BDS Italia is a movement supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, comprised of associations and groups throughout Italy who endorse the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society and promote BDS campaigns and initiatives locally and nationally.
Although most of the content of our web site is in Italian, this section contains articles, press releases and action items in English.
Tuesday, May 21, ahead of Uefa’s annual congress in London, thirty activists from the Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign demonstrated in front of the national headquarters of the Italian Football Federation (Federcalcio) in Rome to reiterate the call for the Under-21 championships to be moved from Israel.
A delegation met with General Director Antonello Valentini, who was given a dossier on the condition of sport in Palestine as well as highlights from the European campaign against rewarding Israel with an international sporting event. Included in the dossier were also the latest letters in support of the campaign by Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of European Parliament, and former Senator Vincenzo Vita, both calling for the championships to be moved from Israel.
I fully support the petition to UEFA to reverse the decision to hold the under 21 championships in Israel. It is unacceptable that an important sporting event be held in and by a country which displays colonial and repressive behavior towards the Palestinian people. In particular, I refer to the very unacceptable actions towards Palestinian sportsmen who have been impeded in their activity or even jailed for prolonged periods of incarceration without charge or trial. Or to the many circumstances in which players and the public are denied entry or movement within the occupied territories or in and out of Palestine for competitions.
Sports must operate in equality, fairness and according to a common democratic sense. It cannot be used to validate as protagonists those who violate the elementary rules of civil living.
UEFA must not turn its head away. What message are you sending to the younger generation?
Former Vice-President of Education, Scientific Research, Cultural Heritage and Sports Commission in the Italian Senate
To the President
On June 5, the UEFA Under 21 Championship is due to kick off in Israel. On 5 June, 1967, Israel, in a preemptive war, attacked and occupied the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai.
On June 5, a day of conquest for Israel and of suffering and denied rights for Palestinians, Uefa plans to reward Israel for its contribution to sport. For 46 years, the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza have been living under military occupation. No generation born after that date has ever lived in freedom. Every day they suffer under the violence of military occupation. Every day land cultivated with difficulty is stolen to be transformed into settlements. Houses demolished to prevent the growth of the Palestinian population, construction of colonial annexation wall, apartheid roads that only settlers, Israeli citizens and East Jerusalem ID cardholders can use, thousands of political prisoners, including children, torture.
In the hills south of Hebron just as in the Jordan Valley, land belonging to the Palestinian state, the Israeli army forcibly evacuates shepherds and farmers for military exercises, which in reality pave the way for new settlements.
But you Mr. Platini, are aware of the situation. You know about the rampant discrimination Israelis practice toward Palestinian sports: football players arrested and held in administrative detention, permits denied to Palestinians players even for "dialogue" games with Israelis, stadiums destroyed in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, checkpoints, the Wall. I could go on, but allow let me get to the point.
During Salone del Mobile 2013 in Milan, the historic Bar Basso in via Plinio was a protagonist of the FuoriSalone events organized by SodaStream, from April 9-14.
The event, publicized on various magazines, consisted in displaying SodaStream products throughout the bar and in its windows as well as the preparation of cocktails and drinks using their carbonation machines.
BDS Milano organized a boycott action on Friday, April 12, appearing at Bar Basso equipped with Palestinian flags, posters and flyers calling for a boycott.
Italian National Stop Sodastream Day of Action
Saturday, December 22 in several Italian cities, including Rome, Milan, Bologna, Pisa, Parma and Trieste, BDS Italia activists organized boycott actions against the sale of Sodastream products, informing both retailers and potential customers of the very real human rights violations behind Sodastream's phony environmentalism.
Sodastream, an Israeli company that produces home carbonation systems, passed off as "eco-friendly", hides an ugly truth: it operates in blatant violation of international law. Sodastream's main production plant is located in the Israeli settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim, built illegally in the Occupied Palestinian Territories according to international law.
Province of Bologna: Sasso Marconi votes against the participation of Pizzarotti & C. Spa in the construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed railway that crosses the occupied Palestinian territories. Medicina commits to take measures to prevent relationships with companies that violate international law.
As the Israeli government continues unabated in its violations of international law, announcing plans for the construction of an additional 3,000 housing units in the West Bank in response to Palestine obtaining recognition as an observer to the UN, two Italian town councils take concrete steps to hold complicit companies accountable.
Following Rho (MI), Naples, Corchiano (VT), the Town Council of Sasso Marconi, in the province of Bologna, voted to condemn Pizzarotti & C. Spa for the company's participation in the high-speed train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
On, Wednesday, November 28, the day of the draw in Tel Aviv for the 2013 UEFA Under-21 finals, a protest was held at the national headquarters of the Italian Football Federation (IFF) to demand that the championship be moved from Israel.
