« Renewable Energy and Renewal in China | Main | Israel, Apartheid and Boycotts Part 2 »

April 21, 2009


Peter Larson

Hi MEC members,
I support a boycott of Israel. Not because it is "not democratic" but because, as Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have said, it practices apartheid.

However, I also support MEC's decision to wait until its members vote. MEC is a democratic organisation. If a majority of its members vote against a boycott - that's fine. We'll just have to wait until next year.

In the mean time, anybody who wonders if "apartheid" is too strong a word, or just an exaggeration, should take a trip to Israel and visit the occupied territories to judge for themselves.

Peter Larson


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Mark Park

The motion to boycott israeli goods is absurd. If one were to start boycotting countries that practice violence and drop bombs on others wouldnt the US be top of the list? How did this even become a motion?

Its great that kanadians are so "open minded" and concerned about world affairs. True post 9/11 alot of people of all cultures are somewhat more sympathetic to muslem /arabs targeted in the war on terror. But is really centering on Israelis defending themselves and killing a thousand or so civilians any worse than what has been going on in the world for centuries? Oh i guess we didnt have mass media before the 20th century. Watch out for swine flu and the recession two horrible things that wouldnt exist for many of us if it werent for the internet and tv cvoverage!!!

I am somewhat ashamed to be a MEC member. I will keep shopping and will never boycott anyone as long as no one drops bombs on me.


I think as a consumer we should make decisions that will bring awareness to the world. Yes, I support ending the sourcing to Israel to show that their political daily decisions are affecting the lives of the Palestinians. we all should push to end apartheid.
END SOURCING TO ISRAEL. I will be MEC customer again!

paul phillips

Once again it is the actions of corporations
that pit people against each other.Regardless of the rationalisations used,it's all about money.
No matter what the organisation is called ie firm,company,co-op,it is defined by its' actions,most frequently,as in this case,defence of the bottom line.
Nothing justifies suffering,especially that of children.You can put on the Pontius Pilate hand-washing act for only so long.
Forget the demagogues on all sides Face the main question.How do we work together to bring peace?One thing is certain.It is not
done by buying from manufacturers that make
war materials
If this means carrying fewer goods,so be it.
It's called CO-OPERATIVISM, and yes,people,
that name has it's roots in something called

Andrew Oakes

Instead of boycotting Israeli products, I propose a compromise. Israeli products should be clearly marked with a large, yellow star of David (hey – it worked for the Nazis). Customers could then make an informed choice about whether or not to buy Israeli/Jewish sporting goods. As an added benefit, any customer (who might be Jewish, sympathetic to Jewish causes, or maybe just want to buy some outdoor gear) could easily be identified as a Jew. This symbol might be very convenient for the growing number of people in Canada who want to import racial tension; particularly on university campuses, such as York or Concordia, where Jews are being intimidated, threatened and assaulted.
By the same logic, I think customers should be allowed to make an informed choice about whether they want to be served by Jewish MEC staff. After all, there is the potential that these people could be Israeli supporters. Jewish staff should be asked to wear a large yellow star as part of their uniforms. This measure would be necessary because, unlike blacks or other people of colour, you can’t always spot Jews to shun them.
Jewish customers shouldn’t be left out-perhaps a yellow star on their membership card and an extra tax as repatriations for Arab suffering?
I am very glad to hear that more and more businesses are taking a stand against Israel and Jews. I applaud MEC’s principled stand against the problems Jews pose. MEC joins other progressive unions, such as Canada Post’s union (refusing to deliver Jewish mail), and CUPE (forcing Jewish teachers in colleges and universities as a condition of employment to denounce other Jews) who wish to single Jews out for punishment. Perhaps someday stores, businesses, communities can become Jew free. Even baby steps like a MEC Israeli boycott can help make it happen.


What a nice and unique experience to see that almost all the comments here (I think, except one) is supportive of continued business with the Israeli company to MEC. I will try to make it tomorrow in order to show my support there; my support, as usual, to stop this totally subjective and illogical focus on Israel, a country whose story is almost always skewed by the media.

By the way, the Israeli company in question happens to be of extremely high moral value, including trying to better the "Palestinian" situation. You can read about it here: As usual, the pro-Palestinian position seems to prefer to throw not only the Jews into the sea but the Palestinians out with the bathwater.

See you tomorrow!

D. Liz

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.

Canada Park exists within Israel's current borbers where three Palestinian villages once stood.

