The First Victory of the BDS Campaign against Israel in Japan
Palestine Forum, Osaka, Japan 3 December 2010
On 1st December, the Muji officially announced the cancellation of its plan of opening a store in Israel on their website. Since the Muji released its plan on 12th April 2010, in order to respond to the BDS Campaign against Israel called upon the people in the world by Palestinians, we, Palestine Forum, had appealed to the Muji to cancel the plan along with other civil organisations and individuals.
Stop Muji Campaign message card,
cards would be filled in and handed in at the local Muji store
For over 7 months, various nationwide actions such as appeal actions in front of some of the Muji branches, constant appeal through websites or Twitter and sending message cards to the Muji, had been addressed as the Stop Muji Campaign. Additionally the appeal action in front of the Muji branch in Seoul, South Korea, was organised. Since the campaign was gradually growing into the international movement, the Muji management finally had to cancel the plan.
According to the Muji's announcement, the cancellation of its plan was made because of the "economic reason". However, when some members of the Palestine Forum made inquiries at the Muji management in last August, they replied that it seemed hard to be understood its plan of supplying Muji's brand goods into Israel by all the people, therefore, we had to say that our plan had been "undecided". So from this reply, we could substantially say that the final decision of the cancellation was made due to the request for cancellation by citizens of Japan.
The official announcement of the cancellation can be placed as the first historical victory of the BDS Campaign against Israel in Japan. We can also expect that this victory will bring big progress to the internationally expanding BDS Campaign in Asia. The Victory in this context means the first and certain step to change the international society which has kept silence against Israel's criminal act.
We also believe that this tiny victory is one of the examples of which people's anger against Israel's continued criminal act even after the Gaza Attack conducted from the end of 2008 to early 2009, such as blockade of Gaza or expanding settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and deep sympathies for solidarity to Palestinians moved the reality.
We, Palestine Forum, have a high opinion of the Muji's sensible judgement that opening a store in Apartheid state Israel does not bring not only economic profit but also moral profit to the company. We request the Muji to keep and raise its corporate ethics and business sense which do not slight the issue on human rights and racism from now on, too.
We, Palestine Forum, declare that we will continue urging Japanese corporations which benefit from Israel's human rights abuses and war crimes against Palestinians, such as retail shops selling cosmetic products of the settlement company "Ahaba" which extracts resources from occupied Palestinians' land. We also call upon many civil organisations and individuals for a joint struggle towards the next victory.
A report of the "Stop!! Muji Action for Peace in Palestine in Osaka"
Stop Muji Campaign eptember 5, 2010
On Sunday's afternoon, more than 10 people gathered in Namba, Osaka and held a collective apeal to ask the MUJI not to deal with Israel.
First, we, wearing original T-shirts and showing banners, apealed to passersby with a hand-mike about necessity to stop the Muji to advance into Israel.
We also collected signatures on our message cards from passersby. With dozens of cards filled with signatures, we moved to the Muji shop in Namba.
Then, we played the Muji's commercial music with a PA system, and chanted our slogan "Free! Free! Palestine!" and "No! More! Occupation!"
Afterwards, we met the manager of the shop, explained about the aim of our action, and submitted the message cards with signatures. The manager promised that he would send the card to the head office of the MUJI.
Lastely, though we, still wearing the original T-shirts, moved to the Muji Cafe in the same building to have a rest, we couldn't find any vacant seats. However, this became an additional apeal to the customers in the cafe because of our T-shirts.
"Its important to choose a strategy that doesn't end up diverting attention from the issue.. the other side wants nothing more than to divert attention from what the record shows, what the human rights record shows, what the UN record and so forth - they don't want to talk about that because once they start talking about that they loose. They'd rather talk about anti-Semitism, the Nazi holocaust - anything accept Israel and Palestine. With that in mind you have to be careful that you don't embark on a tactic which is going to end up diverting people from Israel-Palestine.. You don't' want to choose grey areas, you always want to choose black and white areas where there is no room for discussion, where there is no room for debate. This is black and white: World Court decision [wall and settlements illegal] 14 to 1. Human rights issues - Amnesty says Israel tortures, Human Rights Watch says Israel tortures, B'Tselem says Israel tortures, everyone says it - its black and white. And the other side has to end up with some ridiculous proposition as Professor Dershowitz put it 'they're all lying'."