Afraid of BDS, Céline Dion? Serendipitous January cancellation of your Beirut concert due to fear of “situation” six months later in Lebanon

We noticed! But saw nothing on Ms. Dion’s official website or social media! What happened to your scheduled concert for Beirut Ms. Dion?

This obsure article provides the answer.

In January, Ms. Dion, you were afraid of the sitution in Lebanon so you cancelled your July concert!

Seems BDS is a scary thing for someone bound and bent on playing to APARTHEID.

Check out the letter sent in November 2019 by over 50 artitsts to Ms. Dion coordianted by the Canadian BDS Coalition. Even though we did hear back Ms. Dion , maybe your handlers did hear your fellow artists, and decided the situation in Beirut would not look good for you as BDS call mounted on July 31, just before your August 4-5 concerts in Tel Aviv?

Individuals wishing to write to Ms. Dion can do so HERE. Thanks CJPME for this campaign. There are close to 5K signatures.

Artists who wish to join in adding their name to the call to Ms. Dion can continue do so HERE.

Beyond the November call from fellow artists, Ms. Dion heard direclty from Palestinian artists and form Israeli citizens.

In February 2020 50 Palestinian artists told Celine Dion to not play in Tel Aiv.

Message from Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within) in March 2020.

The Canadian BDS Coalition call to Canadian artist Céline Dion

Céline, the Canadian BDS Coalition would welcome your response, which we would be pleased to convey to your fellow artists. We would also welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the situation in Palestine and the art washing under Brand Israel. We expect more artists will join in the call. We also understand you have received a letter from Palestinian artists directly. Read more HERE

The Beruit concert would have seen BDS actions mounting as Ms. Dion prepared to play her APARTHEID concert.

Why did you not choose to share info on your own official site Ms. Dion?

Of course your current North American concerts are cancelled, or as you say “going to be rescheduled.” One would expect you would also be cancelling your European concerts shortly given situation with Covid-19.

We did notice that you quietly backed out of Beirut.

A signal that you were afraid of the mounting BDS call for you to cancel your Tel Aviv aparthied concerts scheduled for several days later! Seems you left it to venue to announce, rather than you making your own statement!

Was also reported by Arab News.

Ramadan 2020: Be sure you know where your Medjoul dates are from!

This year we know that there is a good supply of fresh 2019 Medjoul harvest from importers/suppliers bringing product from trusted Palestinian sources. Please do your due dilligence to be sure that you do not buy product that comes from the Israeli company Hadiklaim via NBF or other sources, or from any other Israeli provider. All Medjoul that are coming from these Israeli companies are from illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

What you need to consider.

Step 1, check the label, and if it says product of Israel, do NOT buy.


Fruit and vegetables are one of Israel’s biggest exports and all Israeli agricultural exporters are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law as they operate on stolen Palestinian land.

In case of Medjoul the products are from the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine, and therefore from an illegal settlement on stolen land. These are not from Israel, these are from illegal settlements.

Step 2, check the label and see if it includes a country of originThe product must have a country of origin but many do NOT. Do NOT buy if it does not have country of origin listed on the package.

There is at least one supplier in Canada, National Best Food/NBF which imports from Hadiklaim, an Israeli companyWho Profits has clearly documented the source of Hadiklaim’s dates as coming from occupied Palestine and Golan. Also, several countries have had victories of cutting ties to Hadiklaim such as South Africa.

Some products from NBF do say “Product of Israel” but others especially in stores where Arabs and/or Muslims shop have NO country of origin listed. The product simply says “imported by NFB.”

This seems to be illegal under Canadian legislation and regulations, and this was reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during Ramadan in 2019. The CFIA has launched investigation in summer 2019, but had not reported back on the complaint at time of posting.

In many cases these NBF products also do not include the other mandatory labeling information such as a “nutrition fact table” or health & nutrition information, and also don’t include mandatory information in both bilingual languages. This was included in the complaints made to the CFIA.

In several cases product was found to have “Product of Jordan” on the shelf, but the boxes the bulk product was coming from was labeled NBF with no indication of country. When asked verification was not provided, and no indication that there is any organization from Jordan providing this product. Again this was reported to the CFIA.

Step 3: Print & provide this letter to the owner and/or manager of the store. Indicate the product and concerns in the template.

Or currently with Covid-19, you may wish to send email:

Template you can use to send email:

English

Arabic

Just copy & paste text from the above links to send email.

Step 4: provide pictures of the product including the labels (all sides of the box, and shelf labels), along with the store name/address and if possible website, to bdscoalition@gmail.com. We will use this information for further follow up with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and/or with the store.

Step 5: tell your friends and your family what you have found, and make them aware of what to look for in regard both product of Israel (dates, other fresh fruits & vegetables, other products). For more info check out Economic Boycott Resource.

Final Step: look for appropriate alternative ideally from Palestine. Labels you can trust are

Lara (their product of Palestine from Al-Rwad, also Sedra Dates – Sedrat Al Montaha Dates Trading Co. from Jordan)

Green World (from Al-Rwad),

Heritage (From Al-Rwad)

Al’ard,

Palestine Just Trade (from Al-Rwad),

Jericho Delights (via USA). 

