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April 22, 2009

Comments

Andrew

Website of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions:

http://www.icahd.org/eng/

Michele

I sincerely hope that this motion to boycott Israel is not passed at the AGM, as I would then be forced to rescind my long-standing membership with MEC and commence my own personal boycott of your store and it's products. I am sorry that I am unable to attend the AGM meeting to vote against this motion but I will be watching to see what the outcome is.

Rob Baker

How can anyone say that Israel is a free and democratic country?

Sure, you can freely vote for anyone you like - as long as they're jewish! Unless you're blind, there are countless of illegal settlers on Palestinian land.
Palestinians have to cross a ton of border checks just to get to the next town.

Imagine living in Canada and having to cross a border check every time you're going to visit your buddy in the next town or Province.

Yeah, right.

If you feel that its right to boycott palestine because of Hamas then it's only fair to treat the other child the same way.

Stephanie Cole

I've been a member of MEC for more than twenty years and I've purchased hundreds of dollars worth of items from your stores.

I'm really disturbed and disenchanted with the recent revelation that you buy products from Israel. I'm so glad this has been made public. You can't say you ethically "source" material from a country which is carrying out systematic ethnic cleansing. Sorry, it doesn't wash MEC!

Until I hear that you're dropping your Israel products, I will not buy anything from your store and I will encourage my friends and family from to avoid making purchases at MEC.

Lior V

MEC is a company that sells products... and should stick to doing just that, and keep their nose out a very difficult political situation.

As a Jew, I find even allowing the motion to be heard in the AGM a despicable act of racism and bigotry... a baseless public promotion of hatred.

You have not only damaged your brand, you are continuing to damage long standing relationship with loyal customers, and that is just bad business.

I can assure you that if this motion is passed, they MEC will also be facing a slew of boycotts and bad press within and outside the Jewish community.

Jack Shore

Most of the blog comments here are well thought-out and reflect the basic fairness and morality of their authors. An MEC boycott of Israeli goods should be defeated by MEC members or, if passed, rejected by the Executive and Board for the reasons already enumerated by some of your more articulate bloggers. Please also consider this: The teachers and union members who are often at the source of these Israel-singling-out boycotts and divestures, can usually be relegated to one of 2 groups: Anti-Zionists at best, anti-Semites at worst or ignorant fools (which is certainly an indictment on those who are responsible for teaching our children)for not being aware of the history of Israel and the nature of its government and society. Take your pick...in either case it has something seriously negative to say about these people and groups. I, for one, have been a member of MEC for almost 30 years and the the day this resolution is adopted by MEC, is the day that membership will end.

Ken V

As seen in other posted responses the decision to boycott products made in Israel is not a decision for MEC to make. The decision to purchase goods made in Israel should be a personal decision.

The recent war in Gaza was provoked by Hamas and its masters in Iran. The war was provoked in the hope that Israel would incur an atrocity that would isolate her in the world community as a pariah. MEC would be suckers in the propoganda war should a boycott be undertaken.

Further, Israel is pitted against the same enemy, radical Islam, that our Canadian troops are fighting in Afghanistan.

Canada does not proscribe against trade with Israel. What insight does MEC have to better understand the convoluted politics in the Middle East as does our Government?

I can't be at the General Meeting. I want my share voted against the proposal.

Richard Roberts

In response to Rob Baker.
Imagine living in Canada and having buses and starbucks being blown up by suicide bombers !
The checkpoints are to stop suicide bombers who blow up restaurants, buses and coffee shops in Israel. Luckily we don't have that problem in Canada so we dont need checkpoints and security.
In 1970, a few kidnappings by the FLQ in Quebec and Canada initiated the war measures act with tanks running down the streets of Montreal. That is child's play compared to the terrorist attacks Israel faces on a daily basis - yet Canada was quick to bring in the military and checkpoints etc. No country facing what Israel does would do differently and if checkpoints prevent innocent civilians from being blown up then they are a good thing.
You are also wrong about elections in Israel. There are many Arab members of parliament. As a matter of fact it is the only country in the middle east where Arabs are freely elected to a parliament.


Lauren

So what happened last night at the AGM?

David

I am no longer a memeber of MEC. Singling out Israel shows a bias and discrimination.

Igor

Here is a great instructional video that will help you to boycott Israel in your every day life: http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/2009/03/want-to-boycott-israel.html

If you're not going to watch it, I'll share a secret - it's sarcastic.

My personal opinion: there is no question that many Palestinians live in poverty. Now, instead of organizing boycotts, why don’t organize a way to improve Palestinian economy and increase their quality of life? And don’t forget to ask oil-rich countries to help you with that. Think how a small fraction of what is spent in Dubai could help Palestinians! Ever wonder why none of those rich country don’t bother to make a real difference for Palestinian people? Is it because they actually want instability in the region?

