From the news desk

BDS welcomes Brimstone exit from Clover, but warns it will resist any Israeli take over

While it has welcomed the announcement by Brimstone Investment Corporation to fully exit the Israeli-led deal to acquire Clover Industries, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in South Africa has warned it won’t hesitate to act should any Israeli take-over go ahead. On Friday, Brimstone announced that it had decided not to enter into a partnership with Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC), together with several smaller partners, for the proposed take-over of Clover Dairy for R4.8 Billion.

Brimstone’s turnaround comes amid a huge outcry from trade unions and pro-Palestine organisations who have all opposed the deal based on the principle that it is being led by an Israeli company which is complicit in gross violations of human rights.

BDS spokesperson Tisetso Magama said if the takeover proceeds, they will initiate a call for direct action. Brimstone declined any interviews with VOC, saying they were “under cautionary”.

“Brimstone is only one partner. If the deal proceeds, Israel’s CBC will take control of 59.5% of the South African milk and dairy company. CBC is deeply complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law. So there is still a lot of work for us if the deal continues. We will certainly orchestrate a boycott campaign against all Clover products, if the deal goes ahead,” Magama told VOC Breakfast Beat.

CBC has operations in Israel’s illegal settlements – both in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. CBC and its subsidiaries own a regional distribution centre in the illegal Israeli Atarot settlement industrial zone, a vineyard near mount Shifon in the occupied Golan Heights and a dairy farm as well as offices in the illegal Israeli settlement of Shadmot Mehola in the Jordan Valley – all in violation of international law.

In addition, CBC – through its wholly owned Atarot distribution centre, denies the Palestinian franchisee, the National Beverages Company (NBC) – access to East Jerusalem, constituting an unfair captive market for the Israeli distributor.

“This organisation [CBC] has deep profits because of the occupation of Palestinians,” Magama stressed.

BDS South Africa commended the leadership of Brimstone for engaging the Palestinian movement and members of the public, and for following through with its exit from this Israeli take-over of Clover.

“We also salute members of the public and the various organizations that engaged on this issue. Notwithstanding Brimstone’s exit, BDS South Africa maintains that if the Israeli take-over proceeds, we will actively support or initiate a militant but peaceful campaign, including protests and disruptions against Clover and a boycott of all its products.”

The lesson for South African companies is that any partnership with an Israeli company found to be complicit in human rights violations will do immense damage to their brand, added Magama.

“Any company that involves itself in the occupation of Palestine must be very clear about the investment they want to make in South Africa. South Africans have shown repeatedly that we are people not easily bought. We have gone through these experiences ourselves and we feel and act in solidarity with the oppressed masses of the world.” VOC

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