Category Archives: News

York Faculty Boycotts Israeli Academic Institution–Canadian First

The Canadian BDS Coalition Joins in Offering

Congratulations to SAIA York and the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York on their Canadian first.
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November 6, 2017, Toronto

Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University (SAIA York) is proud to announce that the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at the third largest university in Canada has boycotted the Israeli academic institution, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES). This move is a major win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, as FES has become the first faculty in Canada to honour Palestinian civil society’s call for “an academic boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions”.

On October 26, 2017, FES boycotted the institution after the FES Faculty Council passed a motion to not renew a long-standing partnership agreement between FES and AIES. The motion, which was presented by SAIA York, garnered 15 votes in favour, seven against, and one abstention. While AIES has branded itself as an institution that promoted peace and environmental cooperation, the motion condemned AIES as an institution that “has a history in greenwashing injustices and environmental harms” perpetuated by the Israeli government.

AIES is funded by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). AIES has also officially partnered with the JNF since 2002. As an Israeli quasi-governmental organization, the JNF has played an instrumental role in advancing Israel’s colonial project for over a 100 years. This project has not only devastated the indigenous Palestinian people, but also the environment. Still, AIES boasts of this partnership on its website, praising the JNF’s “heart and action” and its “green innovations”. Arava conveniently omits the JNF’s colonial legacy from its website, serving to normalize and greenwash the organization and, by extension, Israel’s colonial history.

AIES also opened in 1996 as one of the hundreds of people-to-people (P2P) programs that were established around that time. P2P programs were based on “cooperative activities between Israelis and Palestinians to promote peace”. However, such programs failed to create peace in the last 20 years, because they did not seek to end Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. Rather, they perpetuated Israel’s oppression by encouraging “coexistence” rather than “co-resistance” against Israel. By encouraging coexistence and environmental cooperation, without recognizing Israel’s oppressive role and the need to resist against this oppression, Arava has served to normalize and greenwash Israel’s oppression.

By boycotting AIES, FES has taken a courageous stance on the right side of history to pressure Israel and complicit Israeli organizations to end their injustices against the Palestinian people. It is even more inspiring that FES has taken this historic step in consideration of the recent government crackdowns on BDS in Canada and elsewhere. FES has chosen to stay true to the radical, human rights, and anti-colonial roots of environmentalism and to uphold York University’s commitment to social justice by implementing academic boycott against Israel. We hope that this victory will inspire other York faculties and other academic institutions to implement or endorse the academic boycott against Israel in the struggle for a world free of colonialism, apartheid, occupation, and war, and in the realization of peace, justice, and equality for all.

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Air Canada Terminates their Main Contract with Israel Aerospace Industries

Nov. 2, 2017
Canadian BDS Coalition Declares Partial Victory in #AirCanadaComplicity Campaign
(le français suit)

On November 1, 2017, we were informed in writing by Air Canada management that the 5-year contract with Israel Aerospace Industries Bedek Group for heavy maintenance on its B767 jets had been terminated early. That contract, reported to be worth tens of millions of dollars, was set to run until March 2019.

Air Canada offered no reason for dropping the contract other than to say it was due to a practice of reviewing such “arrangements on a regular basis” with all service providers. Air Canada also claimed in its letter that this process happened in “early 2017” and that the contract was transferred to “another provider in North America”.

However, we need to point out that this new information was only released after our #AirCanadaComplicity campaign was taking off and receiving increasing support both from within Canada and internationally. Unions representing hundreds of thousands of members (and their families) had signed on to the new Open Letter, as had groups in other countries from the U.S. to Norway, France, Germany, Belgium and Ireland to Australia. The Open Letter was a shortened version of a previous official letter to Air Canada, sent 4 months earlier, which received neither an acknowledgement nor an answer.

Air Canada also said in its letter that it still has one smaller contract with IAI, where “in compliance with international safety regulations that apply to all carriers, Bedek provides a certified aircraft engineer to do a check that is required on aircraft prior to departure of regularly scheduled return flights to Canada”. However, they noted that if any substantive problems are found during that check, then Air Canada dispatches its own employees to conduct the work.

They did not address the issue of the Sabra food products being part of the on-board menu on certain flights.

