Response to attacks by a Canada-Israel Committee front group

An Israeli soldier patrols Palestinian homes in Hebron. Photo: Jon Elmer © 2004

I recently received news that a web site known as "Buycott Israel," a project of the Canada-Israel Committee, has attacked my campaign for the board of directors of MEC. An alert sent out on March 4th reads in part:

This year, we want to alert you to the fact that a variety of anti-Israel groups are asking their members to vote for Dru Oja Jay.

We therefore encourage MEC members NOT to vote for than Dru Oja Jay.

They also endorsed three of my fellow candidates, citing their opposition to a boycott of Israeli products.

Everyone has a right to endorse candidates.

But the way that the Canada-Israel Committee and blindly pro-Israel advocacy groups have conducted their campaigns against boycotts is irresponsible, and serves to shut down the possibility of debate.

For example, they paint groups as "anti-Israel," as if they were equally against Natalie Portman, Martin Buber and Amira Hass, motivated by a hatred of their Israeliness. In fact, groups like Tadamon! and Independent Jewish Voices do not fit this description. To my knowledge, they are motivated to fight for the basic rights of Palestinians (not to mention the ongoing military assault and land theft they endure day-to-day), which no one can deny have been violated by the Israeli government for many decades now. Many Israelis have also joined in this fight.

Not surprisingly, the Canada-Israeli Committee front has also neglected to characterize my campaign beyond smearing some groups that support me.

There is a simple reason for that: my platform is not particularly controversial.

I simply state that companies which benefit from war and occupation should not be considered ethical suppliers, and that for the MEC membership to make a decision on a boycott of Israel, they need to be informed. I believe that the co-op is doing itself a disservice by attempting to limit debate and member involvement, when it should be embracing it.

For anyone who believes that war and occupation are not ethical, and believes that MEC should make space for informed debate instead of the mudslinging undertaken by the Canada-Israeli Committee front, please take five minutes to vote and spread the word about my campaign.

» If you've ever shopped at MEC, you're a member and you can vote here.

» Visit the how to help page for ideas on how to spread the word.