Open letter to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)

The Canadian BDS Coalition has the following open letter signed by over 20 Canadian organizations to the directors of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) asking them to reconsider the TSO’s participation in two upcoming concerts in Israel.

You can take action to call on the TSO to respect the Palestinian call for cultural boycott by cancelling its planned shows in Israel.

April 29, 2017

Dear Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) Directors, Conductors and Musicians,

We write to you today to ask that you reflect on the following appeal from Palestinian artists, and reconsider your participation in the TSO’s planned “Arabian Nights” tour of Israel.

Palestinian writers, artists and cultural centers are calling on international artists not to perform in Israel until it ceases its grave violations of human rights and international law. They seek freedom from occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and justice for the refugees.

In the occupied territories, 6,300 Palestinians – including 300 minors, 500 administrative detainees (held without charge) and 13 members of parliament – are imprisoned. Last year, Israeli forces killed more than 100 Palestinians, including 33 children. Over half a million Israelis live in illegal settlements. More than 6 million Palestinian refugees are denied their rights. This state of affairs is not only unjust; it is unsustainable.

Israel instrumentalizes culture to cover up its violations. When international artists perform at Israeli cultural venues and institutions, they help to create the false impression that Israel is a “normal” country like any other. This visit by the world-renowned TSO will be paraded as an endorsement of Israel’s actions. Continue reading

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Kick settlements out of football at FIFA’s upcoming congress

As part of its #RedCardIsrael campaign, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is calling on FIFA to take action at its May 11 congress on Israeli football teams based in illegal settlements. More information on how you can take action is below.

FIFA will make a decision on Israeli football teams based in illegal settlements at their upcoming Congress on May 11, 2017. This is our chance to ensure that Palestinian human rights are front and centre on their agenda!

More than one hundred sports and human rights associations representing millions of people across the globe have called on FIFA to demand that the Israeli Football Association immediately exclude teams based in illegal settlements, and for FIFA to suspend the association if it refuses to comply.

As the pressure mounts on FIFA to respect its statutes, the Israeli government is using its embassies to push for removing the issue of settlement clubs from the Congress’ agenda altogether. We can’t let that happen: teams based in illegal settlements and human rights violations have no place in the beautiful game.

Take action now to pressure FIFA to respect its own statutes and Palestinian human rights:

Join the Thunderclap to FIFA ahead of its upcoming Congress!

Join the action on social media! Visit bdsmovement.net for sample tweets and memes to share. Use the hashtag #RedCardIsrael

Let’s make sure FIFA and member federations get the message: settlement clubs and Apartheid have no place in the beautiful game. Visit bdsmovement.net to see additional actions you can take.

Congratulations to students at King’s University College and UBC

The Canadian BDS Coalition congratulates the King’s BDS Network at the University of Western Ontario and the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at the University of British Columbia.

At King’s University College at University of Western Ontario, 76% of the students who cast a vote in a recent referendum supported their student council in lobbying the King’s administration to boycott and divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians.

Implementation will be based by King’s University College Student Council (KUSC) on a resolution that brought results from this referendum along with another referendum on fossil fuel divestment to their March 19, 2017 Annual General Meeting.

The approved resolution mandates the student council to lobby King’s administration to boycott and divest from any and all companies and products complicit with Israeli occupation based on principles of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. It also calls on KUCSC to research and write an annual Advocacy Paper on ethical investments and divestments that will include a five-year plan for ethical investing.

On March 30, 2017, the SPHR at University of British Columbia had a ground-breaking victory when a British Columbia Supreme Court judge brought down his ruling and dismissed a case to stop a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) referendum. Continue reading

Statement of support for human rights defender Omar Barghouti

The Canadian BDS Coalition joins with organizations from across Canada and worldwide, including the BDS National Committee (BNC), Independent Jewish Voices, Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, and Palestinian and Jewish Unity in condemning the detention of BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti by Israeli authorities with the following statement:

The Canadian BDS Coalition expresses sorrow, anger, and renewed commitment with regard to the interrogation of Omar Barghouti.

Omar Barghouti is a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and the co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement for the freedom, justice and equity of the Palestinian people.

BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Barghouti’s wife, Safa, was also interrogated for 16 hours, after the Israeli tax authorities barged into their home and detained them on March 19, 2017.

On March 22, 2017, the BDS National Committee (BNC) issued a statement that indicated “the Israeli government has resorted to fabricating a case related to Omar’s alleged income outside of Israel to tarnish his image and intimidate him.” Beyond this questionable investigation, this detention is happening just weeks before Barghouti is scheduled to receive the Gandhi Peace Award with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University. Continue reading

Open letter to Chrystia Freeland on Israel “regularization bill”

The Canadian BDS Coaliton coordinated the following open letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on the passage of Israel’s so-called Regularization Bill.

March 20, 2017

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
House of Commons,
Ottawa K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Freeland:

We come together to express our grave concern regarding actions taken by the government of Israel since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and to call the Canadian government to take a strong stance against the Israeli government’s flagrant disregard of its responsibility as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The February 6, 2017 passing by the Knesset of the Regularization Bill shows utter disdain of the Security Council and for International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws. This legislation allows for retroactive expropriation of private Palestinian land, resulting in the legalization of over 4,000 settler homes, along with the ability to seize privately owned Palestinian land for the creation of new, and/or expansion of, existing illegal settlements. Continue reading

HP Canada: Apartheid is bad for business

As part of the global Boycott HP campaign, the following open letter signed by friends and members of the Canadian BDS Coalition was sent to HP President & CEO Mary Anne Yule and Canadian HPE President and CEO Meg Whitman:

March 19, 2017

Mary Anne Yule,
President and CEO at HP Canada
5150 Spectrum Way #600,
Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5G1

Meg Whitman,
President and CEO, HPE
Canadian HPE HQ
5150 Spectrum Way, Floor 4-5
Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5G1

Delivered by Registered Mail

Dear Ms. Yule and Ms. Whitman,

Canadian citizens concerned about International Humanitarian Law violations and human right abuses are among the more than 1.8 million people who have signed a petition calling on Hewlett Packard (HP) and Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) to end its role in Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.

We write to you, as the Presidents and CEOs at HP Canada and HPE to let you know that we are concerned, and look to you to take leadership within HP Canada and HEP; leadership to speak out against the violations of International Humanitarian Law and abuses of human rights associated with HP/HPE technology infrastructure that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people. Continue reading

Open letter to the Batsheva Dance Company

Twenty organizations from across Canada have sent an open letter to the Batsheva Dance Company demanding that it ends complicity with the Israeli government by disavowing its role as an Ambassador to the State of Israel.

The open letter follows a similar initiative earlier this year coordinated by Adalah-NY in the United States, and is the latest in a long campaign to encourage the company to end its complicity with the Israeli government. In 2016, Brian Eno denied permission for Batsheva to use his music during its performances, saying “To my understanding, the Israeli embassy (and therefore the Israeli government) will be sponsoring the upcoming performances, and, given that I’ve been supporting the BDS campaign for several years now, this is an unacceptable prospect for me.”

Below is the full text of the Canadian open letter. Continue reading