A group of Scottish hospitality workers have announced their support for a boycott campaign against Israel, accusing it of committing apartheid and human rights violations against the Palestinian people. The campaign, called Hospo4Palestine, is part of a global movement of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
Hospo4Palestine: A Call for Justice and Accountability
Hospo4Palestine is a collective of hospitality workers, chefs, bartenders, and restaurant owners who have pledged to boycott Israeli products and services, as well as companies that support Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestine. The campaign was launched on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and has gained the endorsement of several prominent figures in the Scottish hospitality industry, such as James Morton, the winner of the Great British Bake Off, and Julie MacLeod, the owner of the award-winning restaurant The Little Chartroom.
The campaign’s website states that its aim is to “raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people and to pressure the Israeli government to end its illegal occupation, colonization, and apartheid regime”. It also calls for the implementation of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate Israel economically, culturally, and politically until it complies with international law and respects the rights of the Palestinians.
The campaign’s spokesperson, Aliya Hassan, said that the hospitality industry has a responsibility to stand up for justice and human dignity. “We are a diverse and inclusive industry that values people from all backgrounds and cultures. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering and oppression of the Palestinian people, who have been denied their basic rights and freedoms for decades by the Israeli state. We believe that boycotting Israel is a peaceful and effective way to show our solidarity and to demand accountability from the Israeli government and its complicit partners,” she said.
The campaign has received support from various Palestinian organizations, such as the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE). They have praised the Scottish hospitality workers for their courage and commitment to the Palestinian cause, and urged other sectors and industries to join the boycott movement.
Israel: A State of Apartheid and Oppression
The boycott campaign against Israel is based on the premise that Israel is a state of apartheid and oppression, which violates the human rights and dignity of the Palestinian people. According to the United Nations, apartheid is a crime against humanity that involves “inhumane acts committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.
Israel has been accused of practicing apartheid by various human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, as well as by prominent figures, such as former US President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu. They have pointed out that Israel maintains a system of discrimination and segregation that privileges Jewish Israelis over Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as over Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Israel also denies the right of return to millions of Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled from their homes during the 1948 war and the 1967 war, and who are now living in exile.
Israel has also been condemned for its brutal and illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, which has lasted for more than half a century. Israel has built hundreds of illegal settlements and outposts on Palestinian land, which are inhabited by over 600,000 Jewish settlers, who enjoy full rights and privileges, while the Palestinians are subjected to military rule, checkpoints, roadblocks, curfews, house demolitions, land confiscation, and violence. Israel has also built a separation wall that cuts through the West Bank, isolating and fragmenting Palestinian communities and restricting their movement and access to their lands, resources, and services. Israel has also imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has turned it into an open-air prison, where nearly two million Palestinians live in dire conditions, facing poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, water scarcity, power cuts, and frequent Israeli attacks.
The boycott campaign against Israel is a response to the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and human rights, and to the lack of a genuine and just peace process that would end the occupation and grant the Palestinians their right to self-determination and statehood. The campaign is inspired by the successful boycott movement that helped to end apartheid in South Africa, and hopes to achieve a similar outcome in Palestine.