Tag Archives: BDS

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)

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.

#BoycottPuma Round Two

Join Second Global Day of Action, October 26

October 25, 2019, the Canadian BDS Coalition attempted to deliver this letter to Mark Mcquire the Head of Puma Canada, but the office had moved. We have emailed the letter, and have found current address, so will arrange for hard copy to be delivered early next week. See letter HERE. Contact Mark Mcquire the Head of Puma Canada at mark.maguire@puma.com

Groups around the world are gearing up for the second day of action protesting Puma’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. Join them on October 26! Led by
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Across the world, fans of fair play and sports for everyone are joining the call from Palestinian teams and athletes to boycott sportswear manufacturer Puma until it ends support for Israel’s illegal military occupation and denial of Palestinian human rights.

Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which proudly includes and advocates on behalf of teams in Israeli settlements pushing Palestinian families off their land. Israeli settlements are illegal and constitute a war crime under international law.

Last June, the Canada BDS Coalition joined groups in more than 20 countries joined the first Global #BoycottPuma Day of Action, with protests at Puma shops and offices and at Puma-sponsored teams. On social media, #BoycottPuma was THE most tweeted Puma-related hashtag that day.

We’re back for round two.

Do you own Puma Sportware? If so JOIN in the rebrand campaign. #RebrandPuma Check out details here

The Canadian BDS Coalition has been in touch with Puma Canada HQ during Round 1

Round 1:

Registered Mail

June 7, 2019 (along with emails)

PUMA Canada

Mark Mcquire

355 Admiral Blvd, Unit 4
Mississauga, ON L5T 2N1  

copies to: Communication Executives, Kerstin Neuber and Rober Bartunek,Berek Communications, and Customer Service. 

Dear Mr. Maquire, PUMA Canada

We write to your as Canadians concerned that Puma sponsors the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes teams in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.
 
Puma’s endorsement of the IFA gives legitimacy to Israel’s illegal settlements pushing Palestinian families off their land.
 
As long as Puma sponsors teams in illegal Israeli settlements, we will respect the call from Palestinian athletes to boycott Puma.  We ask you to do the same.

We ask Puma Canada to recognize that the majority of Canadians are calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions related to the illegal acts of Israel.  

The 2017 EKOS poll showed 

  • Canadians believe overwhelmingly that sanctions are a reasonable way for Canada to censure countries violating international law and human rights,
  • Given the UN Security Council’s recent condemnation of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, a strong majority of Canadians believe that government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable
  • In the context of Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, a very strong majority of Canadians believe that the Palestinians’ call for a boycott of Israel is reasonable, and
  • Far more Canadians oppose than support Parliament’s February, 2016 decision to condemn individuals and groups who promote the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel.

Surely removing PUMA’s support for IFA  is not only the ethical, moral and legal step to take, but also good for business.  

We expect that people across Canada, along with those around the world will be making this very clear to Puma as we move towards International #BoycottPuma Day of Action, June 15, 2019.

We would be pleased to meet with you and members of your team here in Canada to discuss.

On behalf of the 

Canadian BDS Coalition

(over 30 member groups across Canada)

www.bdscoalition.ca

Response from Puma Canada and Puma International

on June 11, 2019

Dear Sir or Madame,

Thank you for reaching out to PUMA.

PUMA supplies the Israeli National Teams via a local distribution partner to compete in international competitions, and the football club Hapoel Beer Sheva through the end of the 2018/19 season. To claim we have any other official connection or association be it to the Israel Premier League, the Japanika League, or any other Israeli club team is incorrect.

Broadly speaking, PUMA continues to support and outfit athletes from all backgrounds, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation and national origin. As a brand concerned only with the power that Sport has to bring people together, PUMA does not support any political direction, political parties or governments. Our devotion to universal equality is aligned with the fundamental principles of our #REFORM platform.


We welcome the opportunity to help everyone compete in sports no matter who they are or where they are from.

