Category Archives: News

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.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on people of conscience the world over to further intensify BDS campaigns to end academic, cultural, sports, military and economic links of complicity with Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. This is the most effective means of standing with the Palestinian people in pursuing our inherent and UN-stipulated rights, and nonviolently resisting the ongoing, intensifying Nakba. Continue reading

G4S announces end of most business with Israel

As reported on bdsmovement.net, the world’s largest security company, G4S, announced last week that it is selling most of its Israeli business after an effective campaign against the company, waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, caused it “reputational damage.”

“We have succeeded to push one of the world’s largest corporations into selling its key business in Israel,” said Rafeef Ziadah, speaking for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) . “Our globally coordinated campaign has had a real impact. We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.”

French multinationals, Veolia and Orange, and Ireland’s largest building materials company, CRH, have all exited the Israeli market since September 2015, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.

“A domino effect is at play here,” said Ziadah. “Some investment fund managers are recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from international and Israeli corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s persistent violations of international law.”

G4S is a British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It is also involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police facilities.

The international Stop G4S Campaign has cost the company contracts worth millions of dollars in Europe, the Arab world, South Africa and elsewhere.

G4S’s list of lost clients includes private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.

Despite the sale of its subsidiary, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights through Policity, the flagship national police training centre it co-owns, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group.

Israel’s police operates in occupied East Jerusalem, instead of the Israeli military in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, serving as the guardian of Israel’s illegal annexation, protecting the illegal settlements, and oppressing the city’s Palestinian population.

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights also celebrated the victory,  while committing to keep targeting G4S given its ongoing role in Israeli police training and settlement construction in Palestine; guarding the Dakota Access pipeline construction; aiding ICE and Homeland Security with immigrant deportations; running youth detention facilities and providing prison technology as part of the U.S. prison industrial complex; and other repression worldwide, as outlined on the intersectional g4sfacts.org website released by the US Campaign and its partners earlier this year.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stated:

The announcement is a victory, first and foremost, for the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, whose hunger strikes and other collective struggles inspired years of boycotts and divestments in solidarity. G4S is the world’s second-largest private employer, and was pushed into this action by the mobilization of people’s movements in response to its involvement and complicity in the persecution and torture of Palestinian political prisoners. During the campaign, G4S has lost contracts in the Arab region, South Africa, Latin America, Europe, the United States and elsewhere as a result of its involvement in the imprisonment of Palestinians.

Anti-BDS motion to be debated in Ontario Legislature (again)

The Ontario Legislature will once again debate a motion that seeks to silence supporters of Palestinian human rights and attempts to erroneously connect support for the Palestinian-led movement for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) with anti-Semitism.

Motion 36, presented by Conservative MPP Gila Martow, which will debated in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday, December 1, 2016 reads:

That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should; stand firmly against any position or movement that promotes or encourages any form of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in any way; recognize the longstanding, vibrant and mutually beneficial political, economic and cultural ties between Ontario and Israel, built on a foundation of shared liberal democratic values; endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combatting Antisemitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

This is the second time this year that the Ontario PC Party has attempted to push through an anti-BDS motion. In May, Bill 202, failed to pass second reading and was defeated. After the failure of Bill 202, over 70 organizations released an open letter calling on the Ontario Legislature 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.”

Independent Jewish Voices has already released a statement and issued a joint press release calling on Ontario’s legislators to reject the motion, stating, “This motion constitutes an outrageous attack on freedom of political expression in Ontario, and therefore should be strongly opposed by all those who cherish this freedom.  … As a Jewish organization, IJV is greatly disturbed by such efforts to manipulate the meaning of antisemitism in order to intimidate and silence critics of Israeli government policy.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario and the Ontario Civil Liberties Association have also called on MPPs to reject the motion.

You can read more in this post on the Electronic Intifada.

Update

Motion 36 was passed on December 1, 2016 by a vote of 49-5. You can read the so-called debate and see the vote breakdown.

Independent Jewish Voices said in a release that it “is deeply concerned and disturbed by the passage of the private members motion 36,” with IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan saying, “It is outrageous for our elected representatives to publicly chastise human rights supporters, and falsely accuse them of hatred and bigotry for standing in solidarity with the victims of Israeli state violence and oppression. The so-called debate in the Ontario Legislature was little more than a slurry of lies and defamation against Palestinian human rights advocates.”

The passing of the motion was also denounced by college and university students across Ontario, the Toronto Chapter of the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel.

Read more reaction to the passing of Motion 36 at the Electronic Intifada and Middle East Eye.

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.”