Santa Cruz church becomes first US congregation to boycott HP for role in Israeli occupation

Activism

Last night the congregation of Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz, CA voted to refrain from buying Hewlett-Packard (HP) products including printers, computers, and ink cartridges until HP companies cease to profit from Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights. Peace United Church of Christ joins the Presbyterian Church, Unitarian Universalists, United Church of Christ, Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation, and the Alliance of Baptists, which have all divested from HP companies at the denominational level. These organizations represent over 15,000 U.S. congregations and the potential for millions of dollars in buying power.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) initiated the campaign, HP-Free Churches, in coordination with the Global Week of Action Against HP that saw over 150 actions take place in dozens of countries across six continents. “Many individual congregations are unaware that their denominations have divested from companies that profit off the Israeli occupation or that their purchases contradict their denominations’ divestments. We aim to fix that,” said Rochelle Gause, FOSNA’s national organizer.

HP companies supply Israel with the Biometric ID Card System used to restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement; provide servers for Israeli prisons where Palestinian children and political prisoners are held and torture is widespread; and manage the communications centers, information security, and user support of the Israeli navy as it collectively punishes the civilian population of Gaza through blockade. Similar to the way Polaroid was boycotted for providing the technology for the apartheid South Africa’s racist passbooks, HP companies were selected for their integral role in Israel’s notorious checkpoints and segregated ID system. After immense pressure, Polaroid ended its involvement with the South African regime in 1977.

“Thanks to FOSNA, we have a campaign that is easy for United Methodists to support locally at their churches and in their conferences. Participating in the HP-Free Churches campaign provides another way to help us educate church members about the horrific human rights abuses suffered by Palestinians as we take concrete action to help curb those abuses,” says Lisa Bender, chair of the Boycott & Divestment Committee for United Methodists for Kairos Response.

“Many of my colleagues are intimidated and have been told that once you take a step toward Palestinian liberation through ending our own complicity with boycotts like this, you can no longer be a strong and protective presence in your own community regarding anti-Semitism. I think that’s wrong. We can do both, and we have to do both,” remarked Dave Grishaw-Jones, a senior pastor at Peace United Church of Christ. The widespread success of the Global Week of Action Against HP is a testament to the fact that many local communities are responding to the Palestinian call to join the nonviolent Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.

About Friends of Sabeel North America

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is a community of faith in action, called to build for our children a future in which violence is not an everyday concept. The Sabeel movement, of which FOSNA is a part, was initiated by Palestinian Christians and promotes theological, moral, and legal principles for peace in the Holy Land as outlined in the Kairos Palestine document.

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22 Responses

  1. JustJessetr
    December 9, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Has it occured to MW that awareness of Palestinian suffering has been around since ’47, and that not a single thing has been accomplished through boycotts? Not one penny in a Palestinian’s pocket, not one right earned, not one dunam of land returned. Arguably, Palestinian suffering increases by the day, and all you do is encourage symbolic, useless boycotts that have been ignored by the people who should care the most: fellow Muslims and Arabs.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-prosecutor-flotilla-case-against-israel-ended.aspx?pageID=238&nID=106814&NewsCatID=341

    And back here in the West, it really doesn’t make sense to argue against Israel and global capitalism from behind computers that support them both.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 9, 2016, 4:21 pm

      jester, assuming you’re correct, what do you think of all these people who treat the boycott movement as if was a major threat? all the time and effort in making anti boycott laws in so many states? billionaires like adelson hosting conferences on how to stop it? efforts to shut down and silence palestinian activism on campuses? are they all just crazy and wasting their time? if the boycott was so ineffective, why not just ignore it?

      btw, how does your flotilla link support the notion Muslims and Arabs don’t care about the boycott?

      • oldgeezer
        December 9, 2016, 4:24 pm

        @annie

        You clearly beat me to the point.

