11th Floor, Braamfontein Centre
23 Jorissen Street 
Braamfontein, 2017
South Africa
12 June 2014
Dear Friends and Comrades,
Israel has the fourth largest army in the world. Above is footage involving the Israeli army from this past Friday, the 6th of June. Click here to download a low-resolution cellphone copy of the video clip or click here to watch the video in high-resolution on YouTube.
South Africa’s last president under white rule has recently warned that Israel risks heading toward complete apartheid. Click here for more information.
In a strong, apparently unscripted move on his recent visit to Bethlehem, Pope Francis suddenly waved to the driver of his Popemobile, asking to get out. Surrounded by young children waving Palestinian flags the Pope prayed in front of Israel’s 8 metre high Apartheid Wall (deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice and which almost completely imprisons the town of Bethlehem). Some have suggested that the Pope's prayer at Israel's Apartheid Wall could be the Pope implicitly saying: "Tear down this wall!" The Pope chose to carry out this symbolic gesture at a portion of Israel's Apartheid Wall where graffiti read: "Pope we need some one to speak about justice... Bethlehem looks like [the] Warsaw ghetto. Free Palestine." The town of Bethlehem, sacred to Christians around the world, is located in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank and has come under severe Israeli restrictions in recent years forcing many of the indigenous Palestinian Christians into exile. Click here for a short YouTube video on the effects of Israel's Apartheid Wall on the town of Bethlehem.

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Bill Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has sold ALL 1,9 Billion Rands ($184 million) of holdings in the Israeli-linked G4S Security. G4S runs and equips Israel's detention, torture and incarceration centers where Palestinian political prisoners are held, including over 200 Palestinian children under the age of 18. Click here for the USA Bloomberg news article.
Last week it was reported that the Bill Gates Foundation had "whittled down" its shares in G4S. Now it has been confirmed that the Foundation has COMPLETELY divested from G4S. We join all peace and justice loving people in commending Bill Gates (@BillGates), Melinda Gates (@MelindaGates), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (@GatesFoundation) for being on the right side of history by divesting from G4S. In the 1980s, divesting from companies that were involved in Apartheid South Africa was to be on the right side of history. Today, divesting from companies that are complicit the Israeli oppression of Palestinians is to be on the right side of history. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign seeks to hold Israel, and international companies involved in Israel, accountable to international law.
The divestment from G4S by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, follows an international Palestinian-led BDS boycott campaign that publicly urged Bill Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to end investments in G4S security due to the company's involvement in Israeli detention and torture centres which hold Palestinian political prisoners. Earlier this year, on the international day of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian solidarity and BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) activists held protests at the various country offices of the Bill Gates Foundation including in Johannesburg, London and the USA.
In 2007 G4S Security was contracted to provide and maintain Israeli prisons, torture centres and detention facilities. G4S also provides equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints and illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. In 2012, due to this complicity in Israeli human rights abuses, Palestinian prisoners and prisoner support organisations called for an international BDS boycott of G4S as part of the global Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. There is a price (reputational and other) for G4S to pay for its complicity in (and profiteering from) Israel's oppression of the Palestinians. Below are some victories from around the world in the BDS campaign against G4S.
- In November 2010, the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) in Denmark ended its contract with G4S. Pat Nissen of RCT explaining the RCT decision said: “G4S as a company is helping to facilitate torture.”
- In October 2011, the Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) overwhelmingly passed a motion through its Student Council to block their contract with G4S in protest of G4S' involvement in "Israeli Apartheid".
- In January 2012, Amnesty International in Denmark terminated its contract with G4S (after initially trying to influence G4S policies). “We do not want to work with G4S because the company’s global activities do not live up to Amnesty International’s requirements in relation to human rights,” commented Amnesty International secretary Lars Normann Jørgensen.
- In April 2012, the European Union refused to renew its contract (service contract number 118611-2012) with G4S following concerns raised by MEPs and human right organizations (including Jews for Justice for Palestinians [JJFP] and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods [JBIG]) about the role G4S plays in Israel in violation of international law.
- In July 2012, the general director of Danish Church Aid (DCA) announced that his organization would not renew its contract with G4S due to the company's continued activity in Israel's illegal Jewish-only settlements.
- In August 2012, Denmark's Merkur Bank terminated its contract with G4S. Spokesperson Karl Johnsen, said that the bank had canceled its contract “because of G4S’ s involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
- In September 2012, the UK energy firm, good Energy, ditched G4S adding that “feedback from customers” was one of the reasons behind its decision.
- In October 2012, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights made special mention of G4S as one of the international companies that should be boycotted for their involvement in Israel. In a news release, the UN Special Rapporteur, Richard Falk, said: “My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted".
- In November 2012, over 20 Norwegian organizations, trade unions and NGOs including Amnesty International, Norwegian People's Aid and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) wrote an open letter to G4S calling on the company to withdraw from Israel.
- In December 2012, two Dutch charities refused to accept any future donations from G4S after they were informed about the company’s role in Israel’s detention of, specifically, Palestinian children.
- Also in December 2012, the University of Oslo voted to end its G4S contract over G4S' support for "Israeli apartheid".
- In January 2013, G4S was nominated by civil society organisations for the Public Eye’s "World’s Worst Company Award" due to its role in Israel's illegal detention centers, torture facilities and incarceration of Palestinian political prisoners.
- On the 05th of June 2013, Avaaz.org, the global petition-site operating in over 190 countries launched an online petition against G4S (just ahead of the G4S AGM). The petition drew over 12 000 signatures within 24 hours.
- On the 20th of September 2013, the East London Teachers Association (ELTA) in the UK passed a motion condemning G4S’ complicity in Israel’s prison system, "unlawful detention and torture [of Palestinians]" which it termed as "profoundly unethical".
- On the 01st of October 2013, the Norwegian trade union, Industri Energi, ended its G4S contract as an "act of solidarity" with the Palestinians.
- On the 02nd of October 2013, the Grand Mufti and Imam of Jerusalem issued an official edict against G4S and called on Saudi Arabia to cancel its G4S Hajj contract.
- On the 06th of October 2013, South Africa's largest trade union federation, COSATU, called on the South African government to end all its contracts with G4S. In a strongly-worded statement COSATU said: "It is worrying that G4S (a British-Danish private security company that provides services and equipment to Israeli prisons, Israeli checkpoints, Israel's Apartheid Wall and the Israeli police) has now been courted by our government to milk tax payer's money in order to finance its controversial operations in the Apartheid State of Israel."
- On the 11th of October 2013, Dave Prentis the General Secretary of one of the UK’s largest trade unions, UNISON, called for G4S to pull out of Israel. Writing directly to G4S, Prentis said: "I understand that your [G4S] activities in Israel only account for approximately one percent of G4S profits. However, I believe that the reputational risks that these activities pose for your company are far greater [than profit]".
- On the 21st of October 2013, the Dutch Green Left Party (DGLP) became one of the first political parties to end its contract with G4S. The party bureau of the DGLP considered cooperation with G4S as "conflicting with its political principles"; this was communicated to G4S.
- On the 27th of October 2013, from South Africa's historic Robben Island, BDS South Africa singled-out G4S in its address at the "Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Political Prisoners" campaign launch with Ahmed Kathrada and others.
- On the 31st of October 2013, the University of Bergen became the second Norwegian university to not to boycott G4S. Significantly, G4S presented the lowest priced offer in the security tender proposals but the Norwegian university added an estimated loss of 2,5 million NOK (R4,1 million rands/ $400 000 dollars) related to potential reputational damage that the University would suffer if they chose to award their security contract to G4S due to the involvement of G4S in Israel's illegal detention facilities, torture centers and incarceration of Palestinian political prisoners.
- On 06 November 2013, the Trauma Centre in Cape Town ended its contract with G4S over G4S’ role in Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians.
- In December 2013, Abvakabo, a trade union with 350,000 members in the Netherlands, ends its relationship with G4S.
- In January 2014, the student union at the University of Kent in the southeast of England voted to terminate its contract with G4S following an “outcry” over its role in human rights abuses in Palestine.
- On the 02nd of June 2014, a UK government-funded watchdog, the National Contact Point (NCP), agreed to officially investigate G4S's activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The NCP sits within the UK Department for Business and is responsible for ensuring the OECD standards for the behaviour of multinationals are fulfilled.

