What is Good Solidarity with Palestine and BDS?

Norman Finkelstein is being invited by CJPME to speak once again in Canada. We feel this is inappropriate and divisive…

What is Good Solidarity with Palestine and BDS?

“…But the goals (of BDS) will never fly… there is nothing in the international law for one state, they are not gonna win a public to that, once you step out of your little cult, a little ghetto….I loathe the disingenuous, they don’t want Israel, they think they are being very clever; they call it three tier. We want end of occupation, right of return and equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result?…There is no Israel….
And I wouldn’t trust those (BDS) people if I had to live in this state. I wouldn’t. It’s dishonesty.”
This is not Tony Clement (the Conservative MP who introduced the anti-BDS motion in the Canadian parliament), or Irwin Cotler, or a leading Zionist official. Rather this is Norman Finklestein in 2012 in a bizarre rant against BDS and its goals.
Norman Finkelstein is being invited by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) to speak once again in Canada. We feel this is inappropriate, disappointing and divisive, given his position on the BDS movement (which remains largely unretracted), and the current atmosphere here in Canada regarding BDS. We expressed our concerns to CJPME several weeks ago but they were dismissed with the argument of bringing diverse speakers, and they have even billed him as “perhaps the most significant scholar of the Palestine-Israel conflict”?!
Of course Finkelstein has the right to express his opinion, but to have done so in such a destructive and reckless manner shows a lack of concern for the well-being of the Palestinian support movement. There are many veteran activists who may or may not have differences with some of the Palestinian BDS leadership, but to highlight those differences (especially when some of them seem motivated by a personal feud) in a way that simply gave ammunition to the Zionist forces is misguided at best and dangerous at worst. Finkelstein later claimed that the BDS movement changed since 2012 to accommodate his criticisms. Not true, their 3 basic rights requirements are the same now as they were originally in 2005. And they have stated many times that local groups should develop their own tactics as they see fit. BDS has proven itself as a viable and successful strategy for highlighting Palestinian dispossession and exposing Israeli human rights abuses. It is incumbent on groups who say they support the Palestinian-led BDS movement to respect what BDS stands for and defend the initial Palestinian civil society call.
We are, literally, fighting for our lives here in Canada, both as BDS supporters and as Palestinian activists. It is inexplicable to us how hosting Norman Finkelstein, at this critical juncture, can possibly advance that struggle.

Hanna Kawas,
Chair, Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver
CoHost, Voice of Palestine

Check out my interview with Under the Olive Tree for more background info:
Solidarity / The ostracization of Norman Finkelstein
Montreal Radio Show “Under the Olive Tree” ckut.ca
Norman Finkelstein: bad solidarity?
More background information from other sources:
Finkelstein renews attack on BDS “cult,” calls Palestinians who pursue their rights “criminal”
BDS interview fallout: Finkelstein ‘showed his own fear of the paradigm shift in discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

Picket the Jewish National Fund Dinner

Update: Report and video of spirited picket to expose the JNF

Vancouver activists held a spirited picket on April 10 to expose the JNF’s racist policies.

Canada Palestine Association and BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish initiated a successful picket outside the “Gala Dinner” of the Jewish National Fund in Vancouver and loudly demanded that the JNF’s tax-deductible status in Canada be removed. There were great solidarity messages from indigenous sister Carol who also sang the women’s warrior song, Daniel from the Ayotzinapa Mexican committee, indigenous activist Ray from Red Sparks Union, and comments from Khalil on behalf of BDS Vancouver. Amid chants of “Stop the JNF” and “Free Palestine”, activists also handed out hundreds of leaflets to passers-by, many of whom were supportive and stopped to chat and ask for more info.
More photos and videos at FB event page.

Picket the Jewish National Fund JNF Dinner
Sunday, April 10, 2016, 4:45 pm
Four Seasons Hotel (W. Georgia and Howe St.), Vancouver, B.C.
Join our Facebook Event
JNF Canada has used its tax-deductible status for building and maintaining the infamous “Canada Park” on the ruins of 3 Palestinian villages, Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba, which were located in the occupied West Bank and destroyed after the 1967 war. On April 10, 2016, the Jewish National Fund JNF Pacific Region is holding its annual “Negev Gala Dinner” and this year, it is “working with ‘No to Violence Against Women’(in Israel) to build a shelter for women and children”. They claim that “this shelter is for everyone, regardless of background.” The JNF, with its racist policies of neither leasing nor selling land to non-Jews (i.e. Palestinians), cannot use a project like this to hide its true agenda of land confiscation and ethnic cleansing. Combating violence against women is a worthy goal, but what about the Palestinian Bedouin women (also Israeli citizens) from Al Araqib in the Naqab/Negev, who have suffered the ultimate violence of homelessness 95 times and counting at the hands of the JNF and Israeli forces? And what about the hundreds of Palestinian girls and women that have been the victims of Israeli occupation violence on a daily basis? What about the 57 Palestinian women, including 13 minors, incarcerated in Israeli prisons? What about the women and children in Gaza, living just south of this new shelter, who are not allowed by Israeli authorities to leave for proper medical treatment for various cancers?
“In January, dozens of female patients (in Gaza) staged a protest to voice their anger over the draconian restrictions, which Israel threatens to tighten, on patient movement . One of the protesters, Rawan Lubad, has lived with breast cancer for 10 years. The 61-year-old is in constant pain. She has twice applied to get a permit for referral. She was twice denied. ‘I am dying here. I feel that I have been sentenced to death,’ she said.”
Join us on April 10 to say: Hey JNF you can’t hide, Stop supporting apartheid!

Sponsored by: BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish and Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver
Contact email: info@cpavancouver.org
Background info on JNF Policies

Picket: DROP G4$! Don’t Support War Crimes in Palestine!

Thursday, March 24 @ 2pm
Click here for more information on the campaign to Boycott and Divest from G4$ and for photos and videos from the picket.

Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA):
DROP G4$! Don’t Support War Crimes in Palestine!

The Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) has a $416 million contract with security giant G4S for ‘security services’ at 20 Canadian airports including YVR. G4S is contracted by the Israeli Prison Service for security at Occupation prisons, settlements and checkpoints. They are complicit in ongoing Israeli war crimes in Palestine. Globally their business model is based on securing the interests of the rich and the powerful against the needs of the oppressed and exploited.

Join BDS Vancouver and international campaign against G4S as we expose and oppose G4S’s complicity in Israeli war crimes in Palestine and call for CATSA to Drop G4$!

Thursday, March 24 @ 2pm
Meet at Sea Island Centre Skytrain Station (Canada Line)
Click here for google map
Organized by BDS Vancouver – Coast Salish Territories

Drop G4$ Campaign Initiators: Canada Palestine Association, Independent Jewish Voices, International League of Peoples Struggle, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Support Network.

Click here for more information on the campaign to Boycott and Divest from G4$ and for photos and videos from the picket.
Please join Facebook event