Request for clarification from the Canadian BDS Coaliiton

On Tue, 11 Jun 2019 at 10:21, Canadian BDS Coaltion <bdscoalition@gmail.com> wrote:


Thank you Kristina and Mark for your timely response.


Would you please clarify your response.  Are you saying that there is no support of any kind that goes to the  Israel Football Association (IFA)?  You mention that  support does go to  Israeli National Teams.  Which teams are these?  You also mention support to football club Hapoel Beer Sheva.  As well, you mention NO support goes to the Israeli Premier/Japanika League. .
Would you please clarify and make a definitive statement that NO support has gone to the Israel Football Association.


The Israel Football Association has teams in Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine, which is part of the territory of the Palestinian affiliate.  This is occupied territory under international humanitarian law (the Fourth Geneva Convention).   The international call to PUMA is to  withdraw support to the Israeli Football Association until it withdraws teams from these illegally occupied land. If there has been no support to the Israel Football Association in any form from PUMA including through local distribution partners we would welcome that news. It is not clear in your message that this is the case, so we would appreciate further information in this regard.  If PUMA is announcing its withdraw of funding from the Israel Football Association through your correspondence would you please make this clear, and also indicate if you will be making a public notification in this regard.


See:  https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/10/fifa-must-take-strong-stance-against-israeli-settlement-clubs

Round Two:

We have not heard from you!

October 15, 2019 by email

Dear Mr. Maguire


We did not hear back from you with clarification to our June 11th email.  


Now that we are approaching the next round of give Puma the Boot later in October, we would welcome your clarification.


Best,

Canadian BDS Coalition

What can you do

  1. Check out the BNC information and action page.
  2. The Canadian BDS Coalition has registered, but individual groups are also encouraged to register their own actions
  3. Share Facebook post from @BDSCoalition.
  4. Share tweets from @Canadian_BDS
  5. Write Mark Mcquire the Head of Puma Canada at mark.maguire@puma.com

Let Puma Feel the Pressure

Puma is feeling the pressure. To sideline criticism, Puma is resorting to ridiculous claims, including a “devotion to universal equality.”

A “devotion to universal equality” must mean not sporting with apartheid! It requires Puma to end its:

  • complicity in whitewashing Israel’s illegal land grabs that rob Palestinians of territory and natural resources.
  • support for Israel’s occupation infrastructure that denies Palestinian athletes their rights to freedom of movement and to practice sports.
  • sponsorship of the Israel Football Association.

This year’s Palestine Football Cup has been postponed indefinitely because Israel has denied permits for virtually all players from the winning team of the Gaza League to travel to the occupied West Bank for the finals. Just last week, Israeli forces raided a family football tournament in occupied East Jerusalem, preventing it from going ahead.

Puma’s iconic leaping cat is profiting from Israel’s ever-expanding illegal settlement enterprise and its denial of basic Palestinian human rights.

Join us as we step up pressure on Puma to live up to its claim of promoting social justice.

Cross Country Day of Action in Solidarity Against Canadian Complicity with Israeli War Crimes and Apartheid

News Release, May 17, 2019

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 18 people will join together from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland to mark a Cross Country Day of Action to name Canadian complicity in regard to war crimes and apartheid by the state of Israel on the people of Palestine.  

These events commemorate seventy-one years since the original Nakba which saw  the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland and recognize the ongoing colonization of remaining Palestine in similar pattern of Judaization of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the total siege and destruction of Gaza.

Events have happened during the week including a vigil last Sunday in Montreal.  Tomorrow, street actions and other events are planned across the country including for Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Saint John and St. John’s.

The Day of Action enjoys the support of dozens of labour unions, anti-war, social justice, faith, community and political organizations.  The day of action supports boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli state and economy, until: the occupation with its associated war crimes is ended;  the apartheid regime is replaced with equal rights for all citizens within Israel and Palestine; and the right of return is realized for Palestinian.