The protest was organized by the Italian "Red Card Israeli Apartheid" campaign and a delegation was received by IFF General Manager Antonello Valentini, along with the members of their Press Office.
During the meeting, the delegation called upon the IFF to put pressure on UEFA so that Israel is not granted the privilege of hosting the championship, stressing that the privilege would be in strong contrast to sport values given Israel’s decades-long militarily occupation of the Palestinian territories, making Israel a rogue state flouting international law.
Protest at the national headquarters of the Italian Football Federation
(via Gregorio Allegri, 14)
Rome, Wednesday, November 28, date of the Under 21 draw in Tel Aviv, at 11:30 am
In June 2013, the final stage of the European Under-21 Championship is expected to be held in Israel, a privilege in sharp contrast with the values embodied in sports. Israel has illegally occupied the Palestinian territories for decades, obstructing the Palestinian people’s chances for a future, for self-determination and, more generally, of simply living. A bloody and cruel occupation, consisting in daily negations of freedom and rights. Young Palestinians, in fact, are unable to study, move about, work and play sports as their peers from around the world. A recent emblematic case is that of Mahmoud Sarsak, a young Palestinian footballer with the Palestinian national team, who served three years in Israeli prison, obtaining his freedom only after a 92-day hunger strike and a significant mobilization of international sports figures.
On Saturday, 13 October 2012, over 2000 people marched from the Northern Italian provincial town of Venegono (Varese) to the headquarters of Alenia Aermacchi to protest the sale of 30 M-346 trainer jets to Israel. Alenia Aermacchi is part of the Finmeccanica Group, a partially state-owned conglomerate and one of the world’s top ten weapons producers.
Under an unusually heavy police presence – six police vans, police in riot gear and a helicopter overhead – demonstrators marched around Alenia Aermacchi’s 274,000 m² facilities, which include air and water tunnels as well as a landing strip, calling for revocation of the sale to Israel of M-346 trainer jets as well as the 2005 military cooperation agreement between the Italian and Israeli governments. These “trainer” jets are designed to carry a weapons payload of up to 3000 Kg. The very real possibility of the Palestinian people living under a brutal decades-long Israeli military occupation as targets for “field-testing” the M-346 escaped no one.
On November 9 in Rome, for the second night in a row, protests were organized against the Israeli Embassy sponsored performance of the Batsheva Dance Company at the RomaEuropa Festival. Over 50 activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign demonstrated outside the Auditorium Santa Cecilia against the decision of the dance company to lend itself as cultural fig leaf to conceal ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.
In addition to being financed by the Israeli government as well as the Jewish National Fund, which plays a key role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Batsheva is also a central figure of Brand Israel, a marketing campaign developed by the Israeli government, in consultation with US public relations experts, with the declared intention of diverting the attention of world public opinion from a decades-long brutal occupation and Apartheid regime. The direct links that Batsheva maintains with the Israeli government makes it impossible to describe the company as 'apolitical'.
An open letter by Turin artists to Gigi Cristoforetti, Director of TorinoDanza
Dear Gigi Cristoforetti,
We realize this is a sensitive subject, but please do not become an accomplice to a rebranding operation, specifically commissioned and financed by the Israeli government, aimed at hiding the crimes the State continues to perpetrate against the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people behind a reassuring image. We write asking you to revoke the decision to host the Batsheva Dance Company in Moncalieri (Turin) for the following reasons.
Many colleagues, artists and intellectuals, openly opposed to Israeli policies, even willing to discuss the boycott of Israeli products, reject the idea of academic and cultural boycotts of Israel.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that a cultural boycott is basically considered a form of censorship, and art is censored only in totalitarian systems where they fear the message of freedom. The second is that art spans boundaries of nations and conflicts and with its universal ideals reconciles men, feeds mutual understanding and builds bridges between cultures.
On November 8, during the opening performance of the Batsheva Dance Company at the RomaEuropa Festival, human rights activists interrupted the show, sponsored by the Israeli Embassy and in the presence of the ambassador, to denounce the dance company’s role in providing a fig leaf for a decades-long brutal occupation and apartheid regime.
Batsheva is a central figure of the Brand Israel marketing campaign launched and financed by the Israeli government following three years of consultations with US public relations experts. The aim of the campaign is to divert attention of world public opinion from the continuous human rights violations committed by the Israeli government.
Chanting "Batsheva, you're an accomplice! Say no to Occupation!", the protesters called on the dancers to cut ties with Brand Israel, refuse funding from the Israeli government and take a stand, in words and in deed, against violations of Palestinian rights. Since 2010, similar appeals have been ignored by Batsheva, which continues to act as cultural ambassador for Israeli Apartheid.
The activists, while stressing the importance of international cultural events that promote music, dance and theater, insisted that there can be no place for art as propaganda. The direct links that Batsheva maintains with the Israeli government makes it impossible to describe the dance company as 'apolitical'.
