Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

CRH Divest


Huge BDS victory as CRH pulls out of toxic Israeli assets, ends complicity with Israeli crimes

A report released today by Ireland’s largest multinational CRH confirmed the global cement giant has divested from its 25% stake in the Israeli cement market. The company has been a focus of a sustained campaign calling for such a divestment from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and other groups for over a decade, due to role its Israeli subsidiary Nesher Cement plays in supplying materials for the building of Israel’s illegal separation wall, checkpoints and settlements.

In the report CRH stated that it had “completed 13 divestments in 2015, the largest of which was the disposal of CRH’s 25% equity stake in its Israeli operation.”

That 25% stake was held in the Mashav group, the holding company for Nesher Cement, the sole producer of cement in Israel. Nesher is involved in the building of the separation wall in the West Bank which annexes Palestinian land to Israel, and has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice. Nesher’s actions support and sustain the ongoing Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land. Nesher Cement is also used in the construction of illegal colonial settlements in the occupied territories, checkpoints that impede travel and commerce for Palestinians, and more than 700 kilometres of Israeli-only roads in the West Bank (See the Who Profits? website for details of Nesher’s involvement).

For more than a decade the IPSC has been campaigning for CRH to divest and end its complicity in Israel’s serious human rights violations and war crimes. The issue of CRH’s complicity due to it’s Israeli investment has been consistently raised in the proceedings of Annual General Meetings by IPSC members who are also shareholders in the company, as well as in colourful, creative and lively demonstrations outside these meetings. In 2012 the IPSC presented a 10,000-signature strong petition to the CRH Board calling for divestment, and also filed a complaint with the OECD. Last year IPSC shareholders unfurled a banner inside the AGM reading “CRH: Stop Profiting from the Destruction of Palestine” and asked the AGM to observe a minute’s silence for the thousands of victims of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. Other actions included a travelling mock checkpoint roadshow which highlighted CRH’s role in the wall to the Irish public, working with Palestinians on the ground to highlight the issue locally – particularly in Bi’lin village – and bringing the issue to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

IPSC Chairperson Martin O’Quigley said: “This is an important victory for Palestinians whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the unceasing construction of the Apartheid Wall, which steals Palestinian lands, divides communities, destroys the social fabric and makes normal life impossible. The wall and Israel’s colonial settlements were declared illegal by the World Court over a decade ago. It is disappointing that it has taken CRH so long to divest itself from its shameful investment in these toxic Israeli assets and to stop profiting from the occupation of Palestine, but it is better late than never.”

“This divestment is just the latest in a number of high profile victories for the global Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In August last year the French multinational Veolia, which the IPSC also campaigned on, pulled out of its Israel operations which included operating a tram service to illegal settlements. Earlier this month, the communications giant Orange dumped its Israeli affiliate, which had backed the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2014 and ‘adopted’ a military unit. ‘Brand Israel’, it seems, is becoming increasingly toxic and it appears that international companies are eventually learning that it doesn’t pay to do business with the Apartheid state,” Mr. O’Quigley concluded.

Jamal Juma’, the general coordinator for Stop the Wall, the grassroots Palestinian campaign against the apartheid wall, which is a member organisation of the BDS National Committee, said in a statement released by the BNC:

“This decision strikes a blow to Israel’s current escalation of forcible transfer  of Palestinian communities in the West Bank and its construction of the infrastructure of settler colonialism and apartheid. Companies such as Nesher make huge profits from being involved in the construction of Israel’s illegal Wall and settlements that confine Palestinians in ever smaller patches of land. Companies that participate in this Israeli crime  must be held to account.”

“Since October, tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest Israel’s accelerating ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies. Thanks to the global BDS movement, we are seeing the strengthening of a trend where major corporations and investors are realising that being associated with Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism is bad for business. We warmly thank and congratulate the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and all those involved in the campaign that through their effective solidarity are strengthening our struggle for justice, equality and freedom,” concluded Mr. Juma’.

Background: The growing impact of the BDS movement

The BDS movement, Palestinian civil society’s movement for freedom, justice and equality is beginning to seriously bite for Israel. According to the World Bank there was a drop of almost 25% in Palestinian imports from Israel in 2015. A UN report showed that Foreign Direct Investment plummeted by almost half in 2014, partly, the report concluded, due to the growing strength of the BDS movement, while an Israeli government report said that exports of weapons systems and Israeli-developed arms technologies were down by 13% in the same period. The latest available figures for 2015 show that Israeli diamond exports fell 25%, exports of goods were down 7.5%, and exports of services slumped by 3%.  A leaked Israeli government report estimates that BDS could cost Israel’s economy $1.4bn a year, while a study by the Rand Corporation states that BDS could cost Israel between 1 and 2 per cent annually over 10 years. Israeli officials view the growing BDS movement as a major “strategic threat” to its apartheid settler colonial regime – so much so that it has created a ministry to fight the campaign, and poured millions of dollars into its propaganda and sabotage efforts.



