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CUPE Ontario resolution on Israeli universities

As you may know, the Council of Canadians has been working with CUPE Ontario on a 20-city ‘Unbottle It’ tour against bottled water (fifteen communities have been visited, with five more to come in April) and on a possible speaking tour later in the year on the Ontario-Quebec economic partnership agreement, which is a version of TILMA.

The CBC reports today that, “Delegates at a Canadian Union of Public Employees conference in Windsor, Ont., have voted in favour of a resolution to boycott Israeli universities to protest against Israel’s recently ended offensive in Gaza.”

The Toronto Star adds, “Although the motion didn’t call for a boycott of individual Israeli academics – as some union members had suggested last month – it encourages union locals to publicly discuss boycotting Israeli universities and to push Canadian universities to end any research or investments that could benefit the Israeli army..”

The Globe and Mail further clarifies that the boycott, “will focus on university programs that research and develop weapons used against Palestinians.”

The Ottawa Citizen quotes CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan saying, “This is not about individual academics, this has nothing to do with individual academics. That was a mistake that I made at the very beginning.”


1 – The Council of Canadians has not taken a position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, other than highlighting the position adopted by Amnesty International at http://www.amnesty.ca/resource_centre/news/view.php?load=arcview&article=4558&c=Resource+Centre+News. We have also noted the Canadian Labour Congress statement at http://canadianlabour.ca/en/canadian-labour-congress-calls-for-support-united-nations-peace-process-middle-east.

2 – We continue to work with CUPE Ontario as allies on the key issues of water, inter-provincial trade and the protection of public services.

3 – The CUPE Ontario resolution is not a boycott against individual Israeli academics, but rather against Israeli university programs that research and develop military weapons used against Palestinians.

4 – The Council of Canadians rejects the use of violence and war, and supports diplomacy and negotiation to settle international conflicts.

5 – We would not support the limiting of academic freedom through a boycott of individual professors, but we have no argument with a call to end weapons research and development conducted by any university in any country.