Palestine Gardens – Sinokrot Holding

If a Medjoul product not from a trusted Palestine source, then verify that it is indeed from Jordan or the USA, or another trusted location. If you are not sure, please contact us at bdscoalition@gmail.com

Product you should avoid as they are packaged by Hadiklaim include:

BOMAJA BLUE

GOLDEN VALLEY

JORDAN RIVER

LA PALMA

KING SOLOMON

These are some products that have been seen in 2019 an 2020 including at Raba Markets (Missisauga and Toronto locations) , Al-Quds Market (Mississauga), Arz Fine Food (1909 Lawrence Ave E, Scarborough), and  Kabul Farms (230 Parliament St, Toronto)

Sold by National Best Food. Seen labelled as “Product of Israel”
Jordan River from National Best Foods. Sold without country of Origin. No it is not from Jordan. It is from the occupied Palestinian Jordan valley, from Israeli settlement via Hadiklaim.
More Jordan River from National Best Foods without country of origin. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is from Jordan. These are from Isreali settlement via Hadiklaim,
Golden Valley from National Best Food/NBF. No country of origin Packaged by Hadiklaim.
Sold in 5 KG and bulk. Store owners/managers report having been told it is from Jordan & thus, label from Jordan on their shelf. No country of origin. From NBF. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is from Jordan–ask for specifics about grower & exporter if you are told from Jordan.
Golden Valley Medjoul Dates (SEMI-DRY)
Golden Valley from Hadiklaim via NBF. No country of origin indicated in a number of cases. Sometimes have label saying “Product of Israel.” These do have bilingual info.
Image result for costco dates medjool israel
Medjoul “Product of Israel” label from Costco
Ameri Premium Dates by National Best Foods, no country of origin
Oriental dates, no country of origin
National Best Food, Golden Valley, no country of origin
Imported by National Best Foods. La Palma is brand of Hadiklaim in Israel. No country of origin.
Imported by National Best Foods. La Palma is brand of Hadiklaim in Israel. No country of origin.

We have written to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on May 7, 2019 asking CFIA to look into several concerns.

Concerns Raised with Canadian Food Inspection Agency:

Country of Origin

Our understanding of the requirement for fresh fruits and vegetables, which would include dates is that “Product of [Name the country of origin]” needs to be included. 

We take this information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website;

The country of origin represents the country in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown. The country of origin must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) of imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables and in close proximity to the declaration of net quantity or the grade name. The country of origin declaration must be shown in boldface type in the same size characters as those prescribed for the grade name [269(1), 270(1), 271, SFCR].

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/requirements/labelling/industry/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables

What we have seen includes: i) indicating from Israel when in fact from settlements in occupied Palestine; ii) no country of origin;  iii) indication on shelf that is from Jordan based on verbal but not verified information; iv) possibly other countries being listed on product.

Nutrition Labeling, Nutrition & Health Claims

We understand that specific requirements in regard to Nutrition labeling including the Nutrition Fact Table are required, with serving sizes and daily intake. 

What we noticed was that in many cases under various brands this information was completely missing.  The one exception seemed to be the Organic brand.

Bilingual Requirements

Our understanding is that the CFIA requirements are than mandatory information including country origin, sizes, business name, nutritional information, nutrition and health claims, and best before dates need to be included in both English and French.

What we noticed is this information is missing on essentially all the products observed.

Request to Canadian Food Inspection made indicating we would appreciate your attention to as quickly as possible addressing this, especially since Ramadan 2019 is underway, and people are purchasing dates for breaking fast/Iftar and Eid.

See letter sent to Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The letter was sent by registered mail as well as email to CFIA. A follow up letter was been sent by email on May 27, 2019, asking for information on when we would expect to receive a response. We were told it was referred to VP of Operation at CFIA. A follow up on August 4, resulted in another letter from Mithani Siddika, the President of CFIA, indicating that the Toronto Regional Office has launched an investigation. The Toronto Region confirmed this on the phone, but to date has not provided any feedback. In March 2020, President Siddika has been asked for an update on the complaint.

RESPONSE from CFIA: in April 2020, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has responded that it has worked with NBF to address labeling issues, however also indicated that Medjoul are considered “dried” and so do not need a country of origin. We have asked for clarification as Medjoul Dates (or other dates) would not normally be considered dried. We do note that Hadiklaim now is indicating on their website that Medjoul are semi-dried. We are seeking clarifcation

Letters were sent in 2019 to several stores in GTA that were carrying NFB or other products that are from Israeli settlements,, and in many cases were missing accurate labeling required under Canadian law. This included letter to Arz in Scarborough, Rabba Foods and Al Quds Market in Mississauga. NO responses were received.

If you see Israeli medjoul product (including those who are mascarading with no country or being sold as from Jordan for example) in these or other stores this Ramadan please take action–talk to the store manager/owner, don’t buy the product, ask them to stock Palestinian product from a trusted source, lets your friends and family know to avoid these products and insist that the store buy from a trusted supplier of Palestinian product.

Canadian BDS Coalition submission to the United Church of Canada Taskforce on Palestine

Canadian BDS Coalition

…working together to promote justice for Palestinians.

www.bdscoalition.ca

bdscoalition@gmail.com

March 15, 2020

Dear Rev Dr Martha Ter Kuile and Task Force members:

We in the Canadian BDS Coalition were pleased to learn that the United Church of Canada is reviewing the appropriateness of your existing policy, UCC Policy on Palestine and Israel as of 2019, specifically the three points: support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state; use of apartheid to describe Israeli actions and policies in Occupied Palestine; and altering your position on BDS. 

We appreciate the opportunity to address each of these points and we hope that our input will be helpful to your task force as you update your policy to be responsive to the injustice and oppression waged against the Palestinian people..

The Canadian BDS Coalition is an intersectional community of groups in Canada that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Secular Humanists, Universalists, a plurality of people of professed faith and of none, but with a common commitment to justice and peace in Palestine and Israel based in the universal values of treating others the way we wish to be treated, loving our neighbours as ourselves and doing justice where there is injustice, standing in solidarity with the oppressed, giving voice to the voiceless, and taking actions that give practical expression to those values.

The Canadian BDS Coalition is comprised of civil society groups that formed in answer to the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society to the world for BDS. BDS is a time-honoured means of peaceful resistance against odious systems of settler-colonialism, occupation, and apartheid, that history has taught us is effective in bringing down unjust systems. Our cause is the cause of the Palestinian people who have suffered under systemic oppression, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, forced population transfers, and denial of basic human rights for more than 70 years under Israeli aggression.

