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Israeli military companies, all of which are deeply involved in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, among others, see the Olympic Games as an opportunity for profit and a means to export their “field-tested” expertise in maintaining apartheid, repression of people, and militarization of urban spaces across the globe. They must be stopped.
The Israeli security company, International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS), has landed a high visibility contract at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (1). ISDS, which proudly claims to be founded by former Mossad agents, is simultaneously a symbol for the crimes against the Palestinian and Latin American peoples.
While Israel perpetuates a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people, which includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid, torture, imprisonment without fair trial, systematic spying on civilians and extrajudicial killings, ISDS markets its connections to the Israeli military and Israel’s know-how in repression across the world.
The company has been defined as part of the Israeli military intervention system and is widely accused of having trained death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua and appears in connection with the coups and attempted coups in Honduras and Venezuela (2).
The Organizing Committee of the Olympics maintains an ongoing partnership with ISDS, even after the Brazilian government distanced itself from the company, following widespread protest earlier this year, and denied any commercial contracts with ISDS for the Olympic Games (3). This partnership of the Olympic Organizing Committee with a company of such record and reputation squarely contradicts the Olympic Charter, which defines the main obligations of the Olympic bodies, and the spirit of the Olympic Movement of ‘promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity’(4).
Including ISDS or any other military company so involved in grave violations of human rights would further tarnish the image of the Rio Olympics.
This partnership with ISDS highlights the need for tighter public scrutiny of the Olympic Games to ensure that they do not support repression of people in Brazil and elsewhere. This is a time for people’s movements against racism, oppression and discrimination to stand united in a joint struggle against corporations that are complicit in infringing on international law.
We call on our global partners in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) for Palestinian rights and the wider social justice movements to join in this campaign to ban ISDS from the Olympics, in order to move towards Olympic Games without Apartheid.
Ban ISDS from the Olympics!
For Olympic Games without Israeli contractors!
For Olympic Games without Apartheid!