However, the Canadian BDS Coalition is pleased that the largest and most significant element of Air Canada’s involvement with Israel Aerospace Industries has been terminated. Given the recent publicity IAI has received in the international press in the last months, it is not surprising that any company would want to distance themselves from such a partner. First, we heard of a subsidiary of IAI being involved with building the U.S.-Mexico border wall and then just last week, the Israeli press reported that IAI was one of the 190 companies included on the United Nations upcoming blacklist for violating international law by doing business in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Although the issue of maintenance outsourcing is still ongoing and we will continue to pressure Air Canada regarding the carrying of Sabra products and their remaining small contract with IAI, we feel that this is a significant national victory for the #AirCanadaComplicity campaign. The Coalition wishes to thank all our supporters, both here in Canada and abroad, who made the difference in showing that justice for Palestinians can be achieved. The collective will and efforts of our strong movements for social justice cannot be denied!

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Le 1er novembre 2017, nous avons été informés par écrit par la direction d’Air Canada que le contrat de 5 ans avec Israël Aerospace Industries Bedek Group pour la maintenance lourde de ses biréacteurs B767 avait été résilié. Ce contrat, estimé à des dizaines de millions de dollars, devait durer jusqu’en mars 2019.

Air Canada n’a présenté aucune raison pour abandonner le contrat, sauf pour dire que cela était dû à une pratique consistant à examiner ces «arrangements de façon régulière» avec tous les fournisseurs de services. Air Canada a également affirmé dans sa lettre que ce processus s’était déroulé au début de 2017 et que le contrat avait été transféré à «un autre fournisseur en Amérique du Nord».

Cependant, nous devons souligner que cette nouvelle information n’a été publiée qu’après le lancement de notre campagne #AirCanadaComplicity et qu’elle a reçu un soutien croissant tant au Canada qu’à l’étranger. Les syndicats représentant des centaines de milliers de membres (et leurs familles) ont adhéré à la nouvelle lettre ouverte, tout comme des groupes dans d’autres pays, de la Norvège à l’Australie en passant par la France et l’Irlande. La lettre ouverte était une version abrégée d’une lettre officielle antérieure à Air Canada, envoyée quatre mois plus tôt, qui n’avait reçu ni accusé de réception ni réponse.

Air Canada a également déclaré dans sa lettre qu’elle avait encore un contrat plus petit avec IAI où «conformément aux règlements de sécurité internationaux qui s’appliquent à tous les transporteurs, Bedek fournit un ingénieur aéronautique certifié pour effectuer un contrôle qui est requis sur les avions avant le départ de vols de retour réguliers au Canada». Toutefois, ils ont noté que si des problèmes de fond sont décelés lors de ce contrôle, Air Canada envoie ses propres employés pour effectuer le travail.

Ils n’ont pas abordé la question des produits alimentaires Sabra faisant partie du menu à bord de certains vols.

Cependant, la Coalition canadienne BDS est heureuse que l’élément le plus significatif, c’est-à-dire, la participation d’Air Canada à Israel Aerospace Industries soit terminée. Compte tenu de la publicité récente que l’IAI a reçue dans la presse internationale au cours des derniers mois, il n’est pas surprenant que toute entreprise veuille se distancer d’un tel partenaire. Premièrement, nous avons entendu parler d’une filiale d’IAI participer à la construction du mur frontalier américano-mexicain. La semaine dernière, la presse israélienne a indiqué que l’IAI était l’une des 190 entreprises figurant sur la liste noire des Nations Unies pour violation du droit international en commerçant dans les territoires palestiniens occupés.

Même si la question de l’impartition de la maintenance est toujours en cours et que nous continuerons de faire pression sur Air Canada pour le transport des produits Sabra et de leur petit contrat avec IAI, nous estimons qu’il s’agit d’une victoire nationale importante pour la campagne #AirCanadaComplicity. Nous remercions tous nos partisans, ici au Canada et à l’étranger, qui ont fait la différence en montrant que la justice pour les Palestiniens peut être atteinte. La volonté collective et les efforts de nos puissants mouvements pour la justice sociale ne peuvent être niés!

 

 

Missing In Action: Where Did Stephen Ellis’ article go, Toronto Sun?

The Toronto Sun published a pro-BDS op-ed by Stephen Ellis on Sunday, October 22 but has since removed the op-ed from its website.

Did the Toronto Sun cave to pressure from apartheid apologists like B’Nai Brith Canada?

At around the time that the pro-BDS op-ed was removed, the Sun published a denunciation of the op-ed by the CEO of B’Nai Brith, Michael Mostyn. Mostyn’s rant, which is replete with falsehoods, is still on the Sun website even though the op-ed Mostyn attacked has been removed. See: http://torontosun.com/op…/columnists/bds-is-a-dismal-failure?

Comments adapted from Dimitri Lascaris’ post.

