Boycott Hewlett Packard: Menus and Toolkit
HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) are the targets of an international boycott campaign called for by Palestinian civil society, due to their role in supporting Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. As information technology giants, these companies, as targets, offer a wide array of possible campaign approaches, from culture jamming to divestment to consumer boycotts. This toolkit (produced by the International Boycott HP Network) is intended to assist any group considering launching a Boycott HP Campaign in support of Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality.
Before Getting Started
Consult these key informational resources before initiating your own HP boycott campaign:
- For up to date information on corporate involvement in the Israeli occupation and other human rights violations, see company profiles for HP Inc. and HPE. In all your campaigns, you’ll want to cite strong, reputable references on HP’s complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, including war crimes (article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention), and their obligations under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- Civil society organizations around the world have tried to communicate with HP with little or no success. Here is one such attempt, and here is a list of HP responses to the campaign.
- For a complete toolkit on organizing BDS campaigns, check out the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ (USCPR) BDS toolkit and how-to video series.
- For advice on your HP boycott campaign once you get the ball rolling, contact: email@example.com.
Organizing an HP Boycott Campaign
Now you are ready to take the first big step: sign and share the pledge not to purchase HP products! There are many ways to engage in an HP boycott campaign, including:
- HP-Sponsored Events
- Tech Events
- Consumer Boycott
- HP-Free Churches
- Other HP-Free Zones
- Municipal Campaigns
- Campus Resolutions
- Church Resolutions
Throughout this toolkit, you’ll find more information about these possible approaches, past examples, and tips on how to organize your own successful campaign!
HP sponsors a wide range of public events, from exhibitions to sporting events. HP has also partnered with Universal Music for HP Lounge, its music streaming system, which often holds contests on social media and organizes promotional events involving big name artists. All of these events offer occasions for visibility, culture jamming, direct action, and possibilities to engage artists, venues, other sponsors, etc.
HP Inc. & HPE hold and attend a wide range of technology events in order to promote their shared HP brand as well as their respective products and services to existing and prospective clients. These events provide campaigners an excellent opportunity to offer information and engage in direct discussions with key clients, suppliers, executives, and employees about HP’s complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian rights.
Tech events are also an occasion to educate HP employees, as are actions at HP offices around the world. Consider these basic actions:
- Leave flyers on employees’ cars.
- Stand with a large sign or banner as employees arrive or leave the office.
- Organize a banner drop at a prominent location visible to employees.
HP products—from computers, tablets and phones to printers and ink cartridges—are sold at office supply, electronics, and other retailers around the world. Launching a consumer boycott campaign to educate shoppers and ultimately get HP de-shelved from a local store or national chain is one of the many ways that groups can get involved.
In October 2016, Friends of Sabeel – North America (FOSNA), launched the HP–Free Churches campaign. The campaign simply asks churches to sign a pledge that they will not purchase any new HP equipment and will only purchase generic cartridges for existing HP equipment until HP ends its complicity in violating Palestinian human rights. You can check out the growing list of HP Free Churches here.
Other HP-Free Zones
Community organizations, NGOs, places of worship, trade unions, companies, associations, libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, and other community spaces all use technology, creating an opportunity to engage them in the HP boycott by declaring their institutions HP-free. This is also an excellent chance to reach out to organizations beyond Palestine solidarity circles. As with HP-free churches, each pledge builds on the other, creating a domino effect and leading to more institutions taking action, greater media attention and campaign visibility, and sending a strong message to the HP companies.
As in the case of HP-free churches, it is not necessary to demand of institutions to discard old HP equipment, which does nothing to further the boycott. Instead, institutions can stick “This Is My Last HP” stickers on all HP equipment to support the boycott and ensure they’re not advertising for HP. Contact USCPR for stickers or print your own (small-sized and large-sized).
Coalitions are organizing locally to get their municipal governments (e.g. city councils, municipal committees, etc.) to prevent cities from contracting with or investing in companies like HP Inc. or HPE that are complicit in human rights abuses. You can ask for existing HP contracts to be dropped, or that socially responsible procurement and/or investment policies be passed.
Municipal campaigns are long-term and require strong research, solid legal advice, coalition-building, and strategic campaigning. The victories, relationships, skills, and future prospects developed along the way are worth the work! Friends of Sabeel – North America is facilitating a regular network video conference of folks working on municipal campaigns targeting HP and other complicit companies.
You can inquire about launching a municipal campaign or joining this network by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. CitiesforPalestine.org is a new website that builds on and uplifts the work of municipal campaigners worldwide. It includes lots of ideas, resources, and a comprehensive toolkit. If you need research support for your municipal campaign, for example finding out what your city is invested in or how to research city contracts, email email@example.com. It is crucial to consult legal support networks for guidance in making your campaign as legally sound as possible to mitigate the potential risks of repressive litigation from anti-Palestinian political pressure groups.
Many universities manage significant endowment portfolios, some reaching billions of dollars, to support their future funding requirements. University divestment resolutions can be powerful, high-profile campaign wins. Campus groups can also campaign to have their universities become HP-free zones (see above), ending or preemptively preventing university contracts with HP or new purchases of HP equipment.
National Students for Justice in Palestine in the US helps connect experienced SJPers to mentor new student divestment campaigns. Palestine Legal in the US provides legal support to students, and others, whose rights to advocate for justice in Palestine are under threat.
A resolution calling for a university boycott of HP (preventing HP contracts and product purchases) can follow a similar path. For stickers that say “This is my last HP,” contact USCPR or print your own here.
Many US church denominations and regional bodies have divested from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation, including HP companies. These campaigns can have a far-reaching influence on the public, the target company, and even government officials. The Israeli government knows this also, as seen in their outrage over such church actions.