It is in this capacity that we wish to be included in your consultation.

The 2017 Palestinian Christian Call

The Canadian BDS Coalition understands your review was prompted by the call made from the Palestinian Christian community in June 2017 as part of the “50 Years of Occupation” call to the World Council of Churches and Christians around the world.  In particular, the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine issued an open letter to the World Council of Churches (WCC) in June 2017. The June 2017 call spoke of the urgent situation of the people in Palestine saying, “this could be our last chance to achieve a just peace.” 

We have read the

open letter from The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement.

The 2018 Call to Canadian Christian Community

In November 2018, realizing that there had been silence from the Canadian Christian community the Canadian BDS Coalition supported  a call for the Canadian Christian community to take immediate and decisive action in response the 2017 letter from the Christian Palestinian community.

This call was to the Canadian Council of Churches, Canadian Christian denominations, congregations and organizations asking them to implement the items identified by their Christian partners in Palestine in the June 2017 letter.  Specifically:

  • recognize Israel as an apartheid state;
  • condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust; 
  • take a clear theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant;
  • revisit and challenge religious dialogue partners; 
  • defend the right of Palestinian Christians to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently; support BDS.
  • publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and  legitimacy
  • lobby, advocate and develop active programs towards justice and peace for the people of Palestine

The Canadian BDS Coalition asks you to consider these points in the work of your Task Force.

Acting on the Call of Palestinian Christians

The Canadian BDS Coalition would hope that your Task Force recommendations will align with the requests from your partners in Palestine through their 2017 Call.  This is the bare minimum required to support human rights and international law.

The Canadian BDS Coalition also hopes your Task Force is considering the Kairos document from 2009. in your deliberation.  The Canadian BDS Coalition supports fully the calls from the Palestinian Christian community through the Kairos 2009 document as well as the 2017 call to the World Council of Churches. We would urge your Task Force to also recommend this support to the United Church leadership.

Transparency regarding the United Church of Canada Agreements with B’nai Brith and other zionist groups

As part of your policy reconsideration it would also seem imperative that you recommend the end of the agreement from May 1973 with B’nai Brith and the United Church of Canada, and also the end of any formal or implied subsequent agreements with other groups such as the former Canadian Jewish Congress.  These should be publicly declared as no longer being operative by the United Church leadership.  This is important in order to prevent the fear that is faced by those within and outside church; this includes those who are shut down and silenced as Palestinians and allies. One recent example was the Palestinian Youth Movement event being cancelled by Trinity St. Paul church in the summer of 2019.

Response to the Three Points Raised by Your Task Force

We particularly think it is important for you to reconsider your position on the three issues raised, namely the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the use of the term apartheid, and the attitude towards BDS.

1.       Israel as a Jewish State

People not states have the right to exist. According to the Israeli group Adalah there are over 70  pieces of legislation confirming such discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.  The Nation-State which is Israeli Basic Law (openly proclaims not only that Israel is a Jewish state, and the state of all Jewish people, but that it is specifically NOT the state of all its citizens, and that ONLY the jewish people have the right of self-determination in the state of Israel.  Non Jewish Palestinians today constitute half of the people living under Israel’s rule. Over 20% of its own citizens are Palestinians. For the United Church of Canada to continue to take a stance recognizing the state as Jewish would be shameful, and is discriminatory towards Palestinians.

2.       Use of the term apartheid  

We expect you have heard from others that “Apartheid” is now a well-defined legal concept that refers to a system of practices in a legally and legislatively sanctioned system, under which one group has policies and practices of segregation, separation  and discrimination for the purpose of establishing or maintaining domination of one group against another and such policies include legislative measures designed to divide the population by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of one racial group or groups . 

This crime as you may know is prohibited under Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention of 1977, and is designated as a crime under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  It is also prohibited under the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of apartheid adopted by the UN in 1973.

The three elements for such a crime include:  

a.       creating a regime for the domination by one group over another group,   

b.       by the creation of a separate and unequal system of governance to the detriment of the victim group and its members, and  

c.       committing various violations of the rights of the victim group including enslavement, forced transfer of the population, deportation, torture , persecution and other violations against any identifiable group based on political, national , ethnic cultural or gender grounds.

In the West Bank of Palestine today two distinct groups of civilians exist under the rule and control of Israel:  the indigenous Palestinian population and the Jewish settlers. Apart from the blatant illegality of these Jewish settlements under international law, and the fact that these settlements are largely established on lands stolen from the Palestinians, the system of governance in the West Bank of the oPt itself clearly fits the legal definition of apartheid. If anything approaches a system of injustice creating suffering, it is this apartheid system in the West Bank. As indicated in point 1 above, the Nation State Basic law along with the 70+ laws that discriminate against non-Jewish Israeli citizens are clearly apartheid at work. 

To call it by its proper name is the least that the United Church of Canada can do. The insistence of the United Church of Canada over the years to say that using “apartheid” is not helpful speaks of the zionist influences within and on the United Church of Canada, and leaves the  United Church of Canada badly out of step with international law and human rights. We surely hope you are not saying “apartheid” cannot be used as an excuse to avoid speaking truth, just because the powerful would find it objectionable! 

3.         Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).  

We understand the United Church of Canada has indicated it accepts the principles behind BDS as proper nonviolent tactics for addressing and combating the systemic injustices involved in the Israeli occupation and as legitimate tools for influencing Israeli policies.  Thus, the United Church of Canada’s objections against BDS seem very misguided. 

For the United Church of Canada further suggests that the BDS “as a whole involves too broad a spectrum of participants with significantly varied and sometimes unacceptable goals” is to misrepresent the historic nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions.  