        You could have added jester to the list as to why he wastes his/her tone arguing it is ineffective.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 9, 2016, 4:28 pm

        oldgeezer, exactly, makes no sense. also, i’m truly baffled w/his link to the flotilla story. it’s not related to the boycott at all as far as i know.

      • Mooser
        December 9, 2016, 5:23 pm

        “You could have added jester to the list as to why he wastes his/her tone arguing it is ineffective.”

        “Ineffective”? The charge that Jews or Israel is the face of, and the power behind “global capitalism” has often been used very effectively.

    • Mooser
      December 9, 2016, 4:41 pm

      “And back here in the West, it really doesn’t make sense to argue against Israel and global capitalism from behind computers that support them both.”

      Uh-oh, I think Jesse is going to turn off our computers. And with 2 billion Jews behind him, I bet he can.

      • oldgeezer
        December 9, 2016, 11:15 pm

        @mooser

        Yes. Except he doesn’t realize how far back the startup nation ranks in innovation and that Israel’s capacity is equalled by North Vietnam.

    • eljay
      December 9, 2016, 6:25 pm

      || JustJessetr: Has it occured to MW that awareness of Palestinian suffering has been around since ’47, and that not a single thing has been accomplished through boycotts? Not … one right earned, not one dunam of land returned. … ||

      There’s something truly disturbing about a post that / a person who lauds the persistence of a hateful, immoral and unjust ideology and its oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist construct.

  2. oldgeezer
    December 9, 2016, 11:10 pm

    Refusing to buy from HP is clearly antisemitic. I am tired of the abuse of Palestinians. I am tired of the abuse of decent people all over the world who speak out about moral issues. I tired of the abuse of English.

    Zionism is racism. Zionism is built on a foundation of abuse. It has no moral basis and is actually built on the same immoral ideology as white supremacism. Not surprisingly formulated during the same dark period of han history. We have sidelined similar ideologies. We must do the same for thus racist set of beliefs.

  3. Maghlawatan
    December 10, 2016, 8:03 am

    I just overheard an Israeli in a bus queue a long way from Shangri-la LA say she was worried about BDS. And in the bus opposite her a woman said hamdullillah. Zionism is going to die. Kida ya’ni

  4. JustJessetr
    December 12, 2016, 7:47 am

    Well, since everyone is shifting around in their seats uncomfortably, trying to give something more than a weak response to my post, I’ll point out what you don’t want to admit in public.

    MW and the BDS movement was thrilled to hear that Israeli commandos killed Turkish activists in the Gaza flotilla. They clucked and crowed, and that this would be (yet again) the nail in Israel’s coffin. That, dear Annie, is the link you are so desperately trying not to see between this article and my post.

    The Arab Muslim world will shriek and howl, but it’s been an open secret that they engage in business deals with Israel regardless. No one twists their arm, they simply give lip service to the Palestinian cause. This detente between Israel and Turkey is the beginning of a deal to exploit the Leviathan field for natural gas. Other countries in the Middle East will step into the line for their own deals. And no amount of tut-tutting from MW or a church or anyone else will knock Israel’s economy off the rails from this point onward, except the stupidity of the Likudniks, and I don’t doubt it for a minute that they could shoot themselves in the foot.

    And your question, dear Annie, is just another duck and dodge regarding my post. But since you ask: it reminds me of Y2K. In the end, it was a non-event. But in the run-up to it, and I was very much a part of the run-up, the preparation and the blame and the doom-saying was feverish. The Israeli gov’t and it’s allies are preparing feverishly, because to do nothing and hope it all fixes itself is unwise. That’s all. One doesn’t sit quietly while one’s enemies spread lies, especially in the days of the internet. I don’t favor Likud, and I don’t like how they oppress Palestinians, but let’s not pretend they’re unintelligent.

