The Canadian BDS Coalition is comprised of groups in Canada that support the global Boycott Israel movement targeting Israel’s system of settler-colonialism, occupation, and apartheid towards the Palestinian people.
The BDS movement is founded on the call made by more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations on July 9, 2005, inviting people across the world who support freedom, justice and equality for the people of Palestine to boycott, divest from, and press for sanctions against the State of Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
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.
Coalition members share a common commitment to pursuing just peace fo 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 call and endorses the Coalition’s Basis of Unity is invited to join.
Coalition members engage on elements of BDS that are most relevant to their own communities. The Coalition’s actions and positions reflect only member groups that choose to participate in the specific initiative and are not necessarily the position of all member groups.
The Coalition also works with many organizations across Canada, in Palestine and internationally who work towards a just peace in the region.
Canada needs more BDS, not less!
The BDS National Committee (BNC) has publicly noted on their website that they asked our coalition to “remove BDS from its name”. After serious discussion, we informed them that we respectfully declined this request, and even amended our Basis of Unity to state that our “Coalition is not affiliated with the BDS National Committee..”. However, as the BNC felt it was imperative to make this contradiction public, we feel obliged to respond and explain our reasoning.
The BNC has been aware of our Coalition since its inception and even included our victory in the #AirCanadaComplicity campaign in their annual report “Top BDS Moments of 2017”. We have always been steadfast in our support of Boycott Israel campaigns and will continue to be so. This new unfortunate contradiction with the BNC will not diminish our commitment to the Palestinian people’s struggle nor our belief in the importance of boycott actions.
Our founding minutes detailing our basis of unity from April 2016 highlighted why the name Canadian BDS Coalition was chosen – “New Name: Canadian BDS Coalition. (Good unequivocal answer to the Parliamentary condemnation)”
This was in response to the February 2016 condemnation of BDS in the Canadian House of Commons and the logic of it still stands today. Recently, PM Trudeau again went out of his way to discredit BDS during his salute to Israel’s “Independence Day”.
For 9 months, we have dedicated significant time and resources to try and resolve this contradiction with the BNC. They first brought up issues regarding our internal processes and decision-making, but in the end the main criticism focused on the public defense (by some of our member and friend groups) of the right of the Palestinian people to engage in armed resistance against occupation. They said this went against their policy of non-violence and endangered the BNC’s security. The Coalition decided we could not in good conscience sanction groups who made vital contributions to the solidarity work based solely on such an argument.
Furthermore, we have always felt that the strength of the global boycott movement lies in its de-centralization, with local groups and committees determining what tactics best fit their context. As one of the few Canada-wide organizations that proudly carries BDS in its proper name, it would be both harmful and counter-productive to change our name now. Canada needs more BDS, not less!!
During 2022, the BNC asked Twitter to remove the Canadian BDS Coalition Twitter as “impersonating” BDS. Twitter suspended the Canadian BDS Coalition account, but subsequently reinstated the Canadian BDS Coalition twitter account.