The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has issued a fresh call to action to escalate its successful campaign against HP Enterprise (HPE), which it labels as “complicit” in Israel’s “apartheid” against Palestine.
Based on recent revelation of HPE’s involvement in Israel’s prison and surveillance systems, the movement has called for the reinvigorated campaign. “Let us teach HP, and through it all corporate criminals, that profiting from war crimes and human rights violations comes at a steep price,” the Palestinian BDS National Committee said in an announcement on January 10.
The Committee cited that Who Profits, an independent research organisation, has revealed that HP Enterprise, which was founded in 2015 after the split of Hewlett-Packard Company into HP Inc and HPE, continues to provide services to Israeli prisons and police.
According to Who Profits, “HPE, which specialises in the manufacturing and marketing of storage and server hardware, retained several occupation-related involvements through its Israeli subsidiary Hewlett Packard (Israel) Ltd.”
Amid its notable involvement with Israel is HPE’s service to the country from 2017 to 2020 as the sole provider of Itanium servers for the ‘Aviv’ System. The Israeli Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration uses the Aviv computerisation system, which contains the Population Registry with information on Palestinian citizens and non-citizen residents of occupied East Jerusalem. The System also includes the ‘Yesha database’, which contains information on Israeli citizens residing in the West Bank and Gaza settlements, Who Profits reported. HPE’s business partner DXC Technology developed, operated and maintained this system while HPE itself supplied the required servers for it.
The BDS Committee said this database in Aviv, which includes Palestinian citizens and East Jerusalem residents, has “facilitated Israel’s efforts to ethnically cleanse and colonize Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and other Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied Jerusalem.”
The BDS Committee noted that HPE’s contract providing servers for the Aviv System has ended, according to a recent Who Profits report. “This achievement comes on the heels of over a decade of effective campaigning against HP by solidarity groups, churches, unions and progressive city councils across the world,” the BDS Committee said.
While celebrating this development after their ’Boycott HP’ campaign, and claiming a shift in favour of Palestinian liberation and against Israeli apartheid, the movement called for intensifying the BDS campaigns against HP-branded companies due to the recent revelations of the company’s continued involvement with the Israeli government. Referring to the Who Profits report, the BDS Committee said, “HP remains deeply complicit in Israel’s grave human rights violations.”
Who Profits reports, “In 2020, [HPE] was contracted to provide computer and communication maintenance for Israel Prison Service for 2021-2022 for the amount of over NIS 1 Million (>300,000 USD)”. In 2021, the company was also given the contract to maintain servers for the Israel Police until 2023, in the amount of NIS 4 million.
Noting that over 500 Palestinian administrative detainees have called for a boycott of Israeli military courts and are mobilising against the policy, the BDS Committee said, “We are escalating our campaign against HP as part of our commitment to the just demands of the Palestinian administrative detainees and other political prisoners in apartheid Israel’s dungeons.”
Launched in 2005 by 170 Palestinian unions, refugee networks, women’s organisations, resistance committees, and Palestinian civil society groups, the BDS movement has gained support in its quest to win justice for Palestine.
The ‘Boycott HP’ campaign has grown over the years, spreading across the globe and drawing support from major trade unions, including the United Kingdom’s second-largest Unite the Union and the Netherlands’ largest trade union federation Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV), and the Students Federation of India (SFI), which has 4 million members.
Moreover, along with prominent churches, the city councils of Dublin in Ireland and Portland and Oregon in the United States have also divested from HP companies over their involvement in alleged human rights violations.