Palestine Forum Japan

February 21, 2018

Civil society organizations in Japan welcome relocation of Honda’s racing event planned to take place at illegal Israeli settlement following BDS movement request

After receiving requests from the international BDS movement, Honda Israel clarified via their Facebook page on February 18 that they relocated the place of a racing event that had been originally planned for the circuit next to the Petzael settlement in the occupied Palestinian West Bank on February 23-24.

This racing event was co-sponsored by Honda Israel, the Israeli Motorsports Federation, and the Ministry of Culture and Sports. On February 13, nine civil organizations in Japan submitted a letter demanding the suspension of the event in the illegal settlement to Honda’s head office. This action was covered by the independent news site,Electronic Intifada, and resulted in widespread criticism of the event.

Petzael circuit, the original location of the racing event, is located in the Jordan Valley where apartheid policy was intensively carried out, and has been promoted by the Yesha council, an affiliation of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank. We welcome Honda’s decision to withdraw from the racing circuit, which is clearly linked with human rights violations against Palestinian residents, according to the international law.

However, Honda’s head office has not yet clarified their view on the series of events, claiming that they don’t know the details of what is happening in Israel. This makes us concerned that similar activities related to human rights violations could be repeated by Honda Israel.

Further, we remember that Arad, where the event was relocated to, is the city around where Israeli ethnic cleansing policy against Palestinian Bedouins has been relentlessly carried out until today, and that Mayer’s Cars and Trucks, Honda’s main partner in Israel, is engaged in the settlement business.

Honda’s case shows that for Japanese companies to cooperate with Israeli ones inevitably leads to the collaboration with the illegal apartheid policy of Israel. Last year, the Knesset, Israel's parliament, passed a law that bans companies from discriminating against settlers. Therefore, Japanese companies who do business in Israel could face the risk of being punished by Israeli law if they also attempt to abide by international law and avoid the provision of services or goods to illegal settlements.

We strongly demand that Honda fulfill its accountability in compliance with international law and seriously consider the total withdrawal from engagement with the Israeli apartheid regime, as the next step following on the latest judicious decision regarding the relocation of the settlement racing event.

February 21, 2018

Al-Jisr: Bridge between Japan and Palestine
Artists Against Occupation
Association for support of Al Ahli Arab Hospital
ATTAC Kansai Group
Feminism and Lesbian Art working group (FLA)
Group for Palestine Studies, Osaka
Palestine Forum Japan
Palestine-Sendai Solidarity Group
Queering Futu-no- LGBT

*see also:

Palestine Forum Japan