Three protesters were removed from the theater, taken to a nearby police station and released shortly afterwards.
The protest action in Rome is part of the international campaign Don’t Dance With Israeli Apartheid, which in recent weeks has seen protests at every Batsheva performance in the UK and has involved noted choreographers and public figures.
On November 8 and 9 at 8:30pm at Rome’s Santa Cecilia Auditorium in Via della Conciliazione, the Israeli dance company Batsheva will perform as part of a tour sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Italy.
Batsheva performances, from New York, to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, London and Edinburgh, have been met with protest by supporters of the global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign because
Batsheva is part of BRAND ISRAEL,
the campaign launched and financed by the Israeli government, following three years of consultations with US marketing experts, to create a positive image of Israel as a highly civilized country that excels in the arts, science and sports. "Showing Israel’s prettier face" to hide the shame of a brutal occupation based on Apartheid and torture: This is Brand Israel’s intent.
Batsheva, as with all Brand Israel activities, aims to divert the attention of world public opinion from serious violations of human rights and international law committed daily by the Israeli government.
Despite years of open letters calling on Batsheva to cut ties with Brand Israel, refuse funding from the Israeli government and take a stand against Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, Batsheva continues to act as cultural ambassador for Israeli Apartheid.
Art, science and sports, when serving oppression, ethnic cleansing and Apartheid, becoming an accomplice of a decades-long military occupation in defiance of countless UN resolutions, must be contested and boycotted.
Don’t be fooled by the graceful moves of the dancers. There is no grace or beauty in the Israeli occupation: it is absolutely brutal!
The BDS campaign launched by Palestinian civil society is an effective and nonviolent means of struggle in support of the resistance of the Palestinian people defending the right to live in freedom on their own land.
Boycotting Batsheva is a responsibility for all human rights defenders, alongside those who struggle against oppression. Rome is mobilizing.
Rome BDS Group
Maugeri’s role as Sodastream “PR Ambassador ”at odds with Oxfam position on Israeli settlements
The campaign targeting Sodastream marketing initiatives continues to achieve results. Sodastream, a private Israeli company producing home carbonation systems, is object of international boycott campaigns highlighting the company’s illegal activities: the main production facilities are located in the Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim, built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories in violation of international law and human rights.
In response to a letter from the Italian Stop Sodastream Campaign, Oxfam Italy cut ties with Paola Maugeri, "PR Ambassador" for Sodastream Italy. Oxfam Italy had previously engaged Maugeri in their fundraising campaign “A future without hunger.”
The promotional video featuring Paola Maugeri, a well-known radio personality and author of the book "My Life at zero impact," was immediately removed by Oxfam Italy. The NGO confirmed that they had notified Maugeri of the reasons behind their decision and are working to convince her to terminate her collaboration with Sodastream, as requested in the letter from Stop Sodastream. In their reply, Roberto Barbieri, General Director of Oxfam Italy, reiterated the organization’s position "against the trade of products from the settlements in the occupied territories, which are considered illegal under international law and one of the main obstacles to achieving a just, lasting and stable peace in the area," regarding "the sales of such products a means for legitimizing the settlements’ existence."
Stop the War Machine, No M-346 or any other weapons to Israel
On Saturday, October 13, 2012, a national demonstration will be held in Varese, Italy, where most of the country’s military aircraft production is located, to denounce the weapons industry, in particular the sale of 30 M-346 trainer jets to Israel. The protest will take place at the Alenia Aermacchi headquarters, manufacturers of the M-346 and part of Finmeccanica Group, one of the world’s top weapons producers.
The M-346, defined as a “technologically advanced trainer jet,” is in fact designed to be armed with missiles or bombs. These weapons will undoubtedly be “tested” first and foremost on Palestinians. As a trainer jet, the M-346 is designed to prepare fighter pilots in the use of the most “technologically sophisticated” attack aircraft, such as the “netcentric” and “invisible” F-35 from US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Israel has signed on to purchase 19 F-35 fighter jets, with an option for 56, and Italy is also unfortunately in line to purchase the combat aircraft for future wars.
Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Rome Province, invites Israel as "guest of honor" for the Province’s “Days of Creativity and Innovation”, sparks protests organized by Palestine solidarity activists
Nicola Zingaretti presented Israel as a "model to be emulated", despite its systematic violations of human rights, at the Days of Creativity and Innovation held on July 4-5 in Rome, with the scope of inspiring young Italians, the brightest of which would be rewarded with a trip to Israel.
Prior to the event, the Italian Network Jews Against the Occupation called upon Zingaretti to revoke the invitation, reminding him that Israel was created by "occupying Palestinian land and expelling, at gunpoint, the inhabitants, Palestinian Arabs."
