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Home arrow Appeals and Campaigns arrow Boycott Chapters & Indigo
Boycott Chapters & Indigo PDF Print E-mail
May 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Chapters / Indigo / Israeli Military  


Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign

The controlling shareholders of Chapters/Indigo use their profits to directly support Israeli soldiers enforcing the illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine. The Israeli military has a well-documented history of human rights violations and war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon.

Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz – majority owners of Chapters and Indigo bookstores – are the founders of the “Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers”, which provides scholarships and other financial support to soldiers in the Israeli Military on the basis of need and military “achievement”. At its peak, the foundation will distribute up to $3,000,000 annually to former “Lone Soldiers” – individuals without family in Israel who have chosen to join the Israeli military and remain in the country permanently.

Organizations across Canada are calling for a boycott of all Chapters, Indigo, Coles and Smith Books stores, and demanding an end to the financial ties between the majority owners of Chapters/Indigo and the Israeli military.

Many members of the Heseg Board of Directors are high-ranking Israeli military personnel. This includes Doron Almog, who avoided a warrant issued for his arrest on suspicion of war crimes by refusing to disembark from his plane when it landed in London last year.

Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz own or control over 68 percent of the shares in Indigo Books and Music Inc. which owns and operates bookstores under the names Indigo, Chapters, World’s Biggest Bookstore, SmithBooks, Coles, The Book Company or Indigospirit. Reisman is chair and CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc.

Why should we boycott programs associated with the Israeli military?

According to the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, 1496 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military since 2004. The vast majority of these are civilian deaths. On average, two Palestinians have been killed every single day of the last six years.

Ten thousand Palestinians are being held as political prisoners by Israel. This includes over 400 Palestinian children. Most face isolation and torture. Over 1000 Palestinians are being held in detention without trial or charge.

Since 1967, over 12,000 houses have been demolished by the Israeli military, leaving 70,000 Palestinians homeless.

Israel systematically oppresses the Palestinian population within the state of Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through its apartheid system of discriminatory laws based on ethnicity and religion. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are forced to live in small, prison-like areas divided from each other by walls, military checkpoints and Israeli-only roads. Travel between these areas is extremely difficult and requires permission from the Israeli military authorities. Unemployment levels in some areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have reached up to 70% and there is a massive health crisis and widespread poverty as a result of Israel’s apartheid policies.

During Israel’s six-week attack on Lebanon in the summer of 2006:

  • Over 1,100 Lebanese were killed and thousands of Lebanese were wounded and maimed.
  • Homes, schools, power plants, hospitals, ports and roads were targeted and destroyed.
  • Up to one million cluster bomblets were dropped by Israel on Lebanon — 90% in the last 72 hours when a resolution was imminent. Over 100,000 of these bomblets remain unexploded and Lebanese civilians continue to be killed and maimed on a daily basis.
What is the Foundation for Lone Soldiers?

Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, majority owners of Chapters and Indigo bookstores, founded an organisation called the “Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers”. At its peak, it will distribute up to $3M per year to provide scholarships and other support to former “Lone Soldiers” in the Israeli military.

What is a “lone soldier?”

These are individuals who have no family in Israel but decide to join the Israeli military. As Israeli soldiers, they participate in a military that operates checkpoints that restrict Palestinian freedom of movement, enforces the occupation of Palestinian land, and has a documented history of human rights violations.

At any time there might be 5,000 “Lone Soldiers” in the Israeli military in all capacities including in combat units.

“...lone soldiers come from around the world, including North America, Brazil, Argentina, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and even Chechnya.”

What is the purpose of the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers?

According to their website: “Canadian couple Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman established HESEG to express gratitude and provide support to the thousands of Former Lone Soldiers who serve annually in the Israel Defense Forces.”

By rewarding and supporting Lone Soldiers who have served in the Israeli military, Reisman and Schwartz provide support for Israel’s military effort.

  • In a recent ceremony honoring a Lone Soldier killed during Israel’s attacks on Lebanon “Levine’s platoon commander handed Levine’s firearm to Canadian business duo and philanthropists Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman, the financial backers of the Heseg project.”
  • “Heseg was launched at a ceremony at the Sde Dov air base that was attended by 170 lone soldiers as well as by the IDF Chief of Staff, the Chief of the Air Force, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, and many other dignitaries”
Who is on the board of Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers?

The HESEG Lone Soldier Foundation Board of Directors is stacked with active and retired high level Israeli military personnel:

  • MAJ. GENERAL DORON ALMOG: avoided arrest in London in 2005 on suspicion of war crimes. “The former head of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip said Monday he was warned by diplomats not to leave an aircraft that had landed in London after a tip-off that British police were waiting to arrest him on war crimes charges”. Almog was in charge of the Israeli military southern command when a one-ton bomb was dropped on a house in Gaza, killing 14 civilians, nine of them children.
  • GENERAL (RES.) YITZHAK EITAN: Currently the International Chairman of the “Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers” (AWIS), Chief Commander of the Israeli military in Gaza Strip and West Bank, and Head (GOC) of the IDF Central Command during the years 2000-2003.
  • GENERAL ELAZAR STERN: Served as Deputy Commander Of the Central Brigade in the central sector of the Israeli-Lebanese border. Commander (res.) of paratroopers brigade. Commander of the Officers’ School
  • SHABTAI SHAVIT: Head of Mossad (the Israeli foreign intelligence) 1989-96
  • LT. COLONEL MIKE HARTMAN: Head of the marksmanship and sharpshooters section of the IDF.

What you can do

  1. Tell friends and relatives not to shop at Chapters/Indigo. Encourage them to support independent book retailers.
  2. Write/fax/phone a protest to the Board of Chapters/Indigo demanding a public renunciation of Reisman’s and Schwartz’s financial support of the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers. Indigo Board of Directors, 500-468 King St W Toronto ON, MSV
    1L8 Tel: (416) 364-4499; Fax: (416) 364-0355
  3. Download this leaflet from the COALITION AGAINST ISRAELI APARTHEID WEBSITE at http://www.caiaweb.org/posters and distribute it outside your local Chapters/Indigo store.

Join the cross-country day of action
Saturday June 9, 2007
Contact boycottapartheid@gmail.com for details.

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