Canadian private-sector union supports BDS

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, adopts motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Elad Benari,

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Flag of Canada

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union with more than 310,000 members across the country, has adopted a motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at its recent convention, the Canadian Jewish News reports.

The resolution, titled “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” was put to a vote at the Unifor Canadian Council, which was held August 18-20 at the RBC Convention Center in Winnipeg, according to the report.

The resolution was put forth by Unifor Local 222 in Oshawa, Ontario. It passed “easily” and stated that it does not condone violence against innocent civilians “or other human rights violations by either side in the conflict.”

It called on Unifor to support the use of BDS tactics to target “sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories.”

“Unifor will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state,” the motion said.

The motion also states that despite international pressure, Israel continues to “expand settlements and demolish Palestinian homes.”

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies president and CEO Avi Benlolo blasted the BDS motion.

“While Unifor claims delegates left the convention with the resolve to ‘push back against the rise of the right’ and ‘build a better world,’ passing the BDS motion shows support for what has proven to be an anti-Semitic movement. This motion does not benefit Canadians, or Unifor members in any way,” he said.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), spoke out against the BDS motion.

“It is appalling that Unifor has allowed itself to be drawn into the anti-Semitic, divisive and counter-productive BDS campaign against Israel. The resolution that passed last week at Unifor’s Canadian Council is misguided and shameful, and it suggests that Unifor has a complete lack of understanding of the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. BDS has been roundly rejected by all major federal political parties,” he said.

“We would invite Unifor to reach out to its labor counterparts in the Israeli Histadrut movement to learn why the passage of this resolution moves us further from peace and is detrimental to Palestinians and Israelis alike,” he added.

Last year, the Canadian parliament approved by a large majority a draft resolution rejecting and condemning BDS.

229 MPs from both the opposition Conservatives and the ruling Liberal party voted in favor of the resolution. 51 MPs voted against it.

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario later approved a similar motion.

In recent years, BDS has reared its ugly head in Canada, where several universities have voted in favor of the anti-Israel movement.

In 2014, the student union at Toronto’s York University voted to join the BDS movement. It was preceded by Windsor University in Ontario.

Ryerson University that year also voted to join the BDS movement against Israel the student union at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, also voted in support of BDS.

Last year, however, students at the University of Waterloo in Ontario voted against their school severing its ties with five educational institutions in Israel.