Home Open space The Definitive Guide to Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) for India

The Definitive Guide to Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) for India

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Courtesy: The Companion

Let’s start from the beginning.

Why boycotts? 

Given the ongoing genocide of Gaza by the settler-colonial state of Israel and inspired by the BDS movement led by Palestinian society, people of conscience all around the world are engaging in one of the most peaceful, non-violent, and yet effective means of protest: boycotts.

What is boycotting? 

Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) are integral components of a global movement advocating for Palestinian rights and seeking an end to Israel’s apartheid regime. 

BOYCOTTS entail the withdrawal of support from various entities complicit in perpetuating Israeli apartheid, including sporting, cultural, and academic institutions, as well as Israeli and international companies engaged in violations of Palestinian human rights. This action aims to apply economic pressure and raise awareness about the injustices faced by Palestinians.

DIVESTMENT campaigns target financial institutions such as banks, local councils, churches, pension funds, and universities, urging them to divest from investments in the State of Israel and companies that sustain its apartheid policies. By withdrawing financial support, divestment efforts seek to undermine the economic foundations of Israeli apartheid and promote accountability for human rights abuses.

SANCTIONS campaigns focus on pressuring governments to fulfill their legal obligations to end Israeli apartheid. This involves advocating for measures such as banning business with illegal Israeli settlements, ending military trade and free-trade agreements, and suspending Israel’s membership in international forums like UN bodies and FIFA. Through diplomatic and economic pressure, sanctions campaigns seek to compel governments to take meaningful action toward justice and equality for Palestinians. These definitions and strategies are advocated by the BDS Movement, a grassroots initiative dedicated to nonviolent resistance and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

What are the criteria to decide whether a company/brand is “pro-Israel” or “Israel-supporting”?

It means that the company, brand, organization, or institution has one or all of the below:

  • Offices/factories on occupied Palestinian land.
  • Collaborates/has partnerships with Israeli companies/businesses.
  • Plays a direct role in Israel’s apartheid regime and war crimes (for example, surveillance against Palestinians, or weapons used against Palestinians).
  • The company’s investors also invest in Israeli companies/stocks, etc.
  • The company’s employers and/or employees are pro-Israel supporters.

Remember that consumer boycotts are only one form of boycott. 

There are other forms of boycotts as well as divestments and sanctions which are equally important. We’ll get to those in a minute.

But why boycotts? Boycotts don’t even make much difference, right? 

The effectiveness of boycotts, led by ordinary individuals, in influencing multinational companies is evident in numerous news reports and on the BDS website. These reports detail how such boycotts have led to significant financial losses for these companies, amounting to billions of dollars. According to Business Standard, Starbucks experienced a decline in its shares of 8.96% between November 16 and early December, resulting in a loss of nearly $11 billion in market value. This decrease accounted for approximately 9.4% of the company’s total value. By visiting the BDS website and reviewing these news reports, one can gain insight into the impact of grassroots movements on the economic decisions of multinational corporations.

Why does this matter? 

The Israeli settler-colonial apartheid regime needs to sustain itself economically and financially so that it can carry out its genocidal and apartheid violence. The companies that fit the above criteria are complicit, whether directly or indirectly, in the murder and oppression of Palestinian men, women, and children. 

Boycotting those companies:

  • Affects their finances and PR,
  • Obstructs the financial flow to Israel, and
  • Sends a strong message to those companies that if they want to continue to do business, they will have to end their ties to Israel and stop being complicit in genocide.

How do I boycott? It’s so confusing! Every other company seems to be Israeli-linked, and alternatives are not always available in India!!! 

As emphasized by BDS Official, the strategy we must adopt is a targeted boycott. This approach entails directing our efforts toward specific companies rather than randomly boycotting any unverified entity. The BDS website underscores the ineffectiveness of arbitrary lists circulating on social media platforms, which often lead to discouragement among individuals, questioning the efficacy of their actions. Moreover, these lists predominantly focus on consumer boycotts, neglecting other forms of boycott that warrant attention.

Therefore, in line with guidance from the BDS website, it’s essential to understand the various forms of boycott. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by numerous company lists, we’ve compiled a comprehensive database outlining which companies and brands to boycott in India. This resource eliminates confusion and provides a straightforward reference point. Whether through screenshots or saving the list in your browser favorites, accessing this database ensures clarity and consistency in our boycott efforts.

