Israeli boycott stickers spotted in stores across Canada

'It gives people something to actually do as an expression of their frustration with Israel’s violations of human rights and international law', says campaign group president

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The Independent US

Stickers calling for the boycott of Israeli products have been spotted in stores across Canada.

The bright orange labels have been seen on products made by Israeli companies Sodastream and Keter, and on packaged goods and produce sourced in the country.

They read: “Warning! Do not buy this product. Made in Israel: A country violating international law, the 4th Geneva Convention, and fundamental human rights…#BDS.”

They form part of a campaign by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East – or CJPME - following the Canadian Government’s vote to condemn Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Speaking about the campaign, Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME, said: “The BDS sticky note campaign has been more successful than we could have imagined. We exhausted our original stock in less than one week, and have had to continuously order more sticky notes to meet the demand.  

“We have gotten selfies from across the country – from New Foundland in the east, to Vancouver Island in the west – showing people participating in the campaign.  

“One of the advantages to the BDS sticky notes is that it goes beyond the 'passive' resistance [involved in] the act of boycotting.  

“It gives people something to actually do as an expression of their frustration with Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.”

Last month the Canadian Government overwhelmingly passed a motion which will “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organisations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

Mr Woodley said: “Like many Canadians, I am shocked and upset by politicians’ seeming willingness to threaten and undermine our cherished Canadian right of freedom of speech.  

“Even if they may disagree with our words or our actions, politicians with any conscience would still stand up for our right to voice our opinion.

“Of course, Parliament only took the step to pass a 'motion', but there’s the danger of the 'slippery slope' situation, where at some point in the future, they could pass a law criminalising the act of promoting a boycott of Israel.”

Many companies and several countries have moved to oppose the boycotting of Israeli goods, although Mr Woodley believes the BDS movement is growing in Canada.

“I think the support for boycotting Israel is comparable in Canada as it may be in the UK, or many other Western nations," he said.

“It is not yet a “mainstream” movement in Canada, but I have seen a definite growth in the movement since it was founded in 2005.  

“And like in other Western countries, we have had important successes in Canada: some of the biggest churches and unions have chosen to take steps to apply economic pressure on Israel such that it respects international law."

The British Government last month went one step further than Canada, joining France as the only other European country to make the shunning of Israeli goods by councils and public bodies illegal.

A spokesman for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Government’s decision to ban councils and other public bodies from divesting from trade or investments they regard as unethical is an attack on local democracy.

“People have the right to elect local representatives able to make decisions free of central government political control. That includes withdrawal of investments or procurement on ethical and human rights grounds.”