Pickets in Canada against Book Store Chain Support for the Occupation
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Pickets in Canada against Book Store Chain Support for the Occupation

In Toronto and Montreal the Coalition against Israeli Apartheid, supported by Not in Our Name, has held information pickets on Saturday 23rd of December to launch a boycott of Indigo & Chapters bookstores (officially operating under the corporate name Indigo Books & Music Inc.) and its subsidiaries, SmithBooks, Coles, The Book Company, Indigospirit and Worlds Biggest Bookstore.

”The national boycott of Indigo/Chapters is being launched to protest majority shareholders Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz’s support for the Israeli military,” states Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid spokesperson Naomi Binderwall. Reisman is the Founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc., while Schwartz is the CEO of Onex Corp. Together they own or control over 68% of the shares in Indigo Books and Music Inc.

Schwartz and Reisman founded HESEG: Foundation for Lone Soldiers to provide financial support to individuals who have no family in Israel but decide to join the Israeli military. According to HESEG website ( www.lonesoldiers.org.il), “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”. Binderwall explains that “As ‘Lone Soldiers,’ these individuals play an active role in a military that operates checkpoints that restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement, enforces the occupation of Palestinian lands, arbitrarily detains hundreds of Palestinians each year, and has a documented history of human rights violations.”

At its peak, Heseg intends to distribute up to 3 million dollars a year to Israel’s military effort through its support for former ‘Lone Soldiers’.

The Board of Directors of the Foundation for Lone Soldiers is made up of high-ranking active and retired Israeli military personel. Board member Lt. Colonel Mike Hartmen joined the IDF as a lone soldier and is now “head of the marksmanship and sharpshooters section of the IDF.” Board member Major General (Res.) Doron Almog was Commander of the IDF’s Southern Command from 2000-2003. In 2005, a warrant was issued for his arrest on allegations of war crimes – violating of the Geneva Conventions by ordering the demolition of homes in Rafah, Gaza. Moshe Ronen, Co-Chair of the Canada-Israel Committee, also sits on Heseg’s Board of Directors.

The national boycott of Indigo Books and affiliates is part of an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the apartheid state of Israel. “The boycott of Indigo Books, which is quite deliberately being launched at the height of holiday shopping season, will continue until Reisman and Schwartz publicly cut ties to Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers and thus with the Israel Defense Forces that serve to enforce Israeli apartheid by means of brutality” says Binderwall.