PRESS STATEMENT: South African company confirms withdrawal from Israeli take-over of Clover Dairy

13 April 2019

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa welcomes the announcement by the South African firm, Brimstone Investment Corporation, to fully exit the Israeli take-over of our country’s largest dairy company, Clover Industries.

The announcement was made via a SENS notice (12 April 2019), wherein Brimstone states that it has entered into an agreement “to facilitate [its] exit from its participation in the Clover Transaction. As a result, Brimstone will not be participating in the Clover Transaction…”

On 22 March 2019 Brimstone had announced that it was, at that stage, “reviewing” its participation. The then review and now exit of Brimstone from the Israeli take-over of Clover comes following an outcry from South African civil society organizations, trade unions and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, 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

Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC), together with several smaller partners (previously including the South African firm Brimstone) intend to take-over Clover for R4.8 Billion. 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 (*see below)

We commend the leadership of Brimstone for having interacted with us and members of the public, and for now 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 the call for direct-action and a militant but peaceful campaign, including protests and disruptions against Clover and a boycott of all its products. The deal has thus far been publicly opposed by COSATU (click here), FAWU (click here), Popcru (click here), ANC Youth League (click here), YCL, MRN, several Palestine solidarity organizations and others. We will work with all partners on the boycott of Clover if the Israeli take over proceeds.

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*CBC’s complicity in human rights abuses and violations of international law

– CBC, in violation of international law, 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.

– In 2015 CBC donated over R150 000 to the right wing, racist and facist organization Im Tirtzu, a group that, among others, directly funds campaigns in support of Israeli soldiers and the IDF. During the 2014 Israeli attacks on Gaza, which left 1400 Palestinians dead, Im Tirtzu (together with the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) facilitated supplies to IDF soldiers. They also support IDF reservists and advocate for reserve soldiers to receive preferential grants.

– In 2009 CBC hosted a special reception to honour Israeli Brigadier-General, Ben-Eliezer who served as Israeli Defence Minister and in that capacity, presided over the 2002 storming of Jenin, a refugee camp, leaving hundreds of Palestinians dead.

ISSUED BY TISETSO MAGAMA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA
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