Solidarity with Palestine: Crisis Responses and Movement Building by Kole Kilibarda

Kole Kilibarda writes, “What about the Canadian Government?”

Many of us are probably really frustrated that the Canadian government, with some power to affect the situation, refuses to hold Israel to account. In fact, as it did during the Lebanon war in the summer of 2006, Ottawa is actively supporting Israel’s assault. Canadian companies like Nortel and Bombardier, and smaller military companies like Frontline Robotics and MDA, are all working directly with the Israeli military. Israeli owned firms in Canada like Senstar, a subsidiary of Magal Systems, help outfit Canadian prisons while also developing, testing and producing the surveillance technologies used along Israel’s apartheid wall. Mawashi Corp. in Quebec helps develop body armor used by the Israeli Border Police and Army in suppressing Palestinian demonstrations. The majority shareholders of Chapters/Indigo bookstores fund the Heseg Foundation, which gives scholarships to “lone soldiers” to stay in Israel after doing their military service.

Canada also has a free trade agreement with Israel, exchanging over a billion dollars each year with that state in addition to the billions of dollars in direct two-way investments. In 2008, Canada signed a “public security” agreement that commits it to cooperate with Israel on a number of “public safety” issues, although what this entails is hard to specify as there has been virtually no Parliamentary, public or media oversight of the agreement. The benefits of these commercial, military and security links reach only a few people and companies in Canada and Israel. On the other side of these agreements, beyond the glossy investment brochures, countless Palestinians, First Nations people, Afghans, and other racialized groups targeted by both states simply are confronted with newer and more “creative” ways of being killed, of having their lands taken and resources plundered.

Afterall, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that Canada refuses to recognize the rights of indigenous Palestinians, when it continues to deny the sovereign rights of indigenous peoples here. In fact, Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s current pro-Israeli Foreign Minister, sharpened his teeth in negotiating with other nations when as an MP he helped spearhead repression against the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Settler-states are like “peas in a pod” and those of us living here and concerned with Palestinian human rights need to be moved to ensure that Canada also respects those same rights when it comes to First Nations struggles for land and self-determination. The movement to boycott and disrupt the 2010 Vancouver Olympics is based on those same principles………read more

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