Written by Neil Pooran
Published: 2 December 2008
Edinburgh University Student Paper
PRO-PALESTINIAN activists are claiming victory after water-cooler company Eden Springs shut down its East of Scotland branch.
Groups such as the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) say that their efforts to boycott the company have cost the company vital contracts.
Organisations that have boycotted the compnay include East Lothian and West Lothian Councils, Caledonian MacBrae Ferries and various colleges and universities around the country.
SPSC claim the company has unethical links to Israeli firms which source their water from the disputed Golan Heights region of Syria.
In 2007 the Student’s Association’s General Meeting voted to boycott the company because of these perceived links; however the motion was opposed by students saying that Eden Springs is a British company which sources all of its water in the UK.
Eden Springs declined comment on the closure of their East of Scotland branch when contacted by Student, but it is understood that they partially blame the shutdown on the current financial crisis.
Mick Napier, chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “This boycott campaign is in response to the appeal from Palestinians, and is supported by the main Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, who oppose Eden Springs’ violations of international and human rights law in the occupied Golan Heights.”
A campaign to get the City of Edinburgh Council to boycott the company ran aground earlier this year.
Liberal Democrat and SNP groups in the council opposed the move on the grounds that it might be illegal. The council’s Labour group voted in favour of the motion.
The Scottish Trades Union Council and Heriott-Watt University are among other institutions which have boycotted the company.
SPSC quotes anonymous ‘industry insiders’ as saying that the series of boycotts was responsible for the loss of contracts to provide water coolers around Scotland. The contract with the City of Edinburgh Council alone is worth over £100, 000.
Israeli peace activist group Gush Shalom also called for the boycott, but Eden Springs have highlighted in the past that they are a UK organisation which employs over 200 people in Scotland.