Palestinian civil society welcomes the liquidation of Agrexco

Campaigners for Palestinian rights are celebrating after the primary Israeli agricultural produce export company Agrexco, which has been a key target of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in support of Palestinian rights, has been ordered into liquidation after being unable to pay its creditors.

Agrexco is a partially state-owned Israeli exporter responsible for the export of a large proportion of fresh Israeli produce, including 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israel’s illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In a translation of the court documents on the liquidation process that the BNC obtained, it is clearly stated that Agrexco acted as an arm of the Israeli state, effectively providing state subsidies to the agricultural sector. The documents indicate criticism of the government for allowing the company to default on its debts and also warn that Agrexco is a primary Israeli symbol and that its downfall is likely to have great implications.

“We congratulate and warmly salute our European partners for their dedicated and determined campaign against Agrexco. This ruling follows the news that Veolia, a French multinational that has lost billions of euros worth of municipality contracts over its provision of infrastructure to illegal Israeli settlements, is facing a financial meltdown. Clearly, the BDS movement is coming of age and is raising the cost of corporate complicity with Israeli war crimes. Strategic BDS campaigns are proving, through every day successes, that BDS is the most effective form of solidarity needed to challenge Israel’s system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid” said Jamal Juma’, coordinator of Stop the Wall Campaign and member of BNC secretariat.

Adel Abu Ni’meh, director of the Palestinian Farmers Union, a member organisation of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, welcomed the news but warned that “Agrexco assets are still being sold. We are following this closely and call on all international companies to withdraw their offers. Those companies that purchase Agrexco assets and brand names or seek to replace the company as the primary Israeli agricultural exporter will be similarly targeted by the BDS movement”.

Agrexco has been targeted with popular boycotts, blockades, demonstrations and direct action throughout Europe. In France, a broad civil society coalition containing dozens of organizations took legal action against the company and fiercely opposed the construction of a terminal at Sete that has laid unused since its construction. In Italy and the UK, campaigners took direct action and pressured supermarkets to drop the Agrexco brand. In July, a new coalition of organisations from over 13 European countries vowed to “put an end to Agrexco’s presence in Europe”. The coalition is expected to examine developments and may initiate new campaigns in response to the outcome of the liquidation.

As respected Israeli economist Shir Hever has stated, the European-wide campaign against the company was among the factors that led to the company’s downfall. “The company has been found to produce misleading reports, and did not warn its investors of the possible impact of the BDS campaign to boycott the company products. Many farmers have left the company, opting to work with competing ones which have not yet been at the focus of the BDS campaign, and as a result Agrexco entered a liquidity crisis. Several companies have considered bidding to buy Agrexco, but have withdrawn their bids after a brief research, which has no doubt uncovered the company’s prominence in the BDS campaign, among other things,” he explained.

The campaign against Agrexco was initiated in response to the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society for boycotts, divestment initiatives and sanctions on Israel and its supporters until the state complies with international law by ending its occupation and dismantling its apartheid Wall, ensuring equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and implementing the right of refugees to return to their homes as stipulated under UN resolution 194.

(Crossposted @ BDS MOVEMENT

About Palestinian BDS National Committee

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 11 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Chaos4700 says:

    Oh don’t be silly! All those Israeli commenters here keep telling us BDS isn’t working at all! This article must have been the result of an anti-Semitic UN report (but not the Palmer report, that’s OK).

    • eee says:

      Farmers moved to other exporters that gave them a better deal. Do you think Israeli exports to Europe went down because Agrexco went under? Of course not. So no, BDS is not working in this case. The Israeli government could have saved the company but didn’t because the company is not important for Israeli agricultural exports anymore. The main reason it went under is because it alienated the farmers it was supposed to represent.

      • Mndwss says:

        “The main reason it went under is because it alienated the farmers it was supposed to represent.”

        Just like the government of israel alienate it’s citizens (that they are supposed to represent) and making enemies all over the world?

        The liberal zionst solution: demand cottage cheese for all!

        The israeli strategy for survival is a slow motion suicide.

        Try to make friends with the lesser races. That may bring peace and reduce the chance that israel will go under like Agrexco.

  2. BillM says:

    Can you expand on this or provide the documents:

    ” In a translation of the court documents on the liquidation process that the BNC obtained, it is clearly stated that Agrexco acted as an arm of the Israeli state, effectively providing state subsidies to the agricultural sector. The documents indicate criticism of the government for allowing the company to default on its debts and also warn that Agrexco is a primary Israeli symbol and that its downfall is likely to have great implications.”

    Thanks.

    • annie says:

      billm, i can’t right now but i would urge you to contact bds and ask them. i knew Agrexco was funded by the state before. at least 1/2 the company is owned by the state or something. i can’t recall the details. but it’s out their if you google around. maybe if i get around to it later i will email omar.

    • annie says:

      here it is from who profits

      Agrexco is owned by the Israeli government (50%), Israeli growers represented by the country’s production and marketing boards (25%), and the Tnuva cooperative (25%), whose controlling shareholder is Apax Partners (UK and USA).

      Subsidiaries include: Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS, Dalia (Germany).

      the 2nd category Israeli growers represented by the country’s production and marketing boards (25%), those growers are primarily settlers.

      Exports fruits, vegetables and flowers from Israel/ Palestine, some of which are grown in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The company has a regional office in the occupied Jordan Valley.

      Common Brand names: Carmel, Carmel Bio Top (organic produce), Jaffa, Jordan Plains and Alesia.

      In a court case in November of 2006, the General Manager of Agrexco UK at that time, Amos Orr, testified that Agrexco markets 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

      their farms are on land is stolen subsidized by the israeli government. (i think). so when you add the 50% owned by the gov and the 25% owned by “Israeli growers represented by the country’s production and marketing boards, it comes to a whopping amount.

      that said, i’m not sure what details came out at this trial.

  3. Dan Crowther says:

    HAHAHA!!!! Way to Go!!!

    Yea, eee – the farmers “left for a better deal” – namely one that wasnt a BDS target. The clock is ticking eee’s of the world, the clock is ticking.

  4. annie says:

    i just want to say i cried while i was placing this draft. it brings tears to my eyes again right now.

    Campaigners for Palestinian rights are celebrating

    YEAH!!!!!!!

    probably for brevity’s sake, the title was shortened. if you go to the crosspost link you can read:

    “calls for celebration of this BDS victory”

    i’m so excited.

  5. Real Jew says:

    OUTSTANDING! Agrexco has been one of the primary targets of BDS since the beginning.

    Meanwhile, the entire zionist world absolutely refuses to acknowledge ANYTHING that is remotely damaging to all things Israel. And if you are surprised about that statement you need to read more. They have been lying to the world (and themselves) for the past 80 years so misrepresenting the effectiveness of BDS is like breathing to them.

    They are scared. They know BDS has worked in the past (S Africa) and its proving to work now. The day Israel stops profiting from the occupation is the day the occupation ends. This is just one of many victories the international BDS campaign is responsible for this year alone. And more on their way.