Friday, December 4, 2009

Québec solidaire supports pro-Palestine BDS campaign

by Richard Fidler

(This article accompanies a full report on the Québec solidaire (QS) convention. QS, a political party founded four years ago, has 5,000 members and elected a representative to the National Assembly in the 2008 Quebec election.)

The 300 delegates to the Québec solidaire convention voted unanimously, with a standing ovation, to endorse the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions “against Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid.”

The vote followed a special presentation to the convention on November 21 by members of the Coalition pour la Justice et la Paix en Palestine, which is developing a campaign in Quebec in support of the call issued by 170 Palestinian organizations for an international movement in opposition to apartheid Israel. The Coalition comprises 17 – now 18, with the inclusion of Québec solidaire – organizations in Quebec: Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups, NGOs, the Quebec Federation of Women (FFQ) and a major teachers’ union affiliated with the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN). The Coalition maintained a literature table at the convention.

The QS delegates resolved:

  1. To respond favourably to the call of Palestinian civil society;
  2. To commit to active support of the campaign for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions until Israel respects international law and the rights of the Palestinians; and
  3. To participate, with the other groups, associations and unions in Quebec society that are already involved in the BDS campaign, in discussions and actions concerning this campaign.

In the brief discussion following the presentation, one delegate noted the need to pressure the CSN and the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) to stop investing in Israeli corporations through their “solidarity” investment funds, which mobilize workers’ savings ostensibly in support of small and medium-sized businesses.

However, it was agreed that this convention would vote only on the principle of support, and leave the issue of how to implement the campaign to later discussion both in QS and with the other members of the coalition.

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