mec.ca

Resources

« Israel, Apartheid and Boycotts | Main | Israel, Apartheid and Boycotts Part 3 »

April 22, 2009

Comments

RH

Congratulations for considering the boycott. Israel's behavior has gone unchecked for too long. If the puppet politicians will not do anything then perhaps the people who elected them will.

Dan

I have always been very proud to support MEC and have always chosen to buy my travel packs and rock-climbing products from the trusted brand. I love being able to identify other travellers as Canadian when I see them carrying a MEC backpack. But I really hope that MEC's board will not allow itself to be hijacked by the political agenda of a few anti-Zionist members (who will no doubt bring along there own bloc of voters to that meeting so that they can force the resolution through.

A boycott of Israel is VERY different from a boycott of countries such as China because Israel actually protects the basic human rights of its manufacturing workers with a labour code that actually puts many other Western countries to shame. While there are many political comments that can be made about both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the employees of Israeli companies (Jewish and Arab) should not be punished for a conflict which they are not directly involved in.

I can not continue to support MEC if any such boycott goes through and I know a LOT of other people who will rescind their memberships if MEC divests from Israel.

Philip ladovsky

MEC is a great provider of quality goods -- in our consumer society, you already set a pretty unique standard. Middle Eastern politics -- especially the historical-religious-nationalist conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Promised Land -- is hardly part of MEC's purview. Any decision to favour either side would serve no one but those who wish to prolong and exacerbate this conflict... and be as irrelavent to MEC's standards as fish scales to a bicycle.

Lorne Merkur

As a frequent visitor to Israel, I have first hand experiences of the place. Israel has the ONLY democratically elected government in the middle east, with a lively free press, an independant judiciary and an ally of Canada.

No doubt, Israel has many faults (doesn't every country?) but it is certainly not racist or apartheid.

By singling out Israel in this resolution, the proponents show their bias and discrimination.

Surely the MEC has a policy of fairness and evenhandedness that applies to eveything it does - including resolutions from members. Perhaps the resolution should be modified to encourage MEC - on ethical and moral grounds only - to refrain from purchasing items (even if they are at attractive low prices!) from ANY country that does not uphold the high standard that MEC expects of itself, its employees and it's members.

For reference this list should include the following (please notice, this list does NOT include Israel, in the same way as is it does not include Canada):
AFGHANISTAN
ALBANIA
ALGERIA
ANGOLA
AZERBAIJAN
BAHRAIN
BANGLADESH
BELARUS
BELGIUM
BENIN
BHUTAN
BOLIVIA
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
BOTSWANA
BURKINA FASO
BURUNDI
CAMBODIA
CAMEROON
CAPE VERDE
CAYMAN ISLANDS
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CHAD
CHILE
CHINA
CONGO
CÔTE D'IVOIRE
CUBA
DJIBOUTI
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
EGYPT
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
ERITREA
ETHIOPIA
GABON
GAMBIA
GEORGIA
GHANA
GUINEA-BISSAU
HAITI
INDIA
INDONESIA
IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF
IRAQ
JORDAN
KAZAKHSTAN
KENYA
KIRIBATI
KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
KUWAIT
KYRGYZSTAN
LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
LEBANON
LESOTHO
LIBERIA
LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA
MADAGASCAR
MALAWI
MALAYSIA
MALI
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MEXICO
MONGOLIA
MOZAMBIQUE
MYANMAR
NAMIBIA
NEPAL
NEW CALEDONIA
NIGER
NIGERIA
OMAN
PAKISTAN
PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, OCCUPIED
PANAMA
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
PARAGUAY
PERU
PHILIPPINES
QATAR
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
RWANDA
SAUDI ARABIA
SENEGAL
SIERRA LEONE
SINGAPORE
SOMALIA
SOUTH AFRICA
SRI LANKA
SUDAN
SURINAME
SWAZILAND
SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
TAJIKISTAN
TANZANIA, UNITED REPUBLIC OF
THAILAND
TIMOR-LESTE
TONGA
TUNISIA
TURKEY
TURKMENISTAN
UGANDA
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UZBEKISTAN
VIET NAM
WESTERN SAHARA
YEMEN
ZAMBIA
ZIMBABWE

Ben baker

Here is a comment below that was taken word for word from a friend of ours living in Israel. He was born and raised in the United States and has lived in Israel since 1989.