Available on the net for viewing see: Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Mark Park

why the overfocus on israel? what about the atrocities commited in afrika and middleeast everyday? What about the systematic imprisonment of millions of poor minorities in the US? What about goverment corruption and brutality in china? Should we figure out the source of all suspect items sold by our beloved MEC and boycott all those whose country of origin slightly offends our sense of equality as we sip our starbucks and live off student loans, EI and welfare? Shouldnt we boycott ourselves for the horrible way the immigrants of the last 100 years have treated first nation people.

Once again why the focus on Israel?

Despite the atrocities they commit isnt their main objective defensive and self survival/

How hypocritical you point your finger at Israel when quite a few of your beloved arab countries willing admit they are ready for genocide of the jewish people

I too am tired of people who continue to use slavery and the holocaust an excuse for certain cultures/peoples but why the hatred for Israel?

I am reluctant to call out anti-semitism but am dumbfounded at the rise of resentment towards jews and israeli these days

Remember they have all the money and are probably responsible for the recession, 9/11 and your pathetic finicial situation

Hypocrites in starbucks and MEC who have never left the safe confines of namerica other than backpacking through europe should really find something better to do...

The other day I rewatched news footage covering the SARs epidemic in spring/summer of 2003 and guess what? I caught SARs again

Remember to wear your masks


MEC should consider bringing together Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs. Lots of moderates in the Middle East have had their voices silenced because there is so very little opportunity for them to do things together.

Encourage them to form, for example, a factory whose Jewish and Muslim workers would together produce goods for MEC and other outdoor retailers.

Bringing people together is a proven way to diffuse tensions.

anne sandor

I am not Israeli and I am not Jewish. I am opposed to many of the actions of Israel in Gaza. However, I am opposed to boycotts ( eg the initiative at UBC to boycott Israeli universities and academics ) which destroy bridges rather than buiding them.
I am also opposed to special interest groups hyjacking organisations and using them for their own purposes. The BCTF should concentrate on the interests of the teachers and children of this province and leave MEC to continue doing what they have done for so long...ethically source their products.

Dale Shpak

The ONLY relevant point is that Israel openly and officially practices apartheid. If you try to justify it by speaking of the atrocities (from either side of the conflict), you will sound exactly like the arguments that were made to justify apartheid in South Africa.
Have a look at UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 which passed in 1975 equating Zionism with racism. It was overturned in 1991 after very intense lobbying by Israel.
But, apartheid is still apartheid.

Mark Park

Dear Dale Shpak

your aurgument sucks---- horrible things occur everyday in all countiries but i guess labeling Israelis Militarys Actions apartheid makes your life easier to understand. Remember the kanadian mossad is watching you and the rest of us jews are counting our money that we "jewed" from all the other hardworking canadians who fill trailerparks and ei lines. Apartheid is just a word kinda like jew or israeli. People like you make me actually prouder of my heritage through your ignorance.

I will research Resolution 3379 as you suggested.

Every day a first nations person gets drunk after visiting a bc liquor store its racism you know.

Life is simple when your ignorant.

Spare some change?

Janice Clarfield

Quoting my friend HB:

The real issue is that it is inappropriate for our co-operative outdoor store to take sides in a political conflict. Its job is to sell us quality products at fair prices not to act as a platform for political opinions. MEC has already made this their policy, and unless the board of directors change, it will remain so. MEC also has a clear policy regarding labour and factory standards and environmental standards, all factories should be judged by those principles not their country of origin. If we go down the slippery slope of selective boycott, China will be next and eventually we should boycott Canada and sell the stores, because after all we are on stolen Indian land.


I think that MEC has a couple of ethical actions it could take:

1) Boycott any goods that support a militaristic Israeli state. There is a military occupation happening, and I don't think MEC should be in denial about this. There is a difference between respecting individual Jewish people (which I do), and supporting a military state (which is Israel, which I don't think MEC should support). MEC should not confuse the two.

2) Only purchase goods that have the support or approval of (nonprofit) Palestinian-Israeli partnership organizations. These organizations exist, and they deserve our support in their ongoing efforts toward cultivating peace. Many of them, interestingly enough, are led by women, who are the majority of courageous peacemakers so far. See for example:

Please use your power wisely. Find a way to support peace-making efforts, rather than pretending (and miserably failing to convince us) that your decisions do not have political impact. So-called "neutrality" favours those who have the big tanks and well-equipped army, not the Palestinian children throwing rocks in rebellion against at the long term and entrenched oppression of their land. Find a fair trade way to move through this landmine, or get out of Israel.


Excellent statement. I agree entirely.

1. I support Israel's right to exist.
2. I believe members should have the right to put any boneheaded thing they wish to a vote.
3. I'm glad my co-op is confining its efforts to focussing on the condition of individual workers in its supply chain, and not getting involved in other political issues.


