More than twenty solidarity, human rights and animal rights organizations have signed an open letter demanding that Vancouver-based e-commerce company PlantX cease plans to expand to Israel, designated an apartheid state currently being investigated by the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Vegans for BDS, supported by Palestine solidarity groups, are protesting Canadian company PlantX’s expansion into Israel, citing complicity in the crime of apartheid.
In their letter to PlantX, Vegans for BDS and their signatories write, “As vegans, we are cautious about our consumption choices. We aim to do the least harm to animals, the environment, and humans. Neither are we mere consumers,” the group stated in their open letter to the company.” We strive to shape our world in accordance with these values. This is why we feel obligated to point out the harm that PlantX will cause, should you continue with your plans in Israel.”
The letter goes on to cite Israeli and international human rights organizations who have identified Israel’s policies and permanent military occupation of Palestine as apartheid. Quoting a United Nations Human Rights Office inquiry into corporate accountability of hundreds of Israeli and international companies, operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, the letter states “business enterprises may need to consider whether it is possible to engage in such an environment in a manner that respects human rights” and that “it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which a company could engage in listed activities in a way that is consistent with the Guiding Principles and international law.”
Punctuating the United Nations’ findings, spokesperson for Vegans for BDS adds “If we are serious about building a sustainable future for generations to come, businesses cannot continue reaping a profit at the expense and destruction of the earth, animals, and human rights,” she said. “When language around social movements is appropriated by mega corporations to drive up sales, we are obligated to hold them accountable for any pretence of social accountability which masks an indifference to animal and human rights abuses, as well as environmental destruction.”
The Vegans for BDS letter points to the $11.5 million dollar investment of an Israeli investment management firm in PlantX’s Israel expansion project. The Israeli firm, Psagot, has invested in many companies that have been found by the UN report to enable and support the establishment, expansion, and maintenance of Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, and are pending investigation in the International Criminal Court.
According to the spokesperson, Vegans for BDS’ received a very discouraging response from PlantX VP of Customer Experience, Aaron Palmer. “We were sorry to see that PlantX is unwilling to engage with the core issues of Israel’s violations of human rights and international law and how the company is on a path of complicity with it,” she commented.
Responding to Palmer’s mention that he had visited both Israel and Palestine last year and- in his words- “witnessed the devastation” the Vegans for BDS spokesperson added: “It’s truly disturbing to see that while PlantX witnessed first hand the devastation of Palestinian lives caused by the occupation, they choose to not only ignore it, but exploit it by piggieback-riding Israel’s agricultural industry, which is key to the destruction of Palestinian agriculture, economically, enviornmentally, and culturally.”