Tell the Ontario government that boycotting Israel is our right

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Canadian BDS Coalition member group Independent Jewish Voices has launched a petition calling on the Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne to “support the right of Ontarians to engage in peaceful advocacy for human rights in Israel/Palestine, free from defamation or condemnation from our provincial government”:

As you may have heard, Bill 202 – put forward by the pro-Israel lobby group Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and MPPs Tim Hudak and Michael Colle – failed to pass its second reading in the Ontario legislature. If passed, this bill would have blacklisted and boycotted any individual resident of Ontario or organization active in Ontario that supports the Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid.

This enormous victory was due in part to the thousands of Ontarians and Canadians across the country who took action in defence of free speech and the rights of Palestinians.

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) is now calling on all those who believe that BDS is a just and legitimate tool to peacefully apply pressure on the Israeli regime to respect Palestinians’ rights to sign this petition to all Ontario MPPs and leading bureaucrats. Continue reading

Boycott Israeli Wines, Don’t Drink with Apartheid

On the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, eight years ago, Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver and other endorsing groups called for a boycott of Israeli wines in BC liquor stores.

This year, on the 68th anniversary, with BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) making great strides globally, BC liquor stores are regrettably still stuck in the past. In fact, not only are they still carrying wines from the occupied Golan Heights, but they have added several others sourced from the occupied West Bank, specifically the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc around Jerusalem. One in particular is called Efrat Judean Hills Kosher and is produced by the Teperberg Winery. This brand declares openly on its website that “Teperberg’s vineyards are spread around several growing regions in the Judean Hills, Upper Galilee, Gush Etzion….” More information on this winery and other Israeli wineries can be found in the exhaustive study done by Who Profits entitled Forbidden Fruit: Israeli Wine Industry and Occupation.

We are relaunching the Boycott Israeli Wines, Don’t Drink with Apartheid campaign; and we encourage everyone to let your local liquor store know that supporting occupation and Israeli war crimes is unethical. You can also sign our petition to the BC Liquor Board CEO.

For more information, visit the campaign Facebook page.

Mennonite Church Canada supports BDS resolution

Mondoweiss reports on the latest BDS victory in Canada:

The BDS Movement celebrated a victory at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly this weekend in Saskatoon, with an overwhelming majority of delegates supporting a resolution on that encourages BDS. With 350 delegates in attendance only one person opposed the resolution.

This resolution is in part a response to the 2009 Kairos Document that was prepared by Palestinian Christians in Palestine asking their global Christian brothers and sisters to show their solidarity with them through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. The Mennonite resolution laments the violence in Israel and Palestine and repents its complicity in anti-Semitism and structures of colonialism that oppress Indigenous people in Canada. The resolution commits the Mennonite Church to further education on what is happening in Israel and Palestine, in addition its concluding demands are:

“We ask the Mennonite Church Canada General Board, along with regional churches, congregations, and members—to avoid investing in or supporting companies that do business with Israeli settlements and the Israel Defense Forces, and companies that are profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian territories; and

We encourage the government of Canada to support measures that put pressure on Israel (including through economic sanctions) to end the occupation and work for a just peace, in accordance with international law.”

Mennonite Church Canada represents over 225 congregations across Canada with a membership of over 31 000. Influential in developing and supporting the resolution is over 60 years of Mennonite service in Palestine and Israel through Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Christian Peacemaker Teams. Mennonites are a historic protestant peace church, firmly rooted in principles of nonviolence. They have often spoken out on social justice issues such as war and poverty.

For Mennonites, their call to BDS is a way to non-violently resist Israel’s occupation. As Ray Friesen, pastor of Emmaus Mennonite Church in Saskatchewan, stated in the preliminary discussion leading up to the vote, that Mennonites have three options in response to the oppression of Palestinians: “Violence, the status quo that will oppress and pour down suffering on our Palestinian brothers and sisters, or active nonviolent ways of making a difference.” Friesen spoke to the assembly stating that BDS is a way Mennonites can help bring peace to the region.

