Canadians mobilized at the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in a mass demonstration and a nationwide boycott day on June 9th.
Activists in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, London, Winnepeg, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria joined the Boycott Indigo&Chapters campaign initiated by the Coalition against Israeli Apartheid.
Activists press majority shareholder Heather Reisman and her husband, Gerry Schwartz, to stop support for the âHESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiersâ they have established. The foundation offers scholarships to Jewish mercenaries who volunteer to help the Occupation in its war crimes by joining the Israeli Occupation Forces. HESEG plans to donate up to $3 million dollars a year to the estimated 5,000-6,000 âlone soldiersâ. As part of the broader BDS campaign, the activists call on the Canadian public not to buy at Indigo&Chapters to cut the profits that will go to support Israeli occupation and apartheid.
At the demonstration outside Montrealâs Ste-Catherine Street Indigo branch, Rhanda Chalhoub of Tadamon!, a Montreal group that works in solidarity with grassroots groups in Lebanon said: âEveryone is shocked about Indigo. Most people don’t want to go into a bookstore, buy a book, and have that money go to an army.”
The protest was part of a week of action in Quebec, led by the Coalition for Peace and Justice in Palestine. Other events included a picket in Montreal calling for a boycott of the second Israeli film festival, taking place at the Cinema du Parc. On June 6th a rally was protesting a fundraising event for the Jewish National Fund which sponsors since the inception of the Zionist project the theft and colonization of Palestinian land.
In Toronto, a mass demonstration called for an end to their governmentâs siege on the Palestinian people. The protest, on June 10th began at the US consulate and ended outside the Israeli embassy.
Speakers included Alexa McDonough of the New Democratic Party, Khaled Mouammar of the Canadian Arab Federation, and Rafeef Ziadah of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid.
Protestors were angry at the Canadian governmentâs support for Israeli Apartheid. “Canadaâs foreign policy has taken a very dangerous turn towards the support of Israel, and the siege is only one example,” stated Khaled Mouammar, president of the Canadian Arab Federation. “In complete disregard of international law and of public opinion in Canada, our government has decided to side with Israelâs policies of strangling and starving the Palestinian people through transforming their towns and cities into open air prisons, and cutting them off from money and support from the outside. These policies were appropriately described as policies of apartheid by former US president Jimmy Carter”.