Accessibility Washing of Israeli War Crimes

Accessibility Tour to a State that Inflicts Disability and Violates International Law

Join in sending a letter to Holland-Bloorview, March of Dimes, and AODA saying SHAME on ACCESSIBILITY WASHING.

It only takes a minute or two, and you can customize if you wish.

CLICK HERE to send your letter saying NO to accessibility washing!

Israel is responsible for disabling and murdering countless Palestinians. In the past few months alone, Israeli snipers have targeted journalists, paramedics, people with disabilities, women and children with fatal sniper shots during the Great March of Return. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed, and tens of thousands have been injured, often with non-fatal shots to the chest, back, or legs, ending in disability.  

Still that is where Holland-Bloorview (Canada’s leading children hospital for rehabilitation), March of Dimes, Ontario government accessibility leadership went to learn about accessibility. SHAME.

SHAME

Join in sending letter to:


Dear Holland Bloorview and  March of Dimes, executives & board of directors, and Government of Ontario senior accessibility officials

Continue reading

Nakba 71: Cross-Canada Day of Action

Across Canada there is a new majority…
…against Israeli war crimes
…against the Occupation
…for the Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees
…for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
…to End Canadian Complicity with Israeli Apartheid
…for Self-determination for the Palestinian people

Events Planned

Victoria

Vancouver

Winnipeg

Toronto

Montreal

Saint John

St. John’s

Endorsements:

Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

Canada Palestine Association

Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation

Canadians Against Israeli Apartheid Victoria

Justice for Palestinians Calgary

Palestinian Solidarity Network Edmonton

Peace Alliance Winnipeg

Canada Peace Congress

Regina Peace Council

Oakville Palestinian Rights Association

Toronto BDS Action

Al Quds Committee Toronto

People for Peace, London

Canadian for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Independent Jewish Voices

Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste

Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement pour une Paix Juste

United for Palestine-Toronto/GTA

MidIslanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

NDP Socialist Caucus

Labor for Palestine

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return

Palestine Solidarity Working GroupSudbury

Canadian Defenders for Human Rights

Saanich Gulf Island Federal NDP-Electoral District Assocation

Alliance  of  Concerned  Jewish  Canadians

Christian Peacemaker Team-Ontario

Solidarity with Palestine-Sudbury

Niagara BDS Coalition

Palestinian and Jewish Unity

BDS Quebec

Guelph: Ontario Public Interest Research Group

Canadian Federation of Students-national

Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario

Palestinian Solidarity Working Group – Sudbury

Canadians for Palestine

Islamic Society of York Region

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)

International Socialists

Hugo Chavez People’s Defence Front

Independent Jewish Voices-Winnipeg

Canadian Palestine Support Network Manitoba,

Winnipeg  Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid,

Mennonite Central Committee-Manitoba,

Mennonite Church Manitoba Working Group on Palestine/Israel,

United Church Manitoba-Region 5

THE CALL

The Canadian BDS Coalition aims to celebrate this new majority by making it visible on the streets of Canada. We appeal to everyone seeing this message, to every working class and progressive organization, to demonstrate on Saturday, May 18 in solidarity with the above demands.

Please plan street actions to occur in your city, in your community on Saturday May 18th. You may wish to initiate actions during the week of May 13th that marks 71 years since the Nakba took place in Palestine–that’s great! And please also undertake to organize powerful, visible manifestations of our national solidarity with the Palestinian people on the common target date, May 18th!

Let us know that you endorse this Call to Action. Tell us what your group, coalition or campaign plans to do. We will post your local actions to our website, and share across social media. Please add your endorsement HERE.

To enter your event please click HERE.

Events will also appear on this page and on our FB page.

Please contact us at: bdscoalition@gmail.com 647-986-1917


By endorsing we ask you to promote the cross-country action as well as individual actions/events across the county as well as local in your community.

You can use the following posters, customizing for your event/s.

Events will be happening across Canada around Nakba71 (May 15), with day of action on May 18, 2019.

Canadian Financial Institutions: Complicit with Violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention

Israeli Illegal Settlement . Photo: Montecruz Foto via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Four Canadian Financial Institutions, BMO, RBC, Scotiabank and Manulife have been listed on Bank Track as owning and managing shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli banks are facilitating the expansion of the Israeli illegal settlements  in several ways, including lending to construction projects in the settlements, providing banking services for settlements’ local authorities, operating branches in the settlements and providing mortgages for settlement homes and businesses.

