Hewlett Packard (HP) faces over $120 million in potential losses since Indiaâ€™s largest student federation passed aÂ resolutionÂ to support the BDS movement and to boycott Hewlett Packard (HP) companies over theirÂ well-documentedÂ complicity in Israelâ€™s grave violations of Palestinian human rights.
Apoorva Gautam, the India-based South Asia coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, explained:
The Students Federation of India (SFI) isÂ more than 4 million members strong, and on June 9, they joined the global campaign to boycott HP. This means that Hewlett Packard companies now risk losing over 4 million potential clients in India because of their complicity in Israelâ€™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. This is enormously significant.
What Palestinians and Indian students are showing is that companies seeking to profit from Israelâ€™s military occupation and discriminatory regime face growing popular opposition and risk a serious hit to both their reputations and pocket-books.
HP has provided technology and services that support Israelâ€™s military occupation andÂ racial discriminationÂ policies, including its devastating siege suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, and illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.
Today, HP-branded companies provide the Israeli government with theÂ serversÂ that house its notorious population registry, a key component in the apparatus ofÂ apartheid. Records also indicate that HP-branded companies areÂ still responsibleÂ for selling computers to the Israeli military. As such, HP products and services enable racial segregation and denial of basic rights.
In its resolution to boycott HP, the Students Federation of India (SFI) condemned Israelâ€™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 â€śclose security and military ties with Israelâ€ť and for having become â€śthe largest arms buyer from Israel.â€ť
Vikram Singh, the federationâ€™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 Israelâ€™s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights. Until then, this boycott will continue and will grow even stronger.
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 first hand how difficult it is to study, and to simply live, under decades of Israelâ€™s brutal military rule and devastating siege. And Iâ€™m heartened by this important gesture of support from India, which reaffirms that where governments fail, people have the the power to act and make a difference.
In the past few years, US churchÂ denominationsÂ 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,Â divestedÂ from HP in 2012. Most recently, the Dublin City CouncilÂ joinedÂ the BDS movement and called for ending ties with HP because of the companyâ€™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.
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.