G4S Sells Business in Israel Amid Accusations of Being Complicit to Human Rights Abuses in Prisons

The major security company says the decision was only for “commercial reasons,” however a boycott campaign is taking credit for the news.

The world’s largest security firm is selling its business in Israel, yet the reason why is up for debate.

G4S announced on Thursday that the news was for purely “commercial reasons,” however a boycott campaign against the company is taking responsibility, according to Newsweek. The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign claims G4S was complicit in Israeli human rights abuses within the prisons it operated in against Palestinian prisoners.

“Since 2013, we have been running a review of our business portfolio to determine which businesses we want to remain invested in and which we are looking to divest from, purely to streamline the business and to get a greater degree of strategic focus,” G4S Spokesman Nigel Fairbrass said in the report.

The security company has 8,000 employees in Israel and while it says none work at prisons or are in control of prisons in the West Bank, it supplies the prisons with security equipment.

BDS has criticized investors in G4S for their involvement with the company. In fact, The Bill Gates Foundation was pressured into selling its $170 million stake in the company in 2014 when protests occurred outside of its offices in Seattle, London and Johannesburg, according to the report.

“As at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesman for the Palestinian BDS National Committee. “We are starting to notice a domino effect.”

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