David

I fear this is only the beginning of an incredibly divisive issue for our Co-op. Some MEC members have determined it is ok to buy from Israel, regardless of that state's undisputed murderous track record. The apologists for Israel on this list have trotted out the usual rants to justify Israel's use of illegal weapons and murderous assaults on Gaza. Need I remind those who support Israel's record that over 1100 were killed in Gaza as of Feb 2009. MEC members should also be aware that daily human rights violations are ongoing and include the wounding of 20 Palestinian civilians--including 6 children on April 29, 2009. Those who wish to continue to support Israel want the rest of us to believe the state is democratic. It may be, for some. This was true of apartheid South Africa as well and we all agree it was worthy of a boycott and that boycott helped topple a oppressive regime. We should at least to the same for the people of Gaza and Israel. MEC should continue to support states and manufacturers who have fair labour, environmental and human rights records. Israel cannot make the claim to fair treatment of either all its peoples or its neighbours.

daniel

I find it disgusting that the issue to boycott Israeli products has found its way into an outdoor equipment company's agenda. Obviously there are some very ignorant and intolerant people on the board.

The whole "we're trying to be ethical and improve humanity" thing is ridiculous. Either boycott everybody or stay out of politics. I would say if there is a conflict and you want to be ethical, at least you should boycott ALL parties in the conflict. The only problem in this particular case is that boycotting Palestinian products would be useless; they don't make any, unless you want to buy rockets and suicide-bomber kits.

You've just lost another customer.

Mark Comeau

I would add my voice to the majority of others here in sharply denouncing the notion of an Israeli boycott by MEC. MEC has stated its policy eloquently, favoring "buycotts" over boycotts in an attempt to promote ethical treatment of workers from its source countries, many of which can be criticised for their workers and human rights practices. To single out Israel for boycott is hypocritical and a blatant politicization of MEC which I am certain most members would oppose. MEC members surely hold divergent views on numerous political issues, and they do not want or need MEC to represent those views. I am not an expert on the MEC constitution, but surely there is a problem if such a resolution (and this is hardly an "ordinary" resolution)can be passed by the minute fraction of MEC members that can fit into the AGM. If millions of investors can vote by proxy at large corporate AGMs, surely we can do the same at MEC. I am pleased that MEC has reiterated their stance on boycotts and noted that if passed, the resolution would be non binding. It seems clear that regardless of the outcome at the AGM, MEC will not be boycotting Israel. If that turns out not to be the case, I will join others here in cancelling my MEC membership and asking for my deposit back, and I will encourage every other member I know to do the same.

Deena Levenstein

I'm sorry that some people attacked MEC without properly reading up on the issue and understanding that MEC was only allowing what it always does and that is, for members to bid new propositions at the AGM.

I must admit, though, that I wonder, if someone proposed, say, boycotting US products, would that voice be given place to express itself at your AGM? I wonder where MEC draws the line.

I wrote up my experiences as a Jewess at the AGM last night. You are welcome to read it and forward it as you wish. http://deenascreations.com/2009/05/01/israel-boycott-rejected-by-mec-members/

Thank you.

Ahmed

It feels like for my entire adult (or quasi adult life) I've heard nice sounding liberals telling me that they wish that Palestinians woukd resist their occupation using non violent means, which I agree with. But when it comes to us taking a small stand in helping them do that,and responsing to say a boycott of a company which supplies a the IDF, a foreign and illegally occupying military, these same liberals show no courage and are unwilling to take a "political" stand. Their talk about believing in non violent resistance is a joke. They have great sounding rhetoric and fancy policies promoting "ethical standards" and claim that as a "cooperative" they are willing to advance to cause of "human rights" but when it comes to practically implementing such policies, they shy away fearing that they will be seen as "controversial".

The idea that we should look to the Canadian government (in this case Stephen Harper) to initiate a boycott, which is after all a non violent tool aimed to recitfy injustice, as opposed to grassroots groups and civil society strikes me a hierarchal and absurd. Dont we say that the people will lead and the leaders will follow. That may sound like a nice sounding cliche, but I feel it means something. The MEC stated reasons for abstaining here, lead me to belieave that had it followed the same logic there's noi way it would have boycotted apartheid south africa, yet boiycotts from civil osciety, coops, buisnneses, faith groups and others isolated the regime and led to freeing Mandela and political change, not to mention a more humane world. Wer have lots of freedom to act in Canada, we dont lack the ability to speak, yet we are faced with a deficit in terms of coyrage and conviction. We dont like anything that disturbs us from or nice little indiviaul hub. And that's where complicity and complecency come in. The world never changes, and everything stays the same. A shame

miraj k

to those who are arguing about israel being a democracy> well, democracy is not the ultimate virtue. Hitler was democratically elected too!

pls. read this article by Avnery:
http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html

"Fascism is a unique phenomenon and has unique traits: the notion of being a “superior nation”, the denial of the humanity of other nations and national minorities, a cult of the leader, a cult of violence, disdain for democracy, an adoration of war, contempt for accepted morality."

more than israel, it strucks me most that almost all the above traits are now very easily related to America - the godfather of israel.

