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More than 50 cultural and political icons urge Green Party to stay the course on BDS

Image: Flickr/Photo RNW.org

More than 50 cultural and political figures released the following open letter today, calling for the Green Party of Canada not to reverse its party policy established at convention in August, where it overwhelmingly voted to support the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement in opposition to Israel's occupation of Palestine.

Elizabeth May toyed with the idea of stepping down as leader in response to the vote and the party promised to revisit the decision in a special General Meeting this weekend. Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Gabor Maté and dozens of others penned the following letter, urging the Green Party to stay the course on Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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 Fazeli
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
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

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