Human Rights activists stage protest at CRH AGM, Dun Laoghaire May 7th 2014

The Human Wall at the CRH AGM, Dun Laoghaire May 9th 2012

This is a call to all people in Ireland to support the human rights of the Palestinian people by calling on CRH to divest from Israel.

Thank you for visiting the IPSC’s CRH: Stop Your Involvement in the Apartheid Wall campaign website – we hope you will take action on this vitally important issue. The first actions you can take are to familiarise yourself with the campaign, and then sign the online petition by clicking here and join our Facebook group. For other ways to get involved in a more hands-on manner, please see the ‘What You Can Do’ section of the campaign site. Go to the Video section for campaign events. For in depth information about the campaign, please read on…

Sign the petition- join the 10,000 others who have signed

Please take the time to sign the IPSC’s online petition calling for CRH to divest from the Israeli Mashav Group, and thereby ending their complicity in the construction of the Apartheid Wall and illegal colonial settlements and mining operations in the occuiped West Bank.

The 10,000 strong petition was handed to the chairman of CRH at the AGM in May 2012.

About the CRH Divestment Campaign

The aim of this campaign is to convince CRH to cease its involvement with the illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people by divesting from the Mashav Group, an Israeli construction company.

Regrettably to date CRH have failed to accept that they have any responsibility, through the actions of their subsidaries, for the ongoing human rights abuses being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian population.

Nor do they seem to accept that profiting from the occupation is immoral, unethical or illegal. By their actions, and in action, CRH appear to share Israel’s view that whatever happens in the occupied territories of Palestine is not subject to International Human Right Law and International Humanitarian Law….

This campaign will:

Background to CRH and the illegal apartheid wall


CRH Europe Materials Division acquired a 25% shareholding in the Israeli group Mashav Initiating and Development Ltd. Mashav is the holding company for Nesher Cement which is the sole Israeli cement company.


The apartheid separation wall commenced construction.


Under questioning from Amnesty International, CRH accepted that “in all probability” Nesher cement is being used in the construction of the wall. The ICJ begin its investigation.


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the wall is illegal as they considered it to be an attempt by Israel to annexe Palestinian territory contrary to International Law and it interfered with the right of Palestinians to self determination.

Following the ruling the UN General assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of the advisory opinion by 150:6. Israel continues to ignore the ruling and world opinion as does CRH plc.


The 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) between Israel and the West Bank is 320km.The apartheid wall, currently 450km long, is planned to be 712km. 82% of the wall is built in occupied Palestinian territory. It has annexed 10% of Palestinian territory. 80-90,000 Palestinians live between the Green line and the Wall. Almost 500,000 colonial settlers live in over 200 illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements in Palestine.

In November 2010 the IPSC presented the case against CRH at the London Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. The tribunal investigated corporate complicity with Israel’s violations of international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws in the occupied Palestinian territories. The tribunal found that CRH plc had potential legal liability for serious violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law. The Tribunal, which was chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, noted that civil claims against companies are possible in countries where they are domiciled, and that they may be subject to criminal prosecutions.


In May the IPSC filed a complaint with the OECD against CRH plc regarding their business activities in Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine and its alleged violations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The IPSC believe that CRH plc is guilty of failure to implement good business practices which respect international law in accordance with due diligence process. The complaint is currently under investigation. See Notes below.


On 13th  March The UN Committee of the Human Rights Council noted that the restrictions on movement Israel imposes on the Palestinians population, along with the restrictions to water resources and basic services are in violation of the provisions in Article 3 of the International Convention on Apartheid and international law as affirmed by the ICJ. The committe noted ‘ such separation is concretized by the implementation of a complex combination of  the wall, roadblocks, the obligation to use separate roads and a permit regime that only impacts Palestinian population’.

At the CRH AGM in May 2012, 10,000 signatures were handed over the CRH chairman, Kieran McGowan by two Palestinian women. Later the CEO of CRH, Myles Lee, said that CRH ‘would consider’ the petition….

CRH and its subsidiaries

CRH through its investment in Mashav is deriving profits and therefore benefiting from the occupation of Palestine. CRH are complicit in the human rights abuses of the Palestinian people through their indirect involvement with the instruments of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

The Campaign

We believe that there is very strong moral, ethical, environmental and legal basis for this campaign of divestment.

(Thanks to TD for the video)

Looking at CRH’s investments in Israel, this campaign will challenge their assertions that they are fully committed to the protection of human rights, that they adhere to the highest standards of corporate responsibility and that environmental responsibilities are critical to their operations there.

There are several important internationally accepted frameworks and guidelines for transnational corporations with regard to business enterprises and Human Rights. The are 3 key criteria, consistent in the guidelines, which transnational businesses are encouraged to adhere to;

These guidelines and frameworks include among others;

We believe that if CRH wish to be true to their own Code of Business Conduct (note 1),let alone the guidelines noted above and the 2004 ICJ ruling (note 5), UN Declaration of Human Rights etc, then they must immediately divest from Mashav and their operations in the occupied territories of Palestine.

