Working for Freedom, Equity and Justice
The following is a report on the work of
the Canadian BDS Coalition during 2018.
The Canadian BDS Coalition formed in 2016 bringing together organizations in Canada that support the Palestinian Civil Society Call through the BDS National Coalition (BNC).
By the end of 2018, the Coalition had grown to 30 member organizations.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018
Over 10,000 signatures on the Don’t Dance on the Ruins of Palestinian Childhood campaign when BC Ballet and two other organizations danced under sponsorship of the Government of Canada, and the cities of Vancouver and Montreal, at the Israeli CanaDanse Festival. The campaign initiated by Canada Palestine Association in Vancouver.
Canadian Court awarded ruled that Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions activists were denied free speech and campaigning rights when the city of Montreal tore down their posters highlighting an Israeli atrocity during an election campaign in Canada. This action was brought forward by BDS Quebec.
A number of statements were made to the Canadian Government and others in regard such issues as Israeli Nation State Bill, the massacre in Gaza.
A clear call for Sanctions was made by the member group, Just Peace Advocates, with 100 organizations joining the Al-Haq Gaza 2020 campaign. The call was for the government Canada to implement Sanctions until the Blockade on Gaza is Lifted.
Campaigns continue in regard to:
Israeli wines in British Columbia liquor stores by Canada Palestine Association, with other provinces beginning to join in.
For 2016/7 Report see HERE
Social Media Presence
Check out the Canadian BDS Coalition at:
Web Site. https://bdscoalition.ca/
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BDSCoalition.
Twitter account https://twitter.com/BDS_Coalition, @BCS_Coalitiont
Initiation of the Canadian BDS Coalition
Work began in January 2016 towards contacting the organizations which had been part of an earlier Canadian Boycott Coalition. Based on this follow up during February and March 2016, there was strong interest in moving forward with discussions towards a revived Canadian BDS Coalition.
The inaugural conference call of the Canadian BDS Coalition was held in April 2016, with agreement there was interest in moving forward with a Coalition based on a shared Basis of Unity in support of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
The Canadian BDS Coalition: Basis of Unity
A subcommittee was formed in June 2016 to develop mission, purpose & function to present to the Coalition. From this work, the Coalition finalized its Basis of Unity in September 2016.
The aims of the Coalition are to:
- promote, support and help coordinate boycott, divestment, and sanctions activities in Canada;
- provide Canadians with resources to help them understand and take action in support of the Palestinian call for BDS;
- promote and defend the right of Canadians to freedom of expression in support of BDS.
Member organizations share a common commitment to pursuing just peace through the realization of freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians, without which a lasting peace is impossible to achieve. Any Canadian group or organization that supports the BDS National Committee call and endorses the Coalition’s Basis of Unity is invited to join.
Member organizations that support the BDS call and the Canadian BDS Coalition’s Basis of Unity are listed on the Coalition’s website.
The Coalition also works with a network of friends—organizations which have chosen not to join the Canadian BDS Coalition for a variety of reasons, but who work with the Coalition towards a just peace in the region. Several are listed on the Coalition’s website, and others are part of the network but not listed.
At the end of 2018 there were 30 member groups, and over 30 other groups that are part of the network associated with the Coalition, including two international groups which have Canadian members.
During 2017/18 the Coalition had a focus on capacity building, relationship development, outreach, as well as standing in solidarity with voice of unity for BNC call.
Action with Focus on Education and Action
The Coalition recognizes the importance to educate people about BDS. It is important that we talk about what BDS is and what it is not. The Coalition provides a window of opportunity to share from an educational position what BDS is about.
VICTORIES AND ACTIONS
Canadian Financial Institutions: Complicit with Violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention
Four Canadian Financial Institutions, BMO, RBC, Scotiabank and Manulife have been listed on Bank Track as owning and managing shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Follow campaign HERE.
The Canadian BDS Coalition has contacted the CEO/Presidents of each of the four institutions in regard to their complicity. Based on responses received in early 2019, a grassroots campaign will begin.
Canadian Dance Companies: Don’t Dance on the Ruins of Palestinian Childhood
Campaign organizers, Canada Palestine Association (CPA), called on Ballet BC to take a stand and not perform in Israel. Such a performance would be a permanent stain on their records.
