JCB Bulldozers Make Life a Misery
Bulldozers manufactured by British company JCB are making life a misery for Palestinian families.
A tiny campaign to stop these crimes has become enormous – thanks first to ICAHD UK members and now to social workers and mental health professionals.
Protecting Palestinian Families began by approaching JCB in March last year (2019).
Co-owner Lady Carole Bamford was on record as giving thousands to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Indeed, the house where abused children receive the support they desperately need is called Carole House.
So, a carefully crafted letter was sent, acknowledging her benevolence but informing her of the destruction and devastation her products wreaked on innocent families, asking her to cut the company’s ties with Israel.
She didn’t answer so then it was time to ask the NSPCC to cut ties with JCB – how could they possibly accept money earned by traumatising Palestinian children?
A protracted correspondence ensued. CEO Peter Wanless brushed the first letter aside. Then each of the trustees was approached individually.
This time the respondent at least stated the charity’s ethical policy which meant they could not take money made by slavery, human trafficking or child labour. Money made from leaving children traumatised, homeless and impoverished in Palestine was apparently all right.
Dame Esther Rantzen was approached – her life-saving initiative ChildLine is now incorporated into the NSPCC – but she did not answer.
A postcard campaign and then an online petition were launched. At this point ICAHD UK put its considerable weight behind the campaign, making sure that all members knew what was happening.
Scores of ICAHD UK supporters ordered dozens – in some cases hundreds – of the postcards addressed to Neil Berkett, chair of the NSPCC trustees. The cards detail the destruction of homes, schools, olive trees and animal shelters and they ask the NSPCC to drop JCB.
Three thousand cards were printed and only eleven remain unclaimed and the petition has reached 1,619 signatures.
Through vigorous networking the Social Work Action Network and UK-Palestine Mental Health Network heard about it and have written letters to the NSPCC and posted the letters online.
Now campaigners have written an open letter to shame the NSPCC publicly. It is hoped that dozens of professionals, professional bodies and NGOs involved in work with children will sign.
Meanwhile some dauntless ICAHD UK supporters have already staged a vigil outside a JCB dealership near Farnham. They took photos and the local paper published a report as well as a follow-up letter.
There are JCB dealerships across the country and more vigils are planned. The dream would be to mount a coordinated demonstration right across the country on the same day for maximum media coverage.
Will the NSPCC change its stance? Watch this space!
JCB to be investigated following LPHR's OECD Guidelines complaint
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) has announced that UK National Contact Point (a government body which is part of the Department for International Trade) has just published its Initial Assessment decision on the human rights complaint against JCB under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The UK National Contact Point has accepted that key aspects of the LPHR complaint are "material and substantiated", in relation to the use of JCB's heavy machinery in Israel's illegal demolitions and settlement-related construction in the occupied Palestinian territory that result in serious human rights violations.
This news strengthens the arguments that ICAHD UK has made to the NSPCC in our call for it to stop taking tarnished money from JCB. In addition, it also adds weight to our campaign for JCB as we have called for it to stipulate to its Israeli customers that JCB equipment is not to be used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures.
Read the LPHR press release here.