    I really don’t have a dog in the Zionist or anti-Zionist fight. Israel will stand or fall on the strength of it’s own diplomacy and economic strategy, just like any other country. But I do view boycotting Israel, at heart, as Jew-bashing. So I stand against it. And as someone who had Palestinian friends if only briefly during my two years living there, and has helped put money in Palestinians pockets (which even if it were one penny, is 100% more than any of you have ever helped) I find your guise of being pro-Palestinian to be ludicrous at best and harmful to Palestinians at worst. Their situation grows worse by the day, and you think that awful pictures of suffering will change things for the better. They haven’t so far, what makes anyone think more of the same is the solution? Feel free to pick apart my logic while completely missing the point as you always do, but my question is the one you can’t seem to answer for yourself. Why do you respond to a call by BDS that lets you engage in activity that you know only hurts Palestinians at large and only enables their addiction to victimhood?

    • eljay
      December 12, 2016, 9:56 am

      || JustJessetr: Well, since everyone is shifting around in their seats uncomfortably … ||

      I’m not uncomfortable. I just find thoroughly dismal the pride you (and your Zio-supremacist co-collectivists) take in the success of a (Western-enabled) hateful and immoral ideology and its oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist construct.

      But, hey, you did throw some clean underwear and a new t-shirt to the victim chained in the rapist’s basement. The next time he’s self-determining himself in her, you can feel good that you did “100% more than any of you” men-bashers (at heart) who demanded that laws be upheld, that the victim be freed and that the rapist be arrested, brought to justice and held accountable for his past and on-going crimes.

    • Maghlawatan
      December 12, 2016, 10:07 am

      Israeli diplomatic capital is at an all time low

      Israel”s economy won’t survive the Orthodox. It actually does matter what the goys think. A lot

    • jd65
      December 12, 2016, 10:40 am

      JustJessetr writes, “MW and the BDS movement was thrilled to hear that Israeli commandos killed Turkish activists in the Gaza flotilla.”

      First, that’s rude and a million miles from the truth. Second, how could any honest person take you seriously after knowing you think/wrote something so awful?

    • Mooser
      December 12, 2016, 12:29 pm

      “Well, since everyone is shifting around in their seats uncomfortably, trying to give something more than a weak response to my post…”

      No, they just sighed and said: ‘Oh, him again’ and scrolled past.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 12, 2016, 1:03 pm

        mooser, here’s what i hear

        jj: the boycott is useless, my proof is the flotilla.

        me: what do you think of all these people who treat the boycott movement as if was a major threat? flotilla huh?

        jj: you know i’m right, i am making you uncomfortable and desperate. my proof is the flotilla.

        me: what do you think of all these people who treat the boycott movement as if was a major threat? flotilla huh?

        jj: u duck and dodge, Israel and Turkey are friends, I don’t have a dog in this fight

        me: what do you think of all these people who treat the boycott movement as if was a major threat?

        jj: BDS is jew bashing. i have palestinian friends and put money in Palestinians pockets (which is 100% more than you have ever done for them)

        me: what do you think of all these people who treat the boycott movement as if was a major threat?

        seems to me like jj doesn’t want to answer my question. but if bds was so “useless”, i wonder why the california jewish caucus in my state and israel lobby groups keep pushing anti bds legislation across the country. my understanding is that bds, a non violent grassroots movement for equal rights has spurned a huge multi million dollar opposition. it would make more sense to me for anti bds advocates to simply pour their money directly into israel’s economy rather than spending it to fight an ineffective (useless) boycott.

        anyway, i am not uncomfortable in the least. with over 60% of dems favoring sanctioning israel and the largest US demographic supporting israel is old people vs the young not supporting israel. i figure we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and watch the chips eventually fall where they may.

    • JustJessetr
      December 22, 2016, 7:03 am

      @Annie,

      Well, it’s a good thing we’ve got a written record of what I said rather than what you heard. I did answer your question, directly and explicitly. That you chose to indulge your feelings rather than your brain just means you need a better therapist.

      Annie: “what do you think of all these people who treat the boycott movement as if was a major threat? all the time and effort in making anti boycott laws in so many states? billionaires like adelson hosting conferences on how to stop it? efforts to shut down and silence palestinian activism on campuses? are they all just crazy and wasting their time? if the boycott was so ineffective, why not just ignore it?”