When two other organizations indicated participation in the Cana Danse Festival in Israel., they were also included. The Canadian BDS Coalition joined in the call for solidarity activists, both locally and around the world, to support this campaign, and to let these artists know that it is morally wrong for them to trample on the dignity and rights of Palestinians.
When it became known that the Canadian government, and cities of Vancouver and Montreal were sponsoring the Cana Danse Festival in Israel, an open letter was sent from the Canadian BDS Coalition to the Government of Canada, Cities of Vancouver and Montreal. Note no responses were received from any of the parties.
Canadian Court Hands Important Victory to BDS Movement
On December 12th a Canadian Court ruled that Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions activists were denied free speech and campaigning rights when the city of Montreal tore down their posters highlighting an Israeli atrocity during an election campaign in Canada.
This is a victory of legitimacy of BDS in Canada by the Quebec Supreme Count. It is applicable in other jurisdiction of Canada.
CFS representing 500K+ members at 64 students’ union at universities across Canada joined in solidarity for justice for the people of Palestine.
The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulated the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a member of the Coalition, on its resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that was unanimously passed at the CFS annual General Assembly on November 20, 2018.
The resolution follows the BDS endorsement by the CFS-Ontario in 2014, and BDS victories at over 20 individual campuses across Canada over the last decade.
BC Attorney General Stonewalls on Israeli Wines in BC Liquor Store
The Canadian Palestine Association continued its campaign in regard to Israeli wine. On October 17, 2018, the CPA finally heard back from British Columbia Attorney General David Eby. Eby responded to two of the initiating groups on an Open Letter, regarding BC government liquor stores carrying Israeli wines in violation of international humanitarian laws. Mr. Eby refused to meet with representatives of the 30 groups who sponsored and endorsed the letter, and insisted again to focus solely on the “customers’ right to make choices”.
Palestinians urged participating artists to withdraw from the Meteor Festival as a meaningful contribution to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The Canadian BDS Coalition joined in the international action with a call for the Canadian-Danish Music group, Rhye to withdraw from the September 2018 Israeli Meteor Music Festival.
The Canadian government is called to condemn the Israeli Nation State Bill and uphold its own Canadian Special Economic Sanctions Act.
in Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speak at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 31, 2018.Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press
When the Israeli Nation State Law passed which effectively declared itself an apartheid colonial-settler state, the Canadian BDS Coalition called upon the Canadian government to immediately condemn Israel’s apartheid law by putting sanctions in place as is required under Canada’s own domestic law. The Canadian BDS Coalition joins with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian BDS National Committee in calling for the UN to activate its anti-apartheid laws and impose serious sanctions, on Israel such as those which were imposed on South Africa.”
No response was received.
The partnership between Hydro-Québec and Israel Electric is revealed by BDS-Québec
Quebec BDS which is a member of the Canadian BDS Coalition launched a campaign this year to demand that Hydro-Québec terminate its agreement to cooperate on cyber security with Israel Electric Corporation concluded on May 22, 2017. This memorandum of understanding is in fact a contract between two states: Quebec and Israel.
The cooperation agreement was signed as part of the May 2017 economic mission to Israel and the West Bank by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, in his presence. Hydro-Québec refuses to disclose the content of its partnership agreement with IEC in contravention of the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information to which it is subject. Join the campaign HERE. To learn more about the cooperation of Canada’s energy industry read this IT World Canada article that provides details about Toronto Hydro, IESO (Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator), and the Canadian Electric Association, as well as Canadian energy sector.
Message to NDP From the Canadian BDS Coalition
The Canadian BSD Coalition sent a letter to the New Democratic Party of Canada following the the Socialist International, the association of 140 global political parties, including 35 parties in government, adoption of BDS and call for a military embargo on Israel until it ends its violations of Palestinian rights. This call by Socialist International was the most significant call for sanctions against Israel to date. The Canadian BDS Coalition asks “where is the NDP now that they no longer are part of Socialist International.” A 2017 EKOS Poll showed 70% of Canadians support sanctions on Israel the Canadian BDS Coalition indicated it is time for the NDP to align with the Canadian public as we moved toward 2019 election. See the letter sent to the NDP HERE. The Socialist Action and the Socialist Caucus of the NDP are members of the Canadian BDS Coalition.
