Call for a boycott on Israeli made meters in Lewes

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A campaign to boycott the installation of Israeli-made water meters has been launched in Lewes.

Leaflets have been delivered to homes across the town by a Palestinian support group.

It said the meters are manufactured by Arad, which works extensively in the illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of Palestinian rights and self-determination also accuses Arad of being an integral part of “Israel’s apartheid water policies, which systematically deny water to Palestinian communities whilst subsidising water supplies to illegal Israeli settlements”.

In 2010 Southern Water began a five-year programme to install 600,000 new automated meter reading devices for its customers. The £36m contract to supply the meters was awarded to Arad Technologies.

The Brighton and Hove Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, along with other BDS supporters, is encouraging local households to refuse the Arad meters and to demand an alternative.

The cause was taken up by Lewes residents Adrian Briggs and his ceramicist wife Linda Calvert, of Grange Road. They turned away contractors Balfour Beatty when they arrived to fit a meter last week.

Adrian, a retired social worker, said: “This was a matter of principle. Quite simply, it’s not about having a water meter fitted. It’s about having one manufactured by a company compliant in abusing human rights.”

Over the past few months a number of Southern Water customers, and Green MEP for the South East Keith Taylor, have expressed their objection to having Arad meters installed.

Last month one of those received a written response from Southern Water’s Director of the Universal Metering Programme, Darren Bentham, in which he stated: “I understand your objection is not to mjetering, but to the origin of the product we have chosen ... In your particular case, I am prepared to offer you an alternative meter ... These meters are not manufactured in Israel, nor by an Isreali company.”