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Black Friday: Palestinians back campaign against Amazon

Activists accuse Amazon of supporting Israeli 'apartheid' by providing its services to Israel's military
Greenpeace protests at Amazon Germany HQ in Munich on 25 November (Reuters)

Palestinians have thrown their weight behind an international campaign to push online retailer Amazon to improve its working conditions and provide better pay for its employees.

The campaign, launched by the left-wing coalition Progressive International and international union federation UNI Global Union, also aims to highlight the company's tax avoidance and carbon footprint.

In a statement sent to Middle East Eye, Palestinian activists said they would be adding their voices to the campaign to highlight the company's support for Israeli "apartheid" and the use of Amazon's services to monitor Palestinian civil society organisations.

"Amazon is a partner of Israeli apartheid. That means it is a partner in the dispossession and systematic discrimination against me and my community," said Ines Abdel Razek, advocacy director for the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, speaking on behalf of Palestinian activists.

She pointed out that Amazon provided "cloud computing and artificial intelligence services to the Israeli authorities, including the military through Project Nimbus".

Project Nimbus, a $1.2bn contract signed by Google and Amazon with the Israeli military, has proven highly controversial, with dozens of employees speaking out against the tech companies providing their technology for use in monitoring Palestinians and critics of Israel.

"We stand with Amazon workers around the world fighting for better pay and conditions and call on the company to stop its complicity in our repression. It's time to Make Amazon Pay for its role in apartheid," she said.

'Union busting'

The new campaign comes on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US, which sees major sales and deals across retail outlets.

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Amazon is among those who have advertised a range of "Black Friday deals" to kick off what is usually referred to as the beginning of the American shopping season.

According to the Make Amazon Pay campaign, which is supported by a range of civil society organisations across more than 30 countries, the company has been guilty of "union busting" and suppressing real wages even as corporate profits have hit record levels.

The company also faced criticism over its decision to lay off more than 10,000 staff earlier this month.

In Germany, there were demonstrations on Friday at nine out of Amazon's 20 warehouses in the country, while France's SUD and CGT unions called for strike action in the country's eight warehouses.

Demonstrations were also planned for other countries, including the UK, Japan, US, Bangladesh, South Africa and India.

Middle East Eye contacted Amazon for comment but had received no response by the time of publication.

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