The Canadian BDS Coalition and many of its member groups and friends are among the more than 50 signatories to this open letter sent in May to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. See the letter HERE. The letter was delivered directly to Ministers Freeland’s office as part of an action in Toronto. Shamefully no response was received.
There were a number of actions including street actions in support of solidarity with the #GreatReturnMarch.
Speaking with your economic buying power–an age old tactic
The Canadian BDS Coalition developed information specific to Canadian action associated with Economic Boycott. This includes a comprehensive list of items for economic boycott. See information HERE for products, retailers and overall information. This information buildings on information from other organizations such as friend of the Canadian BDS Coalition, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)., as well as campaigns by the BDS National Committee (BNC) and the research think tank Who Profits.
The Canadian BDS Coalition continued to support the Global HP Campaign with actions in several places. HP plays a key role in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. It provides technology, equipment and services to the Israeli military, including for the checkpoints and ID card system that underpin Israel’s apartheid policies and its movement restrictions for Palestinians.HP relies on its good image and its contracts with public organisations, civil society bodies and private businesses. Effective grassroots campaigning can push HP to end its role in Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.
For actions that can be taken check out the action plan.
The Canadian BDS Coalition joined with Youth Against Settlements in Hebron and people around the world. for #OpenShuhadaStreet in 2018. Learn more HERE.
Humble but Necessary Step BDS Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
In February 2018, the Canadian BDS Coalition joined in sharing its gratitude to the Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes with support of progressive Rødt (Red) Party for officially nominating the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for a Nobel Prize. The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulates the BNC and all those who are mobilizing civil society and decision makers to say no to apartheid, and yes to justice, equity and freedom for all including Palestine. See the message HERE.
In January 2018, Aga Khan hosted an event with the Israeli consulate. The Toronto BDS Action, a member of the Canadian BDS Coalition intiatited the campaign say NO to Israel’s cultural whitewash with the Aga Khan in January 2018. The Canadian BDS Coalition took forward this campaign with letters and social media Aga Khan did NOT respond. Learn more by clicking HERE.
Letters and Actions of Solidarity:
The Canadian BDS Coalition signed a number of letters of solidarity during the year including in regards to Land Day/Gaza, Gaza 2020, the withdraw from the Canada-Israel Committee by NDP members, the imprisonment of Khalida Jarrar.
The Canadian BDS Coalition also was present at the Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians day on the Hill–”Eyes of Jerusalem.” This included sharing material from the Canadian BDS Coalition with members of parliament, staff, municipal elected officials and others.
The Canadian BDS Coalition also provided a letter of support in regard to the need for the Palestine Justice Hub initiative of Just Peace Advocates as part of the building of a business case for funding with the Ontario Law Foundation.
During 2018, the Canadian BDS Coalition celebrated the history of labour and students in BDS over the last dozen or more years. Check out the following articles:
The Canadian BDS Coalition currently has member groups from across the country as well as a number of national organizations. These are groups that support the BDS call and have endorsed the Coalition’s Basis of Unity. You can browse the groups, or select your province below to find a group near you.
THE CANADIAN BDS COALITION IS THE MEMBER REP FOR PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY GROUPS IN THE CANADA PALESTINE NETWORK
The Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation was incorporated as a registered non-profit society in 1996 in British Columbia. The director is Theresa Wolfwood of Victoria. The aims of BBCF are:
- To create, to develop, and to encourage programs that promote social justice, peace, sustainability, diversity and community, through research, writing, film and art; and
- To organize public events that will contribute, globally and locally, to knowledge and awareness.
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver has been carrying on solidarity work for the Palestinian people since 1980. CPA supports the Palestinian people’s struggle to realize their human and national rights including the right to self-determination and the right to return. It opposes Zionism because of its exclusionist, aggressive and racist nature and also opposes anti-Jewish and anti-Arab racism (for more details see our Basis of Unity). CPA also endorses the general boycott against Israel and against all those who enable Israeli ethnic cleansing, war crimes and Apartheid.
canpalnet was founded in Vancouver in 2000 and gathers Canadians of all backgrounds who support the human, democratic, and national rights of the Palestinian people.
canpalnet aims to change the policies and actions of the Canadian government so that these come to support the rights of the Palestinian people.
canpalnet guides itself by United Nations resolutions affirming Palestinians’ right of return and calling for an end to the Israeli occupation. CANPALNET similarly guides itself by accumulated international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, which upholds the equal worth and dignity of persons regardless of their ethnic or religious identity, and which affirms democratic rights and opposes apartheid structures.
canpalnet works for the national co-ordination of solidarity work.