The majority of Canadians agree that Canada needs to take action under its responsibility under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In this regard, a 2017 EKOS poll showed that two-thirds of Canadians support sanctions being placed by Canada on Israel in regard to international law and human rights violations.

The Canadian BDS Coalition includes national, regional and local groups from across the country.

Contact: bdscoalition@gmail.com

Ramadan 2019: Be sure you know where your dates are from!

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 origin. The 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 company. Who 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 has been reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In many cases these 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.

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.

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

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), Green World (just arrived May 2019, indicates from Palestinian Authority), Alard, Palestine Just Trade, Jericho Delights (via USA). Do you know others? If not from Palestine, then verify that from Jordan or USA if Medjoul, or consider another source from country of origin you are comfortable with.

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

BOMAJA BLUE

GOLDEN VALLEY (as of late 2020 indication is that medjoul from Palestine Garden also have Golden Valley label)

JORDAN RIVER

LA PALMA

KING SOLOMON

These are some products that have been seen in the last few weeks:

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.
More Jordan River from National Best Foods without country of origin. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is from Jordan.
Golden Valley from National Best Food/NBF. No country of origin Packaged by Hadiklaim. As of late 2020, medjoul from Palestine Gardens have been imported with Golden Valley label.
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. Indication that medjoul from Palestine Gardens as of late 2020 have been imported under Golden Valley.
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 Indication that medjoul from Palestine Gardens has been imported using label Golden Valley.
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) asking them 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 has been sent by email on May 27, 2019, asking for information on when we would expect to receive a response.

Letters have been sent to several stores including Arz in Scarborough, Rabba Foods and Al Quds Market in Mississauga. Responses are awaited.

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

Israeli Law passed which effectively declares itself an apartheid colonial-settler state

The Canadian government is called to condemn this law and uphold its own Special Economic Sanctions Act.

“The Canadian government is called upon to immediately condemn Israel’s apartheid law by putting sanctions in place as is required under Canada’s own domestic law.  The Canadian BDS Coalition joins with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian BDS National Committee in calling for the UN to activate its anti-apartheid laws and impose serious sanctions, on Israel such as those which were imposed on South Africa.”

On July 19, 2018, Israeli legislators approved the “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People” bill that unambiguously defines Israel as a state that belongs exclusively to the “Jewish people.”  This law was approved even though one in five Israeli citizens is an indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinian.  This law makes discrimination constitutional and enshrines apartheid into Law

The Jewish Nation-State legislation was approved by 62 to 55 votes. Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset condemned the law that stipulates that  “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it.”

“It has passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens,” Ayman Odeh, the head of the Arab Joint List – an alliance of four predominantly Arab parties – said in a statement following the law’s passage.

The newly passed law also states that an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and names illegal settlements as a “national value.”  This blatant disregard of United Nations resolutions is also contrary to Canadian foreign policy.  The legislation is a blatant disregard for the Fourth Geneva Convention which does not allow for populations of the occupier to be moved into occupied areas.  Under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Canada as a signatory of the Convention is responsible for ensuring that the Convention is upheld in all circumstances.

Adalah, a leading Palestinian human rights organization in Israel,said that the law  “affirms the principle of apartheid in housing, land and citizenship.” Adalah indicates “this law constitutionally sanctions institutionalized discrimination.”

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)  shared Najwan Berekdar, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, reaction:

As a Palestinian citizen of this state, this bill entrenches my third-class citizenship on the land where generations of my family have lived since long before the state of Israel even existed.

The Jewish-Israeli majority is loudly reminding us indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel that we are not welcome in our own ancestral homeland. My people have always suffered from legalized racism by the state of Israel and its institutions, but this law makes our apartheid reality the law of the land like never before.