The essence of BDS is to provide an alternative nonviolent method pressuring Israel which has so far successfully defied international law. It also provides churches and others a means of promoting their values of freedom, equality and justice. BDS allows citizens and institutions to take action through boycotts and divestment when their own governments fail to pressure Israel into ending its occupation policies, providing equality to all citizens, and to upholding the universal right of return of refugees.  

Boycotts and divestment have been used against other countries, and their rulers have also had to face sanctions over human rights violations.  Israel should not be exempt from such pressures and consequences. 

In Canada at any time there are at least 20 countries being sanctioned under the United Nations Act and the Emergency Economic Measures Act. In this sense, Israel is not unfairly singled out, but rather, Israel is being unfairly exempted from the universal requirements we impose on other countries.   

It would be  a shame if the United Church of Canada does not take a clear call, now over a decade after the 2009 Kairos call from Palestinian partners, to show this clear leadership including support for boycott, divestment and sanctions related to end of occupation, ensure equal rights and release the right of return.  

The Canadian BDS Coalitions calls on your Task Force to seriously consider why NO action has been undertaken to the motion at your General Council 40 in 2012, and subsequently at General Council 41 in 2015, to implement the divestment call approved by the United Church of Canada grassroots, and to make clear recommendations to support the grassroots movement within the church in support of the full BDS call made by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

We would be available to discuss in further detail, and do urge the United Church of Canada to take the courageous leadership it is known for on many issues, and stand with the call made by the Palestinian Christian community for full support of BDS and a clear naming of the Israeli settler-colonization and apartheid regime.

Sincerely,

The Canadian BDS Coalition

Cc:

The Right Reverend Dr. Richard Bott, Moderator, United Church of Canada

Nora Sanders, General Secretary, United Church of Canada;

Reverend Michael Blair, Executive Minister, Church in Mission, United Church of Canada; Member of Task Force

Rev. Brenna Baker, Member of Task Force

Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, Member of Task Force

Rev. Jim Cairney, Member of Task Force

Wendy Gichuru, Program Coordinator, Africa and Middle East Partnership Program, United Church of Canada

From Israeli citizens to Celine Dion – please cancel your performance in Tel Aviv

Message from Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within). Also see below.

Check out the letter sent in November 2019 by over 50 artitsts to Celine Dion coordianted by the Canadian BDS Coalition.

Artists who wish to join in adding their name can do so HERE.

Individuals wishing to write to Ms. Dion can do so HERE. Thanks CJPME for this campaign.

In February 2020 50 Palestinian artists told Celine Dion to not play in Tel Aiv.

March 2020 from “Boycott from Within”

Dear Céline Dion


We are Israeli citizens, active against Israel’s policies of racism, occupation, and apartheid. We find it most unfortunate that you are scheduled to perform in Israel, at HaYarkon Park in Tel Aviv. Any performance in Israel and in Tel Aviv at this time amounts to a political statement, and this statement would be in favour of Israel’s racist apartheid policies. We would therefore ask you to reconsider your decision, and postpone your concert here to a time when justice and equality in human rights prevail.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to use your concert to market Israel as a ‘cool hip’ place, in order to whitewash the crimes committed by Israel on a daily basis, just 45 minutes from Tel Aviv, in the West Bank, and in the Gaza strip. In the West Bank, Israel is violently repressing millions of people to perpetuate its illegal sprawling settlement enterprise. The Gaza strip is the world’s largest open-air prison, where more than two million people live under siege and bombardment, with inadequate, toxic water supplies and a lack of electricity.


In fact, even the chosen venue for your concert is tainted with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. As noted recently by a group of Palestinian artists:  

“HaYarkon Park itself is built on the ruins of the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Jarisha, whose indigenous inhabitants were forcibly expelled in 1948 and never allowed to exercise their UN-stipulated right of return by Israel’s apartheid laws.”


At this time, the moral choice is clear. On the one hand, one could boost the Israeli government, the Trump Administration, and the global far-right, who support Israel’s Islamophobia, war crimes, and violations of international law. On the other hand, one could stand with the Palestinian people, with human rights groups all over the world, and with several international institutions which are trying to uphold basic human rights in our region.


Just like the times of struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, prominent international artists will go down in history for good or bad, based on the decision whether to play in a hub of racism and apartheid. Our Palestinian colleagues have also cite Nelson Mandela’s statement that “Palestine is the greatest moral issue of our time”. We believe this statement is still valid. 

By cancelling your performance in Tel Aviv, you can help not only the Palestinian people to make progress in their struggle for freedom and equality, but also help oppressed people all over the world, looking for a source of inspiration and encouragement, in a global struggle for justice, dignity and equality!


We would gladly address any questions or comments you may have.

Signed,

Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within

(aka Boycott from Within)

Canadian BDS Coalition call to speak out against Trump’s plan of impunity for Israeli war crimes

March 8 2020

The Trump plan for Palestine explicitly gives a further green light to continued Israeli war crimes and settler colonization.  Trump devised  this plan with Israel with one aim–to further cement Israeli apartheid rule over Palestinians.  The Canadian BDS Coalition calls on people across the country to speak out against the recent Trump plan for Palestine.  It is no deal of the century, it is the steal of century at best.

The Canadian BDS Coalition supports the BDS National Committee (BNC) when it says this plan “ is the final nail in the coffin of the moribund ‘peace process’, making #BDS the most effective response.” 

The Canadian BDS Coalition calls for ending international complicity through measures of accountability.  This include bringing Israeli officials to trial at the ICC.  

The Canadian BDS Coalition calls Canada to hold Israel accountable through the grassroots driven movement for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).  For the Canadian government or others to condemn BDS is to show complicity with war crimes, and blantant disregard for Canada’s own domestic law as well as accountability under international law.