Many international banks also support Israeli banks, including their activities in the illegal settlements, for example through direct shareholdings, linking them to these impacts.

 

About Israeli illegal settlements

Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, are illegal under international law. This is widely recognised and has been confirmed by the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council (e.g. see UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2012).

Through these settlements, Israel, the occupying state, violates numerous provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international humanitarian law (IHL): these are built and maintained primarily through unlawful appropriation of occupied land and natural resources and transfer of property rights, prohibited transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory, and arbitrary restriction of the freedom of movement and forcible transfer of the Palestinian and Syrian population.

Moreover, the settlements also amount to de facto annexation of occupied territory by Israel, which is a flagrant breach of general public international law and the UN Charter, violating the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force and the internationally recognized right of Palestinians to self-determination

 

What Bank Track indicates should happen:Banks not operating in Israel but with shareholdings in or other exposure to Israeli banks lack the leverage to prevent or mitigate the adverse human rights impacts of business with the illegal Israeli settlements. They should therefore abstain from or end their relationships with Israeli banks, as well as other institutions and business linked to the illegal settlements. States should inform their businesses, including banks, about the risks involved in such business activities under international law, and about the consequences under domestic laws. 

See details of Canadian and other financial institutions involvement 

See Human Rights Watch report, June 2018

Learn more here.

 

Please be in touch with your own local branch of these financial institutions, and let us know by providing info HERE.

 

The following letters have been sent by email and registered mail to Scotiabank, RBC, BMO and Manulife.

Canadian BDS Coalition

…working together to promote justice for Palestinians.

Scotiabank

Brian J Porter, CEO and President

VIA EMAIL

brian.porter@scotiabank.com

Dear Mr. Porter:

We are writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that Scotiabank owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that Scotiabank is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of Scotiabank’s investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal of Scotiabank’s funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by Scotiabank related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that many customers will re-evaluate their relationship with Scotiabank and may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

 

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

BMO

Darryl White, CEO and President, BMO

VIA EMAIL

darryl.white@bmo.com

Dear Mr. White:

re writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that BMO owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that BMO is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of BMO investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal CIBC’s of funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by BMO related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that may Customers will re-evaluate their relationship with BMO and may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

 

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

Royal Bank

David I McKay, CEO and President

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

 

VIA EMAIL

Via Paul French, communications with Board and Chair,  paul.french@rbc.com

Dear Mr. McKay

We are writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that RBC owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that RBC  is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of RBC’s investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal RBC’s  of funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by RBC related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that may customers will re-evaluate their relationship with RBC and may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

 

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

Manulife

 

Roy Gori, President & CEO, Manulife

VIA EMAIL

roy.gori@ manulife.com

 

Also:

info@manulife.com

Dear Mr. Gori

We are writing to you about an important matter that has just come to our attention.

A few days ago, we  learned that Manulife owns and manages shares in two Israeli Banks, Bank Leumi and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. Both these Israeli banks are active in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

See: https://www.banktrack.org/project/illegal_israeli_settlements#_

As the Canadian government has long acknowledged, Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, one of the pillars of international humanitarian law, and a serious obstacle to peace.

See: http://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/mena-moan/israeli-palistinian_policy-politique_israelo-palestinien.aspx?lang=eng.

Israel’s West Bank settlements also constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

See: https://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/where-we-work/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Israeli-Settlements-policy/

We are deeply concerned by the oppression of the Palestinian people and with their struggle for self-determination. I am very troubled to learn that RBC  is profiting, albeit indirectly, from Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians.

We ask you to  provide further details to us about the nature and extent of Manulife investments in these Israeli banks and, in particular, to explain how these investments are consistent with international humanitarian law, and we would ask you announce publicly the withdrawal Manulife’s  funds related to illegal settlements.

According to 2017 EKOS poll, 78 % of Canadians support boycotts when organizations are violating human rights and international law. We expect as a matter of conscience that if  clear information is not provided along with a public statement made by Manulife related to its ending financial relations with illegal settlements, that many customers and companies/organizations will re-evaluate their relationship with Manulife nd may ultimately decide to take their business elsewhere.

We are available to speak with you as well, and expect others will be following up with your organization over the coming weeks.