CAIA Victoria formed 2006 as a response to the growing threat to peace in the Middle East created by the Israeli government. We are a network of concerned individuals and organizations working to end this apartheid system. We believe that justice will not be achieved without equal rights for everyone in the region, regardless of religion, ethnicity or nationality.
We understand Israeli apartheid as one element of a system of global apartheid. To this end, we stand in solidarity with all oppressed groups around the world, in particular, the indigenous people of North America.
We oppose all forms of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (MIJPME) is located in the mid-island region of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. People from Courtenay to Duncan join with us and attend our events. MIJPME hosts a monthly discussion group in the Comox Valley to explore, learn and expand our understanding of the complexities regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. MIJPME also organizes, supports, and sponsors events related to Israel/Palestine.
Justice for Palestinians Calgary is a community group formed in the fall of 2009 to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.
Among other things:
- we work to end all Canadian complicity in Israeli apartheid;
- we oppose all forms of racism including Islamophobia and antisemitism,
- we stand in solidarity with all oppressed groups around the world, in particular the indigenous peoples of North America.
- we hold educational activities such as films and speakers and have carried out several BDS actions
The Palestine Solidarity Network is a non-profit, grassroots collective aimed at advocating and upholding the human rights of Palestinians in the face of ongoing oppression, occupation, racism and discrimination, both in occupied Palestine and in the diaspora.
PSN maintains groups at both the community level, the Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton, and on the University of Alberta campus, the Palestine Solidarity Network – UAlberta.
Regina Peace Council
The Regina Peace Council was formed in 1949. It focuses on issues of peace, disarmament, development, and international solidarity. It is a member of the Canadian Peace Congresswhich in turn is affiliated with the World Peace Council. We publish Saskatchewan Peace Newsfour times a year, which is available free in hard or email copy to anyone interested in checking it out by emailing email@example.com
The Regina Peace Council believes that justice for the Palestinian people is a key requirement for having peace in the Middle East and in the world.
Peace Alliance Winnipeg is committed to developing a broad movement for peace in our city. It organizes actions and educational events to promote an understanding of the events which are shaping our world. Through our web site we present news, information and discussion about Canada’s role in the world as it relates to issues of war and peace as well as developments that occur in other countries.
CPT builds partnerships to transform violence and oppression in situations of lethal conflict around the world. We are committed to work and relationships that:
- honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality,
- strengthen grassroots initiatives,
- transform structures of domination and oppression, and
- embody creative nonviolence and liberating love.
CPT Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, nonviolent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. By collaborating with local Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers and educating people in our home communities, we help create a space for justice and peace. We maintain a project in the southern West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic).
Toronto BDS Action supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel’s system of settler-colonialism, occupation, and apartheid towards the Palestinian people.
Toronto BDS Action shares a commitment to pursuing peace in Palestine/Israel through the realization of freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians, without which a lasting peace is impossible to achieve. Individuals and organizations may join Toronto BDS.
We stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for sovereignty, justice, and freedom from occupation.
A group in London, Ontario working for peace, with justice.
Niagara BDS Coalition
Supporting the BDS call of Palestinian civil society in the Niagara Region. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Oakville Palestinian Rights Association (OPRA)
The Oakville Palestinian Rights Association [OPRA] started in 2016 As its name
implies OPRA has focused on advocating for the rights of Palestinians whether they are in the Westbank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, 1948 Israel, in refugee camps in neighboring countries or in the diaspora around the world. We believe a lasting , productive peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved when these internationally recognized rights are accepted and acted upon. OPRA has sponsored a number of public events drawing attention to Israeli and international disregard of these rights and the oppressive consequences for the Palestinian people. OPRA’s primary focus is upon The No Way To Treat a Child campaign . It is attempting to gain the willingness of Canadian parliamentarians and the Canadian public to condemn this Israeli policy and practice of arresting, isolating, hurting, intimidating, manipulating and imprisoning children, some as young as six or seven,for insulting or throwing stones at riot gear dressed soldiers with powerful weapons.