The Canadian BDS Coalition calls on the Canadian government  to show accountability through both international and domestic law. Specifically:

Domestic Law: Canadian sanctions laws implement United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions regimes under the United Nations Act, as well as Canadian autonomous sanctions regimes under the Special Economic Measures Act. Under the Special Economic Measures Act, sanctions are required when gross and systematic human rights violations have been committed in a foreign state.  This so so-called “deal of the century” provides a signal for impunity to the continued war crimes and human rights violations against the Palestinian people, and so the Canadian BDS Coalition calls on the Canadian government to put economic sanctions and an military embargo to hold Israel accountable for its systemic human right violations.  

International Law: Under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all high signatories in which Canada is one are required to take actions to ensure that violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention do not occur under any circumstance.  Thus, the Canadian BDS Coalition calls for Canada to make a clear statement in regard to its accountability under Article 1 related to the the war crimes committee by Israel  The Coalition calls on the government of Canada to what ever is required including putting in place the provisions under the Special Economic Measures Act in this regard, including sanctions and military embargo until at least illegal settlements are removed from occupied Palestine and the Syrian Golan, and until the apartheid Nation Law   and other racist Basic Law is revoked, and until the right of return is realized.

The Canadian BDS Coalition calls on civil society to stand against this impunity to the continued war crimes and human rights violations against the Palestinian people.   Thus, the Canadian BDS Coalition calls on all people of conscience and the international community at large to respond to these plans by intensifying campaigns for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions.  This includes a clear call to the Canadian government that sanctions be put in place as required under our own domestic law and our international law accountability related to the gross systemic human rights and international law violations by the Israeli government.

Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and land defenders

February 28, 2020

The Canadian BDS Coalition expresses our total solidarity with indigenous rights and land defenders. we stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and land defenders at the Unist’ot’en Camp and Gidimt’en and across Turtle Island who continue to resist Canada’s colonial incursions of their unceded territories. 

Wet'suwet'en

We denounce the Canadian governments for their colonial violence and their callous disregard of indigenous rights. We understand the struggles of the indigenous people of this land and the indigenous people of Palestine have always been against the supremacist settler colonialist mentality, that has at its roots lack of respect for indigenous rights and dignity. 

We also honour the brave resistance of our indigenous sisters and brothers all through their history and know that they believe, as we do, in defending their land to their last breath. We are deeply grateful for the Wet’suwet’en people for their indomitable spirit, and their tireless defence of the land and water resources. 

The Canadian BDS Coalition stands firmly with the indigenous people on Turtle Island in your struggle for your land and ancestral rights.  We stand united with you in the struggle against settler colonialism, racism, corporate criminality and your inalienable rights for justice and self-determination.

We  join with the BDS National Committee in their statement of solidarity Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation

February 29, 2020

The Canadian BDS Coalition  in expressing its solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, led by their hereditary chiefs, standing up for sovereignty, includes opposition to pipeline construction across their unceded, ancestral lands.  As proponents of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, we stand with Indigenous people who are asserting their rights, and fighting to end occupation and neo-colonial rule, including by blocking railway lines, highways, bridges and major ports.  

For that reason, among others. our Coalition opposes the Canadian government’s bid to obtain a seat for the Canadian state on the United Nations Security Council.  

In addition, we celebrate the withdrawal of Teck Frontier’s proposal for a huge tar sands project in Alberta — at least in part due to the impact of mass protests across the Canadian state in solidarity with Indigenous people and against imminent climate catastrophe. 

Courage Céline, Fellow Artists ask you to say NO to Apartheid

The following message has been send to Céline Dion today from almost 50 fellow artists to Céline Dion on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Céline , the Canadian BDS Coalition would welcome your response, which we would be pleased to convey to your fellow artists. We would also welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the situation in Palestine and the art washing under Brand Israel. We expect more artists will join in the call. We also understand you have received a letter from Palestinian artists directly

Artists who wish to join in adding their name can do so HERE.

Individuals wishing to write to Ms. Dion can do so HERE. Thanks CJPME for this campaign. Almost 5,000 letters sent!

February 17, 2020: 50 Palestinian artists tell Celine Dion to not play in Tel Aiv.

November 29, 2019

Dear Céline,   

As fellow artists we rejoice in your “Courage” world tour you have undertaken.   However, there is a country on the tour whose actions undermine the values we as fellow artists espouse very deeply. We are dismayed that you have chosen to schedule performances in Israel, a state that practices apartheid.

We write to ask you to cancel your August 2020 concert performances in Israel.

In 2018, Israel proclaimed the Nation State Law to officially enshrine ethnic/racial  discrimination in Israel’s Basic Law — the state’s constitutional equivalent. The legislation stipulates that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it.”  It also establishes Hebrew as Israel’s official language, and downgrades Arabic — a language widely spoken by Arab Israelis — to a “special status.” It also enshrines that “Jewish settlement as a national value” and mandates that the state “will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”  In addition, there are over 60 additional laws that discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens in Israel and/or Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the basis of their national belonging.  

On October 23, 2019, Michael Lynk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the OPT told the United Nations General Assembly that decisive international action was needed, and the “international community has a responsibility and legal obligation to compel Israel to end its 52 year-long “occu-annexation” of Palestinian territory and to remove barriers preventing Palestinian self-determination.”  We call on you to join fellow Canadian, Michael Lynk, in leading the way showing this decisive international leadership against Israeli settler-colonialism and war crimes.

When international artists perform in Israel, they help to create the false impression that Israel is a “normal” country like any other. This is the call from Palestinian writers, artists and cultural centers. There is a growing number of anti-colonial Israelis and people worldwide who support the Palestinian civil society BDS call including the cultural boycott of Israel.  We are glad to be part of this support and urge you to join by cancelling your concerts in Israel.

