Chomsky, Klein, and dozens more support Green Party BDS stance

November 30, 2016

Elizabeth May

Earlier this week, an open letter signed by over 70 activists, academics, artists, and intellecutals, including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Bruce Cockburn, Tariq Ali, Gabor Mate, Yann Martel (and PSN) encouraged the Green Party of Canada to maintain its support for economic pressure on Israel for its human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The letter was sent ahead of this weekend’s Special General Meeting being held in Calgary, which will revisit a motion passed at the party’s August General Meeting which calls on the Greens to support a limited form of BDS.

The letter has so far appeared in  the Middle East Monitor, rabble.ca, Ricochet Media, and the Palestine Chronicle. Read the rest of this entry »


RIP Nelson Mandela

December 5, 2013

mandela


Where Does Elizabeth May Stand on Palestine?

November 29, 2013

Elizabeth May

Serious questions have arisen about the position regarding Palestine of Green Party of Canada leader (and only sitting MP) Elizabeth May following the release of the transcript of an interview in which she expresses opposition to “any forms of boycotts of Israel,” reiterates “the Green Party’s strong support for the State of Israel” and praises the Jewish National Fund for “the great work that’s done in making the desert bloom.” Read the rest of this entry »


University of Toronto Graduate Students Union Endorses BDS Campaign

December 12, 2012

divest

From the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI):

On December 10, 2012, the University of Toronto’s Graduate Student Union (GSU) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), at their annual general meeting. Over 150 graduate students were present at the meeting, of which approximately 97% voted in favour of the motion, with only a few students opposed.

The resolution states “Be it resolved that the Graduate Students Union endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions by calling on the University of Toronto to refrain from investing in all companies complicit in violations of international law. This includes any company that: profits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, directly benefits from the construction of the Wall and Israeli settlements, is economically active in settlements, and profits from the collective punishment of Palestinians. This would include the companies BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard”.

The resolution was adopted in support of Palestinian rights and opposition to Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine and its violations of international law under the Geneva Conventions, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice in 2004. By divesting, the University of Toronto will fulfill its legal obligation not to invest in companies or organizations that are complicit in human rights violations, and will help force Israel to comply with international law.

In March 2011, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at the University of Toronto launched a divestment campaign addressing the university’s investments in companies that assist in, and profit from Israeli apartheid and the occupation of the Palestinian territories, with a specific focus on BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard, which provide the Israeli occupation with weapons and technology. In passing this resolution, U of T joins York University, University of Regina, Carleton University and universities around the world, who have all passed similar resolutions at their student unions.

The passage of this resolution is a milestone in divestment activities in North America and will hopefully pave the way for a broader campaign which demands that the University of Toronto divest from any and all companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.

You can read SAIA U of T’s Divestment Report and read more about the Toronto divestment campaign.


Human Rights and Solidarity Groups in Canada support Richard Falk

November 7, 2012

Palestine Solidarity Network-Edmonton has joined groups from across Canada in an open statement in support of Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, following condemnation of Falk and calls for his resignation by Conservative MPs Jason Kenney and John Baird. The comments came in response to Falk’s report and call to the UN General Assembly and civil society groups “that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards.” Read the rest of this entry »


Survey: Most Israeli Jews Would Support Apartheid Regime in Israel

October 23, 2012

The Israeli daily Haaretz today reported on a disturbing study of Israeli Jewish attitudes toward Palestinian human rights and apartheid policies in Israel/Palestine, revealing that “most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank” and that “a majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens.”

Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel
Survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews.

By Gidon Levy

Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.

A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens, a survey shows.

The survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. The survey was commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund and is based on a sample of 503 interviewees.

The questions were written by a group of academia-based peace and civil rights activists. Dialog is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.”

Almost half – 47 percent – want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.

Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here. Over a third (38 percent ) of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, while 48 percent object.

The survey distinguishes among the various communities in Israeli society – secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 percent ) of Haredim are in favor of segregated roads and 71 percent are in favor of transfer.

