CJPME Applauds CUPE Manitoba for Endorsing BDS, Opposing Israeli Apartheid

Montreal, June 8, 2023Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) congratulates the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Manitoba) for endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. BDS is a Palestinian-led movement to put economic pressure on Israel until it complies with international law. A resolution unanimously adopted by delegates at the CUPE Manitoba Convention on May 17-19 resolved to “support the [BDS] movement to end Israeli Apartheid and the oppression of Palestinians.” CUPE Manitoba represents approximately 37,000 workers in Manitoba.

“We are thrilled to see CUPE Manitoba join other labour organizations across the country who have responded to the call from Palestinian civil society to endorse BDS,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. “We congratulate CUPE Manitoba for acknowledging that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians, which reflects the emerging consensus in the human rights sector. BDS is an appropriate tool to address this crime against humanity,” added Woodley.

CJPME notes that a significant number of major Canadian unions have already endorsed the BDS movement, which was founded in 2005. CUPE Ontario adopted the first landmark resolution in support of the BDS movement in 2006, followed by similar motions adopted by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (2008), the Public Service Alliance of Canada (2012), the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (2015), Unifor (2017), and Centre International De Solidarité Ouvrière, a coalition of more than 60 Québec trade unions and civil society organizations (2021), among others. Since 2021, resolutions endorsing the imposition of various sanctions on Israel – such as an arms embargo and a ban on trade with settlements – have been adopted by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), and the labour-affiliated New Democratic Party (NDP).

CUPE Manitoba’s recognition that Israel is committing apartheid against Palestinians is consistent with a crystalizing consensus in the human rights sector. In the last three years, the term apartheid to describe Israeli policies has been adopted by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN experts, 20+ leading Israeli human rights groups, and almost 200 Palestinian organizations. In Canada, these findings have been amplified or endorsed by CUPE Ontario, the leadership of the NDP and the Green Party of Canada, MPs from multiple parties, Québec solidaire, and civil society groups including Black Lives Matter, the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario, and the Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers).