The international Boycott HP campaign has already seen several US churches divest from the company and has attracted support from student governments across the US.
HP provides and operates much of the technology infrastructure that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the prime contractor of the Basel system, an automated biometric access control system employed within Israel’s checkpoints and apartheid wall. The ID cards distributed as part of this system form the basis of Israel’s systematic discrimination against Palestinians. HP technology helps the Israeli navy enforce the siege on Gaza. *Join the Nov 25 - Dec 3 week of action against HP* In November 2015, HP split into two firms: HP Inc. for consumer hardware (PCs and printers), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for business and government services. Because the companies share facilitates, branding and supply chains, and collaborate in a wide range of ways, both remain deeply complicit with Israeli apartheid. HP has been described as the “Polaroid of our times”, a reference to huge mobilisations against the use of Polaroid technology used for the South African apartheid regime's passbook system. Polaroid’s 1977 withdrawal from South Africa marked a turning point in the international effort to end apartheid.
HP company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), now Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is the prime contractor of the Basel system, an automated biometric access control system used in Israel’s checkpoints and apartheid wall.
These checkpoints fragment and segregate the Occupied Palestinian Territories and its residents through electric fences, watchtowers, sensors, and concrete barriers. The checkpoint system separates Palestinian workers from their jobs, farmers from their land, students from their schools, patients from hospitals, and families from each other.
HP provides the technology infrastructure for Israel’s ID card system. This ID system forms the part of the Israeli apartheid regime’s tiered system of citizenship that gives different rights to different people and leads to institutionalised discrimination in housing, employment, marriage, healthcare, education, and policing.
HP also directly contracts with the Israeli municipalities of Modi’in Ilit and Ariel, two of the largest Jewish-only Israeli settlements in the West Bank, providing them with a range of services.
HP provides broad IT infrastructure and support services for Israeli occupation forces, particularly the Israeli Navy that maintains the siege on Gaza.
Israel’s frequent massacres of Palestinians in Gaza and its siege are deliberately implemented to deny Palestinians their basic rights to life, freedom and self-determination, and to physically segregate them.
Israel’s siege severely limits what goods can go in and out. This denial of supply of essential goods was once described by a senior Israeli official in the following terms: “the idea is put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
HP also provides services and equipment to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), including providing and maintaining its central server system.
Israel’s prison system is used to suppress Palestinian political activity, and to stifle opposition to its policies. By helping Israel run its prisons, HP is at the heart of Israel’s use of mass incarceration to undermine Palestinian opposition to apartheid.
According to Human Rights Watch, “the extraction of confessions under duress, and the acceptance into evidence of such confessions…form the backbone of Israel’s military justice system”. Each year, 500-700 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted by Israel. The ill-treatment of children imprisoned by Israel is “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” according to UNICEF.
As the coalition Massachusetts Against HP has noted, HP technology underpins oppressive practises across the world:
In the US, HP donated technology to the National Security Agency that play a key part of the NSA’s illegal domestic surveillance programs.
HP is a major player in the US prison-industrial complex, providing essential infrastructure to private and public prisons.
HP is a ‘Top 20’ provider of military and ‘homeland security’ contracts to the US government and military.
HP caters to repressive governments around the world, which use HP network surveillance technology to identify and suppress dissidents, as well as censor information.
The campaign against HP was launched quite recently but has already achieved some important successes.
US churches divest from HP
More than 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling on HP to end its role in Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism. In 2014, 1,000 activists with the Boston for Palestine coalition marched on an HP conference. There is active campaigning on HP across the US, as well as in the UK and Italy. More than a dozen student governments in the US have called on their university to divest from HP.
HP relies on its good image and its contracts with public organisations, civil society bodies and private businesses. Effective grassroots campaigning can push HP to end its role in Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee is calling for a boycott of all HP consumer products including laptops, printers, and printer ink. Ask consumers not to buy HP products and work with your local retailers to get them to deshelve HP products.