In the last few weeks O’Neills has stopped stocking Puma products across Ireland and online. This was the result of consistent efforts by activists, including CYM members.
Puma – know for its boots and kits – is a company directly complicit in Zionist colonialism in Palestine. Puma is a primary sponsor of the Israel Football Association, which incorporates teams from militarised settlements. This sponsorship enables the normalisation and sportswashing of what is in reality a genocidal and terroristic state which has murdered thousands of Palestinians in the last month.
By contrast, Palestinian athletes are continuously harassed and their sports facilities destroyed by Zionist armed forces. Many athletes have had their careers ended by life-changing injuries inflicted on them by these same armed forces.
Despite this Puma continues to have exclusive licensees who sell their products in internationally-condemned settlements. The football clubs in such settlements play on ground stolen from Palestinians at the point of a gun and the blade of a bulldozer. In such settlements, according to the Human Rights Watch, “Palestinians are not allowed to… play, coach or even watch the matches”.
What is significant about O’Neills decision to stop stocking Puma products is that it was achieved by direct action and activism. Across Ireland activists held stalls, picketed shops and put pressure on managers. What has been done can – and must – be replicated across Ireland for all products and companies on the BDS list.
This shows there is no truth to the idea that we are powerless or can do nothing for the Palestinians except wave flags. Boycott actions like these have shown themselves to be achievable and effective. Every product recalled means less finance for the Zionist war machine. In the run-up to Christmas especially shops and businesses will be particularly sensitive to boycott pressure.
These victories should not be seen as concessions. They took effort to achieve and vigilance to sustain. It was not the kindness of managers and CEOs, but the pressure and perseverance of activists.
Support your local Boycott!
Publicise what stores are stocking Zionist products!
Get organised: The collective and recurring pressure of activists is more effective than a lone voice.
International economic and cultural pressure is only one part of ending the oppression of Palestinians. Just as the boycott of South Africa put pressure on Apartheid, it was ultimately the struggles of South Africans themselves which ended Apartheid. Similarly the boycott of Israeli goods must always be seen as just one important part in the wider struggle for Palestinian liberation, led by Palestinians themselves. It is vital then that we all play our part!