Dear Ben,

All that Israel=apartheid politics is so frustrating. Why don't you suggest to this coop that they organize a group trip to Israel to learn more about the people on the ground. Israel is not pure, nor are the sufferring Palestinians; but when people learn that the Israeli Supplier they want to boycott is owned or managed by Palestinians; or listen to Arab women who want a political solution to the Palestinian situation but fear the violent abuse and segregation evident in almost all other Arab societies; they're views on waging economic violence might mellow out a bit. At the least, there is much outdoorsmanship to be done in Israel -- a country with National Parks and a ecological protection infrastructure unknown in Arab culture. I'd be happy to suggest travel coordinators if such a proposal would fall on accepting and open ears.

All the best,

Reuben

Bob Orr

I have been a member of MEC since 1981. If this motion passes, I will leave MEC and never shop at it again. Israel is the only free, open democracy in the middle east. The rule of Law pertains there, like nowhere else in the area. Do the people bringing forward this motion criticise Hamas brutality in Gaza? Do they criticize corruption on the West Bank. Murder and violations of human rights in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc? No. This is simply an attempt to demonize a small democray which we should support.

In any case, MEC should not be politicized. We should also have a postal voting system, now that MEC is a country wide group.

Bob Orr - Toronto

Alex

I want to know what, if any, Israeli products MEC stocks?

I am generally in support of such a boycott. Unlike Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, or the other countries on the list with problematic human rights records, Israeli products are integrated in the Western capitalist marketplace. I could probably boycott Kyrgystan without even trying.

On the other hand, the Israeli government has been continuing an illegal occupation, keeping Palestinian workers in poverty and oppression for over 40 years.

I know some will disagree with me on this issue, and that's reasonable, but I would like to know if anyone within MEC's offices or any of the movers of this resolution might actually be able to tell us if there are outdoor gear products that come from Israel which this resolution would make MEC stop carrying, or which MEC might consider carrying but would be prohibited from doing so if this resolution passes.

David Glass

I am in complete agreement with Bob Orr. I have also been a faithful member and loyal customer for more than 15 years. I understand that the proposed resolution is not binding on the Board,however should the Board act on it I will immediately resign my membership and not shop at the store again.

MEC is a retailer and a good one. It must never be used as a platform to advance the polical agenda of particular members.

By even contemplating this resolution, the Coop opening itself to many challenges to its entire supplier base, making sourcing more difficult and ultimately expensive to the Coop and its members.

David Glass
Toronto

Sylvia

MEC should definitely not suppress member motions, but it must have standards for those motions, which include fairness. Targeting one country, especially a fully free and democratic one, for alleged human rights abuses is clearly unfair, and motions such as this one should never make it to the AGM. Shame on MEC for even considering it.

G S Bailey

MEC should not be involved in political statements. Is the objection to Israeli product that they are produced in sweatshops under horrible conditions? I don't think so. The resolution seeks to hijack a large, mercantile organization for a political purpose that may not be supported by the majority of members. Due to my location, I cannot be at the AGM to vote against the resolution. The vast majority of members cannot be there, either. I trust that the directors will recognize that the purpose of this resolution has nothing to do with MEC, its suppliers or the ethical standards of MEC.

Joe smith

If you want to boycott Israel, a few things you should know.

MEC should not use any computers using an intel microchip as this was invented in israel. Do not use any windows XP or vista opperating systems as these were invented by Microsoft Israel.Do not use Microsoft office as well. Do not use cell phones as these were invented in israel. Do not drive or support hybrid or electric cars as Israel invested millions into green technology and is even considering installing an electric car grid around the entire nation. The money you spend on extra gasoline will go to fund freedom fighters! Do not live in areas that get electricity from solar power plants as many were invented and installed by Israelis. Women please use methods that include radiation to diagnose breast cancer as the radiation free alternative is an Israeli device.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW9tFRCXXuU

Kamil Bialous

I often wonder if people who respond to blog posts actually take the time to read the original post well. Apparently not in many cases.
hmm...Someone should do a study...

Dani

I can no longer support MEC if this boycott goes through.

Neil F

As a result of this upcoming motion, MEC management and Board of Directors need to have a close review of the bylaws that govern the co-op. Allowing an AGM to be hijacked by political activists that care very little about the business impact (negative) as long as their agenda is met, is not a very prudent business strategy. MEC position that if the motion is passed it by itself is non-binding, is good. However, allowing this issue to get as far as it did and the negative marketing MEC is receiving as a result, should be of great concern to MEC management and directors.

