- Published on Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:13
A Palestinian human rights group launched a campaign today, Thursday 21st June, to get MSPs' support to end a £200,000 Scottish Enterprise grant to the UK branch of a controversial Israeli water cooler company.
Israel's Eden Springs is accused of breaching international law by operating and sourcing its water in the Golan area of Syria, land illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. The firm has recently expanded into Europe, operating in this country as Eden Springs UK.
MSPs are being asked to sign a Scottish Green Party motion by Alison Johnstone that urges the Government to "direct Scottish Enterprise to withdraw any grant monies not yet delivered and to issue clear guidance so that, in future, Scottish Enterprise will not support or deal with Eden Springs or any other company that is considered to be in breach of international law."
Campaigners are also targeting Finance Minister John Swinney who met with the managing director of Eden Springs UK Jean-Marc Bolinger after the company had sought assistance from Scottish Enterprise to deal with a growing boycott campaign that was "threatening the future of Eden Springs UK". It was after this ministerial meeting that Scottish Enterprise announced the £200k grant to the company.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) had been accused of fabricating reports that Eden Springs had been damaged by the boycott, but a letter disclosed through Freedom of Information showed that Eden Springs "being targeted by the SPSC" had caused a "wave of protests and cancellations of contracts" that threatened its future in Scotland.
SPSC chair, Mick Napier, said campaigners were unhappy that taxpayers were propping up the controversial firm: "nobody we talk to likes the idea of £200k of their money being used to help an illegal occupation company expand into Scotland. Eden Springs UK sources its water here locally, but its profits end up back with its Israeli parent. We hope that MSPs will back this Scottish Green Party motion to stop any more of our taxes being handed over."