BDS activists target Israeli pharma at Italy expo

On Saturday, May 8 a protest organized by the "Rome Palestinian Solidarity Network"(comprised of numerous associations and committees who stand with the Palestinian struggle for freedom) was held at the entrance to Rome’s exhibition center during COSMOFARMA, a pharmaceuticals expo attended by thousands of health professionals. The Rome Palestinian Solidarity Network, which endorses the international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the Israeli economy, aimed at raising awareness of the BDS campaign, calling on physicians, pharmacists and health workers not to purchase or prescribe products from the Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA, the leading global manufacturer of generic drugs, or from L’Oréal, which through its substantial investments in Israel is helping to strengthen the Israeli war economy.

It is this economy, as denounced by the activists present at the Expo with Palestinian flags, banners and flyers, which continues to enrich itself through the occupation policies of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, through policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing that continue to oppress the Palestinian people, through land confiscation, military violence and the illegal siege of the Gaza Strip. All taking place with the complicit silence of international community. While the protest was taking place outside, activists entered Hall 11 of the Expo to distribute leaflets at the TEVA stand, informing and engaging attendees on the reasoning and objectives of the Boycott Campaign. For more than 15 minutes, activists of the Rome Palestinian Solidarity Network attracted the attention of thousands of visitors through chants, conversations and leafleting while waving the Palestinian flag. The protest was cut short as the police arrived, taking five activists to the police office within the fairgrounds, where they were detained for over two hours in custody, and then charged with "unauthorized demonstration." The police confiscated a megaphone, a Palestinian flag, the t-shirts worn by the activists reading "Free Palestine" and "Boycott Israel" and the video camera used to film the action.

The BDS campaign is expanding and intensifying throughout the world, and continues to have an impact on the image of a country, Israel, which despite the occupation of Palestine and the policies of apartheid still refers to itself as "the only democracy in the Middle East". A country that uses opportunities such as that offered by COSMOFARMA to show its more "attractive" side. The effectiveness of the BDS campaign is in its ability to unmask this unacceptable hypocrisy, and just as activists standing with the Palestinian liberation struggle were present for COSMOFARMA on Saturday, tomorrow we will continue to exert political pressure through the BDS campaign, which is beginning to produce significant results.

12 Responses

  1. annie
    May 10, 2010, 4:04 pm

    great work Stephanie, i know there are some real dedicated activist for palestine in italy. thanks for bringing us the report. let us know if this gets any press and ad any links to photos of the event at the exhibition if you get a chance.


  2. Stephanie Westbrook
    May 10, 2010, 4:20 pm

    Here are a couple of photos taken at the moment we “detained” were able to join the rest of the group:

    link to

    link to

    • rachel
      May 10, 2010, 7:19 pm

      Is this all the crowd you can muster in super duper pro-Palestine Italy?
      Pathetic! Just juxtapose the events being protested and the people who oppose them.

    • rachel
      May 10, 2010, 7:37 pm

      Hey Stephanie, I love to see you protesting the Israeli Pavilion at the Shanghai Fair!

    • annie
      May 10, 2010, 8:01 pm

      thanks stephanie. i love the photos ;) i think it is possible we were on the same delegation to gaza in may/june 09. is that you? keep it up !

  3. Avi
    May 10, 2010, 4:59 pm


    What have you done this time?

    Just kidding ha ha ha.

    This is good activism. I’m surprised Italy hasn’t taken the lead in Europe given the country’s, historically at least, populist nature.

  4. NormanF
    May 10, 2010, 7:01 pm

    The Israel-hating crowd just can’t stand the life-saving advances in medical care and new drugs Israelis have made to save millions of lives around the world.


    • Shingo
      May 10, 2010, 7:13 pm

      “The Israel-hating crowd just can’t stand the life-saving advances in medical care and new drugs Israelis have made to save millions of lives around the world.”

      That’s funny. I never through of cluster bombs and white phosphorus as life saving.

