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Pro-Israel Canadians Strike Back with 'Buy-Cott' Campaign

Anti-Israel activists in Canada will be boycotting stores - while supporters of Israel hit back with a "buy-cott" of Israeli goods.
By David Lev
First Publish: 11/22/2009, 5:25 PM / Last Update: 11/22/2009, 5:33 PM

Israel News Photo: buycott website


A recent editorial said that urging MEC to boycott Israeli goods would end up hurting the very people the anti-Israel groups claim they want to help; a boycott would 'penalize MEC, its Israeli suppliers and, ironically, Palestinian subcontractors who work for Source Vagabond Systems.'
Leftists and anti-Israel activists in Canada will be "celebrating" the United Nations' International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People November 28 with nationwide picketing of the country's MEC stores (Mountain Equipment Co-op), a 2.9 million member strong retail cooperative, that sells outdoor gear and clothing – while supporters of Israel hit back with increased efforts to promote a "buy-cott" of Israeli goods.

Leftist and anti-Israel groups have been using the Palestinian Solidarity Day as a springboard to punish Israel instead of seeking ways to improve the lives of Arabs living in Israel. Each year, groups in Canada hone in on a different business that buys from or otherwise has financial interests in Israel. The groups, under an umbrella organization called the "Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign," have targeted MEC this year because some of the products it sells – including underwear and hydration packs – are made in Israel, by a company called Source Vagabond (best-known for their "shoresh" sandals, popular among Israeli youth).

Demonstrations outside MEC stores will take place in the 12 cities in Canada where the large MEC branches are located, including Calgary, Toronto, Ottowa, Montreal, and Vancouver. Protestors will attempt to sign up shoppers on petitions calling for MEC to ban Israeli products, and the organization urges customers "write/fax/phone the board of MEC telling them of your actions and asking that MEC halt all dealings with Israeli companies."

The group has been targeting MEC not just in recent weeks but all year; at the company's annual meeting last April, boycott organizers tried to foist a resolution on the company forbidding it to buy Israeli products. That effort, as well as other attempts to impose a boycott on Israeli goods in Canada, was foiled by the Canada-Israel Commitee's "Buycott" campaign, which encourages Canadian consumers to buy Israeli goods.

In one recent incident in Toronto, the group says, anti-Israel groups began a campaign against Israeli wines before Passover .In response, the group said, "the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto led the way in a Buy-cott drive to purchase as much Israeli wine as possible. E-mails were sent out to thousands and the pro-Israel community mobilized to counter the boycott, with their wallets and purses. The result? Within half an hour, the liquor store at which the protestors called for a boycott was completely sold out of Israeli wine."

Ironically, a recent editorial in the Vancouver Sun said that urging MEC to boycott Israeli goods would end up hurting the very people the anti-Israel groups claim they want to help; a boycott would "penalize MEC, its Israeli suppliers and Palestinian subcontractors who work for Source Vagabond Systems."