What is the BDS campaign?
B FOR BOYCOTT
The economic boycott, for example, is a means of peaceful action used for a very long time by trade unions and popular movements. It consists in not buying consumer or other products to force a country, or a company to respect human rights and act with justice. We remember the boycott of California grapes, the Journal de Montréal and of course that of South Africa during the apartheid era.
There are different types of boycotts:
Boycott of Israeli consumer products
There are plenty of Israeli products on the shelves of our stores: shoes, wines, beauty products, medicines, toys, etc.
DON’T BUY THEM! ASK OWNERS to remove them from their shelves;
PARTICIPATE in actions already organized by different groups.
ORGANIZE campaigns, pickets, blitzes aimed at targeting a particular product.
The BDS campaign in France succeeded in knocking out the Israeli company Agrexco, which marketed 70% of the fruits and vegetables from the settlements.
The cultural boycott targets the Israeli strategy of promoting the international image of Israel through the arts (music, cinema, etc.).
INVITE OUR ARTISTS to officially support the BDS campaign: in Quebec, 500 artists have already done so, including Gilles Vigneault, Richard Desjardins, Paul Ahmarami. Elsewhere in the world hundreds of artists support the BDS campaign including Dustin Hoffman, Ken Loach, Mankell, Costello, Walker, Galeano.
INVITE OUR ARTISTS to refuse to perform in Israel.
This boycott targets Israeli educational or research institutions with a view to denouncing and combating their complicity with Israeli apartheid. It targets academic institutions that are present in settlements (e.g. the settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank received university status in 2012). It does not target individual academics or intellectuals. But this action invites us to no longer be “just intellectuals, but just intellectuals” (Omar Barghouti, Palestinian artist and philosopher, co-initiator of the BDS campaign)
CALL ON teachers and students and their associations to support the BDS campaign.
SUPPORT the call of thousands of students demanding that their universities end their exchange programs with Israeli universities or institutions. For example, students from McGill and Concordia are asking their universities to end their relations with the Israeli University Institute of Technology, Technion, involved in a structural partnership with Elbit Systems Ltd., an Israeli company that builds military equipment and surveillance systems used in the occupied territories and the maintenance of the Wall.
ASK athletes to support the BDS campaign and urge their association or club not to travel to Israel;
SUPPORT the Palestinian soccer players imprisoned by Israel and held in “administrative” detention for over a year;
FOLLOW the example of the French activists who occupied the offices of the European Amateur Football Federation with the “Red card for Israeli apartheid” and who ask it to reconsider its decision to grant Israel the privilege of hosting the European Under-21 Championship finals
Israel is a major producer of arms and technological equipment serving the military industry.
REQUEST that the Centre d’excellence sur les drones at Alma Airport refuse the arrival of the Dominator drone from the Israeli company Aeronautics: these drones are used by the Israeli army to control the Palestinian population and to carry out targeted assassinations.
D FOR DIVESTMENT
Divestment involves putting pressure on the Israeli economy by ending investment in Israeli companies that support and profit from Israeli occupation, settlements and apartheid. An Israeli site very clearly identifies what it calls the “Israeli occupation industry” (see www.whoprofits.org).
MONITOR our pension funds and DEMAND that the managers of these funds refuse to invest in Israeli companies.
An example to follow: The Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global. This pension fund has announced that it will no longer invest its capital (estimated at $4.5 million) in the Israeli company Elbit. Reason given: the electronics giant Elbit Systems Ltd supplied electronic equipment to the “separation barrier” that was erected between Israel and the West Bank. However, the barrier was declared illegal by the International Tribunal in The Hague. Norway’s Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, endorsed the decision taken by the pension fund’s Ethics Committee; he asserted that his government “will not finance companies that directly contribute to the violation of human rights…”
S FOR SANCTIONS
The Canadian government has become “Israel’s greatest ally and accomplice”…. in the world :
- cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the wake of the Israeli attacks on GAZA in 2009;
- signing free trade and industrial research and development agreements, defense initiatives and information sharing between the two countries;
- by contributing $5 million to a new Canada-Israel fund for science and technology;
- eliminating tariffs on all products manufactured in Canada and Israel;
- reducing fees on a significant number of agricultural and fishing products;
- increasing overall trade with Israel to $1.4 billion, doubled since 1996;
- by systematically, automatically and unconditionally supporting all positions taken by the Israeli government.
The Quebec government has had an agreement with the State of Israel since April 1997 in the fields of science, technology, culture and education. This agreement was renewed in 2007. A complementary agreement was signed in 2008 in order to better support collaboration between companies in Quebec and Israel, among others, in the fields of biotechnology, aerospace, information and communications, environment and services.
Israel and Quebec maintain strong ties based on a common vision and objectives: the promotion of our know-how, our culture and our language. The dynamic presence of a Jewish community of 93,000 people in Quebec consolidates this relationship. By signing this complementary agreement, Québec is reiterating its attachment to Israel and its desire for closer cooperation in the future. Israel’s economic model is an example of supporting entrepreneurship and business growth. I am very happy to participate in the signing of an important agreement for our two economies», Raymond Bachand, former Minister of Finance of the Quebec government.
PRESSURE Canada and Quebec to:
- “freeze” any commercial, cultural, scientific or other agreements with Israel;
- prohibit any importation of products from settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
- support any initiative aimed at condemning Israel for its violations of international law and Palestinian rights.