Category Archives: BDS Coalition Actions

Technology of Israel Aerospace Industries: Tested on Palestinians, Exported to the World

Air Canada’s complicity with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been matched by its silence. 

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/technology-of-israel-aerospace-industries-tested-on-palestinians-exported-to-the-world/

 

By Marion Kawas

Friday, October 06, 2017

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elta North America, would be involved in building the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The immediate connection between the “builders” of oppressive and apartheid walls was not lost on those concerned about social justice, but a look at the history of IAI is even more enlightening. It is just one of many Israeli military defense companies that have intensified their global marketing in the last two decades, but it is also wholly owned by the Israeli government and is part of the historical foundation and fabric of the whole Zionist enterprise.

History of IAI – Pillar of the Israeli State

IAI was founded just a few years after the establishment of the Israeli state, under the tutelage of the late Shimon Peres who was then director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. It was setup to accommodate the new Israeli Air Force and assist in the military development of the country. “IAI’s development has paralleled that of the State of Israel and the company has been privileged to play a substantial role in the industrial, technological and economic progress of the country and its national security”, the company history page proudly states.

This was part of Shimon Peres’ contribution and legacy, along with developing Israel’s nuclear capacity; these were the kind of “socialist kibbutzim” Peres and Labour Zionism were busy developing in order to ensure military “superiority” over the indigenous Palestinians and the whole region.

IAI has long been recognized internationally as a leader in drone (zanana) development and technology. Zanana is the term coined by Palestinians in Gaza for the constant buzzing or whizzing sound generated by the omnipresent drones overhead. “A group of young boys and girls gathered in Al-Kattiba Square, west of Gaza City, using large pieces of wood and formed the word ‘LEAVE’, in hopes that the drone hovering over the skies of Gaza will read it. One of the participants said that they wish that they can live without the zanana, so at least they can sleep.

Palestinians in Gaza call the Israeli drones in the sky ‘zanana’, meaning a noise maker or buzz. Sometimes they call it the airplane of death”, according to Dr. Atef Abu Saif, in his 2014 study “Sleepless in Gaza”.

Along with helping to build segregation walls between peoples, IAI has also been in the news this year for its billion-dollar contracts with the Indian government, most of which involve supplying the Indian army and navy with missile defense systems.

Canadian activists have been following IAI’s international exploits with dismay, not only because of its intimate connection with the Israeli military’s crimes against Palestinians, but also because Air Canada, the national carrier, is outsourcing maintenance for its B767 and B787 jets to the very same Israel Aerospace Industries.

As a prior government-owned entity, Air Canada is still regarded as a sort of “national icon” and global ambassador; as such, its direct complicity with Israeli war crimes is a shameful rebuke of any pretense at a Canadian “balanced and objective” foreign policy. Campaigns to have Air Canada stop their outsourcing to Israel Aerospace Industries have been underway for over 2 years now and have received support, both within Canada and globally.

However, Air Canada’s complicity has been matched by its silence; an official letter sent by the Canadian BDS Coalition to Air Canada’s CEO Calin Rovinescu on July 3, 2017 has not received any reply nor even been acknowledged. In a move that further emboldens contempt and disrespect for human rights, Rovinescu was also appointed Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, since November 2015. Nonetheless, activists are planning to step up their actions and refuse to allow Air Canada’s stonewalling to dictate the agenda.

There have been encouraging developments in Canadian civil society recently, with Amnesty Canada embracing a call for a ban on all settlement goods and Canada’s largest private-sector union, Unifor, adopting a pro-BDS resolution. Although both these initiatives focused mainly on the occupied West Bank and Gaza, it is the entire Israeli military complex and state entities like Israel Aerospace Industries that make life for Palestinians in those areas both unbearable and untenable. We must make the connections between Israel’s continued impunity to commit war crimes and what we can do internationally in other countries to take a stand and say: We will not enable Israeli war crimes!

(If your group is interested in signing on to the #AirCanadaComplicity campaign, please contact bdscoalition@gmail.com for more info.)

– Marion Kawas is a pro-Palestinian writer and activist, and a member of BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish. This article was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com.

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100 Years of Balfour Declaration is Not Something to Celebrate

balfour agreement

On November 2, 2017, it will be a century since the road for colonization of Palestine was set.

Recognizing a century since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since the Partition Plan and approaching 70 years since the Nakba, 50 years of occupation of the territory taken in the 1967 set-back, and 10 years seize on Gaza, we are pleased that Alexandre Boulerice, MP to Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP, Quebec has sponsored the following petition to the government of Canada.

It will be posted until January 27, 2018.   Please sign and share through your networks.  A majority of Canadians have said they support sanctions against Israeli war crimes (EKOS 2017).  This is our chance to have Canadians express we expect our government to uphold its own international obligations under United Nation Resolutions, and fulfill its responsibility under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which requires the convention to be respected in all circumstances.

Sign by clicking here.

 

The PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA reads:

Whereas:
  • The Balfour Declaration, November 1917 proclaimed “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”;
  • Today over 7 million Palestinians continue to be denied the right to return under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948) which has been reiterated annually (most recently by UN General Assembly Resolution 71/91, 2016) — a right provided to all other refugees irrespective of country since 1950;
  • The colonization of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, continues in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 446 (1979) and 465 (1980), although these resolutions remain aligned with Canada’s official foreign policy, the Canadian government has not spoken out to condemn the recent aggressive legislation and actions by the Israeli government which further contravene these resolutions as well as the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016);
  • This colonization continues 50 years later, in contravention to numerous clauses of the Fourth Geneva Convention; and
  • Canada is a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Convention which obliges all parties to ensure respect for the Convention by other parties “in all circumstances.”
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to live up to its role as a peacemaker and honest broker by upholding its own international obligations related to United Nations GA 194 (1948), and UNSC 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 465 (1980) and 2334 (2016); and fulfilling its responsibilities as a UN member state and signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 

Sign by clicking here.  Share  WIDELY.  

*this is not a specific initiative of the Canadian BDS Coalition, although was the work of individuals who are part of the Coalition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

April 29, 2017

Dear Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) Directors, Conductors and Musicians,

We write to you today to ask that you reflect on the following appeal from Palestinian artists, and reconsider your participation in the TSO’s planned “Arabian Nights” tour of Israel.

Palestinian writers, artists and cultural centers are calling on international artists not to perform in Israel until it ceases its grave violations of human rights and international law. They seek freedom from occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and justice for the refugees.

In the occupied territories, 6,300 Palestinians – including 300 minors, 500 administrative detainees (held without charge) and 13 members of parliament – are imprisoned. Last year, Israeli forces killed more than 100 Palestinians, including 33 children. Over half a million Israelis live in illegal settlements. More than 6 million Palestinian refugees are denied their rights. This state of affairs is not only unjust; it is unsustainable.

Israel instrumentalizes culture to cover up its violations. When international artists perform at Israeli cultural venues and institutions, they help to create the false impression that Israel is a “normal” country like any other. This visit by the world-renowned TSO will be paraded as an endorsement of Israel’s actions. Continue reading

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