      You gotta love the Israeli invented oxygen crowd.  They’ve have you believe that if it wasn’t for the brilliance and ingenuity of Israeli technloogy, we’d still be living like the Flintstones.
      Pathetic indeed.

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 10, 2010, 7:23 pm

      RE: “…the life-saving advances in medical care and new drugs Israelis have made to save millions of lives around the world.” – NormanF

      FOR INSTANCE: Israel police uncovers organ trafficking ring in north, Haaretz, 04/07/10
      Six men arrested, among them an IDF brigadier-general and two lawyers; woman was reportedly offered $100,000 for kidney.
      (excerpts) Police on Tuesday arrested six men suspected of being involved in an organ trafficking ring in northern Israel. Among the suspects are an IDF reserves brigadier-general and two lawyers.
      The department for fraud and misappropriation in northern Israel has been conducting an undercover investigation which began following a complaint by a 50-year-old woman from Nazareth, who replied to an advertisement in Arabic offering 100,000 dollars for a kidney.
      The woman underwent medical examinations to ensure a match, and she was then flown a country in Eastern Europe where they extracted her kidney. The woman said that when she returned to Israel, she did not receive the money promised to her. Police say they have since received similar complaints.
      Police also said that during the investigation they uncovered a large, very well-organized industry of organ trafficking. The ring includes organ traffickers, agents, and lawyers…
      …The investigators said that the traffickers usually demand around 120,000 dollars for a kidney transplant. While the donors, the majority of which are in serious financial troubles, are taken advantage of and receive around 10,000 dollars. Some of them get even smaller sums, and some do not receive any money at all….
      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to

    • Avi
      May 10, 2010, 10:57 pm

      In fact, it’s so advanced that whenever an Israeli needs medical treatment for an illness like some of the Cancer variants, or a complex bone morrow transplant, the first instinct is to fly that patient out of the country to Europe for medical treatment.

      As an aside, regarding “saving lives all over world”, one need only look to how many non-Jewish lives Israel has saved in the last decade alone. More than 8,000 people have had their lives saved by cluster bombs, white phosphorous and depleted uranium artillery shells.

      Some even say that just by breathing in that holy land air, a person can increase his or her life expectancy by thirty years, hold it in for 10 straight seconds and you’ve already ensured your place in the centenarian club.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    May 11, 2010, 11:52 am

    RE: “…the life-saving advances in medical care and new drugs Israelis have made to save millions of lives around the world.” – NormanF
    FOR INSTANCE: Teva shares fall after losing Protonix patent case, Reuters, 04/25/10
    (Reuters) – Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA) slid nearly 3 percent on Sunday after a jury ruled that Teva infringed on Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) Protonix acid reflux drug patent.
    Israel-based Teva (TEVA.O) has been selling a generic version of Protonix since 2007. It was considered an at-risk launch, with the original patent on Protonix held by Swiss drugmaker Nycomed NYCMD.UL and was licensed to Wyeth, which is now owned by Pfizer…
    …Pfizer has said it would seek “the full measure of its damages.” In similar cases when a product’s patent has been found to be infringed the company holding the patent may seek triple damages on lost sales and reimbursement of legal fees.
    But analysts doubt it would come to that since Teva had won favorable rulings throughout the process.
    Gotlieb said Teva would likely pay no less than $300 million.
    Stephen Tepper, an analyst at Harel Finance, estimated damages to Wyeth from lost profit were as much as $1.5 billion in the last 2-1/2 years.
    As a result, Tepper said Teva could be forced to pay about $1 billion.
    …Gotlieb said the case could make Teva rethink at-risk launches. In February, Teva signed an agreement with Novartis (NOVN.VX) to settle patent litigation involving Teva’s U.S. generic version of Famvir tablets.
    Teva said it would make an undisclosed one-time payment to Novartis in addition to an ongoing royalty on U.S. sales of its generic version, famciclovir…
    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to

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