Well-attended BDS conference organised by the Dutch Trade Unions and NGOs in Utrecht
On 28 September 2013, in Utrecht, the Dutch trade union ABVAKABO-FNV, together with the Dutch organisations Cordaid, A Different Jewish Voice, PalestineLink, Workgroup Palestine Kairos Netherlands, DocP and the Foundation XminY, organised a conference to generate additional momentum for the successful and growing Dutch and European movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it agrees to abide by international law.
Entitled "Conference for Peace in Palestine/Israel: Trade Unions and Citizens Together in Action Against the Occupation", the conference was attended by more than 100 persons from among the trade union movement, from NGOs and from other associations.
Among the highlights were an opening speech by Rafeef Ziadah on behalf of PTUC-BDS (Palestine Trade Union Coalition for BDS) and a truly stirring closing speech by Cees Flinterman, professor of international law and member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. In his closing remarks, Flinterman highlighted the general consensus among participants concerning the following six points (unofficial translation):
1. Companies that are involved in contracts with, or investments in business enterprises in the settlements, or that are involved in the construction of the wall, should be discouraged from pursuing these (illegal) business practices.
2. No business should be done with these companies involved in these business practices.
3. Pension funds should be compelled not to invest in companies involved in these business practices.
4. Members of associations, organisations and Dutch citizens in general should be informed about the activities of companies involved in these business practices, (i.e. as informed consumers). The government should be compelled to properly label products and/or to ban products that profit from business enterprises in the settlements.
5. The government (for example employer associations) should be compelled to exclude companies from (Dutch) public tenders that are involved in these business practices.
6. The government should be compelled to exclude settlements from bilateral co-operation agreements and instruments, including excluding organisations that finance settlement activities from benefitting from a preferential tax position and to prevent financial transitions that support the settlements and related enterprises.