In November 2015, HP split into two companies: HP Inc. for consumer hardware like PCs and printers, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HP-E) for business and government services. Both HP-branded corporations remain complicit in Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.
HP-branded corporations provide and operate technology that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid, occupation and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people. Hewlett Packard’s violations of Palestinian human rights have been well documented. Aside from providing services and technology to the Israeli army and police that maintain Israel’s illegal occupation and siege of Gaza, HP provides Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority with the exclusive Itanium servers for its Aviv System. This system enables the government to control and enforce its system of racial segregation and apartheid against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and is directly involved in Israel’s settler colonialism through its “Yesha database”, which compiles information on Israeli citizens in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
HP has been described as the “Polaroid of our times”, a reference to huge mobilisations against the use of Polaroid technology by the South African apartheid regime for its racist passbook system. Polaroid’s 1977 withdrawal from South Africa marked a turning point in the international effort to end apartheid there.
HP-E is contracted by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority to provide and maintain the Itanium servers that house Israel’s population registry through 2020. Known as the Aviv System, this population registry is the basis of Israel’s ID card system. This ID system forms a core part of the Israeli apartheid regime’s tiered system of citizenship and residency that privileges Israel’s Jewish population and gives inferior status and rights to Palestinians, especially those in East Jerusalem. This leads to institutionalised racial discrimination and segregation in freedom of movement, housing, employment, marriage, healthcare, education, and policing. This discrimination is further exacerbated in the case of Palestinian “residents” in occupied East Jerusalem, whose most basic rights can and are being revoked arbitrarily.
The system also holds information about Israeli citizens living in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, therefore serving Israel’s settler colonial project directly. HP-E’s spin-off DXC Technology runs an R&D facility in the illegal settlement of Beitar Illit.
HP Inc. has been contracted to serve as the exclusive provider of personal computers to the Israeli military, which uses those computers within the context of ongoing war crimes and systematic oppression of the Palestinian people. HP has been supplying the Israeli military since 2009, with its most recent contract signed in 2014, extendable through 2019.
HP-E also has an ongoing contract with Israeli police to maintain their data centre, operated through HP servers.
In 2015, HP split into HP Inc.- which carried on the brand name and provides consumer hardware, and HP-E for business and government services. In such a scenario, the BDS National Committee maintains that:
“The onus is on each company to demonstrate to the public that it is free of illegal and unethical business activities.”
Further, despite multiple requests for clarification, both the new companies sharing and profiting from the HP brand are yet to provide unambiguous evidence to show that their business activities with Israel do not violate International Humanitarian Law and Palestinian Human Rights.
HP has, in the past, held a contract with the Israeli Ministry of Defence under which it developed and maintained the Basel System- the biometric identification system installed on checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian Territory, controlling the mobility of Palestinians. It also worked with the Israeli military, helping build its IT infrastructure. This included a program with the Israeli Navy which enforces the illegal naval blockade on Gaza. For these and other past ties of complicity with Israel’s occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism, HP-branded companies must provide reparations to the Palestinian victims of these crimes.
The BDS campaign targeting HP-branded corporations has achieved important successes.
US churches divest from HP
As of April 2019, 32 Christian congregations in the U.S. have declared themselves to be HP-Free churches and pledged not to buy HP products.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) instituted a human rights screen for all investments in 2016 leading to divestment from HP-branded corporations. The Unitarian Universalist Association instituted a similar human rights screen in 2015 leading to divestment from HP-branded corporations. The United Church of Christ (US) voted to divest from HP in 2015. The US Presbyterian Church voted to divest from HP in 2014. Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the socially responsible investment firm serving over 300 Quaker institutions in the United States, divested from HP in 2012.
In April 2018 the City Council of Dublin, Ireland’s capital, voted to endorse the BDS Movement and end contracts with HP-branded corporations.
In April 2017, the City Council of Portland in the state of Oregon voted to divest from all corporations, including HP, after a years-long campaign run by a coalition of organizations supporting human rights in Portland and around the world.
Students Organization and Trade Unions
In April 2019, the largest Trade Union of the Netherlands, Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV), with 1.1 million members, dropped HP as a partner in their offers to their members.
The Students Federation of India, the largest student organization of India, with over 4 million members, has adopted the HP boycott in June 2018. More than a dozen student governments in the US have called on their universities to divest from HP.
In May 2017, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the U.K.’s largest teachers union, became an HP-Free Zone and pledged to “not buy or use HP products or services as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
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. Sign the international pledge to boycott HP.
Boycott HP & Sign the International Pledge to Boycott HP!
The Palestinian BDS National Committee is calling for an individual and institutional 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.
Also, sign the international pledge to boycott HP. Click here to sign the pledge.