Author Archives: psnedmonton

Open letter to Ballet BC on performances in Israel

You can add your name in support of the open letter below by signing the petition on change.org.

October 2, 2018

John Clark, Executive Director
executivedirector@balletbc.com

Dear Mr. Clark:

As a young child, my mother took me to see The Nutcracker; when I became a mother, I did the same with my daughter and took her to a Ballet BC production of The Nutcracker, a tradition I was hoping to repeat soon with my granddaughter.

However, I have now learned that Ballet BC is touring in Israel in January, 2019. As global artists, I am sure you are aware of the international movement by many cultural figures to refuse to perform in Israel until it complies with international law. Figures such as Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Lana del Rey, and Brian Eno, who refused to allow the Israeli dance company Batsheva to use one of his musical compositions at a performance in Italy. Continue reading

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Air Canada

Tell Air Canada to end its complicity with Israel

Did you know that Air Canada is outsourcing maintenance work for its B787 and B767 jets to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)? And that IAI, a leader in drone production, is wholly owned by the government of Israel? And that Gaza and its civilian population are mercilessly used as a human laboratory for developing and thereby advancing the marketing of such drones?

IAI brags on its website that its “scope has expanded to include technologically sophisticated solutions for battle in the air, at sea or on land” and that it has “contributed significantly” to the “strategic superiority” of the Israeli military.

You can read more about IAI in this Corporate Watch report.

The Canadian BDS coalition is launching a major campaign to tell Air Canada we are not on board with this blatant complicity with Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people. The Palestinian-led BDS movement recently called for immediate international action towards implementing a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past.

What you can do

Telling Air Canada to immediately end this contract with IAI is one thing you can do right now to contribute. Here’s how you can help:

Add your name to the new petition to Air Canada!

Please make your union, church, and community or political groups aware of this boycott and encourage them to show solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as workers here in Canada. You can download a fact sheet on the issue from Canada Palestine Association website.

Check all other possible options before finalizing your travel plans and boycott Air Canada whenever possible. Send the message to Air Canada that Israeli government abuses of international law will not be rewarded with your travel dollars!

Join a local BDS group and stay tuned for other campaigns to help further the military embargo on Israel.

Learn more

Read the most recent Palestine Chronicle article (or this earlier article from March, 2017).

Read the 2015 Mondoweiss article on the call for a boycott of Air Canada.

For more background on the issue, visit the Canada Palestine Association website.

Statement in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike

As the hunger strike for Freedom and Dignity by 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners enters its 37th day, the Canadian BDS Coalition issues the following statement in solidarity with the hunger strikers:

The Government of Canada risks becoming complicit with the actions of the Government of Israel in the mistreatment of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Now is the time for Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland to tell the Israeli government to treat the Palestinian prisoners with respect and with basic human rights. In the continued absence of such treatment, Canada must commence an incremental application of sanctions against Israel until such time as prisoners are allowed basic human rights, such as family visits, appropriate medical care, full access to legal counsel, and freedom from imprisonment without charge or trial. As well, Canada must tell Israel to cease their systemic imposition of solitary confinement, humiliation, and torture as well as cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of Palestinian prisoners.

In making this statement, the Canadian BDS Coalition stands in solidarity with the over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners on the hunger strike, in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner support groups Samidoun and Addameer, and in solidarity with many other peace-seeking organizations world wide.

The Government of Israel has responded to the hunger strike by placing the striking prisoners into solitary confinement, confiscating personal possessions, depriving the prisoners of salt [their only source of nutrition taken in their water], conducting nightly raids of the prisoners’ cells by IDF Security Forces, and threatening forced feedings. This is not a response the Government of Canada should accept and must stand against.

The Canadian BDS Coalition requests everyone who believes political prisoners deserve basic human rights to tell the Government of Canada to sanction Israel until such basic rights are given to their prisoners. Tell Prime Minister Trudeau; tell Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland; and tell your Member of Parliament. Organize your own protest against the Government of Israel along the lines of the #SaltWaterChallenge; tell your family and friends about the extreme abuse of human rights by the Government of Israel; and write to your local newspaper to expose the indignities perpetuated by the Israeli prison system.

In the broader picture, the Canadian BDS Coalition requests each individual to commence their own mission of boycotting Israeli products, managing their investments so as to divest from Israeli companies and those companies which assist Israel in the military oppression of Palestine, and to call for sanctions by federal, provincial, and municipal governments against Israel, and those who support their occupation of Palestine.

BNC statement on Nakba Day

On the 69th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) released the following statement:

BDS: Upholding our Rights, Resisting the Ongoing Nakba
The BNC Commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

It is possible…
It is possible at least sometimes…
It is possible especially now
To ride a horse
Inside a prison cell
And run away…
It is possible for prison walls
To disappear.
For the cell to become a distant land
Without frontiers
–  Mahmoud Darwish

May 15, 2017 marks the 69th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, made 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine.

Continue reading

Tell the TSO: Don’t play for Israeli apartheid

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will make its first-ever touring appearances in Israel, with performances in Jerusalem on May 11, 2017 and Tel Aviv on May 13, 2017.

The tour, coming just days before the 69th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba and less than a month before the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, ignores the Palestinian-led call for a cultural boycott of Israel, which has been supported by thousands of artists around the world to refuse to play in Israel.

