Protestors in Rabat condemn multinational retailer for links with firms complicit in Israeli war crimes 

BDS Morocco and other progressive forces held a protest outside French retail multinational Carrefour over its franchising deal with Israeli companies involved in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories

February 20, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
BDS protest Morocco
BDS Morocco and other groups protest against French multinational Carrefour in Rabat.

On Sunday, February 19, security personnel repressed a sit-in organized by progressive forces and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement’s national campaign in Morocco’s capital city of Rabat. The protest was called against French multinational retail corporation Carrefour and its complicity in Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime. 

Protestors gathered outside a Carrefour building in Rabat, waiving the Palestinian flag and raising slogans of solidarity. However, they were soon violently shoved back by uniformed guards and a non-uniformed man carrying a walkie talkie. Videos from the protest also show police personnel present at the site.

In March 2022, Carrefour, which owns or franchises nearly 14,000 stores across the world, announced a new franchise agreement with Israeli company Electra Consumer Products and its subsidiary Yenot Bitan, a supermarket chain. 

In November, seven prominent French and Palestinian trade unions and NGOs published a report detailing how Carrefour had ignored both French and international legal and ethical obligations by partnering with companies that are “direct and indirect actors in the colonization of Palestine by Israel, a war crime condemned by the UN.” 

Yenot Bitan is known to operate in at least three illegal Israeli settlements—Ariel, Alfei Menashe, and Maaleh Adumim. Not only that, it is known to source produce from at least one settlement in the occupied West Bank and another in the occupied Golan Heights in Syria. 

It also sells products from Israeli companies that are either directly manufacturing or sourcing their products from illegal West Bank settlements. 

The links to occupation and settler-colonialism don’t end there. Yenot Bitan’s parent company, Electra Consumer Products, is itself owned by Elco Limited, an Israeli holding company whose subsidiary Electra Limited is one of 112 companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlements, as documented by the United Nations. 

Electra Ltd. has been involved in the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land through the construction and maintenance of infrastructure including transport, housing, water distribution, and telecommunication systems, as well as providing services and supplies, including generators, to the Israeli occupation army. 

A month after the report was published, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) launched the #BoycottCarrefour campaign. 

The company owns or operates stores across 10 cities in Morocco.

Activists in Morocco have vehemently rejected international complicity in the colonization of Palestine, including Rabat’s normalization agreement with the Israeli occupation. 

Over 650,000 Israeli settlers are present across 164 illegal settlements and 116 outposts across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel’s far-right government has accelerated this project of colonization, having recently approved nine new outposts and announcing the construction of 10,000 housing units in the West Bank. 

Settlement expansion, which is already a war crime, has been accompanied by the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the form of home demolitions and forced displacement, all of which constitute an act of “domicide,” according to UN experts. 

While Western corporations such as Carrefour continue to draw profits from this historical violence against the Palestinian people, their governments continue to provide diplomatic cover, allowing Israel to carry out these violations while issuing weak statements of condemnation. 

On February 20, the UN Security Council was set to vote on a resolution demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.” Just days after expressing its “deep dismay” at settlement expansion, the US ultimately stalled the resolution, averting the vote on Monday.