Mobilisations all around Europe asking public institutions to #boycottCAF
To commemorate Palestinian Land Day and denounce CAF’s involvement in Israeli apartheid, numerous events took place across Europe.
The General Federation of Independent Trade Unions - Palestine and the Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions wrote a letter to public institutions in Europe which reads:
“European public institutions, CAF’s main clients, can and should exclude CAF from tenders and contracts because of its involvement in gross human rights abuses through its business with Israel’s illegal JLR project.”
Groups all over Europe handed this letter to their elected officials asking them not to award public contracts to CAF, to French company Alstom, which is in the UN database of businesses complicit in illegal Israeli settlements, or to any other company profiting from violations of Palestinian rights.
In the Spanish state the Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe handed in the letter to the President of RENFE, Spain’s national railway company. Almost 600 people have sent e-mails to the Spanish Ministry of Transport and RENFE.
Early morning, in Zaragoza, where CAF has the factory which will make most of the components for the Jerusalem Light Rail, over 20 human rights organisations and trade unions handed in a letter to CAF’s President and all of CAF’s shareholders.
In France, groups mobilised in Paris and St Etienne. In Paris a group handed the letter to CAF’s office, where workers confirmed they were well aware of the boycott campaign and its demands.
Activists in Paris hand in a letter to the CAF office there
In St Etienne people held a symbolic protest next to the tramway built by CAF. Previously, groups in Lyon had handed out informative leaflets about CAF’s complicity in Israel’s illegal annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem.
In Norway’s capital, Oslo, members of Palestinakomiteen hand-delivered the letter to government buildings and wrote an open letter to the Transport Minister asking him to respect international human rights and for Norway to actively use its position in the UN Security Council to prevent more land grabbing by the Israeli state. Almost 6,000 people have sent letters to the Norwegian train company Norske Tog and the Norwegian Ministry of Transport asking for CAF to be excluded from public tenders.
Activists in Norway handing a letter to the Minister of Transport
In the UK hundreds of people joined a twitterstorm asking HS2 and the Department of Transport to listen to human rights organisations and legal experts about the duty to exclude CAF from the HS2 until it ends its role in the illegal Israeli Jerusalem Light Rail.
Similarly, over 1,000 people have contacted the Dutch authorities. The letter was sent to three Dutch public transport authorities (NS, GVB and OV-Utrecht). Since 2018, CAF has won at least three major contracts in the Netherlands, prompting activists to pressure Dutch authorities not to renew them and to exclude CAF from future tenders.
In the Basque Country there were big mobilisations on Palestinian Land Day supported by major trade unions protesting CAF’s and Basque institutions’ complicity in Israeli apartheid. These mobilisations took place in Iruña, Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz.
Protest in Bilbao
French company Veolia lost billions of euros worth of contracts for its involvement in the Jerusalem Light Rail following Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against it. These major losses ultimately forced the company to divest fully from its illegal Israeli business.