Ten years have passed since CRH invested in Israel, 9 years since commencement of the illegal apartheid separation wall and 7 since the International Court of Justice ruled that the wall was illegal yet CRH continue to blatantly ignore their possible complicity in Israel’s shameful human rights abuses of the Palestinian peoplewas illegal and CRH continue to blatantly ignore their possible complicity in Israel’s shameful human rights abuses of the Palestinian people.

In 2005 over 170 groups (trade unions, academics, community activists, journalists, human rights activists) and other movements representing the Palestinian people called upon the international community and people of conscience to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to the anti apartheid campaign against South Africa in the 1970 and 1980.

As the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement grows in strength the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) have joined that call by calling for BDS against Israel and companies considered complicit in the illegal occupation. We believe that CRH plc may be complicit in this regard due to its failure to comply with International law due to its awareness of, proximity to, and the financial benefit it derives from the construction of the Illegal wall, illegal colonial settlements, settler-only roads and light rail system being built in occupied Palestine.

This campaign will seek support from a broad spectrum of Irish civil society including CRH shareholders, the business community, church groups, non-government organisations and public representatives.

The success of this campaign will only be achieved by mounting a strong sustained public awareness campaign. Ireland has a long and respected tradition of supporting the human rights of oppressed people. Ireland cannot sit back and allow CRH, or any Irish company, carry on trade with a regime who has no respect for human rights law or international law nor can we allow an Irish company profit directly or indirectly from the oppression of the Palestinian people. .

This is a call to all people on the island of Ireland to support the human rights of the Palestinian people by calling on CRH plc to immediately divest from Israel.

Note 1: CRH – Corporate and social responsibility

What principles of corporate and social responsibility guide CRH in their business dealings?

CRH claims to be ‘committed to ethically and responsibly managing all aspects of its operations relating to employees, customers, neighbours and local communities, shareholders and other stakeholders’ and that ‘CRH is committed to the highest standards of corporate governance’. CRH’s own Code of Business Conduct (2008) states that ‘The Code should be seen in the context that CRH, while aiming for top financial performance and growth, believes that this can only be achieved by excellence in the way we do business and by adhering to the highest standards of corporate and social responsibility’. The Code claims to:

Regarding the environment CRH state:

‘We consider our environmental responsibilities as absolutely critical to the operations we undertake… Be good neighbours in the many communities in which we operate’.

CRH claims to respect human rights are all well and good however what is clearly missing is an ongoing process of human rights due diligence, whereby CRH would become aware of, prevent, and mitigate adverse human rights impacts as outlined in the Special Representative of the Secretary-General’s (SRSG) framework outlined below.

Note 2:Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights (2008)

This important framework, prepared by John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises was adopted by the Human Rights Council and supported by the EU in 2008. It states that companies should adhere to four core elements:

Ruggie stated that among the various factors corporations should consider are whether and how the company might contribute to human rights abuse through the relationships connected to its activities, such as with business partners, entities in its supply chain, other non-State actors, and State agents. In “conflict-affected areas” he asserted that corporations should take into account international humanitarian law and policies; and in projects affecting indigenous peoples, should set standards specific to those communities.

CRH urgently need to adopt the SRSG’s framework and carry out due diligence taking the following factors into consideration:

The substantive content of this due diligence process is that CRH should encompass all internationally recognized human rights. There can be no doubt that the Articles of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which CRH claim to be committed to, along with the other significant international laws, treaties, norms and guidelines referred to above are fully applicable to CRH and its subsidiaries. In this regard CRH cannot continue its current relationship with the Israeli company, Mashav.

The substantive content of this due diligence process is that CRH should encompass all internationally recognized human rights. There can be no doubt that the Articles of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which CRH claim to be committed to, along with the other significant international laws, treaties, norms and guidelines referred to above are fully applicable to CRH and its subsidiaries. In this regard CRH cannot continue its current relationship with the Israeli company, Mashav.

Note 3: The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a variety of areas including employment and industrial relations, human rights, environment, information disclosure, combating bribery, consumer interests, science and technology, competition, and taxation.

These advisory guidelines state that Enterprises should take fully into account established policies in the countries in which they operate, and consider the views of other stakeholders. In this regard, enterprises should:

Note 4: The UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

The origin of Principles One and Two of the UN Global Compact is in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The aim of this Declaration was to set basic minimum international standards for the protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual. The fundamental nature of these provisions means that they are now widely regarded as forming a foundation of international law.

Principle One:

Principle Two:

CRH are not a signatory to the UN Global Compact.

Note 5: The International Court of Justice ruling

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled the wall illegal as they considered it to be an attempt by Israel to annexe Palestinian territory contrary to International Law and it interfered with the right of Palestinians to self determination. The ICJ ruled that all states are:

The ICJ ordered Israel to:

Note 6: Israel’s ongoing violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law

From the occupation of Palestine, the construction of illegal settlements and its infrastructure, the construction of the apartheid wall and other instruments of the occupation violate:

Breaches of some of these international laws constitute War Crimes and/or Crimes against Humanity.