The UK Charity Commission is investigating War on Want (WoW) for anti-Israel protests at the central London Waitrose supermarket. Activists wore “Boycott Israeli Goods” shirts, and collected produce that was grown in Israel. An official said the Charity Commission would examine “whether this is an acceptable activity for the charity to undertake.”
Following the protest, the Canadian Jewish Tribune newspaper contacted one of WoW’s funders, Comic Relief, over concerns that donations were used for “anti-Israel advocacy.” A Comic Relief spokesperson insisted that it only supported “poverty alleviation programs for women, children and communities in South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Guatemala,” and “have never made a grant to or relating to Palestine or Israel.”
Another BDS non-success occurred in Germany. In May 2010, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Pax Christi issued statements calling on Deutsche Bank to “end its investment in Elbit Systems,” a Haifa-based company that supplies defense equipment and technology. Activists claimed that Deutsch Bank agreed to divest: the vice president of Pax Christi Germany called the divestment campaign a “huge success,” and the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (PGAAWC) took credit for starting a “chain of divestments from Elbit.” But, according to the bank’s CEO, “Deutsche Bank had no stake” and therefore did not divest” from the company.
Similarly, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) reported “good news” in its campaign to convince TIAA-CREF, a large US-based financial company, to “divest from the Israeli occupation.” In fact, TIAA-CREF reiterated that it was “unable to alter our investment policy,” emphasizing its “responsibility to earn a competitive financial return on retirement savings.”
Further articles BDS failure:
- Jon Haber, BDS: Nuisance or genuine threat? Jerusalem Post, June 15, 2010
- Robert Fulford, The anti-Israel boycott campaign: a study in failure, National Post, July 10, 2010