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Announcement :: Organizing : Palestine
Campaign Launches to End Contracts With HP in Massachusetts
19 May 2016
Cambridge, MA (May 18, 2016) - Last night 75 community members gathered to launch a human rights campaign calling for local and state governments to end contracts with Hewlett-Packard (HP). Speakers introduced a newly-released report entitled Apartheid Technology, and detailed the company’s role in maintaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine, U.S. deportation of immigrants, mass incarceration, and global militarization.
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Caroline Hunter, who in Cambridge founded the boycott of Polaroid in 1970 due to their role in South African apartheid, noted the historical significance of launching the campaign here. Like Polaroid in South Africa, HP provides identification technology used to segregate and control Palestinians. “If we could take down a billion dollar corporation then, what do you think we can do today?” Hunter told the audience. “The people of Cambridge have spoke up before. We can and we will speak up again.”

Campaign organizer Tarek Abu-Jbarah explained that HP sells millions of dollars worth of computers, printers, and servers to Massachusetts and its municipalities, and that the city of Cambridge may at any time legally opt out to purchase other products and services. “For me, it’s personal,” Abu-Jbarah said. “I’m 36 and I’ve never been allowed to enter my homeland of Palestine. I’m an engineer because I want to make people’s lives better, and HP’s technology flies in the face of that aspiration.”

Speakers emphasized the need to align taxpayer dollars with taxpayer values. Elizabeth Rucker, of Black and Pink, described HP’s role in expansion of prisons, police surveillance, solitary confinement, and unpaid prison labor. “At every step of incarceration, HP enables an unjust system that directly affects 34% of black men in this country,” Rucker said. “It’s our responsibility to demand that companies like HP stop profiting from racism.”

Attendees signed a petition to elected officials and committed to sharing that petition, as well as the report, with their community organizations and the broader public. “Ending these contracts is a way to end one form of complicity in institutionalized racism from here to Palestine/Israel,” said Liza Behrendt of Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston. “It’s an opportunity to build a stronger community here in Cambridge and all of Massachusetts.”
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