Quarterly Updates for (16 Aug 2017 — 15 Nov 2017)


Canada was a hotbed of boycott-related activity this quarter. Unifor National, the country’s largest private-sector trade union, endorsed BDS at its annual convention in Winnipeg on 8/18–20. The organization specifically called for BDS actions with regard to “sectors of Israel’s economy and society [that] profit from the ongoing occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories.” Then, on 11/5, the Canadian BDS Coalition announced that Air Canada’s “five-year, multi-million-dollar contract with Israel Aerospace Industries Bedek Aviation Group for heavy maintenance on Air Canada Boeing 767 jets was terminated in ‘early 2017,’ with 2 years remaining.” According to a report at the Electronic Intifada, the contract was worth tens of millions of dollars, and the #AirCanadaComplicity campaign won the support of trade unions and Palestinian solidarity groups across Canada. Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, reportedly told the activists that the work was being transferred to another contractor, but didn’t offer an explanation.

There were a handful of boycott-related developments elsewhere in the world as well. On World Photography Day (8/19), a group of more than 40 Portuguese photographers as well as photography teachers and students took a pledge not to accept professional invitations or financing from Israel and to refuse partnerships with Israeli cultural institutions complicit in the occupation. On 9/25, the Palestine Support Network Australia (PSNA) announced that the Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section, which delivers health care in the Australian outback, canceled a planned partnership with Elbit Systems, an Israeli arms maker, following an 18-mo. PSNA-led boycott campaign. Leading up to the Round Tables culinary festival (11/ 5–10), which features internationally renowned chefs cooking in Tel Aviv restaurants, Irish chef JP McMahon and Peruvian chef Mitsuharu Tsumura withdrew from the event following appeals from BDS activists not to participate in “culinary propaganda.” Finally, Jordan BDS reported (10/3) that the local branch of UN Women was dropping its contracts with G4S, making it the 5th UN agency based in Jordan to cut ties with the UK security contractor.


The University of Michigan’s (UM) central student govt. passed (11/15) a resolution calling on the Board of Regents to assemble a comm. to investigate the university’s investments in 3 companies complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands—Boeing, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and United Technologies. BDS activists at UM have been pushing for a divestment resolution since at least 2014. Each previous attempt failed, in part, because of intervention from pro-Israel groups outside the school.