Should Amazon be boycotted?
ILNSS, 25 February 2020
This month, the long-awaited UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights database of companies that are complicit in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise was published. All these companies must be held accountable, but the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) points out numerous other companies that should be included in this list, such as G4S, Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar, Volvo, Heidelberg Cement, and Cemex (1).
According to recent events, Amazon, the American e-commerce company, should also be included in this database, and held accountable. One may even wonder if Amazon should be a new target of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) international campaign.
Amazon has a long collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries, an Israeli state owned company that makes aircraft and weapons supplying the Israeli army, as well as Myanmar’s army. Amazon has another long collaboration with Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, two Israeli banks that are included in the aforementioned UN “list of shame”. Amazon also collaborates with Palantir, a private US firm which participates in the deportation of migrants in the USA, and in the racial profiling of Palestinians by the Israeli government.
Last but not least, Amazon offers free shipping of goods to Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, while charging customers in the West Bank who list their country as “Palestinian Territories”. In addition to this obvious racial discrimination, under international law, Amazon should not even be allowed to sell goods to illegal settlements. This amounts to complicity in a war crime, and since no international body is ready to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, it is time for civil society to stop contracting, procuring from or investing in any of the companies that are complicit with Israeli state policies.
To the long list of crimes that Amazon is suspected of, including brutal working conditions or anti-union actions, one can now add the complicity with Israeli Apartheid. As trade unions in the International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles, we ask again that Amazon complies with international law and divest from Israel and Israeli companies.
As trade unions in the International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles, we stand in solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues in the Palestinian Postal Service Workers Union (PPSWU) who have written to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (2), and with all Palestinians under Israeli military occupation, blockade, discrimination or who are prevented to return to their homes. We stand in solidarity with every future action that Palestinian civil society may choose to take, including a possible wide call for an international boycott of this shameful company.