Transport for London (TfL), the transport network for the UK’s capital, on Wednesday stated that it would immediately remove numerous posters which urged commuters to boycott international sports brand Puma because of its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) which has teams in illegal settlements.
The posters, apparently part of efforts by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, display the logo of the sportswear company Puma alongside the words “Boycott – Give Puma the boot,” with a picture of Israeli occupation soldiers arresting Palestinian youths, a regular occurrence seen on the streets of the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The words at the bottom of the poster refer to Puma as “proud sponsors of Israeli apartheid.”
TfL described the incident as vandalism, and set to removing them from its trains on the Northern and Bakerloo Lines. A spokesman for the TfL told the UK-based pro-Israeli newspaper the Jewish Chronicle that “these adverts are absolutely not authorised by TfL or our advertising agent Global. It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”
On Twitter the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) described Puma as “the main sponsor of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) who have teams in illegal settlements, based on stolen Palestinian land.”
Global Day of Action, Oct 26. 50+ actions in 20 countries. https://t.co/kVtn4OkN7I
— PACBI (@PACBI) October 23, 2019
PACBI urged people to rise up and join the second “global day of action” against Puma tomorrow. Protests will be held outside Puma stores and offices as part of the civic movement.
The BDS movement has been and is targeted by a huge campaign of suppression by a variety of organisations, lobbying groups and countries. The US is among the most prominent of those aiming to quash the movement, with at least 27 of its states having passed some laws limiting or outright banning the boycott of Israel and blacklisting any company or business which participates in it. In Europe, Germany has been the most recent country to take measures against the movement, labelling it anti-Semitic in May.