Radio places itself on the wrong side of history

Dec. 1, 2011

Dear Friends and Supporters:

The Voice of Palestine (VOP) Collective brought two motions to Vancouver Coop Radio AGM on Nov. 27/11. We regret to inform you that both were defeated; we will be issuing a more detailed statement later, but here is a brief summary of what transpired.

The first motion was calling for an investigation into the secrecy around Coop’s recent “frequency swap” deal with Jim Pattison Industries; although we felt this was crucial to the future democratic health of the station, it was not something the majority of members supported. We had discussed this motion with Board representatives the week prior and had even agreed to amendments they had suggested, but when it came to the AGM, they were either curiously silent or voted against.

The second motion was calling for support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel until it complied with international law. In fact, as the motion noted, such support had already been passed by both the global and national community radio bodies. This draft resolution was the culmination of over 2 months of communicating with Coop Radio’s Board, and only came to the AGM through the persistent efforts of the VOP collective. The Board finally took a decision on the motion just hours before the AGM and did not support it. Those who spoke and voted against the motion at the AGM ranged from the usual Zionist voices (we will feel threatened by this etc.), to Coop members who were clearly (and understandably) worried about future intimidation tactics of the Israel lobby and conservative forces, to those who didn’t want to deal with “political issues” (not a problem for the Pride Parade or Amnesty Int’l, just for Palestine), to finally several “supporters of Palestinian rights” who rejected the draft resolution on technicalities that they did not see fit to raise with us in advance, showing blatant disregard for the strategic interests of the Palestinian-led BDS struggle and thereby contributing to the atmosphere of misunderstanding and confusion during the debate. We were shocked by Coop Radio’s failure, “the people’s station” that says it is moving “further to the left on the dial”, to take a stand alongside its national network at this crucial point in history for the Palestinian people. We neither agree with nor respect this decision and we know in our hearts that many people voted against the motion for the wrong reasons. However, the decision has been taken, the damage has been done and it now places Coop Radio and all those who opposed the motion on the wrong side of history. In closing we ask all our friends, especially Coop Radio members, to express your support for Voice of Palestine’s motion and the BDS campaign as an important part of the struggle of the Palestinian people by emailing the new Board at [email protected]