Sincerely

The Canadian BDS Coalition

info@bdscoalition.ca

 

Continue reading

Open Letter from Canadian BDS Coalition to Government of Canada, Cities of Vancouver and Montreal

Over 5,000 signatures to date on this call: Don’t Dance on the Ruins of Palestinian Childhood.  Add your signature by clicking HERE.

December 18, 2018.

The following letter has been sent to:

Pablo Rodriquez, Federal Minister of Heritage

Ambassador Deborah Lyons, Canadian Ambassador to Israel

Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver

Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal

—————————

Open Letter from Canadian BDS Coalition to Government of Canada, Cities of Vancouver and Montreal

We have become aware that you are listed as one of the official sponsors of the CanaDanse Festival, being held in Israel in January 2019. Promotional material on the venue’s website denotes the Government of Canada as a sponsor of the whole Festival while the cities of Vancouver and Montreal are sponsoring one segment respectively. You should be aware that there is an ongoing campaign regarding Ballet BC’s involvement in the Festival, along with the 2 other dance companies, Shay Kuebler-Radical System Art from Vancouver and Le Carré des Lombes/Danièle Desnoyers from Montreal.

Over 5000 people have already signed a petition to Ballet BC asking them to cancel their first-ever performance in Israel, and to not help Israel whitewash its crimes against the Palestinian people. There has been coverage on the U.S. website Mondoweiss about this issue and also coverage in Canadian local media.

In fact, support is increasing amongst the Canadian public for sanctions against the state of Israel until it complies with international law, despite the efforts of the political establishment to suppress such information. A recent EKOS survey found that seventy-eight percent of Canadians said they believe the Palestinians’ call for a boycott is “reasonable”, and two-thirds (66%) of respondents viewed government sanctions specifically on Israel as “reasonable.”

It is shocking that various levels of government, federal and municipal, including the Cities of Vancouver and Montreal, felt compelled to not only lend their names to this Festival, but we assume funding as well.

Although Ballet BC and the other two dance companies will be welcomed by Israeli authorities to perform there, you should be aware that Palestinian cultural figures, artists and writers are routinely denied entry to their own homeland. One recent case is that of Susan Abulhawa, prominent Palestinian author who was detained and deported by Israel on November 1, 2018 on her way to a literary festival. Cultural exchanges that are predicated on silencing certain voices do not serve the values Ballet BC (and presumably your government) claim to uphold: “Ballet BC serves as a cultural ambassador, inspires diverse communities through dance and promotes inclusion in and through all that we do.” There is no inclusion for most indigenous Palestinians, who cannot even visit their homeland, let alone return to live there.

The Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Deborah Lyons, has already used the CanaDanse Festival to state: “Canada and Israel are truly best of friends”; we are sure more euphemisms will follow during and after the performances to help cover up the horrors of what the Israeli state is doing to the Palestinian people. This is the essence of art-washing and this is why an increasing number of global artists are saying that they will not perform in Israel until it complies with international law and respects the rights of the Palestinian people.

Your shameful position does not represent us or our constituent groups and we are appalled that you speak in our names and use taxpayers’ money to promote the suppression and dispossession of an entire people. We call on you to immediately withdraw your government sponsorship and cancel your participation in this Festival, which will only be used by the Israeli government to obscure the injustices happening right now to the Palestinian people.

Otherwise, history will not look kindly on your actions.

The Canadian BDS Coalition

www.bdscoalition.ca

Canadian Court Hands Important Victory to BDS Movement

December 12, 2018

A Canadian Court ruled that Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions activists were denied free speech and campaigning rights when the city of Montreal tore down their posters highlighting an Israeli atrocity during an election campaign in Canada. We discuss the case with bruce Katz, one of the main plaintiffs in the case.

The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulates its Quebec BDS, a member of the Canadian BDS Coalition, on its important victory.

 

This is a victory of legitimacy of BDS in Canada by the Quebec Supreme Count.  It is applicable in other jurisdiction of Canada.

Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) Supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

CFS representing 500K+ members at 64 students’ union at universities across Canada has joined in solidarity for justice for the people of Palestine.

The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulates the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) on its resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that was unanimously passed at the CFS annual General Assembly on November 20, 2018. The resolution follows the BDS endorsement by the CFS-Ontario in 2014, and BDS victories at over 20 individual campuses across Canada over the last decade.

Join in sharing your support with the Canadian Federation of Students HERE.

The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario is looking to hire an Executive Director or Executive Director

This direction by the Canadian Federation of Students’ with its more than 500,000 members at 64 students’ union at universities across Canada shows the momentum of the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. 