As “non-Jews” we are already not allowed to buy or rent land on 93% of the area controlled by the Israeli state, and many of our communities are declared to be “unrecognized” and bulldozed out of existence by Israeli forces. I received a racially segregated and inferior education in a school system that conspicuously privileges Jewish-Israelis.

Israel is now stripping us of any semblance of equal rights based solely on our ethno-religious identity. It’s even demoting our language from one of the state’s two official languages.

Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) commented:

Israel has dozens of racist laws, including some which strikingly fit the UN definition of apartheid. But with the constitutional power of this Basic Law, Israel is effectively declaring itself an apartheid state and dropping its worn-out mask of democracy.

From now on, it will not just be legal to racially discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian citizens of the state. It will be constitutionally mandated and required. This should stir people, institutions and governments to take effective action to hold Israel accountable.

The Canadian BDS Coalition which includes over 25 groups from coast to coast, including national, regional and local groups, reminds the Canadian government that its own domestic legislation, the Special Economic Measures Act requires that sanctions are applied where gross and systemic human rights violations have been committed by a foreign state.

“The Canadian government is called upon to immediately condemn Israel’s apartheid law by putting sanctions in place as is required under Canada’s own domestic law.  The Canadian BDS Coalition joins with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian BDS National Committee in calling for the UN to activate its anti-apartheid laws and impose serious sanctions, on Israel such as those which were imposed on South Africa.”

contact: bdscoalition@gmail.com

Release from Palestinian BNC here.

Press release on wire service here.

Canadian BDS Coalition Working for Freedom, Equity and Justice

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The following is a report on the work of the Canadian BDS Coalition during 2017. 

The Canadian Coalition come together in the spring/summer of 2016.

Report from 2017

The Canadian BDS Coalition formed in 2016 bringing together organizations in Canada that support the Palestinian Civil Society Call through the BDS National Coalition (BNC).  By the end of 2017, the Coalition grew to over 23 member organizations.

Initiation of the Canadian BDS Coalition

Work began in January 2016 towards contacting the organizations which had been part of the now Canadian Boycott Coalition.  Based on follow up during February and March 2016 with the groups that were part of the previous Canadian Boycott Coalition, it was indicated there was strong interest in moving forward with discussions towards a Canadian BDS Coalition.

The inaugural conference call was held in April 2016, with the indication that there was interest in moving towards a shared Basis of Unity based on the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Basis of Unity

A subcommittee was formed in June 2016 to develop mission, purpose & function to present to the Coalition.  From this work, the Coalition finalized its Basis of Unity in September 2016.

The Coalition’s agreed Basis of Unity (BOU)  is on the Canadian BDS Coalition website.  The description of who we are can be found in the About Us section.

The aims of the Coalition are to:

  • promote, support and help coordinate boycott, divestment, and sanctions activities in Canada;
  • provide Canadians with resources to help them understand and take action in support of the Palestinian call for BDS;
  • promote and defend the right of Canadians to freedom of expression in support of BDS. 

Member Organizations

Member organizations share a common commitment to pursuing peace in Palestine/Israel through the realization of freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians, without which a lasting peace is impossible to achieve. Any Canadian group or organization that supports the BDS National Committee call and endorses the Coalition’s Basis of Unity is invited to join.

Member organizations that support the BDS call and the Canadian BDS Coalition’s Basis of Unity  listed on the Coalition’s website.

The Coalition also works with a network of friends—organizations which have chosen not to join the Canadian BDS Coalition for a variety of reasons, but who work with the Coalition towards a just peace in the region. Several are listed on the Coalition’s website, and others are part of the network but not listed.

At the end of 2017 there were 23 member groups, and about 30 other groups that are part of the network associated with the Coalition including two international groups which have Canadian members.  Now, in the summer of 2018 we are approaching 30 member groups.

During 2017 the Coalition had a focus on capacity building, relationship development, outreach, as well as standing in solidarity with voice of unity for BNC call.