An appeal to exclude Israel also arrived from Palestine, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), who urged the President of the Rome Province to "to be true to [his] mission of innovation and creativity in the service of humanity”, otherwise it “would be synonymous to promoting oppression and violations of human rights.”
But such calls went unheeded. Therefore, on July 3rd, the eve of the initiative, activists from Un ponte per… and the Rome Palestine Solidarity Network distributed leaflets at the festival of the Italian Democratic Party where Zingaretti was speaking, recalling the most significant violations and crimes committed by Israel since its creation. When asked to explain the reasons underlying his decision, Zingaretti gave no answer and quickly fled the activists.
That same night, the area surrounding the event venue was plastered with posters featuring aspects of the "Israeli model" that Zingaretti had knowingly omitted: Palestinian homes demolished by Israeli bulldozers, Gaza during the terror of Cast Lead, oppression of the Palestinian people and the Apartheid wall. Photos: www.flickr.com/photos/81931077@N08/sets/72157630416375144/
On May 27, the City of Venice, Italy sponsored "Join the Stream", a promotional event including the cleanup of the Alberoni beach. The event was organized by Sodastream, an Israeli company producing home carbonation devices, as part of an extensive advertising campaign that includes a series of similar events in several Italian cities.
We are stunned to see the City of Venice involved in a shrewd marketing ploy aimed at creating an image of Sodastream as a company committed to environmental sustainability. In fact, behind this facade of a socially responsible business, Sodastream hides an ugly truth: its main manufacturing facility is in the occupied Palestinian territories in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. Sodastream is thus an accomplice of the Israeli occupation and profits from the systematic violation of international law and basic human rights of the Palestinian people. 
An open letter from BDS Italy
Sign the international petition calling on the Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel their concert in Israel!
Dear Flea, Anthony, Chad and Josh,
After learning of your planned concert in Tel Aviv, we felt compelled to add our voices to the international chorus of calls to cancel that gig. As a band with a conscience, we can't see you performing in a privileged bubble, surrounded by millions of Palestinians forced to live under Israeli oppression, apartheid and occupation.
The lyrics of your music stand in stark contrast to the policies of Israel, imposing a brutal occupation to drive people off their native land, racist laws that rip families apart and violent repression to quell nonviolent resistance.
As you must now be aware, having received similar letters from the US, France, Israel, India, Lebanon, South Africa, as well as international collectives "Don't Play Apartheid Israel" and "Artists Against Apartheid,"  a global movement led by Palestinian civil society is calling on artists to refuse to perform in Israel as part of a campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, a non-violent response to end Israeli policies that bear striking similarities with those under Apartheid South Africa. They are the reason Tel Aviv is considered today's Sun City.
Dear Yves Béhar,
We recently learned of your collaboration with Sodastream, the Israeli producer of home carbonation devices, and that you will be presenting a new design for the company at MOST in Milan.
As human rights activists and supporters of the BDS campaign, the 2005 Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, we feel compelled to inform you that behind the image promoted by Sodastream of a socially responsible, eco-friendly business is actually a company operating in blatant violation of human rights and international law.
As evidenced in the company’s own annual report, Sodastream’s main manufacturing facilities are located in an Israeli settlement built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Italian Coalition Stop That Traincelebrates the news that the City Council of Naples, Italy has approved a motion condemning Pizzarotti for its involvement in a project in blatant violation of international law, the Israeli high-speed train cutting through the occupied Palestinian territories. The decision of the Naples City Council, which follows that of Rho (Milan) on November 30, 2011, is a strong sign for responsible action by local authorities, in this case one of Italy’s largest cities.
Stop That Train congratulates the Committee “For a Pizzarotti-Free Naples!” for the work done to mobilize citizens in support of the Campaign and in establishing dialog with the local administration in order to encourage it to take a stand on the issue.
In re-launching the press release from Naples, we call on all local administrations to endorse the “Pizzarotti-Free Cities” campaign and pass similar resolutions against Pizzarotti, until it ceases involvement in projects in violation of international law.
NAPLES STANDS FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
THE CITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS THE PARTICIPATION OF PIZZAROTTI IN THE TEL AVIV-JERUSALEM RAILWAY
On February 13, 2012, the City Council of Naples, Italy voted and approved by majority the motion presented by Council Members Fucito (FDS), Vasquez (N è t), Moxedano (IdV), Borriello (SEL), Fiale (PD) which “expresses moral and political condemnation of Pizzarotti & C for the firm’s participation in the construction of the A1 Jerusalem-Tel Aviv “. The new high-speed rail line, which is reserved “for the exclusive use of the Israeli population, runs for 6.5 km through the occupied West Bank, resulting in the confiscation of private property in the Palestinian villages of Beit Iksa and Beit Sourik, including agricultural land recognized by the Israeli Supreme Court as a ‘key resource for subsistence’ of the community.”