The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulates the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) on its resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that was unanimously passed at the CFS annual General Assembly on November 20, 2018. The resolution follows the BDS endorsement by the CFS-Ontario in 2014, and BDS victories at over 20 individual campuses across Canada over the last decade.

The CFS is the voice of 500,000 members in 64 student unions at universities across Canada. The passage of this resolution demonstrates the increasing momentum for action to promote justice for the Palestinian people. This is consistent with the findings of a 2017 EKOS poll, that a majority of Canadians support actions of boycott and sanctions against Israel’s system of settler-colonialism, occupation, and apartheid towards the Palestinian people.

The Canadian BDS Coalition is comprised of civil society organizations across Canada that support the call of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Canadian BDS Coalition stands in solidarity with the 2005 call from over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations for boycott, divestment and sanctions until:

  • Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The Canadian BDS Coalition welcomes the voice of the Canadian Federation of Students in solidarity with the global movement for freedom, equity and justice for the people of Palestine.

 

Send along your words of support directly to: info@cfs-fcee.ca with copy to bdscoalition@gmail.com

 

Ballet BC, don’t dance on the ruins of Palestinian childhood

See article in Mondoweiss

 on 

 

Campaign organizers are calling on Ballet BC (and now the 2 other dance companies as well) to take a stand and not perform in Israel, which would be a permanent stain on their records. They are also calling on solidarity activists, both locally and around the world, to support this campaign, and to let these artists know that it is morally wrong for them to trample on the dignity and rights of Palestinians.

BC Attorney General Stonewalls on Israeli Wines in BC Liquor Store

BC Attorney General Stonewalls on Israeli Wines in BC Liquor Stores

17 OCTOBER 2018
Canada Palestine Association

BC Attorney General David Eby finally responded to two of the initiating groups on an Open Letter, regarding BC government liquor stores carrying Israeli wines in violation of international humanitarian laws. Mr. Eby refused to meet with representatives of the 30 groups who sponsored and endorsed the letter, and insisted again to focus solely on the “customers’ right to make choices”. Here is the public answer to Eby from CPA Vancouver and BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Public Response to David Eby regarding Israeli wines in BC Liquor Stores
Oct. 17, 2018

Dear Mr. Eby:

Thank you for your brief replies to our concerns.

Once again, you have completely ignored the issues raised on this subject, this time brought forward by 30 organizations. We mentioned in our open letter that selling Israeli wines in BC liquor Stores is “in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. The UN Security CouncilUN General Assembly and the Canadian government recognize the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel is in violations of many articles of this convention, including the theft of Palestinian land, building colonies in the occupied territories and transferring several hundreds of thousands of its citizens to live in them, in contravention of articles 49 and 53. Israel also expropriates and exploits the natural resources in the occupied territory to meet the needs of the occupying power, in violation of article 55. The wine that is carried in the BC Liquor Stores is the product of these Israeli settler colonialists who stole Palestinian land and its agricultural and natural resources.

The Federal Government currently imposes sanctions against 20 countries, 11 of them in the Middle East (the list does not include Israel nor Saudi Arabia), so we ask where is your “customers’ right to make choices” there?
And as noted in the open letter, these wines are mislabelled as “made in Israel” in an attempt to hide product origin, something that is currently being challenged in the Canadian courts. So how can a consumer make choices when they are not even aware of what they are buying?

As you can see, this is not a matter of a “customers’ right to make choices”. The only choices being made in these circumstances are the wrong choices. As Attorney General, would you advise any police department to not curtail the selling of stolen products in BC stores, because it infringes on a “customers’ right to make choices”?!

We feel your government is simply hiding behind the liberal façade of “customer choice” in order to avoid any meaningful discussion about your role in enabling the dispossession of the Palestinian people. Violating the many articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention amounts to war crimes. Supporting these violations is complicity in them.
As the anti Apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

And finally, your unwillingness to meet with us demonstrates an arrogance and disinterest in issues of serious concern to your constituents and British Columbians, a very disappointing approach for someone who claims to be interested in rectifying social and historical injustices.

Hanna Kawas, Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association
Aiyanas Ormond, Coordinator, BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish

c.c. All Signatory Groups on the Open Letter

Open letter to Ballet BC on performances in Israel

You can add your name in support of the open letter below by signing the petition on change.org.