Action with Focus on Education and Action

The Coalition recognizes the importance to educate people on BDS: It is important that we talk about what BDS is and what it isn’t,.  The Coalition provides a window of opportunity to share from an educational position about what BDS is about.

Coalition International Campaign

End AIR CANADA Complicity with Israel

The key 2017 campaign of the Canadian BDS Coalition was “End Air Canada’s Complicity with Israel.”  This campaign launched in June 2017, built on a several year long campaign of the Canada Palestine Association.  The Coalition campaign was international and also include strong labour support in Canada.

On November 5, 2017, the Canadian BDS Coalition announced that Air Canada had informed them that Air Canada had cancelled it contract with Israeli Aerospace Industries midterm.

The Canadian BDS Coalition announced this as a partial victory as Air Canada continued with a small maintenance contract with Israeli Aerospace Industries and still sold Sabra products on board.  See release here.

Canadian BDS Gains During 2017

During 2017, several notable BDS gains were made in Canada.  The Coalition stands with these efforts involving their members and friends across the country.

Political: The Green Party of Canada

In February 2017, the Green Party of Canada ratified at 90 percent a resolution supporting a comprehensive boycott, divestment and sanctions policy.  See here for the actual motion passed.  Subsequently, the Green Party of Canada and its leader Elizabeth May have been reluctant to implement this policy even in light of legislation from the Israeli Knesset such as the Regularization Bill in January 2017 immediately following UNSC Resolution 223.  Letters such as this one sent to Leader May/Green Party of Canada during “Holy Week” were sent prepared by the Coalition speaking to the blatant ignoring of the party’s own policy and calling them to account.

Two Student Groups: Supreme Court of BDS Ground Breaking Ruling and a 76% vote for boycott and divestment

Two student groups led the way with BDS work.

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 this ruling and dismissed a case to stop a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) referendum.

At the University of Western King’s College 76% of the students casting votes voted “yes: on a referendum calling for  lobbying the King’s administration to boycott and divest from companies complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians.

Labour: Unifor

Unifor, the largest private union in Canada was the first private union to support BDS with a motion passed at their Convention in August 2017.  The Coalition joined in congratulating Unifor.

Political: the New Democratic Party

During the summer/fall many Coalition members were providing support for Niki Ashton’s campaign for the New Democratic Party leader as she spoke in support of BDS in her foreign policy platform.

Following the election of Jagmeet Singh as federal leader, focus shifted to bringing forward grassroots motions across the country through local electoral district associations (EDAs) and affiliates for the Convention scheduled for February 2018.  There were a number of Palestine related motions (full BDS, settlement/occupation BDS, labeling, ending siege of Gaza, military embargo, and support for the No Way to Treat a Child).  The Canadian BDS Coalition while not partisan did provide a way for NDP members within the Coalition to be in contact for mobilization, and also for reach out across the country through the Coalition to NDP members.

Academic Boycott Partial Victory: Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

In October, the first academic boycott  in Canada was achieved when the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University voted to not renew a contract with an Israeli institution. It is not clear if York University administration will follow the direction of the vote of the Faculty based on a release made by the President of York University. The Coalition joined in congratulating the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University on this partial victory.

Campaigns from the Canadian BDS Coalition Through 2017

Other campaigns undertaken by the Canadian BDS Coalition included:

The TSO Don’t Play for Israeli Apartheid campaign in the Spring of 2017 which saw over 1 K signatures being added within a few days to a petition, letters sent to the TSO members, administration and board, as well as Roy Thomson Hall;, and an action in Toronto when the TSO did a pre-Israel tour concert.  Work was undertaken by the Coalition working with Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and a number of US organizations and local groups on a campaign related to the IPO (Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra) North-American campaign, but when a local Toronto group chose to do an independent action when the IPO came to Toronto, the sole Canadian location in the tour, the Coalition stepped aside.  Two members of the Coalition did attend with Adalah-New York action at Carnegie Hall when the iPO played in NYC in October 2017.