We hereby, officially, call on all conscience-having and justice-loving fellow Indians, regardless of religion or caste, to participate in targeted boycotts as a mark of our solidarity with the people of Palestine.

1. Consumer boycott: 

The key to consumer boycott is simple. Instead of worrying about random companies, learn the names of a few major conglomerates/parent companies and see what all companies/brands are under them. Just check the parent company name on the packaging of the product or google the brand name and parent company. 

For example, you picked up Ariel detergent and you want to know whether it is Israeli or not. Google: “Ariel parent company”. The result will show you Proctor and Gamble (P&G) which is a boycotted company.        

For which Parent companies to avoid with alternative products, see our database.

Important note:

Remember, that this list is meant to be a guide; a helping hand towards making more ethical choices as consumers. Sometimes, alternatives to products are not always available or accessible to everyone. 

As the BDS website states:

“-please keep in mind that the goal isn’t to boycott as many companies as possible, as very few people can feasibly sustain such extensive boycotts over a long time.” The goal is to make those companies take notice of consumers’ concerns and end their financial ties/business projects in Israel.

Why should we boycott these parent companies?

These companies/conglomerates have ongoing business ties with Israel which has been reported and well-documented. 

The end goal is to “strategically pick a few targets and exert enough collective pressure to win a campaign – meaning, a specific company stops doing business with Israel, a specific institution divests from complicit Israeli or international companies, or a specific city ends its relationship with the Israeli government or adopts a human rights procurement and investment policy.” 

(Via BDS Guide to Strategic Campaigning for Palestinian Rights | BDS Movement)

Parent companies/Major Conglomerates and their ties to Israel:

(Information via the website disoccupied.com)

  1. Nestle: owns a controlling stake in Israeli food manufacturer Osem.
  2. Mondelez: has made large investments in Israeli food-tech companies.
  3. Unilever: has invested over $250 million in Israel over the past decade and stated, “We look forward to continuing to make a positive contribution to Israel’s economy and society for many decades to come.”
  4. PepsiCo: They bought Israeli company SodaStream for $3.2bn and own 50% of Israeli food company Sabra.
  5. Proctor & Gamble (P&G): P&G is one of the largest clients of Israeli company Avgol, which operates a plant in the Barkan industrial complex, an illegal Israeli manufacturing settlement in the West Bank.
  6. L’Oreal: has a heavy investment in and operates a factory in Israel.
  7. Johnson & Johnson: owns companies in Israel, engaging in various sectors including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
  8. Hewlett Packard (HP): HP runs the biometric ID system that Israel uses to restrict Palestinian movement as well as other systems for the IDF, i.e. the Israeli military.
  9. Dell: In 2023, Dell Technologies won the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s server tender, which is considered the largest server tender in Israel so far. The scope is USD 150 million for a period of two years, during which Dell will provide servers and maintenance to the Israeli military and the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD). The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, established by Dell’s founders, is known to provide direct support to Israel and to the Friends Of The IDF organization.

Information Credit: Disoccupied.com

Other major companies/brands:

  1. Motorola: The IDF uses Motorola as a main supplier for its communication equipment which enables them to effectively control the occupied Palestinians (Disoccupied). Motorola also provides WASS (Wide Are Surveillance System), known as MotoEagle which the Israeli army uses in illegal settlements (Who Profits).
  1. Reliance: Reliance invested in the innovation technology incubator project in Israel. Reliance Defence has strategic partnerships and joint ventures with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd of Israel. (see References 2. And 3.)
  1. Tata Group: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has numerous projects within Israel. TCS is the premier client of the Banking Service Bureau in Israel. In April 2020, the company announced that it had been chosen by Israel’s Ministry of Finance to revolutionize the country’s banking industry. This involved establishing a banking service bureau. (Reference 4).

2. Pressure Targets:

What is the difference between a consumer boycott and a pressure boycott?

In a consumer boycott, you do not purchase or use the products/services at all. In a pressure boycott, you call for people and institutions to pressure brands and services to end their complicity in abuses against Palestinians (Al Jazeera). So you can use the product but you can use other ways to bring pressure externally on the company.