Cole Debeers

Boycotts were an effective strategy for ending apartheid in South Africa and the apartheid like policies of Israel require similar pressure. MEC needs to really reconsider s purchasing products from Source Vagabond. Source Vagabond clearly states on it's military products' website that it supplies equipment and products to the Israeli military. Amnesty International has condemned the Israeli government for the the murder of over 1500 Palestinians. Now is the time for members to speak up and have MEC take a morally responsible position.

simmonds

I am most pleased to see the decision of the AGM on the recent boycott motion. I will not enter into a political discussion on the middle east , suffice it to say, I am often disheartened at how these motions choose sides. The motions never suggest boycotting of all countries that have governments or factions that profess ideologies that do not mesh with ours. The motion did not address the countries and factions on the other side of this conflict nor did it name countries that support terrorism.

I am pleased to be able to continue to shop at a co-op that is truly a democratic entity which encourages free speech .

Amir

It has to be made clear, technically Israel is an Apartheid State.

No "if"s, "and"s, or "but"s.

Anytime you have a population of people, living among another population of people, and they have fewer rights in nearly all respects...it is an apartheid.

Look it up in the dictionary if you feel inclined to disagree, but you can take your argument with the people who wrote and published the dictionary.

THIS IS NOT THE DEBATE.

The debate is: Is buying from Israel an "ethical sourcing" issue?

In Israel, many Israeli products are made by Palestinian workers, made at Settlements that are outside the jurisdiction of Israeli labour laws. Because of this they are given below minimum wage, work in poor conditions, etc. It's sort of funny because the factory is illegal itself, it shouldn't exist as Settlements are considered illegal under international law.

Israeli worker's right organization Kav LaOved (Hebrew for Worker's Hotline) covers this in greater detail if you'd like to do more research.

So the answer to the question: "is this an "ethical sourcing" issue?" is...possibly, it all depends on the particular product source.

It would be ethical and moral for MEC to ask the companies, from which it gets its products from, how they go about their business. Do they uphold Israeli labour laws (again, many don't because of loopholes caused by factory location and the Palestinian workers who aren't considered Israeli and aren't given the same rights)? Even if they were Israeli-Arabs, they are given fewer rights, so right there you hit a big gray area.

Many people here dismissing the proposal, have interestingly not commented on the issue itself. Rather, they've simply labelled the people as "anti-Israel" and "anti-Zionist").

It would be nice if someone against this proposal could comment on the rights of Israeli-Arabs, the rights of Occupied Palestinians, and the labour laws of Israel as well as its shaky application (to Israel's credit attempted to ratify and enforce in 2007, but failed to close all loopholes that allows the practice to continue).

I think my stance (to ask the Israeli company about their practices) is perfectly fair, and I personally think it should apply to every source of product from nations with poor human rights records and anti-democratic practices (such as Apartheid). This way, no country is singled out, and yet MEC gets to uphold an ethical and moral standard.

That is, if MEC is truly interested in ethical sourcing. If it comes down to a vote and this proposal is rejected (without ratification to investigate the company, and not the country, which is what I think would be reasonable)...then MEC is simply being dictated by the majority opinion rather than ethical standards.

Neville

This Boycott Mountain Co-op organizing that is going on is nothing more then Anti-semitism and racism raising it ugly head.
This is the true colors of anti-Semites.
It is deplorable to see that people have nothing better to do with there time then to target a legitimate company like Mountain Co-op. We do not have time to play games like this during an economic down turn.

Mountain Co-op you are a great company and you do great work.

Kim Harrison

What do you have for sale that's made in Israel? I'd like to buy some of it!

Dusty

Is it true that sales of Israeli products (in particular, long underwear)increased 2000% since the MEC buycott was proposed?

We've heard there was a 69% increase just this weekend.

Did you ever think this strategy might not be effective?

s

Nothing MEC sells could not be made in Canada that would end the abusive states making stuff to use. As a low 1000's member from the 80's I have not shopped there since the balance outside the tech stoves became globally sourced. Disgusted beyond belief with the greed straight up greed MEC has pursued. Hunters and mining guys report far more poachers than the urban wanna be outdoor types will ever do protecting the environment but they won't go for market-focused fashion. As Canada's independence of production for real goods disappears remember to thank fake corporations like MEC tightly linked with carbon taxing Suzuki foundation all based on fudged science. China is at level 3 car emissions, europe level 6 big difference MEC benefits from same planet.
Upset Canuck dormant member,

Don Heppner

The recent resolution regarding the proposed boycott of goods from Israel has drawn my attention to MEC's policy on ethical sourcing. It seems very clear that MEC's idea of ethical sourcing is limited to the health and welfare of factory workers. This is noble and supportable. However as things stand now, an MEC source company can dump their effluent into the river and fund terrorist groups but as long as they treat their workers well, MEC will continue to buy from them. As a long term member (I am the 212th member) I find this to be seriously lacking and very disappointing. In 2010 I had expected that MEC would be doing more. I want them to do more.

I am not advocating country wide boycotts. Boycotting countries on principle is difficult because you can end up boycotting yourself. E.g. in Canada we murder seals and polar bears for profit, we oppose improved measures for managing blue fin tuna and we do little to limit global warming. However I think MEC should look at individual companies more closely. From what I have read, Source Vagabond seems to be a company that should be reassessed.

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