In January 2017 the Coalition worked with several Canadian groups and Adalah-NY and other US group on a campaign to say no to the Israeli government cultural ambassador Batsheva playing in North America.  Actions were held in several cities in Canada including Montreal and Toronto.  Also, venues where Batsheeva has played in the past were contacted across Canada urging them to not host state of Israel cultural ambassadors.

A key campaign of the Canadian BDS Coalition was Unplug from Israeli Apartheid Bryan Adams campaign.  The Coalition worked with Artists for Palestine in the UK and was in touch with over 50 BDS groups internationally with getting support from various countries such as Malaysian, Jordan, Austria and Israel. Boycott from Within (Israel) asked Bryan Adams to contact them.  During the campaign Feldman, Adam’s agency had indicated there would be a meeting with a delegation from the Canadian BDS Coalition, however this never materialized despite follow up.   This campaign also involved contacting many Canadian artists showing that there is much work to do to build up understanding within the Canadian artist community in regard to BDS.

In October 2017, Roger Waters played in seven cities across Canada. The Coalition had a presence in all cities at Roger Waters concerts providing information pickets about BDS at the concerts, as well as a number of the B’nai Brith screenings of their “Wish you weren’t here Roger Waters” films across the country.  In Vancouver a finale event to the Canadian tour with a thousand people join to hear Roger Water speak about BDS.  Contact with other groups in Australia and several locations in Europe that are working to have a similar approach during Roger Waters concerts in their area during 2018.

The Coalition followed up on social media when the Toronto Sun pulled down an article written by Stephen Ellis of Toronto BDS the day following its publication.

During the year, the Coalition joined in supporting actions related to: #HandsOffAlQuds across the country following the US Trump Administration decision to name Jerusalem the capital of the jewish state of Israel, the #HandsOffAlAsqa when during the summer the Al Asqa was closed; and the prisoners’ strike in the Spring. At least 75 Canadians from coast to coast joined in days of fast in support as well as actions happening across the country.

When Omar Barghouti was arrested the Coalition released a statement of solidarity.

Several multi-organizational letters and/or letters that the Coalition initiated were sent to the liberal government, including this one. Also to the Green Party of Canada when they did not implement or speak to their own policy approved at their Special General Meeting (December 2016) and ratified by their membership in February 2017 (see above).

During the year, the Coalition also provided support to those who were attacked for their work related to BDS and Palestine reaching out to offer support.  A campaign was put in place to support UOIT/Durham College SJP in Oshawa when they were attacked following zionist project attacks to silence them.

Tools used included four Canadian BDS Coalition Change,org petitions related to Batsheva, Bryan Adams, TSO, and Air Canada.  These petitions saw over 3500 signatures.

Palestine has called for a clear focus on sanctions, and the Coalition sees this as especially important in Canada given the relationship with Canada and Israel.  Even as the Liberal Trudeau government has taken power in the Fall 2016 election the tone may have shift to be a bit more civil, but the policy direction is essentially undifferentiated from the Harper Conservative Administrations.

In Ontario, in May 2016, a bi-party (Conservative & Liberal) private members anti-BDS bill was put forth, although not passed.  At this point Premier Wynne said she would come forward with consensus legislation in the Fall 2016 sitting.  There was strong advocacy to meet with Ontario MPPs during the summer/fall but all three parties pretty much shutout setting up meetings in this regard.  On November 30, 2016, the anti-BDS Motion 36 was presented.  Following this the NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh did agree to a meeting of a delegation from the Canadian BDS Coalition.  The NDP had voted against the motion on the basis of defending free speech but not in regard to the principles of equity, freedom and justice for all people including those of Palestine.  Work carried on through 2017, with a multi-organization comprehensive brief to the newly establish Ontario anti-racism directorate, along with a separate submission from member of the Coalition, Independent Jewish Voices.  Work was undertaken to monitor and raise concerns related to shifted directions to the anti-racism legislation that was focused on feedback from pro-Israel lobby during committee taking away from the resources for those groups which had been identified during the cross province consultation, particularly, black and indigenous.  There was not mention of islamophobia but anti-semitism and no mention of people of colour other than black and indigenous.  Some changes were made in the final legislation.