- On the 03rd of June 2014, G4S dropped by 1.6% on the FTSE100 following the announcement that a British government-funded watchdog will be investigating G4S activities in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

- On the 04th of June 2014, to coincide with the AGM of G4S Security, well-known personalities wrote an open letter to the Management of G4S calling on the company to end its Israeli contracts. The letter began: "As G4S management and shareholders prepare to participate in the G4S AGM on Thursday, we call on G4S management and shareholders to end the corporation's participation in Israel's brutal occupation". Signatories included: South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Former Robben Island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada; Novelist Alice Walker; Linguist, philosopher and author Noam Chomsky; Author and Activist Angela Davis; Poet, painter and former South African political prisoner Breyten Breytenbach; Actor Miriam Margolyes; Author John Berger; and, Director, Ken Loach.

- On the 5th of June 2014, protests were held outside G4S Security's annual shareholder meeting in London. In addition several activists made their way inside the meeting where they also protested against the company's Israeli involvement. The protests, both inside and outside, are reminiscent of the disruption of shareholder meetings during the 1980s in protest against companies that were involved with Apartheid South Africa. Companies like G4S were targeted and boycotted during Apartheid in South Africa and today a similar international isolation of Israel through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign is currently underway.
- On the 6th of June 2014, the Financial Mail reported that G4S intends to pull out of Israel within 3 years. Human Rights activists cautiously welcomed the news, but emphasized that the campaign and pressure on the company must continue until its contracts with Israel come to an immediate and complete end.
Join us in appealing to local businesses, restaurants, shops, property owners, universities and other entities to drop G4S. Click here for a model letter that can be downloaded, edited and delivered to businesses and other entities (remember to communicate with us any of your successes). Click here for stickers, flyers, posters, t-shirt designs and other campaign material that you can download and make use of. If you are a business or other entity that is considering cancelling your G4S contract we would be happy to answer any queries that you may have. Also, please let us know if you are a businesses or organization that has already terminated your G4S contract!
11th Floor | Braamfontein Centre | 23 Jorissen Street | Braamfontein | Johannesburg
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