This page provides the boycott information from CUPE. It is provided as a public information resource. For commentary please see the other documents listed at the CUPE Canadian Academic Boycott Resources.
Ontario Boycott proposal version 1 (5 Jan 2009 to 13 Jan 2009)
January 5, 2009
TORONTO, Ont. - CUPE Ontario's university workers committee will bring a resolution to its annual conference supporting a ban on Israeli academics doing speaking, teaching or research work at Ontario universities as a protest against the December 29 bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza.
"In response to an appeal from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, we are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general," said Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario. "It's a logical next step, building on policy adopted by our provincial convention in 2006."
Resolution 50, adopted in May 2006, supported boycotts, divestment and sanctions aimed at bringing about the Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and a just peace in the region.
"Clearly, international pressure on Israel must increase to stop the massacre that is going on daily," said Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of the CUPE Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee, whose conference is scheduled for February. "We are proud to add CUPE voices to others from around the world saying enough is enough."
Ryan and other CUPE representatives will join in the demonstration against the Israeli assault on Gaza at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, January 3 at Dundas Square in Toronto.
For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142
Ontario Boycott proposal version 2 (13 Jan 2009 to -)
Source: CUPE Ontario restates position on boycott of academic institutions, CUPE Website, Jan 14 2009
CUPE Ontario restates position on boycott of academic institutions
January 14, 2009
TORONTO, Ont. Welcoming a statement issued earlier today by the national officers of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan said his division has been saying for over a week now that the proposed international boycott will focus on Israeli academic institutions, not individuals
On the Michael Coren Show, Jan. 9, in a letter to the editor in the Toronto Star, Jan. 10, in postings on cupe.on.ca. as well as in media interviews, Ryan has stated that CUPE Ontario will not support a boycott of individuals. We also fully agree with the national union's policy on UN resolutions 242 and 338, he said.
CUPE Ontario's university workers committee is examining bringing forward a motion for its upcoming conference that will support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, not individuals, as part of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
In the process of examining academic boycott initiatives by other organizations around the world, and similar actions that helped end apartheid in South Africa, it has become clear that the position is not banning individuals. Rather an academic boycott should focus on issues of investment, partnership, fundraising and joint projects, said Ryan. That will also be our approach.
The proposal builds on existing CUPE Ontario policy supporting the BDS campaign adopted more than two years ago in response to the 40-year occupation of Palestinian territory as well as human rights violations by Israel. Our national union's policy calling for the immediate withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories was adopted more than five years ago and was reaffirmed in 2007.
Ryan said, We too have condemned the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. However, these and Israel's disproportionate response the loss of innocent lives that has horrified the entire world are only the latest developments in a decades-long conflict that will not end without sustained international pressure to end the occupation and work for a negotiated peace.
For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999 ext 240
Note from National
What does CUPE Ontario mean by Academic Boycott?
It is important to understand that this is not a call to boycott individual Israeli academics. Rather, the boycott call is aimed at academic institutions and the institutional connections that exist between universities here and those in Israel.
This could include calling on Ontario universities and university workers to:
- Refuse to participate in academic cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli universities, such as participating in conferences in Israel, refereeing or editing articles for Israeli journals, or evaluating research proposals for Israeli institutions.
- Advocate a boycott of Israeli universities, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies.
- Promote divestment from Israel by Ontario academic institutions.
- Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies and actions in the occupied territories by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic and professional organizations and associations.
CUPE Ontario is taking this action in response to an appeal from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees.
Why Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions?
The recent assault on Gaza has seen the total destruction of the Palestinian educational system. The Israeli military has bombed numerous universities and schools. On January 7th, Israeli forces killed over 40 Palestinian civilians who had taken shelter in a United Nations school.
The aim of the academic boycott is to put pressure on Israel to fully comply with international law, by cutting off financial support and our connections to those institutions involved in the oppression of the Palestinian people.
The call for a boycott of academic institutions is part of a broader campaign of Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) that CUPE Ontario had already approved in 2006.
What is the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)?
In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), urged the world to adopt a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli institutions. This campaign was modeled on the BDS movement that helped end South African apartheid.
The aim of this campaign is to block the political, military and economic support that allows Israel to continue violating international law.
Is CUPE Ontario the only one calling for this? Who else supports these actions?
This campaign has wide support. Just a few weeks ago, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockman, stated:
"More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations."
In the first week of January some 300 academics signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling on the Canadian Government to institute sanctions against Israel.
Why is CUPE Ontario involved in this as a union?
CUPE members have identified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a priority. The current assault on Gaza, the deaths of nearly 900 Palestinians including many children and desperate humanitarian need call for urgent, non-violent action such as a boycott. More background information is available on the CUPE Ontario web site.
This action is a concrete measure that will help to create conditions for peace by forcing Israel to comply with international law.
The national constitution of CUPE mandates us to do international solidarity work, and CUPE has a proud history of supporting workers around the globe. Our International Solidarity Committee campaigns on international struggles for justice and workers' rights in places like Venezuela, Columbia, Egypt and Afghanistan. Here in Canada, CUPE members defend education, health and social, community and municipal services as well as human rights.
What is CUPE Ontario's plan?
The CUPE Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC) will further this work by supporting a motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions, as part of the protest against the bombing assault on Gaza and, in particular, the bombing of the Islamic University on December 29, 2008.
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