The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations and unions, calls on Adidas to withdraw its sponsorship of the first Jerusalem marathon to take place on March 25, 2011 to avoid becoming complicit in covering up Israel’s war crimes and grave human rights abuses. Israel has been consistently, systematically, and quite blatantly working to “Judaize” Jerusalem through policies of ethnic cleansing directed at the indigenous Palestinian population to change the demographic reality of the occupied city, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international human rights law.A recent report by European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem stated that “the continued expansion of [colonial] settlements, restrictive zoning and planning, ongoing demolitions and evictions, an inequitable education policy, difficult access to health care, the inadequate provision of resources and investment and the precarious residency issue have not only serious humanitarian consequences, they undermine the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem .” Adidas’s sponsorship of the marathon organized by the Jerusalem Municipality, the party responsible for the implementation of these policies, will be perceived as a stamp of approval of Israel’s violations of international law in Jerusalem and elsewhere.The Jerusalem Municipality, a key node in the official Israeli structure of colonialism and apartheid, is a leading violator of Palestinian human rights. Since its inception, it has been a major instrument in the colonization of Israeli-occupied Jerusalem. It is particularly notable for its role in promoting and deepening one of the starkest cases of urban apartheid in the world. The municipality continues to be actively involved in the illegal gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinians out of Jerusalem, the demolition of Palestinian homes and destruction of property, and the sustained suppression of development in the Palestinian neighborhoods as a matter of policy.Adidas’s association with the marathon is visible in billboards around the city, including in illegal Jewish colonies where the marathon route follows.
The appeal concludes with a warning to Adidas executives of the potential consequences of collusion with war criminals:
Adidas’s refusal to distance itself from the event would put the company in violation of the most basic obligation not to be complicit in war crimes and grave human rights abuses, and would violate the 2005 Palestinian BDS Call, one of the most effective, popular, and non-violent forms of struggle against Israel until it abides by its obligations under international law. This, as a result, would make the company a target of worldwide consumer boycott action. We also remind Adidas’s managers that under the principle of individual criminal responsibility, CEOs of companies can be held individually responsible for certain grave violations of international law, including war crimes. Complicity in covering up war crimes and normalizing them is a serious crime in its own right that Adidas should carefully consider.
Complaints can be made to Adidas here.