Human Rights and Solidarity Groups in Canada support Richard Falk

Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Nov 3, 2012

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Statement on Richard Falk

We, the undersigned, write today to make clear our strong opposition to the recent Canadian government call for the resignation of Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The attack came following comments by Richard Falk on October 24 that highlighted corporate complicity in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He noted that the settlements are in clear violation of international law, and warned that civil and criminal liability may be extended to companies acting in contravention of international human rights. Falk called for boycott of corporations engaging in such business practices, drawing particular attention to the activities of Caterpillar Incorporated (USA); Veolia Environment (France); G4S (United Kingdom); The Dexia Group (Belgium); Ahava (Israel); the Volvo Group (Sweden); the Riwal Holding Group (the Netherlands); Elbit Systems (Israel); Hewlett Packard (USA); Mehadrin (Israel); Motorola (USA); Assa Abloy (Sweden); and Cemex (Mexico) in establishing and maintaining settlements.

Falk’s comments are consistent with the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and complicit corporations until Israel recognizes international law by:

“1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird labelled Falk’s comments “offensive and extremely unhelpful,” and “biased and disgraceful,” while Immigration Minister Jason Kenney accused Falk of “singl[ing] out the only Jewish country in the world for particularly unfair treatment.” Kenney admitted that he did not read Falk’s report before making his accusations.

Baird’s statement that exposing corporate complicity is “offensive and unhelpful” turns reality on its head; it is Canada’s ongoing support for Israeli occupation and apartheid in Palestine that is offensive and unhelpful. In addition, multinational corporations are not in any sense victims nor “singled out” for “unfair treatment.”

Falk’s record as Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is exemplary. A distinguished scholar of international law, Falk’s voice of conscience has risen time and again to oppose Israeli impunity for human rights violations, from the Cast Lead assault on Gaza to the mass imprisonment of Palestinian political prisoners. It is in fact because of his dedication to conscience that he comes under attack today.

Falk’s statement in response to Baird and Kenney pointed out the failure of the international community to take any substantive action regarding Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. “This is taking one more concrete, tangible step in saying that if governments don’t take the international law obligations of Israel seriously, and if the UN as an institution doesn’t take it seriously, then it’s time to recommend some more tangible way of implementing the obligations of Israel.”

Baird and Kenney’s criticism of Falk is only the latest in a long line of official Canadian actions in support of Israeli apartheid. From Canada’s position as one of the earliest advocates of the establishment of Israel, to being the first country to support a siege against Gaza in 2006, to Baird’s recent declarations that Canada is “Israel’s best friend,” to the defunding of Palestinian and Arab community organizations by Kenney’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and Kenney’s repeated attacks on supporters of Palestinian rights, Canada’s record is one of overt support for Israeli apartheid – and its corporate partners.

We note that Canada’s rigid defense of Israeli settler colonialism speaks directly to its own realities of historical genocidal policies — including residential schools, and ongoing colonisation — including exploitation for resource extraction, of Indigenous peoples, and protection of Canadian mining corporations in their on-going human rights violations throughout Latin America and Africa

We stand in solidarity with Richard Falk and with the Palestinian people, and we call on the Canadian government to apologize for this latest attack on supporters of Palestinian human rights.

Alliance for People’s Health
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver
Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine
Canada Palestine Association
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
Canadian Boat to Gaza
Canadian Friends of Sabeel
Canadian Forum for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Centre for Social Justice
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Toronto
Edmonton Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
Edmonton Small Press Association
Faculty for Palestine (F4P)
Free Palestine Alliance
Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War
Independent Jewish Voices
Independent Jewish Voices – Vancouver
International League of People’s Struggles – Canada
ISM Vancouver
Justice for Palestinians – Calgary
John Jay Students for Justice in Palestine
L’Étoile du Nord
Les Artistes pour la Paix
Labour for Palestine, Toronto
McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice
Middle East Discussion Group
Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada (NECEF)
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Unceded Coast Salish Territories
Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton
Palestinian Canadian Congress
Palestinian And Jewish Unity (PAJU)
People for Peace – London, ON
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
Regina Solidarity Group
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
Socialist Project
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) – University of British Columbia
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) – McMaster University
Streams of Justice
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Carleton University
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Regina
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – York University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Ryerson University
Students for Justice in Palestine at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Students for Palestinian Rights – University of Waterloo
Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine
Voice of Palestine
Winnipeg Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Individual signatories

