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Apr 12, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Canada Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet) statement of support for the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

In its founding statement, Canada Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet) declared it aims to “change the policies and actions of the Canadian government so that these come to support the rights of the Palestinian people”. Specified were the Palestinians' right of return, an end to the Israeli occupation, and upholding the equal worth and dignity of persons regardless of their ethnic or religious identity, which affirms democratic rights and opposes apartheid structures. 

CanPalNet has pursued the achievement of these goals through building a base of popular understanding among Canadians of the real conditions of Palestinian life – in the occupied territories, inside pre-1967 Israel, and in the diaspora. Building this popular understanding by a variety of tactics – educational events, workshops, publications, demonstrations and more – and in a wide range of milieu -- is the foundation for changing Canadian government policy. We also have pursued tactics which bring direct pressure on the Israeli government. This includes, for example, building support for flotillas which have bravely challenged Israel’s outrageous and cruel siege of the women, children and men living in Gaza.

In July 2005 there was a unified call from popular organizations of the Palestinian people to initiate, build, and sustain a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to help end the injustices, injustices similar to those which CanPalNet too had identified in its founding statement. The statement from 170 Palestinian popular organizations, across a broad sector of their society, called for a BDS campaign to be developed and sustained until Israel:

  • Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the Wall;                                                                                                
  • Recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and                                                                             
  • Respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

[For the declaration and list of Palestinian signatories http://www.bdsmovement.net/call

We, like others in Canada and around the world, responded with enthusiasm to this call for BDS. We recognize this tactic has been proven effective in other huge struggles – against South African apartheid, against racist discrimination in the US during the civil rights movement, to win union rights for farm workers in the grape fields of California. We are convinced this tactic is morally appropriate, given the depth of injustice imposed on the Palestinian people, and politically necessary, given the utter intransigence of the state of Israel in face of world-wide condemnation.

We encourage all who read this statement and have questions about the moral propriety and the political necessity of BDS campaigns to contact us to discuss this. We encourage all who read this statement and already are convinced of the moral propriety and the political necessity of BDS campaigns to involve themselves in these activities. We also recognize that progress requires careful consideration of what is needed to make any particular BDS campaign successful – the choice of a target, the research that underlies it, the capacity to engage people in it, and the resources necessary to sustain it. Enthusiasm is an important beginning, but as with every effort to bring positive change, considerably more is required for success. 

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