Puma Swaps One Complicit Israeli Distributor for Another, Maintains Support for Israel’s Violent Land Grabs
Puma apparently sought to shed some of its complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, but failed at even doing that. Puma should focus on ending all complicity in Israel's violations of Palestinian rights, not damage control and public relations campaigns.
As the global boycott of Puma over its support for illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land continues to grow, Puma has been ramping up its misinformation campaign to deflect criticism.
In mid-December, human rights supporters across the world contacted Puma during the 4th Global Boycott Puma Day of Action urging the company to end support for Israeli apartheid oppressing millions of Palestinians. Puma responded with a statement containing one falsehood after another.
In the statement, Puma claimed it “does not support football teams in settlements.”
This is false. Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes and advocates on behalf of teams in illegal Israeli settlements. Puma’s logo is blazoned across the IFA website, including directly under a map of Israeli football fields in illegal settlements throughout the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Puma further claimed “nor does its Israeli distributor have branches in settlements.”
This is also false. Delta Galil, Puma’s exclusive licensee for Israel through the end of 2020, has branches in illegal Israeli settlements and is listed in the UN database of illegal settlement companies.
Puma went on to claim that its new licensee “Al Srad Ltd. does also not have any operations or branches in settlements.”
Again, false. Al Srad Ltd., part of the Irani Corporation, operates the chain of clothing outlets Factory 54, which is also a sponsor of the IFA. Factory 54 has an outlet in the Mamilla shopping center, which is located in the “no man’s land” surrounding occupied East Jerusalem and part of Israel’s illegal settlement-annexation enterprise.
In 1958, United Nations Security Council resolution 127 confirmed that Israel holds no sovereignty over any parts of the “no man’s land.” Israel subsequently occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, including the “no man’s land.” The “no man’s land” is considered to be occupied territory under international law. The United Nations and the international community recognizes East Jerusalem as an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory.
Puma’s new exclusive licensee in Israel, Al Srad Ltd., is operating a retail outlet built on occupied land in violation of international law.
Under pressure from the global boycott campaign, with a growing number of sports clubs dropping Puma sponsorship and Puma being forced to abandon its own #PumaFam hashtag, the brand apparently sought to shed some of its complicity in Israel’s human rights violations by ending its contract with Delta Galil.
Puma simply swapped one complicit Israeli company for another, while maintaining its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association and its support for Israel’s violent land grabs.
It is understandable that Puma, which promotes itself as a corporate champion of social justice, would want to distance itself from Israel’s apartheid regime that steals land and resources from the indigenous Palestinian population it has held under military occupation for decades.
However, public relations campaigns aimed at damage control won’t stop the global boycott campaign.
Until Puma fully ends all involvement in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights, the boycott campaign is only destined to grow.