Terry Curley

It's pretty much been said above, but this ill-conceived effort to politicize MEC and take a free shot at Israel is simply not on. The situation is complex, and Israel could moderate some policies, but in general they are more to be admired for their restraint than criticized for their actions. Bleeding heart liberals will always find something to love about Hamas, but it's not really a basis for building MEC's supply chain. Let's hope common sense prevails and MEC, as a cooperative, leaves politics out of the equation.

Mike Tee

Yah, this sucks. I really enjoy shopping at MEC and interacting with your staff. I guess I have to go on a buying bonanza now, because ethically, I can't support any business that boycotts Israel based on ... ummm.. based on... human rights violations??? All they really want is for their neighbours not to kill them. And.. as noted above, these violations (real and imagined - yes both) pale in comparison to those of those pesky neighbours.

If this boycott moves forward, I'd urge members to cash out their memberships - mine is worth a whole lot more than $5. If anyone actually took this suggestion seriously, I suspect we'd see several million dollars of our money leave the cooperative. I'm down.

--
How do we vote on this issue?

Anna Korenova

I have been a member of MEC since 1995 and have cancelled my membership when I heard about this motion. Anybody who would even consider a move like this is not getting a cent from me.

Howard

Let’s get serious here. Comparing Israel’s history of trying to find a peaceful solution with its Palestinian neighbours and the history of the South African government sponsored systematic oppression of all non-whites is absurd. Israel is a democracy that has embraced all those within its borders that want to participate for the greater good of the country. This is no different than what goes on in Canada. The old South Africa could never make that claim. No country is perfect; find a better argument.

Dick Reilly

I have been a member of MEC for years, currently spending my vacations either sea kayaking off the BC coast or climbing in the Canadian Rockies. I am also a Wilderness EMT and urban Paramedic who spent some time in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip working with a grassroots Palestinian medical aid committee and can attest as an eyewitness to the appalling human rights violations Palestinians there endure at the hands of the Occupation forces. I urge other members of MEC to support this resolution.

Alexa Rose

I have been a member of MEC for over 30 years and have shopped proudly at your Toronto location. I have always seen your company as an ethical and eco friendly organization who I could count on to make the right ethical decisions so I don't have to while I am shopping your merchandise. I really never thought you would bend to the incredibly unfair media propaganda that has hit our sensibilities since the invasion of Gaza. Does Israel not have the right to defend itself? Do their citizens have to live in fear every day? The plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza is incredibly sad, but it is not the fault of Israel, it is the fault of the terrorist organizations that know how to manipulate people and companies like yours to fight and win their battles, and all at the expense of the Palestinian and Israeli civilians caught in the middle. Please don't play into this disgusting political game. Israel is a fair, democratic, eco conscience country, which not only has high standards for human rights, they employ, give medical treatment to all races equally and support peace. A country that just wants to be left alone to grow and prosper. Do they not have that right?
Please don't force me to tear up my membership, I have enjoyed your store for so many years, I would hate to have to leave it, but I will join the many others, in tearing up my MEC membership if you allow yourselves to be pawns in this boycott. Israel is anything but racist and is certainly not an apartheid country.
Don't abandon this boycott because you are afraid of losing members. Abandon it because it is the right thing to do.

Koren Kassirer

I applaud MEC for upholding their existing excellent ethical sourcing policy. This issue SHOULD be about people and business and quality products - independant of political agendas of any kind. Policies of a government do not necessarily reflect individual business owners or employers who would be affected by such a boycott. There are racists everywhere including our own "home and native land".

Koren Kassirer
Bowmanville, Ontario

Ota Vyskocil

If MEC Boycotts Israel, I will boycott MEC.

Ota

Rachele Sochaczevski

I am appalled at this small minded resolution but believe in and support the democratic process. It is my hope that MEC will not allow this boycott to happen. It is the right of every individual to decide for themselves if they want to buy the goods of a particular country. Allowing a few anti-Zionists to remove the right to decide from the majority of MEC customers is an infringement on our basic democratic freedom. Should that happen, myself, as well as most of the people I know, will be sending in our membership cards and shopping elsewhere (for whatever goods from whatever country we choose).

gv2009

It is inappropriate to single out Israel for boycott. I agree with the above comments and would boycott MEC if this policy was accepted. Following in the steps of CUPE Ontario is not acceptable. Stay out of politics and remain committed to what you do best: selling quality outdoor equipment. GV

Dave

I am so impressed and thankful for MEC, and it's continuing forward-thinking ideologies and practices. That said, I think it's only right that every employee and MEC board member and executive should cease to use cell phones, or cellular technology. As it was developed in Israel. Let's not be hypocrites, and follow this through.

The comments to this entry are closed.