Also action and support took place in regard to both proactive municipal work, and towards counter-narratives of the zionist anti-BDS action within municipalities.

BNC Campaigns

The Coalition supported the following BNC campaigns during 2017:

The Boycott HP campaign through the social media campaign, with actions including in Calgary and Vancouver, and in writing letters to HP/HPE head offices and to various levels of governments through freedom of information requests and letters.  A letter was sent to the federal government which insisted this was not a procurement request and deferred it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who did not answer. In November during International Week of Global Boycott HP, Canada participated through the social media campaign.

Other campaigns supported include:

The Hyundai End its Complicity with Israel campaign of Israel Boycott within (1948).

Paypal which is also a campaign that was promoted by a friend of the Canadian BDS Coalition, the United Church of Canada.

Air BnB  which was promoted by social media, including in the blitz that happened through twitter.  Canadian media, politicians and organizations were tweeted from the @BDS_Coalition twitter account.

Red Card FIFA  was promoted on social media.

Goldman Sachs/Open Shuhada Street was promoted on social media, and several info pickets in Canada.  Plans for an action related to the Canadian Head Office were deferred until 2018 due to short planning time.

Even as the Coalition is focused on being a unifying voice for BDS in Canada, local groups also have specific emphases in their campaigns. Organizations have specific mandates and the Coalition is not intended to in taking away from these; in fact, the opposite, the Coalition is meant to provide a stronger voice for all Canadian organizations that support the BNC call. 

Several new groups were formed/revived during 2017, and became members of the Canadian BDS Coalition.  The Niagara BDS  Coalition formed after three pro-Israel national lobby groups attended the June 8, 2017 Region of Niagara Council meeting, resulting in the passing of the first anti-BDS municipal resolution in Canada.  Work continues to build education and action towards reversing this draconian resolution that condemns the actions of those who support equity, freedom and justice for all people including Palestine in Niagara Region.

The Toronto BDS Action group was formed in September 2017 and is an active member of the Canadian BDS Coalition deciding to support the work of a comprehensive consumer economic boycott list for Canada that can be locally updated by local groups.

Local campaigns in regard to Remax, Quebec Hydro and Israeli wine continue..

There were a number of Freedom of Information and Access to Privacy Request put in through the year including to City of Toronto and Mississauga, anhttps://jonathankuttab.org/d a comprehensive set of requests to about ½ the Ontario Ministries.

Also several depuations were made during the year include one by Toronto BDS to the City of Toronto executive committee which had a motion targeted at cancelling as Al Quds as a white  supremacist action! Follow up is currently under way with the city of Toronto including a complaint to the City of Toronto Integrity Commissioner based on the Councillor who was making this motion telling the deputant to get lost.

After the Quebec terrorist mass shooting in the mosque, the Canadian BDS Coalition and members signed a number of endorsements related to specific actions denouncing white supremacy and islamophobia, and endorsed the forming of the Organization Committee Against White Supremacy and Islamophobia which became the SAFE: Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere, and now has several chapters forming across the county.

The Coalition had one rep who attended the Anti-War Conference in Toronto (International League of People’s Struggles) in August 2017.

Two members of the Coalition attended Michael Lynk’s report as special rapporteur to the UN for occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in October 2017.  They also met with various NGO from Palestine, the US and other places both individually and through planned meetings.  As well, the set up a meeting with the Canadian UN Ambassador, Blanchard’s office, meeting with a senior staff member who did understand the situation, and did encourage people to come to meet with the office when they are in NYC.

