Category Archives: Victory

#RaptorsDontGo Campaign Has Been Successful

Statement of Canadian BDS Coalition

October 22, 2019

The Canadian BDS Coalition is pleased to announce that the #RaptorsDontGo campaign has been successful. Our campaign was launched in June 2019, immediately following the Raptors victory in the NBA championship; and after team co-owner Larry Tanenbaum received extensive coverage in the Israeli media stating he would bring the team to visit Israel if they won the championship. The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa highlighted the issue, and tweeted the Raptors promising “we’ll call you…to help with the arrangements”.

However, the 2019-20 NBA new season has now begun and there has been no reported public team visit; and continued silence from all of the team owners on this issue.

The campaign from the onset seemed to strike a chord with many people, both in Canada and globally. Although the Israeli lobby has engaged in other sportswashing events, this particular attempt struck many as an incredibly blatant and crude exploitation of a popular victory for an overt political agenda.

#RaptorsDontGo took off on social media and the Coalition would like to thank all of the individuals and groups who helped the campaign become so popular so quickly. Our petition gathered over 6500 signatures, a parallel petition in the U.S., started by CodePink, had over 2700 people sign on, and Jewish Voice for Peace also picked up the campaign on social media.

The Chair of BDS Vancouver, Aiyanas Ormond, stated in an open letter: “Around the world poor and oppressed people have embraced basketball as a sport of the people, and basketball players, many of whom come from poor and struggling backgrounds, have an important history of taking progressive positions and giving back to their communities. From Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russel’s stand with Mohammed Ali against the draft and the Vietnam War to public and collective statements against police brutality against Black people in America, NBA players have stood on the side of social and racial justice.”

Why exactly the Raptors team never went on the “promised trip” may have been the result of several factors, not the least of which was the quick and overwhelmingly negative response by so many basketball fans. This must surely have been noticed by the team’s owners – Bell 37.5%, Rogers 37.5% and Tanenbaum’s company Kilmer Sports 25%. Although Tanenbaum’s entity may not be impacted by public opinion on this issue, Bell and Rogers certainly are and have their broader business agenda to consider. Also, the protests that happened in Israel after the police shooting of an Ethiopian teenager on June 30, 2019, some referencing slogans of the Black Lives Matter movement, would have been a politically damaging backdrop for such a team visit.

The Canadian BDS Coalition is grateful that this visit did not materialize, as it would have given legitimacy to Israel’s war crimes. We feel the #RaptorsDontGo campaign also demonstrated the strength of popular grassroots campaigns that can mobilize to achieve justice for Palestinians. As with the Boycott Puma campaign, that calls out that company’s sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association which includes teams from the illegal settlements, the push-back on sportswashing of Israel’s dispossession of a whole nation and people is a critical part of the struggle for Palestinian rights.

Check out articles

Activists declare victory in #RaptorsDontGo campaign in Mondoweiss by Marion Kawas on October 23, 2019

RaptorsDontGo Campaign Announces Victory! in the Palestine Chronicle by Marion Kawas on October 24, 2019

Victory: The Current is Cut Between Hydro-Québec and Israel Electric

The Coalition BDS Québec has announced that Hydro-Québec has declined to renew an agreement with its Israeli counterpart, Israel Electric.

“This victory is important for us in Quebec,” John Philpot, an international lawyer and a member of the Coalition BDS Québec, told The Electronic Intifada. Check out full article in Electronic Intifada.

The Coalition BDS Québec reports that “During the summer of 2019, in response to a  request for a meeting  with Hydro-Québec’s new Board Chair, Ms. Côté, when we were warned of an upcoming hearing at the Commission d’accès à la information, the Executive Vice-President – Corporate and Legal Affairs and Head of Corporate Governance wrote to us , “without commenting in any way on the point of view expressed in [our] correspondence,” that the HQ-IEC agreement , due May 22, 2019, has not been renewed !” In addition, the entire content of the agreement is finally communicated to the Coaliton, and the hearing at the CAI is therefore canceled.

On August 27, the Coalition BDS Québec published a press release.  Hydro Quebec immediately sent a letter , signed by its chief – Public Affairs and Media, stating that the decision not to renew the HQ-IEC agreement had no political impact, which we doubt strongly.

The Rest of the Country

The Canadian BDS Coalition has been in touch with the approximately 40 electric companies across Canada, and has heard from some they do NOT have any working agreements with Israel Electric, but are waiting to hear from others. Follow up with take places with those who have not confirmed that they are not in relationship with Israel Electric.

Photo: Israeli warplanes make a ceremonial flyby of the Israel Electric Corporation’s Orot Rabin coal-fired generating station, to mark what Israel calls its Independence Day, May 2017. The power company is deeply complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. (via Facebook) Electronic Intifada