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Spirit of Contradiction

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Grafton Group plc - no corporate social responsibility

category limerick | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday August 28, 2007 00:24author by Sean Clinton - Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Report this post to the editors

Woodie's DIY - supporting Apartheid Israel

Members of the Limerick branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign mounted a picket outside the new Woodie's DIY outlet on the Ennis Road, Limerick on Sunday afternoon. Earlier this year the IPSC sent letters to all Grafton Group plc Board members informing them about the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel and asking them to refuse to sell products manufactured in Apartheid Israel until it abides by international humanitarian law and adheres to the norms of civilised behaviour
Members of Limerick IPSC ready for action
Members of Limerick IPSC ready for action

Shoppers entering the store were made aware of the fact that Woodie's DIY continues to profit from sales of Keter Plastic products manufactured in Apartheid Israel. Many shoppers were very interested to read the information and wanted to know more about the campaign. One man felt so strongly about this that he said he would refuse to shop in Woodie's, turned and waked away.

The hypocrisy of Grafton Group plc is exposed by their own web site which trumpets their corporate social responsibility and yet they continue to profit from trade with a state that discriminates against its own citizens and is guilty of gross human rights violations including war crimes as documented by Amnesty International. The Grafton Group plc web site claims " The Group has long recognised the importance of conducting its business in a socially responsible manner". "The Group considers that corporate social responsibility is an integral element of good business management".

Corporate social responsibility means taking affirmative action to support human rights, not supporting a regime that flouts international law and wages a brutal campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the voiceless and defenceless Palestinian people.

Judging by the lack of response to the IPSC letter from any of the board members of the Grafton Group plc they may have chosen to ignore this campaign in the mistaken belief that it will quietly fade away.

Customers are given information fliers
Customers are given information fliers

PDF Document Grafton Group flier 0.43 Mb

author by Bystanderpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why don't they picket government buildings non-stop for allowing A-I to have any sort of embassy in Dublin?

Oh, I forgot, you should always go for the Soft Targets....

author by Sineadpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 13:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What effect does picketing a government building have? Very little other than a symbolic gesture.
Whereas, when someone profits from an occupation, it makes sense to go after the income they get from it. So, if the silver and gold is a soft target it's a good one.
It's a lot better than Hamas suicide bomber's tactics, which besides being morally reprehensible, are not very effective in ending the occupation, seeing as the Israelis can always use these bombings as an excuse to crack down even more on the Occupied Territories.

author by Padraigpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2007 22:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What if all people of good conscience spontaneously stopped purchasing Israeli goods all over the world as a means of objecting to Apartheid Israeli policies? Conceivably this might have some kind of effect? Obviously it would have a direct economic impact on Israeli society, it would force the Israeli government - if not the Israeli people - to _at_least_ examine their policies. Boycott is one of the few ways available for the average man to actually make his voice heard in this world.....cause lets be honest, if people act to take money away from other peoples pockets they don't tend to ignore it, do they? Effectively, picketing will attract the curious, the open-minded and the converted to the Israeli/Palestinian situation but an effective boycott can force the active occupying population to readdress their conscience - and possibly their policies....something which is, at this stage, badly needed.

Protesting outside embassies is of course worthwhlie and justified. But even closing embassies would only make a practical difference if the act were followed up by a direct policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel because trade and investment is 'Real Politic' and trade and investment is what keeps countries alive.

So picketing embassies is one option but it has to be part of a more practical approach. People are not, of course, going to spontaneously boycott Israeli goods - they mightn't know what they're buying is from Israel, they mightn't even know about Israel at informing them is essential. So woodies sells Israeli goods. Is this irrelevant? Should it be ignored? Why not ignore every place in the world supporting Apartheid Israel? The answer is obvious, too many people are suffering to ignore this situation. And one of the more important effects of picketing woodies is that it might give people the idea of looking out for and boycotting Israeli goods in other areas. So this is not a 'soft target', it is, in my opinion, a necessary and definately a worthwhile target as part of an overall plan.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Aug 29, 2007 16:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heres a good argument in favour of the boycott:

Two Palestinian children have been killed in an explosion in a farming area in the north of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources say. Witnesses said the children were killed by cross-border Israeli artillery fire east of the Jabaliya refugee camp.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the dead children were 10 and 12 years old. It said another 10-year-old was injured in the blast.

author by David Lpublication date Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And here's another argument for boycott - the fact that Israel is not allowing paper into the Gaza strip. This means that hundreds of thousands of schoolkids won't have textbooks when school starts tomorrow. The reason for this ban - as the Israeli man says, paper can be used 'for propagandist endeavours'.

In this situation it's difficult to oppose an academic boycott of Israeli institutions - when they are actually banning Palestinians from having paper.

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