      JustJessetr: “it reminds me of Y2K. In the end, it was a non-event. But in the run-up to it, and I was very much a part of the run-up, the preparation and the blame and the doom-saying was feverish. The Israeli gov’t and it’s allies are preparing feverishly, because to do nothing and hope it all fixes itself is unwise. That’s all. One doesn’t sit quietly while one’s enemies spread lies, especially in the days of the internet. I don’t favor Likud, and I don’t like how they oppress Palestinians, but let’s not pretend they’re unintelligent.”

      Again, @ Annie: “with over 60% of dems favoring sanctioning israel and the largest US demographic supporting israel is old people vs the young not supporting israel. i figure we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and watch the chips eventually fall where they may.”

      Ah, yes. Those highly insightful polls. The ones that predict Clinton will win the vote against Trump. What if the polls are wrong and Trump is elected?

      And I wouldn’t rely too heavily on “young people” coming to the rescue either. These are the same demographics that were supposed to sweep Anderson, and Mondale, and Ferraro, and Nader, and Gore, and Dean into the White House. The same demographics that grew up during the Vietnam War and were supposed to end US imperialism through protest and socialism and not paying their taxes. I count myself among the lot who are sad that none of that ever came to pass, but admitted to myself that most young people scream a lot but then fail to show up on election day. Or are too busy dicking around with Israeli-made technology to realize that they are working in direct contradiction to their own purported political beliefs.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 22, 2016, 7:29 am

        … Likud …. but let’s not pretend they’re unintelligent.

        that was exactly my point in counter arguing your premise that the boycott is “useless”. likud doesn’t appear to think so.

        I did answer your question, directly and explicitly.

        by saying it was like Y2K and to do nothing and hope it all fixes itself is unwise? uh huh. color me unimpressed.

        to indulge your feelings rather than your brain just means you need a better therapist….I wouldn’t rely too heavily on “young people” coming to the rescue either.

        uh huh. no threat from the boycott — got it. your opinion suits me just fine, not too convincing tho. bye.

  5. Theo
    December 12, 2016, 10:56 am

    I used HP products most of my life, as matter of fact presently still have a printer, copierer and fax monster, although around 10 years old. Is it OK if I keep it even if I will have problems to sleep after reading this acticle? I wonder what will HP do?

    A long time ago I learned the following: you cannot learn anything from yourself, regardless how smart you are. From those who always agree with you the chances to learn something new is also slim, you can only learn from those who disagree with you and have other ideas, whatever they may be.

  6. Ossinev
    December 12, 2016, 11:22 am

    @JustJessetr
    “enables their addiction to victimhood?”

    What a revolting sick statement. You might just as casually have said that Jews under the Nazis in Europe were”addicted to victimhood”.

    “Israel will stand or fall on the strength of it’s own diplomacy and economic strategy, just like any other country.”

    Israel is not like “any other country” It is an cult colony grafted onto Palestinian land and it will fall just as its Apartheid predecessor South Africa. Just a question of time and demographics.

    • Theo
      December 13, 2016, 11:40 am

      Ossinev

      I lived and worked most of my life among jews and must state that they have an addiction to complaining. It seemed that whatever happened it was always against them, forgetting that such negative changes effected all of us. As matter of fact, if you look at history, it seems jews could always complain, right or wrong. During WWII over 50 million human beings died, however now, 71 years later, we only hear about the jewish suffering, and that on every single day!!

  7. catalan
    December 13, 2016, 4:24 pm

    I lived and worked most of my life among jews and must state that they have an addiction to complaining. – Theo
    You must not have met any Bulgarians. Well if it’s a relief for you, this Jew doesn’t complain much. With the new president it will be even better for me. Life is not fair. I am sort of like a German, tough and mathematical, not a whiner like the Jews.

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