I'm disappointed that so many of the respondents are willing to continue to support the policy of ethnic cleansing by Israel. It's not enough to say that MEC will adhere strictly to workplace issues in the factories where the MEC products are produced.

I think that if you investigate you will find that at least one of the factories where MEC products are made is built on land seized without compensation from Palestinians. This is one of the greatest injustices which continues to feed the conflict in occupied Palestine.


You might note that Source, the supply of hydration products to MEC, is also an important and enthusiastic supplier of hydration packs to the Israeli defense forces, and Source products were almost certainly used by IDF soldiers participating in the recent brutal attacks in Gaza (though this information isn't easy to get without being on the ground there).

David Coleman

Who in their right mind would boycott Israel . It is not perfect and it has a lot of work to do . BUT It is the best over there . Stop making all your things in China if you what to do some good . There is a country that need a boycott !

David Coleman

Sorry but if this stupid boycott is put in I will stop shopping at MEC

Jiri Adler

I would like to invite all of those who brought forward and then supported this motion to read Hamas’ charter – just perhaps for illustration. I also might add that Hamas is refusing even now to change its Charter and to recognize the state of Israel.
Quotes from Hamas Charter
"Hamas has been looking forward to implementing Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!" (Article 7)

"[Peace] initatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: "Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware."" (Article 13)
I find it really offensive that organizations such Mountain Equipment Coop would even consider such actions. I find it preposterous that anybody would even suggest racism towards Palestinians and not notice so many facts that suggest to contrary (see above). The naked truth is that Palestinians could have their country long ago (to be specific in 1947 UN resolution 181), and instead decided to wage the war against the Jews – please, note that this is not a typo – the war was not just simply against Israel, it was against the Jews. That this racism is not a two-way street in this case is well documented. For instance - there are Muslims in Israeli Army and now even a Muslim general.
We all know but many choose not to see that Israel keeps responding against attacks carried purposely against civilian population (those 7000 rockets fired at the direction of Israel were not aimed against military bases, they were aimed against civilians). When Israel responds (and any country in the world would have responded under same circumstances), it actually warns civilians prior to any bombings or attacks. That all those “brave” Hamas and Hezbollah fighters choose to use civilians as human shield is true, but one could hardly blame Israelis for that. Actually, judging by the resolution brought forth by some members of the Mountain Equipment Coop and judging by some responses here, obviously some people can.
Hamas and such managed to obstruct any peace settlement that would have been beneficial to all parties involved. In Arafat’s case one should not be really surprised, because his “struggles” brought him riches he never could dream about (and this, by the way, is not a rumor – this has been proven). One could only wonder about his followers. But one could not and really should not wonder about the fact that our money are used to fuel this incredible racism in Palestine. Books for children that are full of hatred against the Jews are printed for our money. I am not even mentioning the possibility that our tax dollars are used to purchase rockets to be used against Israeli civilians. I would also like to point out that if your thinking is that we are talking just about some Jews in a far away country and who really cares, you should start thinking again. The Jews are the first target and but all other “infidels” are to follow.

Chase Thyheart

Despite it's complexities.. The suffering of Palestinians is not a mystery; refusing to take part of an international dispute by using the equation that boycotting a country based on policy is like RACIAL PROFILING is perfectly flawed. MEC is at the HEART of the conflict because they supply a repressive regime who's very existence is based on the expulsion if not extermination of Palestinians whose land was given to the Zionists by Colonial Powers. Like those powers MEC continues to supply, employ, contribute to the economy (which is then translated into ammunition, rockets, snipers and secret service that detain and torture Palestinians on a daily basis) There are other countries like Turkey, Poland, Germany and Even Canadians are capable of becoming MEC's alternate human resource. IT IS WORTH MENTIONING THAT ALL THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG HAVE 1 MONOTONIC VOICE. ON A MATTER THAT IS HIGHLY CHARGED AND EXTREMELY POLARIZED BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND THE REST OF THE WORLD.. I urge MEC to think of the 400 children that died as a result of IDF indiscriminate attack on civilians.. every dollar MEC contributes to an economy of Horror, they bare the stain of blood on their hands too.. supplying the drug addict with their next fix while pretending to be their Humanity-loving friend is no less hypocritical then to supply a War machine with the means ($) to develop its killing technologies and thus MEC is partly responsible and is directly involved in the Palestinian Suffering.. By not Boycotting Israeli cooperation.. MEC you've already picked sides... You're on German side of the fence .. staring down at the Hell of Auschwitz (Gaza and W. Bank) and breathing down with smiley profits the very stench of scorched skin... Resistance is Fertile...

The comments to this entry are closed.