Celine, you have been sensitive to social causes in the past and so we urge you to show real courage and say “no” to performing in Israel, a state that is practicing apartheid, ongoing illegal settler-colonialization and war crimes.

We wish you every success in this world tour and trust that you will not allow it to be used by Israel to “artist-wash” its brutality and crimes against entire populations.

Sincerely,

Roger Waters, musician

Bashar Murad, Palestinian Musican Artist & Video Director

Adnan Joubran, Palestinian Musican

Trio Joubran, Palestinian Musicians

Abby Martin, Creator of The Empire Files

Mohammad Ali, @Socialist Hip Hop, Toronto

Juan D. Toledo, Toronto based Chilean Flamenco Guitarist/Composer

Danielle Ravitzki, singer & composer, New York and France

Joe Mcgill, Visual Artist and Poet, Helsinki Finland

Rehab Nazzal, Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist 

Andrew Fellus, Artists Against Apartheid, NYC Chapter

Richard Fung,  video artist, Toronto

Huda Salha, visual artist-  interdisciplinary, Toronto (Palestinian-Canadian)

Thurston Moore, founder of Sonic Youth

David Peters, The Overpass

Cathy Gulkin, filmmaker

Rifat Audeh, film maker, Director – The Truth: Lost at Sea film 

Sarah Abu-Sharar, Storyteller & Expressive art therapist, Canada

Alisa Gayle-Deutsch, pianist, Canada

Jessie Stein, musician, member of the group The Luyas

William Shookhoff, vocal coach, pianist, conductor, Canada

John King, composer/guitarist, NYC, US

Kathy Wazana, Documentary Filmmaker

Dr. Joel E. Rubin, musician and ethnomusicologist, US and Switzerland

Raymond Deane, composer and author, Ireland.

Dónal Lunny – Musician, Ireland

Cora Venus Lunny – musician, Ireland

Honor Heffernan – Singer/Songwriter, actor, Ireland

Trevor Knight, Composer, musician, Ireland

Cecily Brennan, visual artist, Ireland

Aviad Albert, musician, Israeli citizen

Meiron Egger, musician, Israel citizen

Guy Elhanan, theatre artist, Israeli citizen

Anat Even, filmmaker, Israeli citizen

Jonathan Ofir, violinist and conductor, Israeli citizen

Michal Sapir, musician and writer, Tel Aviv

Itamar Shapira, Flamenco guitar, Israeli citizen

Yonatan Shapira, musician, Israeli citizen

Nirit Sommerfeld, singer, actress, author, Israeli citizen

Lia Tarachansky, journalist, filmmaker, Naretiv Productions, Israeli citizen    

Eyal Vexler, cultural producer, Israeli citizen

Mary Ellen Davis, cinéaste, enseignante, programmatrice (Montréal)

Rachida Lamrabet, lawyer and author

Reem Kelani,Palestinian singer, musician and broadcaster

Chris Somes-Charlton, artist manager

Wally Brooker – musician, journalist, Toronto

Avi Hershkovitz, filmmaker. Israeli citizen

Eyal Sivan, filmmaker, Israeli citizen

Hamutal Veronica Song, author and cultural researcher, Israeli citizen

Karen Zack, photographer, Isreaeli citizen

Zaina Arekat, musician, Bahrain

A Blue Pail, Musician, Ottawa

Stephen Kerr Fine Art Painter, Hamilton, Ontario

Susana Khalil Activista, investigadora y articulista. Latino-árabe Venezuela-Palestina

Hundred Year Old Man , Leeds post-metal, Leeds UK

Johnny Gagnon, A Blue Pail, Canada

Francis Collins, folksinger, San Francisco

 

29 novembre 2019

Chère Céline,

En tant que collègues artistes, nous nous réjouissons de votre tournée mondiale « Courage » que vous avez entreprise. Cependant, il y a un pays de votre tournée dont les actions portent atteinte aux valeurs que nous partageons très profondément. Nous sommes consternés que vous ayez choisi d’organiser des représentations en Israël, un État qui pratique l’apartheid.

Nous vous écrivons pour vous demander d’annuler vos concerts en août 2020 en Israël.

En 2018, Israël a proclamé la Nation State Law qui consacre officiellement la discrimination ethnique / raciale dans la loi fondamentale israélienne – l’équivalente d’une loi constitutionnelle. La législation stipule que « Israël est la patrie historique du peuple juif et qu’il jouit du droit exclusif à l’autodétermination nationale ». Cette loi établit également l’hébreu comme langue officielle d’Israël et abaisse l’arabe – une langue largement parlée par les Arabes israéliens à un « statut spécial ». Elle stipule également que « l’établissement des colonies juives est une valeur nationale » et stipule que l’État « travaillera à encourager et à promouvoir l’établissement et le développement des colonies ». En outre, plus de 60 lois supplémentaires discriminent directement ou indirectement  les citoyens palestiniens en Israël et/ou des résidents palestiniens du Territoire palestinien occupé (TPO) en raison de leur appartenance nationale.

Le 23 octobre 2019, Michael Lynk, rapporteur spécial des Nations Unies pour les TPO, a déclaré à l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies qu’une action internationale décisive était nécessaire et que « la communauté internationale a la responsabilité et l’obligation légale de contraindre Israël à mettre fin à ses 52 ans de « occu-annexion » du territoire palestinien et à éliminer les obstacles empêchant l’autodétermination des Palestiniens. Nous vous invitons à suivre votre compatriote canadien, Michael Lynk, et vous joindre à ce leadership international contre le colonialisme et les crimes de guerre israéliens.

