Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is ramping up its campaign to boycott Israel this weekend with a march and rally on Saturday 16 December. This comes in the aftermath of the third biggest sportswear brand worldwide, PUMA, dropping its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association following pressure from campaigners over the years.
Puma: finally ditching Israeli football
Following years of campaigning by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, global sports brand PUMA has been forced to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA). The IFA includes football clubs in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israeli settlements are built on land stolen from Palestinians, and are considered war crimes under international law.
First agreed in 2018, PUMA’s decision to sponsor the IFA has been meet with widespread criticism. Over 200 Palestinian sports teams have called on PUMA to end its sponsorship, describing how its “sponsorship of the IFA legitimises and gives international cover to Israel’s illegal settlements” and helps “whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses” including its routine violence against Palestinian footballers.
Israel’s current bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 18,000 Palestinians, including thousands of children. The global outcry over the indiscriminate killing of civilians and attacks on infrastructure including hospitals has put unprecedented pressure on corporations associated with Israel’s violations of international law, including its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
PUMA has lost millions of pounds in lucrative contracts because of pressure applied by the campaign. PSC branches have been part of this sustained campaign, organising regular pickets, protests and vigils for several years outside PUMA stores and at PUMA events all over the UK.
Ben Jamal, PSC Director, said:
Palestinians are currently facing unprecedented violence at the hands of the Israeli military. As the world calls for a permanent ceasefire, corporations continue to profit from the killing and destruction. We need to end this complicity.
PUMA’s decision is an important victory that shows the power of the solidarity movement. We’ve sent all corporations a powerful message: if you choose to be complicit in Israeli apartheid, you will face the strength of the solidarity movement. We will continue to grow our BDS campaigns against banks like Barclays and corporations like JCB, who are complicit in Israel’s system of apartheid.
Veteran campaigner and Wales-based Honorary President of PSC, Betty Hunter, said:
After five years, PUMA bowing to relentless pressure shows boycott campaigning can work. We won’t be satisfied until others still trading with Israel also decide to join us in isolating apartheid Israel, however.
Cardiff: demanding more BDS for Palestine
So, campaigners will be back on the streets of Cardiff this on 16 December with three calls:
- An Israeli ceasefire in Gaza
- Supermarkets not to stock Israeli goods
- Disinvestment from arms companies by Barclays Bank, a major supporter of the arms trade with Israel.
The march will assemble at the Nye Bevan statue, Queen Street, at 12pm followed by a rally at Cardiff Library, where Palestinian speakers will relate the horror of life in Gaza under Israeli occupation and bombing.
Cardiff PSC actions will be in alliance with the Muslim Council for Wales, Black Lives Matter, Palestine Social Club, Stop the War, and Syrian Welsh Society. They will be mirrored by protests across Wales.
Events are happening very frequently all over Wales. You may find it useful to join the Facebook group here.
Featured image via PSC