British companies targeted for investment in Israeli agricultural export companies
Yesterday Palestine solidarity campaigners targeted the British company Valley Grown Salads in Roydon, Essex, and Glinwell in St Albans, for their 20% each share in Edom UK -an Israeli agricultural exporter. The action was designed to coincide with the week leading up to a European day of action against Israeli agricultural exporters, called for by the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) and its European partners. The official day of action, which has the motto “Take Apartheid off the menu” is planned for the 26th of November. The aim of the action was to encourage Valley Grown Salads and Glinwell to divest from Edom UK and the Israeli economy. Europe is the biggest market for Israeli Agricultural exports.
Campaigners also picketed Macilvin Moore Reveres in Harrow, the UK representative of Bickel Flowers. Bickel recently bought out the bankrupt Israeli fruit and vegetable exporter Agrexco. Agrexco had been at the receiving end of a determined boycott campaign both in the UK and abroad for many years.
Edom UK is an Israeli company which was founded in 2003. Valley Grown Salads and and another British company -Glinwell PLC- each own 20% of the shares in Edom UK. Jimmy Russo, the director of Valley Grown Salads, is also the chairman or Edom UK.
Edom UK's official packing house is located in the town of Sappir, in the Arava region on the Israeli side of the Green Line. Sappir is partly built on land funded by the Jewish National Fund, which reserve the land they control for Jews only.
Valley Grown Salads have previously attracted attention by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement when the research group Corporate Watch found evidence of Edom UK exporting from the illegal settlement of Tomer in the occupied Jordan Valley, Palestine. Although they deny that this is still the case, Corporate Watch presented them with evidence of shipments being made to Russia as late as January 2010, which they then accepted.
Tomer settlement is located in the Jordan Valley, next to the Palestinian village of Fasayil. Part of Fasayil is located in Area C and are therefore prevented from doing any building work or house repairs and are forbidden access to running water or electricity by Israel. Structures in Fasayil Wusta are frequently demolished. Demolitions in Palestine are often driven by settlement expansion. A video of demolition carried out in June 2011 can be seen on http://bit.ly/sxOnTR .
Most workers in Tomer settlement are Palestinians, many of whom are from Fasayil. Often under age, they work for around half of the minimum wage. The grower Edom UK used in Tomer have confirmed that thePalestinians working in his fields get paid around NIS 100 a day, which equals around 60% of the legal wage to which they are entitled.
Israeli agricultural exports are integral components of the ongoing process of colonisation and environmental destruction of Palestinian land, the theft of water, and the abuse of Palestinian workers’ rights.
NOTES FOR JOURNALISTS
1.To read the original Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel see http://www.bdsmovement.net/call#.TsKbwD3iGU8. A statement issued by the BDS movement in relation to the day of action can be read on http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/take-apartheid-off-the-menu-8313#.TsKXJT...
2.Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity Group, who joined this action, is a grassroots campaign linked to the Jordan Valley Solidarity Group in the Jordan Valley, Palestine. The Jordan Valley comprises 28% of the West Bank, is under urgent threat of Israeli annexation and is the main area confiscated for settlement agricultural produce.
3.Corporate Watch is a workers' cooperative and research organisation.
They have just released a book called Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a BDS Handbook http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4103 . For reports about their correspondence with Valley Grown Salad, see