Lorsque des artistes internationaux se produisent en Israël, ils contribuent à créer la fausse impression qu’Israël est un pays « normal » comme les autres. Ceci constitue un appel lancé par des écrivains, des artistes et des centres culturels palestiniens. Un nombre croissant d’Israéliens anticoloniaux et de personnes dans le monde entier soutiennent l’appel de la société civile palestinienne lancé par le BDS, notamment le boycottage culturel d’Israël. Nous sommes heureux de faire partie de ce soutien et vous prions instamment de le faire en annulant vos concerts en Israël.

Céline, vous avez été sensible aux causes sociales dans le passé et nous vous demandons donc de faire preuve d’un véritable courage et de dire « non » aux représentations en Israël, un État pratiquant l’apartheid, la colonisation illégale et les crimes de guerre en cours.

Nous vous souhaitons beaucoup de succès dans cette tournée mondiale et espérons que vous ne permettrez pas qu’Israël se serve de vous comme « artist-wash » ou pour camoufler sa brutalité et ses crimes contre des populations entières.

Cordialement,

Roger Waters ,musicien

Bashar Murad, artiste musicien palestinien et Réalisateur de vidéo

Adnan Joubran, musicien palestinien 

Trio Joubran, musiciens palestiniens 

Abby Martin, Créatrice de The Empire Files 

Mohammad Ali, @socialiste Hip Hop, Toronto 

Juan D. Toledo, guitariste / compositeur de flamenco chilien basé à Toronto 

Danielle Ravitzki, chanteuse et compositrice, New York et la France 

Joe Mcgill, artiste plasticien et poète, Helsinki, Finlande 

Rehab Nazzal, artiste multidisciplinaire née en Palestine 

Andrew Fellus, Artistes contre l’apartheid, Chapitre de New York 

Richard Fung, artiste vidéo, Toronto 

Huda Salha, artiste plasticienne – interdisciplinaire, Toronto (Palestinienne-Canadienne) 

Samah Sabawi, dramaturge, auteur et poète 

Thurston Moore, fondateur de Sonic Youth 

David Peters, Le passage supérieur 

Cathy Gulkin, cinéaste 

Rifat Audeh, cinéaste, réalisateur – The Truth: Lost at Sea film  

Sarah Abu-Sharar, conteuse et thérapeute d’art expressive 

Alisa Gayle-Deutsch, pianiste 

Jessie Stein, musicienne, membre du groupe The Luyas 

William Shookhoff, coach vocal, pianiste, chef d’orchestre

John King, compositeur / guitariste, New York, États-Unis

Kathy Wazana, réalisatrice de documentaires

Dr. Joel E. Rubin, musicien et ethnomusicologue, États-Unis et Suisse

Raymond Deane, compositeur et auteur, Irlande.

Dónal Lunny – musicien, Irlande

Cora Venus Lunny – musicienne, Irlande

Honour Heffernan – auteur-compositeur-interprète, acteur, Irlande

Trevor Knight, compositeur, musicien, Irlande

Cecily Brennan, art visuel, Irlande

Aviad Albert, musicien, citoyen israélien

Meiron Egger, musicien, citoyen israélien

Guy Elhanan, artiste de théâtre, citoyen israélien

Anat Even, cinéaste, citoyen israélien

Jonathan Ofir, violoniste et chef d’orchestre, citoyen israélien

Michal Sapir, musicien et écrivain, Tel Aviv

Itamar Shapira, guitariste (flamenco), citoyen israélien

Yonatan Shapira, musicien, citoyen israélien

Nirit Sommerfeld, chanteuse, actrice, auteure, citoyenne israélienne

Lia Tarachansky, journaliste, cinéaste, Naretiv Productions

Eyal Vexler, producteur culturel, citoyen israélien

Mary Ellen Davis, cinéaste, enseignante, programmatrice (Montréal)

Rachida Lamrabet, avocat et auteur

Reem Kelani, Chanteur palestinien, musicien et animateur

Chris Somes-Charlton, gestionnaire d’artiste

Wally Brooker -musicien, journaliste, Toronto

Avi Hershkovitz,  cinéaste, citoyen israélien

Eyal Sivan, cinéaste, citoyen israélien

Hamutal Veronica Song, auteur et chercheur culturel, citoyen israélien

Karen Zack, photographe, citoyen israélien

Zaina Arekat, musicienne, Bahrain

A Blue Pail, artiste , Ottawa

Stephen Kerr, Peintre des Beaux-Arts, Hamilton, Ontario

Susana Khalil Activista, investigadora y articulista. Latino-árabe Venezuela-Palestina

Hundred Year Old Man , Leeds post-metal, Leeds UK

Johnny Gagnon, A Blue Pail, Canada

Francis Collins, folksinger, San Francisco






Third Party Status: BDS Quebec

Congratulations to the Quebec BDS Coalition obtained Third Party Status during the 2019 Federal election.

Check out more on Under the Olive Tree

#IVotePalestine

Check out posters that were put up in Montreal including in Justin Trudeau’s riding.

Photo of the press conference taken by the Journal Métro

Check out more about the Quebec BDS Coalition http://www.bdsquebec.ca/

Green Party of Canada: Seems you forgot to update your Policy in regard to Palestine in your Election Platform.

91% of Green Party of Canada members gave mandate for BDS call

The Green Party of Canada (GPC ) approved policy supports the Palestinian civil society call. In particular, it supports all three objectives of the BDS Movement: the right of Palestinian refugees to return; full equality of rights for Palestinians, and an end to the illegal settlements and the occupation of Palestine. The GPC policy also specifies all three tactics of boycott, divestment and sanction, specifically government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes. in fact it calls for specific types of sanctions to be imposed upon Israel, namely, an arms embargo and a ban on the importation into Canada of products from Israel’s illegal settlements. See wording below or HERE

Beyond BDS the GPC policy also calls for the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces.