October 2, 2018

John Clark, Executive Director
executivedirector@balletbc.com

Dear Mr. Clark:

As a young child, my mother took me to see The Nutcracker; when I became a mother, I did the same with my daughter and took her to a Ballet BC production of The Nutcracker, a tradition I was hoping to repeat soon with my granddaughter.

However, I have now learned that Ballet BC is touring in Israel in January, 2019. As global artists, I am sure you are aware of the international movement by many cultural figures to refuse to perform in Israel until it complies with international law. Figures such as Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Lana del Rey, and Brian Eno, who refused to allow the Israeli dance company Batsheva to use one of his musical compositions at a performance in Italy. Continue reading

Canadian BDS Coalition joins Palestinian Call for Boycott of Meteor Music Festival in Israel and Calls the Canadian-Danish Music Group to Withdraw

Palestinians urge participating artists to withdraw from the festival as a meaningful contribution to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

 

Meteor - A festival on ethnically cleansed land.

We, Palestinian cultural organizations, municipalities and human rights campaigns, call for the boycott of Meteor Festival in Israel, scheduled for September 6-8, 2018. We urge all participating artists to respect Palestinians’ non-violent resistance and withdraw from this complicit festival as a meaningful contribution to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Naranja, the Israeli organisers of Meteor Festival, bring international artists to Israel to serve later as future ambassadors for the country. In 2009, just months after Israel killed over 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza, Naranja worked to “improve Israel’s image in Scandinavia”. Naranja say they want Meteor Festival to create an “alternative reality”. The reality for Palestinians is 70-year-old regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid.

Just last week, Israel effectively declared itself as an apartheid state by adopting the “Jewish Nation-State Law”, which constitutionally denies Palestinian citizens equal rights and legalizes their exclusion.

The Meteor festival recommends accommodation located in illegal Israeli settlements built in violation of international law in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Israel’s expanding illegal settlements steal the land and resources of millions of Palestinians living under military occupation. Israel’s bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes and villages, leaving families and entire communities homeless refugees in our own land.

Since 2004, Palestinian artists and cultural organizations have urged their international colleagues not to perform in Israel as long as it continues to violate Palestinian human rights with impunity. Artists played an important role in isolating Apartheid South Africa by refusing to play in Sun City. Today, thousands of artistsacross the world support the Palestinian boycott call or have respected our nonviolent picket line, including Lorde, Ms Lauryn Hill, Thurston Moore, Shakira, Wolf Alice, Chuck D, Portishead, Brian Eno and Young Fathers.

The Israeli government uses international performances as a stamp of approval for its regime of oppression and ethnic cleansing and its violent attacks on Palestinian life and culture. Performing at an international music festival in Israel sends the message that Israel’s actions aren’t so bad after all. As the Washington Post remarked earlier this year, “From now on, if it weren’t the case already, merely scheduling a concert date in Israel will be considered a political act.”

Israel has confined two million Palestinians in Gaza under a cruel siege for over 10 years now. The UN has declared the Gaza Strip as “unlivable.” When tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza peacefully protested for their UN-stipulated rights in March, Israeli snipers implemented a “shoot-to-kill-or-maim” and killed over 140 Palestinians and injured over 16,000, leaving many with life-changing injuries. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are among the rights organisations who have condemned Israel’s massacre in Gaza.

In the area surrounding the festival site are the ruins of dozens of Palestinian cities, towns and villages violently destroyed during the establishment of Israel on the rubbles of Palestine. More than 500 Palestinian population centres were systematically destroyed in this way during the Nakba (“catastrophe”). Many Palestinian communities within Israel are denied basic services, including electricity, water, schools and roads and suffer under a system of racial discrimination that is entrenched with more than 60 racist laws.

Against this oppression and dispossession, as all oppressed peoples, we resist. An important part of our resistance is through culture, musicpoetryliteraturecinemadance and theatre. Israel’s response is to detain and arrest Palestinian artists at checkpoints, raid festivals, close Palestinian cinemas and ban Palestinian cultural events.

We appeal to artists who are scheduled to perform at Meteor to simply do no harm; to respect Palestinians’ non-violent picket line and to not lend your name to art-washing Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. Stand for freedom, justice and equality. Cancel your participation at Meteor Festival.

The Canadian BDS Coalition calls Canadian and other musicians, artists and civil society to call on the Danish-Canadian musical group Rhye to cancel their performance at Meteor.  To add you name/organization click here