Stella Abbas, Bath, ME
Fuad Abboud, Calgary, AB
Haidar Abdulrazak, Calgary, AB
Yousef Abudayyeh, San Diego, CA
Laurie Adkin, Edmonton, AB
Basel Alashi, Ottawa, ON
Said Alimam, Oakville, ON
Antonio Artuso, Montreal, QC
Abdul-Jabbar Asiri, Ottawa, ON
Sabrine Azraq, Toronto, ON
Haroon Bajwa, Vancouver, BC
Khaled Barakat, Vancouver, BC
Janet Beck, Toronto, ON
Mahnaz Beiraghdar, London, ON
Linda Belanger, Ottawa, ON
Charles Belcher, Vancouver, BC
Bill Bell, Selkirk, ON
Carl Bergquist, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Nicole Bernier, Montreal, QC
Bonnie Black, Toronto, ON
Dave Bleakney, Ottawa, ON
Lynnette Bondarchuk, Edmonton, AB
Robin Boodle, Victoria, BC
Alison Braley-Rattai, London, ON
Anastasia Burgess, Calgary, AB
Sharon Burns, Vancouver, BC
Charmaine Burrus, Edwardsville, IL (US)
Brian Campbell, Vancouver, BC
Sam Choukeir, St. Catharines, ON
Everett Coldwell, Dartmouth, NS
Kathy Copps, Vancouver, BC
Dr Edwin E Daniel, Victoria, BC
Peter Davis, Vancouver, BC
Nouzha Deramchi, Ottawa, ON
Tar De Moutonnoir, Montreal, QC
Joseph Debanné, Gatineau, QC
Karen DeVito, Vancouver, BC
Dave Diewert, Vancouver, BC
Sonia Dorko, Vancouver, BC
Katherine Dunster, Denman Island, BC
Glenn Fidler, Comox, BC
Mary Fidler, Comox, BC
Claudette Fortier, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
Jack Friesen, Courtenay, BC
Pat Gibbs, Maple Ridge, BC
Cathy Giuletti, Lasalle, QC
Judith Goldschmidt, Courtenay, BC
Dr Richard Gordon, Vancouver, BC
Ann Grant, Vancouver, BC
Donald Grayston, Vancouver, BC
Richard Guillemette, Dollard, QC
Evelyn Hamdon, Edmonton, AB
David Heap, London, ON
Evelyn Hecht-Galinski
Walt Heinzie, Delaware, ON
Sandra Hennessey, London, ON
David Himmelstein, Montreal, QC
Jim Hyder, Las Vegas, NV (US)
Joy Johnston, Comox, BC
Rioth Jomha, Edmonton, AB
Charlotte Kates, Vancouver, BC
Bruce Katz, Montreal, QC
Geoff Kershaw
Nancy G Klassen, Coquitlam, BC
Atif Kubursi, Professor of Economics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Michel Labelle, Montreal, QC
Kathy Lantz, Kenora, ON
Elise Leblanc, Halifax, NS
Rod Lemay, Vancouver, BC
Denis Lemelin, Gatineau, QC
Mary Lewis, Vancouver, BC
Stephen Lockyer, Halifax, NS
Gene Logan, Vancouver, BC
Aleah Loney, Montreal, QC
Henry Lowi, Toronto, ON
Amir M. Maasoumi, Montreal, QC
Johanna Mazur, Burnaby, BC
James McDowell
Gene McGuckin, Burnaby, BC
Christine McMeckan, Edmonton, AB
Marie McMeckan, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Douglas Meggison, Edmonton, AB
Linda Meissenheimer, Toronto, ON
Rabbi David Mivasair
Carel Moiseiwitsch, Vancouver, BC
Khaled Mouammar, Richmond Hill, ON
Gordon Murray, Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
Ailin Naderbegi, Sydney, Australia
Marlene Newesri, New York (US)
Marcus Peterson, Edmonton, Alberta
Marion Pollack, retiree
Bahija Reghai, Ottawa, ON
Valeriy Retyunin, Toronto, ON
Martha Roth, Independent Jewish Voices-Vancouver, BC
Paul Roy, Montreal, QC
Helen Sadowski, Edmonton, AB
Sundus Seif, New York, NY (US)
John Soos, Vancouver, BC
Michael Springate, Vancouver, BC
Stan Squires, Vancouver, BC
Marina Stamboulieh, Vancouver, BC
Glen Staples, Courtenay, BC
Charles Steele, Vancouver, BC
Ken Stone, Hamilton, ON
Susan Stout, North Vancouver, BC
Ron Strand, Vancouver, BC
Randolph Taylor, Tahsis, BC
Barbara Terfloth, Christopher Lake, SK
Harvey Totten
Nina Truscott, Burlington, ON
John Turnbull, Vancouver, BC
Peter Vickers, BC
Leena Widdi, New York, NY (US)
Robert Wilde, Edmonton, AB
Victor Woods, Courtenay, BC
Ra’ana-Dilruba Yasmin, Honolulu, HI
Art Young, Toronto, ON
Carrie Zadrazil, Sechelt, BC
Ismail Zayid, MD

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