This includes:

  • boycotts when reasonable alternatives exist, 
  • lobbying,
  • peaceful disruptions, and 
  • social media pressure.

(Via BDS website)

The following companies are pressure boycotts:

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Airbnb
  • Disney (Includes Disney Hotstar, Disney Plus, etc.)

3. Divestments

This is an extremely crucial form of boycott that is vastly underutilised in India. Divestment is when you put pressure on governments and institutions to stop doing business with companies that enable the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands (Al Jazeera).

Several companies in India are collaborating or conducting business with Israeli defense companies or Israeli technology companies that are facilitating the mass murders and persecutions of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian people.

Divestments would look like:

  • Stop investments and say no to being shareholders in the stocks of these companies.
  • Asking employees of the companies to peacefully strike demanding to ending business partnerships with Israel in any and all capacity.
  • Directly pressurising company officials and owners through social media, email campaigns, etc.
  • Raising public awareness
  • Petitions to the Government of India and relevant government authority to revoke permissions or end partnerships for these businesses.

An example of such kind of protest would be when, in February of this year (2024), “the Water Transport Workers Federation of India, representing 3,500 workers at 11 major Indian ports, has declared that it will refuse to load or unload weapons to Israel on any ships it may be asked to do so, carrying armaments and bound for Israel” (as reported by The Wire).

Another example is when Google and Amazon employees criticized their companies for involvement in Project Nimbus, supplying technology to the Israeli military. Over 90 Google and 300 Amazon workers protested, citing moral obligations and fearing retaliation. They condemned militarization and called for companies to cease contracts harming Palestinians, urging a tech future promoting safety and dignity.

Have a look at this resource:

Boycott Israeli Products/Companies in India – End Occupation of Palestine | (…) – Mainstream Weekly

According to this article, here are the companies in India that are defence and technology related. 

These ought to be made the target of Divestments:

  1. TCS – Project Nimbus 
  2. Adani Group; 
  3. ADTL– Elbit; 
  4. Reliance Defense; 
  5. Mahindra Defense; 
  6. Mahindra Shachaf; 
  7. Ashok Leyland – Elbit; 
  8. TATA – IAI HELA sys; 
  9. Infosys Labs;
  10. Wipro Givon; 
  11. L&T; 
  12. Kalyani Rafael KRAS; 
  13. Bharath Forge – Elbit – IAI; 
  14. Punj Lloyd – IWI; 
  15. BEL – IAI; 
  16. HAL – IAI; 
  17. Premier Explosives – IAI; 
  18. Garuda Aerospace – Elbit; 
  19. Cyient – Bluebird; 
  20. Dynamatic Tech – IAI; 
  21. Taneja TAAL – IAI Golan; 
  22. Tonbo Imaging; Bharath Dynamics; 
  23. DCX – IAI; 
  24. HBL Power Sys; 
  25. Astra Microwave – Rafael; 
  26. Rangsons Schuster Tech; 
  27. Hajaj–Defsys; 
  28. Garware Wall Ropes – Aero T

How can you as an employee take action?


Via @rizwan.rahman and @talkingspri on Instagram:

“If you are an EMPLOYEE – CONSUMER – SHAREHOLDER, you are being made an unknowing accomplice in these multi-billion $ profits-for-blood deals being signed in boardrooms. To take action and to say no to blood money & blood profits, write to:

[email protected] or scan the QR code.”

Quick Recap:

  • To know if a product is Israel-linked or not, look at the parent company.
  • Refer to our database for alternatives.
  • Keep raising awareness on social media and in real life, at your workplace.
  • Pressurise complicit companies through awareness.

Don’t forget to make dua regularly.

May God, Most High accept our efforts, and may we see a free Palestine in our lifetime, in sha Allah.

References:

  1. We are Google im and Amazon workers. We condemn Project Nimbus | Anonymous Google and Amazon workers | The Guardian
  2. https://www.businesstoday.in/technology/news/story/reliance-likely-to-acquire-israels-tower-semiconductor-402635-2023-10-19
  3. https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/Reliance-Defence-signs-JV-with-Israel%E2%80%99s-Rafael-for-air-to-air-missiles/article14181630.ece
  4. Israel-Palestine war: TCS closely monitoring safety of staff | Mint (livemint.com)

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