OPRA also strongly supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of all Israeli companies,organizations and institutions that have not condemned the Israeli denial of Palestinian rights. OPRA meets approximately once a month.
For more info contact email@example.com
OPIRG is the Ontario Public Interest Research Group! A loose network of PIRGs currently exists across much of Canada and the U.S. The PIRGs were launched by “public interest” activist Ralph Nader in the early seventies as a means to harness the energy and talents of students to help solve pressing social and environmental problems.
BDS Québec is a Quebec coalition of trade unions, organizations in solidarity with Palestinians, community, human rights defenders, women’s, student, religious groups, NGOs, and political parties who have adopted a BDS resolution for their organization.
PAJU was created in November 2000 in response to the Second Palestinian uprising (Intifada) against the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. PAJU has worked to build support in Quebec for the struggle of the Palestinian people.Its members work to promote justice and peace in Palestine and to end Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.
We actively promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, distribute information and organize cultural and political activities in support of the Palestinian cause.
Newfoundland and Labrador
We are a loose coalition of individuals who work in St. John’s toward justice in Israel/Palestine.
The Canadian Peace Congress advocates and works for world peace and disarmament. We maintain that peace, not militarism and war, is the guarantor of democracy, human rights, social and economic justice. Peace, friendship and cooperation among peoples and nations are possible and necessary to improve living standards, eradicate unemployment and poverty, illiteracy and disease and to restore the health of the planet. The Peace Congress is an affiliate member of the World Peace Council.
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ) is a national, liberal religious organization founded to actively promote Unitarian values through social action.
CUSJ develops and maintains a vibrant network for social action, at the local, national, and international levels, for the relief of:
- Discrimination based on religious, racial, sexual orientation or other grounds
- Violations of the human rights of individuals or groups
- Poverty and economic injustice
- Environmental degradation
- Breaches of peace, security and the democratic process
IJV is a national human rights organization, founded in 2008. We promote a just resolution to the dispute in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties. We focus on Israel because Israel perpetrates unjust policies in the name of all Jews. As an occupying power, we hold Israel responsible to end its violence, occupation and settlement expansion in the West Bank, and to end its siege of Gaza.
We are guided by these principles:
- Human rights are universal and indivisible and should be upheld without exception. This is as applicable in Israel and Occupied Palestine as it is elsewhere.
- Palestinians and Israelis alike have the right to peaceful and secure lives.
- Peace and stability require the willingness of all parties to the conflict to comply with international law.
- There is no justification for any form of racism, including anti-Semitism (or anti-Jewish racism), anti-Arab racism or lslamophobia.
- The battle against anti-Semitism is vital and is undermined whenever opposition to Israeli government policies is automatically branded as anti-Semitic.
We have 10 chapters across Canada, in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Alberta, Vancouver, and Victoria.
A Canadian based independent human rights organization promoting Just Peace/Paix Juste through the rule of law and respect for human rights in Canada and around the world for the Palestinian people and those that stand in solidarity for the human rights of the Palestinian people
Our vision is provide a civil society voice focused on government, institutional and society’s accountability to the rule of law, and the standards of international human rights and humanitarian law for the rights of the Palestinian people.
The work of Just Peace Advocates is accomplished through research, monitoring, education, communications, advocacy, programs and services.
The NDP Socialist Caucus was founded in 1998 at Toronto, Ontario by NDP activists who were concerned about the right-wing drift of the party leadership. It advocates socialist policies based on economic democracy and workers’ empowerment, such as social ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, the eradication of homelessness and poverty, women’s rights and gender equality, environmental sustainability, and global peace and cooperation.
The SC believes that in order to attain power, the NDP must connect with working class people, wage earners and equity-seeking groups like never before. This means championing socialist policies that can capture the dreams and aspirations of millions of people in Canada and around the world.
Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste is an organization of revolutionary socialists across the Canadian state, active in the labour movement, social justice, international solidarity, feminist and environmental campaigns. SA/LAS supporters work to build the NDP Socialist Caucus, Quebec Solidaire, support for indigenous peoples’ struggles, as well as anti-war, anti-poverty and human rights movements. SA/LAS is in solidarity with the Fourth International worldwide.
