. Thanks, Jess.
So glad to see the BDS protests working. They must continue, however.
I believe I signed the petition Angelika just posted; but will double check.

Margie F (148)
Friday March 11, 2016, 8:49 pm
I think that this is terrible. I don't agree with any warfare, but for BDS to actually "force" people to change, is disturbing.

Evelyn B (63)
Friday March 11, 2016, 11:05 pm
Margie -
There is little in politics that does NOT "force" change (pressurise or whatever).
AIPAC does it with US decision-makers routinely

BDS is a non-violent process - so much better than stones or knives - that allows discussion of abuse of Palestinian human rights. Launched by Palestinians seeking a form of protest against the oppression and abuse of their rights through the (illegal) settlements, misleading labelling of products as "Israeli" when produced in settlements with the Occupied Territories of Palestine, and also foreign companies making profits out of abuse of Palestinians' human rights.

BDS activists can't FORCE these companies to change - but BDS actions can make it advisable for policy makers in companies to rethink the ethics of their actions. If that's good for palm oil companies, why isn't it good for human rights principles?

I support boycott of companies (& divestment in such companies) that destroy rain forest to replace with monoculture of oil palm plantations - with disastrous impact on the denizens (human as well as animal) of the tropical forests.
In the same way, I support boycott of companies that endorse & condone oppression of the denizens of East Jerusalem, the West Bank & Gaza. These may not be as appealing as the orangutans, & other non-human rain forest denizens ... but they are also suffering from destruction of their means of livelihood, their traditional environment, even the ecological balance of their lands ....

In both cases, my support is based on the hope that those doing the damage will have to stop and rethink whether they are RIGHT to place their own benefits as more important than the rights of those they harm.

fly b (26)
Saturday March 12, 2016, 12:00 am
Thanks for clarifying, Evelyn.
The boycotts worked, eventually, for South Africa to end apartheid. Trade unions, have to protect workers.
The BDS campaign continues to grow, and successes will, too.
Palestinian human rights violations by the state of Israel must be confronted and pressure increased.
Free Palestine! End the illegal occupation of Palestine-siege of Gaza!
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