Social Media Presence

A key focus has been to get social media presence with the Coalition through:

Web Site.  https://bdscoalition.ca/ Scott Harris has taken the lead to update the site, along with John Turnbull and Tyler Levitan.

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BDSCoalition.

Twitter account https://twitter.com/BDS_Coalition, @BCS_Coalition.

As we move forward for 2018 and byeond, we focus on the words of Omar Barghouti’s call for the South African Moment to get the Israeli boots off Palestine’s Neck.

 

Canadian Labour Has Been Supporting Boycott, Divestment for a Dozen Years

Delegates at Unifor Canadian Council, for Canada's largest private sector union, cheer on August 23, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Delegates at Unifor Canadian Council, for Canada’s largest private sector union, cheer on August 23, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Over the last decade Canadian labour has continued to support boycott, divestment and sanctions, with public sector unions joining in, and in 2017 the largest Canadian private sector union supporting boycott.

*Unifor, Canada’s largest private union, August 2017, 300,000 members

*Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) / Confederation of National Trade Unions (April 2015), 325,000 members, including

  • CSN-Construction
  • Fédération du commerce (FC)
  • Fédération des employées et employés de services publics (FEESP)
  • Fédération de l’industrie manufacturière (FIM)
  • Fédération nationale des communications (FNC)
  • Fédération nationale des enseignantes et enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ)
  • Fédération des professionèles (FP)
  • Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS)
  • Syndicat des agents correctionnels du Canada (UCCO–SACC–CSN)

*Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS-O) (August 2014), 300,000+ members

*Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) / Quebec House of Labour (June 2009), 200,000 members, including

  • Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l’éducation du Québec (CSQ)
  • Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE)
  • Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (CSQ)
  • Fédération du personnel de l’enseignement privé (CSQ)
  • Fédération des enseignantes et enseignants de cégep (FEC-CSQ)
  • Fédération du personnel professionnel des collèges (CSQ)
  • Fédération du personnel de soutien de l’enseignement supérieur (FPSES)
  • Fédération des syndicats de la santé et des services sociaux (CSQ)
  • Fédération de la santé du Québec (FSQ)
  • Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance du Québec (FIPEQ)
  • Association des retraitées et retraités de l’éducation et des autres services publics du Québec (CSQ)

*Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain de la confédération des syndicats nationaux (CCMM-CSN) (May 2010)

*College and University Workers United (CUWU) (2009)

*Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) / Quebec House of Labour (June 2009), 200,000 members, including

  • Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l’éducation du Québec (CSQ)
  • Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE)
  • Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (CSQ)
  • Fédération du personnel de l’enseignement privé (CSQ)
  • Fédération des enseignantes et enseignants de cégep (FEC-CSQ)
  • Fédération du personnel professionnel des collèges (CSQ)
  • Fédération du personnel de soutien de l’enseignement supérieur (FPSES)
  • Fédération des syndicats de la santé et des services sociaux (CSQ)
  • Fédération de la santé du Québec (FSQ)
  • Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance du Québec (FIPEQ)

*Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) / Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses des Postes (STTP) (April 2008), 51,000 members

*Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN) / Quebec Teachers Union (June 2007), 34,000 members

*Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ) / Association for Student Union Solidarity (October 2007), 80,000 members

*Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-ON) (May 2006), 240,000 members

The Canadian Labour Congress made statement in June 2017 at time of 50 years of occupation but made no mention of boycotts, divestment or sanctions.  In June 2020, with annexation threats by the USA and Israel, the Canadian Labour Congress did indicate “Canada must consider a forceful response, including revisiting the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement and other bilateral agreements and the imposition of economic sanctions against Israel.” We would expect that if annexation does proceed in any way that the CLC would move forward to support sanctions, but regardless would encourage the CLC to support the full BDS 2005 Palestinian civil society call, given that defacto annextation has been the reality for decades.

Interested in more information in regard to labour support of Palestine contact bdscoalition@gmail.com