Formed in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is a bilingual national union of over one-half million students from more than 64 university and college students’ unions across Canada. Our Federation provides students with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally, and creates space and opportunity for students across the country and province to join together in creating change and winning victories on and off campus.
Other student groups that have indicated they wish to be member of the Coalition directly include:
Inter-University BDS Network for university campuses in Montreal (UQAM, McGill, Concordia and Universite de Montreal) See Action Network: Concordia
CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is a network of organizers and activists working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom. We work to raise awareness and provide resources about Palestinian political prisoners, their conditions, their demands, and their work for freedom for themselves, their fellow prisoners, and their homeland. We also work to organize campaigns to make political change and advocate for Palestinian prisoners’ rights and freedoms, including boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against the Israeli state and complicit corporations and institutions.
SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS INCLUDE:
Highlights from Canada Palestine Association
BDS Vancouver 2018 Activities
Boycott HP Campaign on Palestinian Prisoners Day
April 17 picket, Best Buy Vancouver
Boycott Israeli Wines
Sept 12 Picket at office of BC Attorney General: TELL DAVID EBY TO END COMPLICITY IN ISRAELI OCCUPATION AND WAR CRIMES!
Followed by Open Letter, signed by over 30 groups published in Palestine Chronicle and other websites
Ballet BC and CanaDanse Festival Campaign
Petition – now over 10,000 signatures, articles in Mondoweiss and local media
Leafleting, Dec. 8 Vancouver QE Theatre
Focus now on government sponsorships
3 educationals on BDS with local trade unions from Sept. to November, 2018
Educational in Victoria BC on March 15 on the BDS movement and why it is succeeding, cosponsored by CAIA Victoria.
CPA-Vancouver and BDS Vancouver were also involved in many other general Palestinian solidarity actions in 2018, from supporting Palestinian child prisoners and Ahed Tamimi, to rallying for the Great Return March and criticiziing CBC coverage, to a Nakba 70 picket that was covered on the front page of Star Vancouver, to the annual picket protesting the Vancouver JNF gala dinner. For more details, check out the events section at CPA Vancouver website.
Highlights from Toronto BDS Action
Formed in September 2017 the first work of the Toronto BDS Action group was to initiate the international campaign, Unplug from Israeli Apartheid, Bryan Adams undertaken by the Canadian BDS Coalition, 2017, and the across Canada support tour for the Roger Water’s Canadian tour.
During 2018, Toronto BDS Action worked to create the full list of verified economic boycott products which serve as base for Canadian BDS Coalition,
The BDS Toronto Action group led the 2018 campaign calling Aga Khan to renounce event with Israeli consulate,
Endorsement of 2017 and 2018 James Graft Memorial. Table at 2017 event for outreach. Info at 2018 lecture.
Article in Toronto Sun, where Stephen Ellis mentioned Toronto BDS Coalition
Presentation at Toronto City Council in regard to Al-quds Day, with subsequent complaint to integrity commissioner when Mayor Tory supported Councilor Pasternak indicating presenter from Toronto BDS Action “should get lost.”
Outreach & Information materials at a number of events including Beit Zatoun salon, Just Peace Advocates events, and others events including Canadian Peace Congress, Socialist Action, Canadian Friends of Sabeel (CFOS) Palestinian Liberation Theology course et al
Attendance with banners/flags at a variety of the counter to alt-right rallies, and also at Palestine actions including those events lead by United for Palestine as part of the national action across country.
Signed onto numerous campaigns, letters of support. Maintain active Facebook presence for Palestine and in solidarity with other groups.
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice Annual Report (2017-18)
1. CUSJ wrote letters to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leaders in 2017 and 2018:
◦ Denouncing the federal government’s motion to condemn those supporting the Palestinian-civil-society-initiated BDS campaign & movement;
◦ Requesting that the government acknowledge the devastating and ongoing effects Britain’s Balfour Declaration has had on the indigenous Palestinian population;
◦ Requesting the federal government put pressure on Israel to cease its expansion of Jewish settlements and to condemn Israel’s Expropriation Bill;
◦ Demanding that the government condemn the illegal blockade of Gaza and the killing and wounding of unarmed Gazan protesters, medics and journalists by the IDF; also requesting an arms embargo on Israel, until such time as the blockade on Gaza and illegal settlement buildings end.
