Documents obtained by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign show how a subsidiary of an Israeli company operating in Britain turned successfully for help from the Scottish Government to deal with what the Israeli company called â€œa wave of protestsâ€¦that is threatening the future of Eden Springs UKâ€.
The contract cancellations had created a â€œpressing situationâ€ for the subsidiary of the giant Israeli multinational water cooler company.
The letter we have obtained, under Freedom of Information legislation, is from the Eden Springsâ€™ Business Development Director to the Director of Scottish enterprise, and reveals a fear of the growing boycott of Eden Springs.Â The writer seeks a meeting with an official of Government-funded Scottish Enterprise to obtain â€œadvice or assistance to stem undue harmâ€ to the Israeli company, namely how to avoid further â€œtermination of Eden Springsâ€™ public sector contracts as a result of this boycottâ€.
The timing is revealing; the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign had launched a campaign in 2007 to inform the public of Eden Springsâ€™ criminality and had secured a steady rate of contract cancellations. Partly as a result, Eden Springs closed their depot in Loanhead in November 2008.
Israeli massacres in Gaza during New Year 2009 then led to student occupations and sit-ins across the UK; during these protests, all the Scottish student groups raised demands during their occupations for their university to end contracts with Eden Springs. Thousands of angry protestors heard the SPSC message to channel their anger into boycott of Eden Springs.
Less than six months later, while the traumatised survivors of Operation Cast Lead were still struggling to survive amidst the rubble of their Gaza homes, MSP Alex Neill of the ruling Scottish National Party offered his support to the Israeli company to cope with the damage caused by the growing boycott. A meeting was quickly arranged between Eden Springsâ€™ management and two un-named representatives of the Scottish Government, who were â€œhappyâ€¦to helpâ€ Eden Springs by â€œproviding supportâ€.Â On January 5thÂ 2010, a meeting took place between Eden Springsâ€™ UK Managing Director Jean-Marc Bolinger and Scottish Minister John Swinney.
The Swinney meeting with Bolinger took place just two months before Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond called publicly for Israel to be economically sanctioned to pressure it to end its crimes. During international uproar concerning Israeli misuse of British passports to carry out the murder of a Palestinian official in a Dubai hotel room, the First Minister told a TV audience:
â€œThis has implications for example in trading relationshipsâ€”you canâ€™t have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved inâ€.
Despite the First Ministerâ€™s speech, the Scottish Government the following year gave Â£200,000 of Scottish taxpayersâ€™ money to Eden Springs, some of which will end up as profits in Israel, taxed there and freeing up state funds for military aggression and further dispossession of the Palestinian people.
The Scottish Government is financially supporting the business plans of the Scottish subsidiary of an Israeli settler company, Eden Springs, which includes public proposals to promote the products of another Israeli settler company, Soda Stream, which is headquartered in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumin in the occupied West Bank.
Despite the Scottish Governmentâ€™s actions, the boycott campaign against Eden Springs is continuing to grow with, for example, the Scottish TUC and the UK National Union of Students adding their endorsement.
This struggle is a marathon rather than a 100 yards sprint. On the one side, Eden Springs is an Israeli multi-national operating across most of Europe, backed by the Scottish Government. On the other is a modest campaign, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, entirely made up of volunteers, working in their spare time to support the Palestinian freedom struggle and the Palestinian call for boycott of Israeli companies.
The alarm inÂ Eden Springsâ€™ own correspondence at the growing boycott campaign and will give added confidence to solidarity campaigners to redouble our efforts to bring this company to book for its crimes.
The correspondence also gives the lie to those Zionist voices raised to deny the effectiveness of the SPSCâ€™s boycott campaign against Eden Springs. The companyâ€™s worries were kept from public view while the Israeli Ambassador claimed boycott was causing no harm and the Jerusalem PostrepeatedlyÂ accused SPSC ofÂ â€œfabricatingâ€Â the entire story.Â This line was maintained despite mounting evidence and despite Eden SpringsÂ hiring PR companyÂ Weber ShandwickÂ in a damage limitation exercise.
Eden Springs tries to conceal its status as a subsidiary of an Israeli multinational for the understandable reason that Israel is a toxic brand for most people worldwide, including most Scots. Other Israeli-owned companies have threatened to sue SPSC on the explicit grounds that SPSC publicity to the effect that they are an Israeli company, is â€˜incredibly damaging to their businessâ€™.
The BDS campaign needs to prepare for the next round. This will demand maximum cooperation across the UK through the Boycott Israel Network (BIN) to ratchet up the pressure on an Israeli company we now know to be vulnerable. Internationally, the World Social Forum-Free Palestine in Brazil in October offers an opportunity to develop the case for selecting Eden Springs as a priority target of the BDS campaign Europe-wide.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
7 April 2012
The Eden Springs letter claims falsely that:
- â€œsome inaccuracies have been circulatedâ€¦regarding the ownership of Eden Springsâ€
FACT: Eden Springs is 72% owned by the Israeli holding company Eden Springs Ltd (Mayanot Eden) and 28% by Och-Ziff Capital Management Group. Och-Ziff was founded by Daniel Och, billionaire contributor and Treasurer of Birthright Israel. Arial Sharon once said that Birthright Israel was â€œone of the most important contributionsâ€ to the state of Israel.
- â€œSPSC claims that Eden Springs UK sources water from the Golan Heights.â€
- FACT: this is untrue. See SPSC factsheet.
The Jerusalem Post denied thatÂ Eden Springs had closed any depots in Scotland
FACT: theÂ Eden Springs depotÂ at 4 Dryden Place, Loanhead EH20 9HP closed in November 2008