NEW DELHI, June 12, 2018 (WAFA) - India’s largest student federation passed a resolution on Saturday to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that calls for boycotting Hewlett Packard (HP) companies over their well-documented complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights, Apoorva Gautam, the India-based South Asia coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said on Wednesday.
Gautam said the four-million-members strong Students Federation of India (SFI) has joined the global campaign to boycott HP. “This means that Hewlett Packard companies now risk losing over four million potential clients in India because of their complicity in Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian human rights.”
Given that the cheapest HP laptop in India costs about $300, this means that HP may be losing a potential student market of over $120 million.
“What Palestinians and Indian students are showing is that companies seeking to profit from Israel’s military occupation and discriminatory regime face growing popular opposition and risk a serious hit to both their reputations and pocket-books,” said Gautam.
“HP has provided technology and services that support Israel’s military occupation and racial discrimination policies, including its devastating siege suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, and illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.”
In its resolution to boycott HP, SFI condemned Israel’s recent violence against unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, where Israel killed at least 121 Palestinians and injured more than 13,000 in just the last two months. It also criticized the current right-wing government in India for its “close security and military ties with Israel” and for having become “the largest arms buyer from Israel.”
Vikram Singh, the federation’s General Secretary, promised that the campaign to boycott HP in India would grow.
“Our federation will spread the BDS movement and the HP boycott campaign in college and university campuses across India. We will work to convince university administrations to adopt procurement policies that prohibit doing business with HP companies until they prove that they are no longer complicit in Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights. Until then, this boycott will continue and will grow even stronger,” he said.
Abdulrahman Abunahel, a Gaza-based community organizer and coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), welcomed the resolution.
“Palestinian students and youth movements deeply appreciate the solidarity expressed by our counterparts in the Students Federation of India. As a young Palestinian in Gaza, I know firsthand how difficult it is to study, and to simply live, under decades of Israel’s brutal military rule and devastating siege. And I’m heartened by this important gesture of support from India, which reaffirms that where governments fail, people have the power to act and make a difference.”
In the past few years, US church denominations such as the US Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ have divested from HP. Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the socially responsible investment firm serving over three hundred Quaker institutions in the United States, divested from HP in 2012. Most recently, the Dublin City Council joined the BDS movement and called for ending ties with HP because of the company’s complicity in Israeli apartheid.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.