The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group – 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces.

The group classifying itself as religious is the second most anti-Arab. New immigrants from former Soviet states are closer in their views of the Palestinians to secular Israelis, and are far less radical than the religious and Haredi groups. However, the number of people who answered “don’t know” in the “Russian” community was higher than in any other.

The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest – only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel.

Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist – 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children’s class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces.

The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories.

The survey conductors say perhaps the term “apartheid” was not clear enough to some interviewees. However, the interviewees did not object strongly to describing Israel’s character as “apartheid” already today, without annexing the territories. Only 31 percent objected to calling Israel an “apartheid state” and said “there’s no apartheid at all.”

In contrast, 39 percent believe apartheid is practiced “in a few fields”; 19 percent believe “there’s apartheid in many fields” and 11 percent do not know.

The “Russians,” as the survey calls them, display the most objection to classifying their new country as an apartheid state. A third of them – 35 percent – believe Israel practices no apartheid at all, compared to 28 percent of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, 27 percent of the religious and 30 percent of the observant Jews who hold that view. Altogether, 58 percent of all the groups believe Israel practices apartheid “in a few fields” or “in many fields,” while 11 percent don’t know.

Finally, the interviewees were asked whether “a famous American author [who] is boycotting Israel, claiming it practices apartheid” should be boycotted or invited to Israel. About half (48 percent ) said she should be invited to Israel, 28 percent suggest no response and only 15 percent call to boycott her.


United Church of Canada Approves Boycott of Settlement Products

August 21, 2012

On Wednesday, August 15 the General Council of the three-million member strong United Church of Canada (UCC) voted to approve comprehensive policy on Israel/Palestine, including the boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. The vote was re-confirmed by members on Friday, August 17.

The policy also said the United Church policy would include “continue to identify the end of the occupation as necessary for peace in the region” and affirmed that “non-violent resistance to the occupation is justified and should be supported by all who seek and end to the occupation.”

It also calls for education and economic action directed against settlement products and directs “the Executive of the General Council to explore the wisdom of divesting in companies that are profiting from or supporting the occupation” and “requesting that the Canadian government ensure that all products produced in the settlements be labelled clearly and differently from products of Israel.”

You can read the full details of the resolution.

The policy was passed after seven hours of debate with what United Church officals said was a vote “substantially in favour” of the boycott motion. The resolution comes after the United Church released on May 1, 2012 its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy.

This action by the UCC, Canada’s largest Protestant mainline denomination, follows moves by the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA), two large mainline Protestant Christian denominations in the United States, which both adopted boycott motions targeting settlement products at their membership general assemblies in May and July 2012.

Below is a round-up of some of the reaction and press coverage in response to this historic win for the BDS movement in Canada, and was only possible due to years of work and education carried out by people of conscience within the UCC working in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Reaction

Independent Jewish Voices commends United Church for finalizing stand against Israeli occupation

BIAC congratulates United Church of Canada on settlement boycott

CJPME: In historic vote – United Church will boycott “Settlements” and United Church approves boycott as official church policy

Canadian Friends of Peace Now: CIJA’s Outrage is Outrageous, Says CFPN (in response to the Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs’ reaction to the vote)

Media Coverage

Electronic Intifada: United Church of Canada adopts resolution to boycott Israeli settlement products

Toronto Star: United Church members vote for boycott of products from Israeli settlements

Globe & Mail: United Church of Canada approves Israeli settlement boycott

Globe & Mail Op-ed by Thomas Woodley of CJPME: The United Church boycott is in keeping with its principles

rabble.ca: Israeli settlements and the United Church boycott: Responding to three common distortions

Postmedia: United Church approves controversial boycott of some Israeli products

Huffington Post: Israel Boycott: United Church Of Canada Will Not Buy Products From Settlements

Haaretz: Canada’s largest Protestant church approves boycott of Israeli settlement products