Since 2005’s historic Palestinian call for a comprehensive, international movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid, we have seen many important victories for this movement in both Québec and Canada.
The past two years have seen growing numbers of Québec civil society organizations taking up the call for BDS. From the student movement and the commitment to BDS passed by L’Association pour une Solidarite Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ) in 2006; to college and university workers calling for boycott under the banner of College and University Workers United (CUWU) in early 2009; to the resolution in support of BDS adopted by the members of the Centrale des syndicats du Quebec (CSQ), one of Quebec’s largest labour federations, growing numbers of people have enthusiastically joined the international BDS movement.
Beyond Québec, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has become the first union at the Canadian level to join the BDS campaign, while the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-ON) has also helped to push the boycott to centre stage. The past two years have seen increasing public debate on the issue of BDS in Canada, whether during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival; within the United Church; in the public debates on the academic boycott on university campuses in Ontario; or in LGBTQ communities, where queer activists organized anti-Israeli apartheid contingents in pride parades in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. This energy in diverse sectors of society shows that the movement for BDS against Israeli apartheid is growing.
Now is the time to reflect on the successes of the BDS movement in Quebec and Canada to date and to consolidate and intensify our efforts in solidarity with the people of Palestine, who continue to suffer under the brutal system of Israeli apartheid. All BDS activists, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about BDS, are invited attend to a 3-day BDS conference from October 22 to 24th , 2010 in Montreal, Quebec. Together we will map out the next steps in the Quebec and Canadian movement to end Israeli apartheid and to free Palestine!