See the “gone missing article” below:
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Appui à Roger Waters/ Supporting Roger Waters, Centre Bell, Montréal

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Over the last two weeks, people have joined in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City to say #Shukran2Roger4TearingDownWalls.  Most recently, a group gathered in Montreal.

Watch for more pictures, and news.

 

16 octobre 2017

Bonjour. Nous étions environ 35 personnes devant le Centre Bell à Montréal le 16 octobre 2017 au spectacle de Roger Waters pour remercier Roger Waters pour son appui à la cause palestinienne ainsi que son appui publique de la campagne BDS contre l’État d’Israël. La Ligue de défense juive qui menaçait d’être présente pour dénoncer Roger, ne s’est pas présentée. Voici quelques photos en attachement. Action organisée par BDS-Québec, Palestiniens et Juifs Unis et Voix Juives Indépendantes. 

 

Greetings. There were around 35 of us in front of the Bell Center in Montreal on October 16, 2017 at the opening of the Roger Waters show to thank Roger Waters for his vocal support for the Palestinian cause as well as his courageous support for the BDS campaign against the State of Israel. The Jewish Defence League, which had announced that their members would show up to denounce Roger Water’s presence, did not come. Here are some photos attached to this email. The action was organized by BDS-Québec, Palestinian and Jewish Unity and Independent Jewish Voices

Organizations Across Canada and Around the World Call on Air Canada to Say NO to Its Complicity in Israeli War Crimes

 

#aircanadacomplicity

The Canadian BDS Coalition has just released this important open letter to Air Canada regarding its partnering with Israel Aerospace Industries. Civil society groups in Canada and around the world have signed on to say “Halt this Complicity with Israeli War Crimes”! #AirCanadaComplicity
___________________________________________________________

(le français suit)
OPEN LETTER TO AIR CANADA CEO

Oct. 16, 2017

Mr. Calin Rovinescu
President and CEO
Air Canada
P.O. Box 14000, Station Airport
Dorval, QC H4Y 1H4
FAX: 514-422-4945

Dear Mr. Rovinescu:

We wish to bring to your attention our concerns about Air Canada’s partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries for maintenance on the Air Canada fleet of Boeing 787 and 767 jets.

Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] is the subject of boycotts across Europe for its deadly drone technology and production.  Corporate Watch from the UK says “IAI was one of the earliest developers of drone technology and launched its first surveillance drone in 1979.  IAI’s website boasts that its drones have an “unsurpassed track record of over 1,200,000 operational flight hours for over 50 users on five continents.”

A 2014 study entitled ‘Sleepless in Gaza by Dr. Atef Abu Saif details the terrifying impact of drone attacks on the Gaza Strip, especially on children, “Since their first use in 2000, drones have led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians and have injured thousands more. In addition, they have directly impacted Palestinian psychological and social life, as well as causing a grossly negative impact on education.

By partnering with IAI, Air Canada becomes complicit in the war crimes of IAI. This is fundamentally wrong.

In having the maintenance of the Boeing 787 and 767 jets performed in Israel, you send valuable Canadian jobs out of the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. Again, this is fundamentally wrong.

In addition to partnering with Israel Aerospace Industries, Air Canada also sells Sabra Hummus and guacamole as part of the onboard canteen service. Sabra is a partner with the Strauss Group. Strauss is the second largest Israeli food and beverage company and is known for supporting two Israeli military units implicated in human rights abuses, the Golani and Givati brigades.

We join with the Canadian groups that have already called on you to immediately halt this complicity with Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian civilian population.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Des organisations partout au Canada et partout dans le monde demandent à Air Canada de dire NON à la complicité dans les crimes de guerre israéliens

 Lettre ouverte au PDG d’Air Canada

Le 16 octobre 2017

Calin Rovinescu
Président et PDG
Air Canada
C.P.  14000, succursale Aéroport
Dorval, QC  H4Y 1H4

Cher Monsieur Rovinescu,

Nous souhaitons porter à votre attention nos préoccupations au sujet du partenariat d’Air Canada avec Israel Aerospace Industries pour la maintenance de la flotte de Boeing 787 et 767 d’Air Canada.

Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] fait l’objet d’un boycott à travers l’Europe pour sa technologie et sa production de drones mortels. IAI a été l’un des premiers développeurs de drones et a lancé son premier drone de surveillance en 1979. Le site web d’IAI affirme que ses drones ont un « record inégalé de plus de 1 200 000 heures de vol opérationnel pour plus de 50 utilisateurs sur cinq continents. »

Une étude de 2014 intitulée « Sleepless in Gaza » par le Dr Atef Abu Saif détaille l’impact terrifiant des attaques de drones sur la bande de Gaza, en particulier sur les enfants : « Depuis leur première utilisation en 2000, les drones ont causé la mort de centaines de Palestiniens et en ont blessé des milliers d’autres. En outre, ils ont eu un impact direct sur la vie psychologique et sociale des Palestiniens et ont eu un impact négatif sur l’éducation. »

En s’associant avec IAI, Air Canada devient complice des crimes de guerre de l’IAI. C’est un tort avéré.

