DAY OF ACTION: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28
Information pickets will be held at MEC locations across Canada, including Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax.
In Edmonton, the Day of Action will take place from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm at MEC (12328–102 Avenue NW). To get involved or for more information, email PSN at email@example.com.
Please contact the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign (BIAC) for more details if you can join us at these or other MEC locations.
On Saturday, November 28, in recognition of the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, information pickets will be held outside Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) stores across Canada, asking shoppers not to buy Israeli goods at MEC.
During its brutal three-week long assault on Gaza earlier this year, the Israeli military killed 1387 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem. Judge Goldstone’s recent 500-page report to the UN concluded that Israel’s attack was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.”
Since the Gaza assault, a global movement has accelerated its call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Israel complies with international law.
In Canada, members have been calling on MEC to end its “partnerships” Israeli factories, including military contractors, that produce MEC brand seamless underwear and hydration systems. These partnerships are antithetical to MEC’s promotion of itself as an organisation with “rigorous ethical sourcing requirements,” and its professed belief that “business can advance human rights.”
MEC’s house brand “partner” for hydration systems is Source Vagabond, an Israeli military designer and supplier that boasts on its website. “[Founder] Yoki and most of the members of our R&D team are experienced ex officers of elite IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) units.” Also, “50,000 [of its hydration packs] have been purchased by the IDF” and were almost certainly used during Israel’s recent assault on Gaza that killed more than 430 Palestinian women and children, according to B’tselem.
Source’s slogan is “Hydration is Essential In the Heat of Battle.” But apparently not for the more than 500,000 Palestinian civilians who had no running water in Gaza during January 2009 because of the deliberate Israeli military attacks on civilian infrastructure such as power plants, wells and water lines, as documented in the Goldstone report.
As Naomi Klein said in January 2009, “The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.”
Until MEC reverses its position on sourcing from Israel we are asking MEC members to take action from a range of options below that they are personally willing to commit to:
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
• Do not buy products made in Israel at MEC
• Leaflet at a MEC store (please join us for the information picket in Edmonton on Saturday, November 28 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm).
• Ask friends and relatives not to buy Israeli goods at MEC.
• Vote for board members who support a boycott of Israeli suppliers
• Boycott MEC until they stop carrying Israeli goods.
• Whatever else you do, please write/fax/phone the board of MEC telling them of your actions and asking that MEC halt all dealings with Israeli companies. Please cc any emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This campaign calling on MEC to boycott Israeli suppliers is based on a 2005 call from over 170 grassroots Palestinian organizations for a global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. The BDS campaign demands that Israel recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
Many prominent South African anti-apartheid leaders have condemned Israel’s system of discrimination against the Palestinians that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said “reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa” and Arun Gandhi (Mahatma’s grandson) has said “is ten times worse than what I had experienced in South Africa.” Former South African cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils has said the world “can not allow Israel to continue perpetrating apartheid” and former US president Jimmy Carter has called Israel’s blockade of Gaza “one of the greatest human rights crimes on Earth.
The 2009 Goldstone report found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel and concluded that “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by the Israeli armed forces in Gaza: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
In addition to Judge Goldstone’s report to the UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and a coalition of 9 Israeli human rights groups have called for an independent international investigation into what the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights called Israel’s “war crime of the greatest magnitude” in Gaza including:
• Shelling of three UN schools sheltering refugees on Jan. 6 and Jan. 15, killing more than 42 civilians,
• The Zeitoun massacre (Jan. 5) – the Israeli army herded families into a house and then shelled the house killing 30 civilians. Medical crews were prevented from reaching the wounded for four days.
• The banned use of White Phosphorous weapons in densely populated residential areas, including the January 15 attacks on Al-Quds hospital and the UN Headquarters in Gaza City.
• Attacks on medical facilities and personnel such as: killing at least 13 and injuring 22 on-duty medical personnel, shelling three hospitals, three mobile clinics, and 15 ambulances.
• Deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure: universities, water and sewage facilities, mosques, etc.
Since its founding in 1948, the State of Israel has systematically oppressed the Palestinian people and denied them the fundamental rights of freedom, equality and self-determination. The ongoing colonization and illegal occupation of Palestine is defined by racism, dispossession, and brutal violence, as the recent massacre of more than people in Gaza has demonstrated.
But despite repeated condemnations from the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, the international community has failed dismally to force Israel to comply with international law. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions are the most effective means for achieving justice and genuine peace in the Middle East by isolating Israel internationally and refusing to normalize economic, political, academic, and cultural ties with Israel.