This policy was adopted at a GPC special meeting held in Calgary in December 2016 with the support of 84% of the members g. A month later, it was ratified by 91% of Green Party members who voted in an online vote.

Green Party Ignores Its Own Policy in Words and Action

However, when asked about the policy regarding Palestine during the last days of the federal election, Section 5.10 of the Green Party Vision was provided. This is not available from the GPC website. This does NOT reflect the approved GPC of policy. In fact it misses the demands of the BDS movement and the tactics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. (See wording below) SHAME on GPC Leader Elizabeth May. See more in article by DImitri Lascaris HERE

This is not so surprising, as Ms. May has distanced herself from the approved policy, and has not taken steps to live out the policy in parliament even in regard to Resolution 2234 which was passed by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016, just after the GPC policy had been approved.

The election is over–and we expect the GPC elected members to support their own policy

Now past the election, and with three seats in the federal parliament, we call leader Elizabeth May to do the right thing–to post the approved policy and start to live it out in parliament. We know Paul Manly supports the approved GPC policy, and we call on first time elected Jenica Atwin of Fredericton to speak and act based on the policy approved by the GPC membership.

Action:

Send email to Elizabeth May, Paul Manley and Jenica Atwin. Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca, Paul.Manly@parl.gc.ca, jenica.atwin@parl.gc.ca asking them 1) to include the approved policy on the GPC website, 2) if they individually support this policy, and 3) to put this policy in place proactively. As a start this would include their support of Gaza2020 a call by Al-Haq and Just Peace Advocates to put sanctions in place until the Israeli government at least lifts the blockade for the Palestinian people in Gaza. It would also include providing clear statements to the current liberal government on expectations to vote in line with Palestinian human rights and international law at the United Nations. (see ABC UNSC--Anybody But Canada for UNSC)

The approved Green Party policy.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada (GPC) calls on the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel to accord mutually recognized statehood.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada denounces violence in all of its forms, recognizes that it can only lead to failure in conflict resolution, and supports only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes; and

BE IT RESOLVED the GPC calls on the Government of Israel to: respect the intent of UN Resolution 194, the implementation of which is to be negotiated in good faith with the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, accord to the Arab-Palestinian population of Israel equal political and civil rights, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the Golan Heights, and Israel’s siege of Gaza;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada reconfirms its policy of condemning illegal settlement construction in the OPT, and calls for an immediate end to further settlement construction and expansion, and the dismantling of current settlements in the OPT, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party of Canada calls on the government of Canada take strong diplomatic action, including economic pressure, in order to ensure the attainment of the three objectives identified in the preceding paragraph and to encourage Israel to enter into good faith negotiations with legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state. Such economic pressure should include, but not be limited to:

● A ban on the importation into Canada of products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses directly benefiting from the illegal occupation;
● Renegotiation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) such that it explicitly excludes products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses operating within the OPT;
● The strengthening of CIFTA compliance/audit provisions in such ways and clauses as to ensure that imported products labeled “Made in Israel” are actually produced, entirely and exclusively, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders;
● The termination and indefinite suspension of all military and surveillance trade and cooperation between, on the one hand, the Government of Canada and Canadian corporations or residents of Canada and, on the other hand, the State of Israel, Israeli corporations or residents of Israel’s illegal settlements;
● The repeal the House of Commons resolution condemning the BDS movement (Vote #14, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session; 22 February 2016.)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to assess the investments it has under its control and to divest from any companies which are directly benefiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC calls on the Government of Canada to warn of the legal consequences of trade and investment in the illegal settlements;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada, and if elected, a Green government, as part of a policy on ethical purchases, will not purchase or use products produced by companies which are profiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to recognize the State of Palestine, and, should Canada gain a seat on the UN Security Council, the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to pursue aggressively all possible diplomatic pressure on Israel, as well as on the United States to use its massive military aid to Israel as a lever to push for peace; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that; Policy G16-P006-A Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as voted on at the August 2016 BGM be repealed and replaced by this policy.

The Policy the GPC indicated in their 2019 Vision

5.10 The Israel – Palestine Conflict

The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is often viewed as intractable and irresolvable. More than three regional wars and two Intifadas have left deep scars on the bodies and in the minds of the people of this troubled region. Strongly held views and historical claims are well entrenched on both sides, making this a complex and crucial conflict to understand. It is an unfortunate and continued source of tension for many in the Middle East and around the world.


It should be clear that continued support and use of military or insurgency strategies will not bring about an end to the conflict. The cycle of violence, loss of life, and desecration of human rights must come to an end. The Green Party of Canada believes that any effort aimed only at one side in this conflict will not end the violent responses that exacerbate human suffering. Canada’s role in the Middle East should be to reduce tensions, find working solutions, and uphold international humanitarian law, not to take sides in this chronic conflict. We must work towards a mutually acceptable compromise that will achieve a lasting peace between, and among, the Israelis and Palestinians. The Green Party supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that addresses the security, economic, and religious concerns of the both sides. Diplomatic efforts to build constructive relationships between the two communities are required. Continued dialogue will build community support for the negotiated peace agreement, and will ease implementation and ensure that it does not break down from pressures within the Palestinian and Israeli communities.

Green Party MPs will:

● Endorse the recognition of a Palestinian right to statehood within the internationally recognized borders as described in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that adheres to pre-1967 borders and incorporates an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations;

● Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law;

● Protect as inviolable the right of the State of Israel to exist, in the absence of fear and conflict;

● Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed-upon honest broker to engage in bi-literal and multi-lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis;

● Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests;

● Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided;

● Call on Israel to stop expansion and the building of illegal settlements beyond the 1967 borders;

● Accurately label products so that consumers can differentiate between products of Israel and those of disputed areas;

● Amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade pact to allow for product differentiation;

● Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.

#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