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Two More Cities Drop G4S!

by Anna Baltzer, Director of Organizing & Advocacy

As BDS turns 11, we must redouble our efforts.

This month marks 11 years since the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) as tools to end worldwide complicity with Israel’s regime of colonization and apartheid, and to support freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people. 

One year ago, for BDS’s 10th birthday, the US Campaign released a stunning list of U.S. BDS victories to date, totaling just over 100 at the time, a tremendous milestone: www.endtheoccupation.org/usbdsvictories

But that was 2015. Today, the list, which we have kept up to date, includes more than 150 BDS victories in the United States alone. Not only is the movement for Palestinian rights and the success of BDS growing, but it is growing exponentially

This, in spite of the growing repression against BDS activists and the draconian, unconstitutional anti-BDS legislation being pursued at the local, state, and federal levels precisely because this grassroots movement for justice has become so strong and effective. The Palestinian BDS National Committee even released list of eleven signs that BDS continues to grow despite Israel’s war of repression.

Among them are the tremendous achievements of the international campaign targeting G4S, which profits from grotesque state oppression in prisons from the U.S. to Palestine and beyond, as illustrated in the newly-released www.G4Sfacts.org website.

Just this week, member group Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) celebrated two more cities dropping G4S!

In Berkeley, California, Enlace -- an alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations -- and the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) at the University of California and California State University systems, brought a resolution to divest from private prisons to Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission. Following FOSNA’s encouragement, the coalition and commissioners included G4S in the resolution, which was passed unanimously by the Berkeley City Council Tuesday night. Said Peace and Justice Commission member Cathy Orozco, “With this resolution, the City of Berkeley is standing up for our community members. Black and brown peoples, immigrants, Palestinians, and other oppressed peoples deserve city governments that stand up for their rights and fight against corporations that profit from their suffering.”

Congratulations to our friends at Enlace, ABC, and FOSNA, and to the City of Berkeley for this tremendous achievement!

FOSNA also announced that earlier this month, the city of Denver, Colorado chose not renew a $2.5 million municipal contract with G4S, following testimony by Palestinian rights activists about the company’s notorious oppressive practices.

While G4S announced plans in March to sell its Israeli subsidiary and shut down youth detention operations in the U.S. and the UK, we know G4S will only follow through if we keep the pressure on and ensure that the company ends all aspects of its oppressive practices. 

That’s why there’s never been a more important time to wage effective campaigns to hold G4S accountable. You can find resources, action alerts, and more on our G4S campaigns page here.

Also, don’t miss our National Organizers Conference October 14-17 in Arlington, Virginia where activists will be sharing lessons learned from waging campaigns against companies like G4S.

From the list of victories to the lengths to which our opposition will go to stop us, we know our work is having a significant effect. But we can only build the power to match this moment with people like you by our side. With a contribution today, help play a critical role in this important work.