This echoed the words of Henry Funk,  “Economic pressure on Israel is a step towards peace. This motion is in the best interest of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the land of Jesus’s birth, his ministry, and his death and resurrection.”. Funk has spent time living in Nazareth and volunteering at Nazareth Village.

Hearing the news of the victory, Palestinian Pastor and Vice President of Bethlehem Bible College Alex Awad responded, “I am delighted to hear of the vote to support BDS against companies that do harm in the West Bank. MC Canada has demonstrated that when delegates are well-informed about the realities of the Israeli occupation, they will vote to support BDS. I hope this vote will encourage churches that are struggling with this issue to follow the example set by MC Canada. All who yearn for peace and justice in the world will welcome MC Canada’s decision to vote on the side of BDS. This is encouraging news for both Palestinian peacemakers and Jewish activists for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.”

Mennonite Church Canada joins a growing movement of churches that have taken up the call to BDS including the US Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Canada, and several Quaker congregations.

Editor’s note: It is more accurate to say “several Quaker national bodies, including Canadian Yearly Meeting” than “several Quaker congregations.”

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It’s time for a military embargo on Israel

This is a message from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Two years ago today, Israel began a brutal military attack on Palestinians in Gaza in which more than 2,300 Palestinians were killed and 100,000 people were displaced.

Israel deliberately attacked entire civilian areas in Gaza and inflicted as much human suffering as it could. The UN and human rights organisations have documented Israel’s war crimes during the massacre.

Gaza has just entered its tenth year of siege, a policy described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe as “incremental genocide.” The siege has almost entirely prevented meaningful reconstruction since the 2014 attack.

As Abdulrahman Abunahel, our coordinator in Gaza, puts it “One of my worries is that the longer Israel maintains its siege of the world’s largest open-air prison, the more the official international community adapts and accepts Israel’s gradual and deliberate reduction of Gaza into an uninhabitable prison camp where close to 2 million Palestinians face slow death.”

“But as a refugee living in Gaza, it is not enough to just call for the end to Israel’s siege. We need to keep growing our BDS campaigns until the Palestinian people can exercise our right to self-determination, including the right of refugees to return home.”

Help us get spread the word: click here to share our graphic about Gaza and the campaign for a military embargo on Facebook

Israel is able to carry out its brutal military attacks and repress Palestinian popular resistance with impunity. As our Links that Kill fact sheet sets out, Israel is only able to do this because of the massive weapons trade and military cooperation, including research, it maintains with countries across the world.

Over the period 2009-2018, the US is providing military aid to Israel worth $30bn. EU arms exports to Israel during 2014 alone were worth over $1bn (mostly from Germany) and its arms imports from Israel reached a whopping $1.6 bn in 2015.

While India, Colombia and Brazil remain among the top importers of Israeli weapons, it has been recently revealed that Israel has supplied weapons that were used in committing crimes against humanity in Rwanda and South Sudan, among others.

Israel uses its criminal attacks on Palestinians to test its military technology and then exports its weapons as “field tested”. Up to 85% of Israel’s military industry production is exported and 60% of the world’s drones are manufactured by Israel.

Israel is not just oppressing Palestinians – it is exporting its ruthless model of securitization and militarized repression to the world. From the streets of Ferguson to the favelas of Rio to the borders of Fortress Europe, Israeli weapons and ruthless techniques are used to maintain oppression.

Our campaign for a two-way military embargo on Israel is growing. More than a dozen banks have divested from Elbit Systems over its role in Israel’s military violence, for example.

Please share our military embargo graphic on Facebook and check out our fact sheet for more ideas on how to get involved.

Thank you for your continued support for our nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

Boycott Air Canada!

This campaign has been initiated by the Canada Palestine Association (CPA), in solidarity with the call from Palestinian civil society to support boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against entities complicit in the occupation and oppression of of the Palestinian people. The following information is taken from the CPA’s website. Continue reading