- Friday, August 12th at 8pm
1430 Rue Saint-Denis
For over 80 years and since the Arab revolt in Palestine in 1936, the Palestinian people have been struggling against the seizure of their land in a Zionist colonial project that began even before the British Mandate on Palestinian territory. Since the “Nakba” (Catastrophe) of 1948, the destruction, exploitation and control of Palestine by the State of Israel is one of the most recent cases of Western colonialism on indigenous lands.
Despite condemnation by the “international community” for its illegality, including by the United Nations, Israeli expansionism continues through the violent bombing of civilian neighbourhoods, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population, and ongoing detention, imprisonment and killings – thus making Israel an “eternal dissident” on human rights.
Today, while half of Palestinians still live in exile, the other half suffers on a daily basis from bullying, harassment, discrimination and physical and psychological violence on their own land. Gaza, symbol of the Palestinian resistance, is now an open air prison for those who live there. Nevertheless, the Palestinian struggle continues and Palestinian women and men are killed on a daily basis.
Peoples, united, will never be defeated
Given the complicity of many governments with the State of Israel, including Canada , solidarity with the Palestinian struggle is at the forefront of all fights against imperialism, and to defend justice in the world. This international solidarity takes different forms, some of which take direction from Palestinians themselves.
For example, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) stands out for its grassroots origin. This international call from Palestinian civil society demands the end of occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, the dismantling of the Wall and the lifting of the Gaza blockade, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and respect of the right of return for Palestinian refugees. For ten years, the BDS campaign has been gradually expanding, becoming increasingly successful, and is beginning to be seen as a serious threat by the Zionists strategists and their allies.
Precisely because of this success, reflecting a willingness of people to unite against what has become an apartheid state, the counter-attack has begun. In France, activists are brought to court; in the United States and Great Britain, organizations have had their budget cuts; while in Canada the Parliament recently passed a motion against the BDS campaign. These actions are oriented towards the same clear and unprecedented objective: to reduce the growing support to the BDS campaign by criminalizing organizations and individuals that support it.
The first “Northern” World Social Forum rejects BDS
In 2012, a special edition of the World Social Forum (WSF) devoted to Palestine, in Brazil, called for “the strengthening of solidarity and boycott against the apartheid state.” Yet, despite the will of the grassroots movements, four years later, the first “Northern” World Social Forum refuses to respect the call for BDS. We regret and strongly condemn this position.
While the WSF 2016 takes place in another colonial state, it is essential to ensure that anti-globalization activist spaces are truly “without Apartheid,” that is to say without Israeli products or companies targeted by BDS, and without Israeli organizations that are not explicitly anti-colonial. Any other position – such as, for example, a supposed “political neutrality” of this gathering – in fact corresponds to a refusal to support the call of the Palestinian people.
It is also essential that the International Committee of the WSF be committed to implementing the principles of the BDS campaign, in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people, to achieve the goals set by the Palestinians at the launch of the campaign.
It is in this spirit that we invite all people opposed to Western imperialism and engaged for social justice, from Turtle Island to Palestine, to march through the streets of Montreal to express solidarity with Palestinians and all indigenous peoples. Say it again: Free, Free, Palestine!
 Let us recall that the majority of federal parties have supported and continue to support Israel in its expansion, either directly or indirectly.