BDS politics

Greens should stick with BDS: Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Bruce Cockburn and others

An appeal to Green Party of Canada members signed by over 70 prominent figures
Photo: Bernard Spragg

The following open letter was sent to the Green Party of Canada today, urging the party to maintain its support for the limited form of BDS which was adopted at a convention this summer. Greens will revisit that motion at a special general meeting in Calgary next weekend, following opposition to the party’s position from leader Elizabeth May.

Signed by Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Bruce Cockburn and over 70 other prominent activists, academics, artists and intellectuals, the letter calls on Green Party members to reject pressure to “reverse or weaken the vote to support Palestinian rights.”

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As Israel’s illegal military occupation approaches a half-century, it’s long past time for concrete international action to pressure its government to reverse course. The Green Party of Canada’s recent vote to support “the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (BDS) that are targeted at those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories” represents such a measure.

Without international pressure, Israel will continue to steal Palestinian land, demolish olive groves, build Jewish-only roads, imprison without due process and impose collective punishment on innocent Palestinians. It will continue to violate international law and dominate a defenceless people.

Canadians cannot wash their hands of Palestinians’ plight. Ottawa has long been a close ally of Israel and each year registered Canadian charities channel millions of dollars to projects supporting Israel’s powerful military and illegal settlements.

We urge you not to succumb to political pressure to reverse or weaken the vote to support Palestinian rights. Your position is consistent with – indeed required by – the Fourth Geneva Convention, and reflects the vote of the vast majority of UN member states. It even aligns with official Canadian policy.

And, most importantly, it’s a contribution to the nonviolent campaign to advance Palestinian rights.

Signatories,

Naomi Klein - Author, Social Activist and Filmmaker

Noam Chomsky - Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tariq Ali - Writer, Journalist and Filmmaker

Bruce Cockburn, OC - Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist

Christopher Hedges - Journalist, Activist, Author and Presbyterian Minister

Yann Martel - Author

Gabor Mate - Author and Physician

Murray Dobbin - Journalist, Broadcaster, Author and Social Activist

Martin Duckworth - Filmmaker, Prix du Québec 2015

Yves Engler - Author and Political Activist

Norman Finkelstein - Author

John Greyson - Filmmaker and York University professor

Rawi Hage - Writer and Photographer

Vijay Prashad - Historian and Journalist

Richard Reed Parry - Musician, Arcade Fire

Lia Tarachansky - Israeli-Canadian Journalist and Filmmaker

Clayton Thomas-Muller - Stop-it-at-the-source Campaigner, 350.org

Nadia Abu-Zehra - Associate Professor of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

Bilan Arte - University of Manitoba

Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan, C.M., O.Ont. - Former journalist, civil servant, refugee judge

Patricia Balcom - Professor (retired), Département d'anglais, Université de Moncton

Reverend Steve Berube - Co-chair, United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine/Israel

Martha Lucia Blandon - Chair, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network

Mohamed Boudjenane - Acting President, Canadian Arab Federation

Daniel Cayley-Daoust - Energy and Climate Campaigner, Council of Canadians

Derik Chica - Chair, Educators for Peace and Justice

Peter Chidiac - Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Western Ontario

Aziz Choudry - Associate Professor, Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University

John Clarke - Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Chandler Davis - Professor, University of Toronto

Judith Deutsch - Member of Independent Jewish Voices Board member of Centre for Social Justice

Gordon Doctorow, Ed.D. - Adjunct Faculty, Nova Southeastern University

Rachel Engler-Stringer - Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Hammam Farah - Alumni Advisor, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University

Hossein Faze - Filmmaker

Mireya Folch-Serra - Professor Emerita, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario

Ellen Gabriel - Mohawk Activist and Artist

Sam Gindin - Professor of Political Science, York University

Cy Gonick - Founder, Canadian Dimension

Chris Hannah, Todd Kowalski and Jord Samolesky - Musicians, Propagandhi

Jens Hanssen - Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History, University of Toronto

Michelle Hartman - Associate Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

Scott Harris - Chair, Palestinian Solidarity Network - Edmonton

David Heap - Associate Professor, French & Linguistics, University of Western Ontario

Jake Javanshir - Member, Independent Jewish Voices

Bruce Katz - Co-president, Palestinian and Jewish Unity

Michael Keefer - Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph

Maureen Korp, PhD - Author, Lecturer

Annette Lengyel - Secretary, BDS Action Calgary

Kay Ma - Coordinator, Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Peterborough

Richard Marcuse - Social anthropology, University of Victoria, Retired

Khaled Mouammar - Former President, Canadian Arab Federation

Vicki Perkins - Spokesperson, Justice for Palestinians

Judy Rebick - Author

Diana Ralph, MSW, Ph.D. - Retired Associate Professor Carleton University

David Rifat - Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Rev. Karen Rodman - Minister in the United Church of Canada Member, Green Party of Canada

Marty Roth - Professor Emeritus of English, University of Minnesota Member of the Green Party of Canada

Reuben Roth, Ph.D. - School of Northern and Community Studies, Laurentian University

Larry Rousseau - Regional Executive Vice-President, National Capital Region, Public Service Alliance of Canada

Sid Ryan - Former President, Ontario Federation Labour

Douglass St. Christian - Emeritus Professor, Anthropology, University of Western Ontario

Roswitha Shaw - Member, Green Party of Canada

Sid Shniad - National Steering Committee, Independent Jewish Voice Canada

Eric Shragge - President, Immigrant Workers Centre

Pance Stojkovski - Secretary, Socialist Project

Ken Stone - Treasurer, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War

Alex Tyrrell - Leader, Green Party of Quebec

Maria Paez Victor - Spokesperson, The Loui Riel Bolivian Circle (Toronto)

Henry Voltmeter - Professor of Development Studies, Saint Mary's University

Barry Weisleder - Secretary, Socialist Action

James Winter - Professor of Communications, University of Windsor

Thomas Woodley - President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Ralph Carl Wushke - Minister, Bathurst Street United Church

Dave Bleakney - Second National Vice-President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Wendy Goldsmith - Women's Boat to Gaza

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