En faisant effectuer l’entretien des Boeing 787 et 767 en Israël, vous envoyez des emplois canadiens précieux en provenance des provinces du Québec, de l’Ontario et du Manitoba. Encore une fois, il s’agit d’un tort avéré.

En plus de s’associer à Israel Aerospace Industries, Air Canada vend également du guacamole et du hummus Sabra dans le cadre du service de cantine à bord. Sabra est un partenaire du groupe Strauss. Strauss est la deuxième plus grande compagnie israélienne d’aliments et de boissons et est connue pour son soutien à deux unités militaires israéliennes impliquées dans des violations des droits de l’homme, les brigades Golani et Givati.

Nous nous joignons aux groupes canadiens qui vous ont déjà demandé d’arrêter immédiatement cette complicité avec les crimes de guerre israéliens contre la population civile palestinienne.

Signed by:

  • Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  • CUPE 3902 (Canadian Union of Public Employees), Toronto
  • Fredericton & District Labour Council
  • New Brunswick Federation of Labour/Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Nouveau-Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour
  • Nova Scotia Federation of Labour
  • UNIFOR Local 4504, University of New Brunswick
    ———————————-
  • Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation, Victoria
  • Bathurst United Church of Canada, Toronto
  • BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish
  • Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
  • Canadian Peace Congress
  • Centre d’appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC)
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams-Ontario
  • Coalition against Israeli Apartheid CAIA, Victoria
  • Coalition BDS Québec
  • Independent Jewish Voices Canada/Voix Juives Indépendantes Canada
  • International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) in Canada
  • Justice for Palestinians Calgary
  • Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Vancouver Island
  • NDP Socialist Caucus
  • Niagara BDS
  • Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton
  • Palestine Solidarity St. John’s
  • Palestinian and Jewish Unity, PAJU, Montreal
  • Palestinian Solidarity Working Group, Sudbury
  • Peace Alliance Winnipeg
  • People for Peace, London, Ontario.
  • Socialist Action.
  • Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, UBC
  • Toronto Action for Social Change
  • Toronto BDS
  • United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine & Israel (UNJPPI) – Toronto chapter

And also signed by the following groups from other countries:

  • Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine
  • Australian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign for Palestine
  • Australians for Palestine
  • BACBI (Belgian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
  • BDS Berlin
  • BDS France
  • Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine CJPP, Sydney
  • Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  • Palestine Support Network Australia
  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)

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.

Bryan unplug from Apartheid Israel

Sign and share the Canadian BDS Coalition petition to tell Bryan Adams to Unplug from Israeli Apartheid!

 

Bryan remember your words. CANCEL your performances in Tel Aviv December 4 and Jerusalem December 6.  

Canada heard you in 2014.  Palestine heard you in 2014. The world heard you in 2014, as you gave hope to the people of Gaza and all people who stand against war crimes and mass genocide.

You stood against the Israeli military bombardment on Gaza saying: “the Israeli blockade of #Gaza just entered its 8th year, leaving its 1.7 million inhabitants destitute” and  “I say the war against Gaza was a crime against humanity.”  

Lest you think things in Gaza no longer a concern, Amnesty International and the United Nations independent human rights experts remind you  this is not the case.  Over two million people are in their eleventh year in an outdoor prison, that has experienced three horrendous military attacks.  Electricity is only available a few hours a day, water is scarce and sewage is polluting the Mediterranean.   This is a completely human-made humanitarian crisis.

Bryan, we remind you that “Most Canadians Say Sanctions and Boycott are Reasonable Measures to Defend Palestinian Rights”   (the 2017 EKOS poll )

In 2016 the world cheered when you cancelled your Mississippi tour date in protest over the state’s anti-LGBT law.

Let the world cheer again, when you CANCEL your Tel Aviv and Jerusalem performances Bryan.

 

Letter Sent to Bryan Adams from the Canadian BDS Coalition.  Bryan you only have one Canadian concert before you play Apartheid Israel.  We are looking for you to show your leadership on human rights by announcing you are cancelling your shows in Israel.

Tweet @bryadams to say #UnplugFromIsraeliApartheidBryan