Take Action

Here’s how you can take action to tell the TSO not to play for Israeli apartheid:

1. Sign and share the petition calling on TSO musicians to cancel their shows in Israel.

2. Contact the leadership of the TSO and demand they cancel the planned performances in Israel. If you’re not sure what to say, you can use key points from the petition to get started. Here are come key contacts:

Gary Hanson, Interim Chief Executive Officer
ghanson@tso.ca

Roberta Smith, Vice-President & Chief of Staff
rsmith@tso.ca

Peter Oundjian, Music Director
poudjian@tso.ca

You can also contact the TSO by email at contactus@tso.ca or by phone at 416.598.3375 and see a full contact list for other TSO administrative staff to contact.

3. If you are a TSO member, subscriber, donor, or volunteer, withhold your support until the TSO agrees to respect the Palestinian boycott call and cancels its concerts in Israel. Be sure to tell the TSO why you’re withdrawing you support.

4. Engage with the TSO on social media by posting a comment on their facebook page or tweet at them at @TorontoSymphony.

5. Write a letter to the editor of the Toronto Star (lettertoed@thestar.ca) and other Toronto media outlining your concerns with the TSO’s decision to perform in Israel.

 

Open letter to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)

The Canadian BDS Coalition has the following open letter signed by over 20 Canadian organizations to the directors of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) asking them to reconsider the TSO’s participation in two upcoming concerts in Israel.

You can take action to call on the TSO to respect the Palestinian call for cultural boycott by cancelling its planned shows in Israel.

Continue reading

Kick settlements out of football at FIFA’s upcoming congress

As part of its #RedCardIsrael campaign, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is calling on FIFA to take action at its May 11 congress on Israeli football teams based in illegal settlements. More information on how you can take action is below.

FIFA will make a decision on Israeli football teams based in illegal settlements at their upcoming Congress on May 11, 2017. This is our chance to ensure that Palestinian human rights are front and centre on their agenda!

More than one hundred sports and human rights associations representing millions of people across the globe have called on FIFA to demand that the Israeli Football Association immediately exclude teams based in illegal settlements, and for FIFA to suspend the association if it refuses to comply.

As the pressure mounts on FIFA to respect its statutes, the Israeli government is using its embassies to push for removing the issue of settlement clubs from the Congress’ agenda altogether. We can’t let that happen: teams based in illegal settlements and human rights violations have no place in the beautiful game.

Take action now to pressure FIFA to respect its own statutes and Palestinian human rights:

Join the Thunderclap to FIFA ahead of its upcoming Congress!

Join the action on social media! Visit bdsmovement.net for sample tweets and memes to share. Use the hashtag #RedCardIsrael

Let’s make sure FIFA and member federations get the message: settlement clubs and Apartheid have no place in the beautiful game. Visit bdsmovement.net to see additional actions you can take.

Congratulations to students at King’s University College and UBC

The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulates the King’s BDS Network at the University of Western Ontario and the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at the University of British Columbia.

At King’s University College at University of Western Ontario, 76% of the students who cast a vote in a recent referendum supported their student council in lobbying the King’s administration to boycott and divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians.

Implementation will be based by King’s University College Student Council (KUSC) on a resolution that brought results from this referendum along with another referendum on fossil fuel divestment to their March 19, 2017 Annual General Meeting.

The approved resolution mandates the student council to lobby King’s administration to boycott and divest from any and all companies and products complicit with Israeli occupation based on principles of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. It also calls on KUCSC to research and write an annual Advocacy Paper on ethical investments and divestments that will include a five-year plan for ethical investing.

On March 30, 2017, the SPHR at University of British Columbia had a ground-breaking victory when a British Columbia Supreme Court judge brought down his ruling and dismissed a case to stop a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) referendum. Continue reading

Statement of support for human rights defender Omar Barghouti

The Canadian BDS Coalition joins with organizations from across Canada and worldwide, including the BDS National Committee (BNC), Independent Jewish Voices, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, and Palestinian and Jewish Unity in condemning the detention of BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti by Israeli authorities with the following statement:

The Canadian BDS Coalition expresses sorrow, anger, and renewed commitment with regard to the interrogation of Omar Barghouti.

Omar Barghouti is a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and the co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement for the freedom, justice and equity of the Palestinian people.

BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Barghouti’s wife, Safa, was also interrogated for 16 hours, after the Israeli tax authorities barged into their home and detained them on March 19, 2017.

On March 22, 2017, the BDS National Committee (BNC) issued a statement that indicated “the Israeli government has resorted to fabricating a case related to Omar’s alleged income outside of Israel to tarnish his image and intimidate him.” Beyond this questionable investigation, this detention is happening just weeks before Barghouti is scheduled to receive the Gandhi Peace Award with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University. Continue reading

Open letter to Chrystia Freeland on Israel “regularization bill”

The Canadian BDS Coaliton coordinated the following open letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on the passage of Israel’s so-called Regularization Bill.

March 20, 2017

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
House of Commons,
Ottawa K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Freeland:

We come together to express our grave concern regarding actions taken by the government of Israel since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and to call the Canadian government to take a strong stance against the Israeli government’s flagrant disregard of its responsibility as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The February 6, 2017 passing by the Knesset of the Regularization Bill shows utter disdain of the Security Council and for International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws. This legislation allows for retroactive expropriation of private Palestinian land, resulting in the legalization of over 4,000 settler homes, along with the ability to seize privately owned Palestinian land for the creation of new, and/or expansion of, existing illegal settlements. Continue reading