◦ Thanking the government for its long overdue statement of apology to the Jewish people for turning away Jewish refugees in 1939, and requesting similar action on the plight of Palestinians;
◦ Asking the government to denounce the new Nation-State Law, defining Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people only, thus discriminating against minorities which runs counter to democratic values.
2. CUSJ took part in demonstrations during the Roger Waters Canadian concert tour and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s appearance at Roy Thomson Hall and in pro-Palestine solidarity protests in Toronto (2017).
3. Two of our members attended Israel Independence flag raising ceremonies at various City Halls in the Greater Toronto Area in 2017
4. Halifax members participated in a few boycott Settlement Products demonstrations with IJV and United Church (SodaStream and others) at various retailers in Halifax Region in 2017
5. Toronto members took part in a joint IJV Interfaith demonstration at Global Affairs Minister Freeland’s constituency office in 2018.
6. A few members attend the weekly Friday vigil at the Israeli Consulate on a semi-regular basis.
7. Members of CUSJ also wrote letters of support of the Spokane Unitarian Congregation and Pastor Todd Eklof whose viewing of ‘The Occupation of the American Mind’ caused negative reactions from the local Jewish Federation in November 2018.
8. CUSJ recently signed the petition asking Ballet B.C. not to take part in Israel’s CanaDanse Festival in January 2019. The city of Vancouver and Montreal and the Canadian government are supporting this event. As a member organization CUSJ signed on to the letter to the federal and municipal governments
9. CUSJ posts BDS Coalition and other organizational-related campaign links, such as #Stop JNF on its website, such as the most recent campaign targeting 4 Canadian banks with ties to Israeli bank funding of Israeli settlements.
10. The CUSJ bulletin board at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto includes postcards and flyers such as the ‘No Way to Treat a Child’ campaign a joint project of Defense for Children International- Palestine and American Friends (Quaker) Service Committee.
CUSJ’s 2017 revised Resolution on our BDS Motion:
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, advocating Unitarian Principles, adopts a formal stance in favor of: 1) a boycott of products from companies, regardless of origin, that participate in Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories; 2) a cultural boycott in which performing artists refuse to perform in Israel until it ends the occupation; and 3) a ban on federal and provincial state-funded lending to for-profit companies operating in the Occupied Territories, and to any organization materially supporting the destruction of Palestinian homes or expansion of illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories.
HIghlights from Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement pour une Paix Juste
Just Peace Advocates formed as a not-for-profit human rights organization in 2018.
During the year it did close to 40 events, most with international human rights lawyer, and founder of Al-Haq, Jonathan Kuttab under the “Post-Oslo Palestine” series. The organization met with politicians in Ottawa, and diplomats in Ramallah and Tel Aviv.
The organization supports fully the BNC call, and information related to boycott, divestment and sanction actions is key in the education program of Just Peace Advocates.
Just Peace Advocates made application to the Ontario Law Foundation for funding for the Palestine Justice Hub initiative during 2018, and made contact with many lawyers and others in regard to the Palestine Justice Hub.
Gaza 2020, a campaign of Al-Haq was initiated in Canada by Just Peace Advocates. It calls Canada to follow its obligation as a high signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure under Article 1 that the Convention is upheld under all circumstances, and calls on the Canadian government to follow its own national law which calls for sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act when a foreign country systemically violates human rights. 100 organizations including the Canadian BDS Coalition and a number of it members signed the call to the Canadian government.
Highlights from Solidarity with Palestine St. John’s
CJPME stickers on various items in various stores
Basket for Gaza Hospital educational in grocery stores – raised $1400.00
Letters to Newfoundland MP’s, Chrystia Freeland, and Trudeau
Met with City of St. John’s and Provincial Procurement Office to discuss human rights [BDS] in purchasing decisions
Will meet with Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation on January 3
Highlights from Socialist Action
Social Action Toronto participated in the Al Quds (Jerusalem) march on June 9. We showed a Palestine-related film in the Spring and Fall series of Rebel Films, and had several speakers including Karen Rodman, , Stephen Ellis, and Dimitri Lascaris. The Socialist Caucus of the NDP and Socialist Action played a leading role in the fight for BDS and a pro-Palestinian policy at the NDP federal convention in Ottawa in February 2018.