Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Canadian Jewish News: "20 Quebec groups urge Israel boycott"

More examples of the political good-will generated by the Gaza withdrawal:
Twenty Quebec organizations, including the Fédération des Femmes du Québec (FFQ) and the provincial union of CEGEP teachers, have endorsed a new campaign to boycott Israeli products and companies deemed to be supporting the Jewish state’s “apartheid politics.”

They are protesting Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territory, the security fence and alleged violations of international law.

Jewish community officials did not react and, in fact, were not aware of the campaign at first, because its launch received no mainstream media coverage.

“I think that’s the most eloquent statement – that there was no media coverage. I would call that a catastrophic failure,” said Sara Saber-Freedman, the Montreal-based chief executive officer of the Canada-Israel Committee.

She doubts the campaign will have a practical impact or generate sympathy among the Quebec public.
Of course, it reflects some already-existing sentiments.
“While not minimizing the seriousness, my sense is [boycotts] tend not to get much traction. There have been attempts like this in the past and they have settled down… Nevertheless, it is deplorable, reprehensible and wrong-headed… There is no question this kind of thing is not good for Israel and has to be countered.”

FFQ president Michèle Asselin and actress/singer Carmen Ferlan, president of Les Artistes pour la Paix, were among the speakers at a media conference launching the proposed boycott, which is being led by the Coalition pour la Justice et la Paix en Palestine.

Also present was Ronald Cameron, president of the Fédération des Enseignantes et Enseignants du Collegial du Québec. Cameron led a delegation of 20 CEGEP teachers who, in October 2004, attended a conference in Ramallah opposing the security fence.

Two of the endorsing organizations, Entraide missionaire and SUCO, are well-established, international co-operation groups.

Most of the other groups are associated with the Arab or Muslim communities or left-wing causes. The Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation and PAJU (Palestinians and Jews United) have also signed on.
Qassam politics!

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