BDS Movement | 26/07/2011 | Facing a bankruptcy hearing in a Tel Aviv court Tuesday, Israeli export company Agrexco has been beset by bad headlines in recent months. Now its….
BDS Movement | 26/07/2011 |
Facing a bankruptcy hearing in a Tel Aviv court Tuesday, Israeli
export company Agrexco has been beset by bad headlines in recent
months. Now its problems look set to worsen, after Palestinian
solidarity groups from across Europe joined forces to escalate a
A new coalition on Thursday promised to “put an end to Agrexco’s
presence in Europe”. Twenty-three groups signed a declaration saying
they had established a mechanism to coordinate boycott campaigns and
court actions against the exporter.
“We are putting potential buyers on notice: any company investing in
Agrexco will be targeted by boycotts all over Europe,” said Saqer
Nazzal who represents the Palestinian Union of Professional
Associations on the secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott Divestment
and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).
The alliance of European groups such as the French Coalition contre
Agrexco have set Saturday 26 November as a pan-European day of action
against the company.
Campaigners have drawn attention to the exporter’s involvement with
illegal Israeli settlements with stunts, pickets and direct action.
Last month in Milan, activists delivered gift baskets of rotten fruit
and vegetables to the company’s HQ, symbolizing Palestinian
agricultural products rotting at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank,
while Agrexco freely exports to Europe.
In June, Israeli financial publication Globes reported “heavy losses”
for the fresh produce company, as Agrexco struggled to manage its
debt. Fruitnet.com recently reported the company owed creditors €106
Shir Hever, an Israeli economist with the AIC in Jerusalem said: “many
Israeli farmers are abandoning Agrexco, possibly because of the
campaigns against Agrexco in France, Italy, Spain, the UK and
elsewhere. Maybe the Agrexco brand is no longer as appealing to
farmers as it was before. It’s no coincidence in my opinion that
Agrexco shows the first signs of strain.”
Agrexco has been a prime target of pro-Palestine activists calling for
boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Half-owned by the Israeli government, Agrexco is responsible for
60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israel’s illegal
settlements in occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).
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NOTES FOR EDITORS:
* The full declaration is titled “Political declaration of the
European Forum Against Agrexco” and is available on the BNC website.
Direct link: http://bit.ly/agrexcoBDS
* Sources: “Agrexco proposes 35% haircut to bondholders”, Globes, 23
“Agrexco trustee wants worker cuts”, Fruitnet.com, 18 July: http://bit.ly/oayIrL
“Agrexco Agricultural Export Company”, WhoProfits.org database
* Sold under brand names such as Carmel, Coral, Biotop and Eco-Fresh,
Agrexco products from settlements have routinely been mislabelled and
submitted with papers claiming they originate inside the Green Line.
Such attempts to fraudulently qualify them for preferential customs
treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement have led to
censure in the British Parliament.
* The EU Court of Justice has ruled that settlement produce should not
qualify for such preferential treatment. In February 2011, a report of
the commercial court in Montpellier, France, found that Carmel Agrexco
deliberately misled customs officials about the origin of their
* The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is a coalition of
Palestinian civil society groups. It was formed as the Palestinian
reference point in the broad campaign for Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS), which resulted in the July 2005 Palestinian Call for
boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, with the initial
endorsement of over 170 Palestinian organizations.