Hydration packs and special seamless underwear don’t seem the stuff of raw emotion.
But a controversial boycott of Israeli goods, starting with items sold in Toronto’s cool non-profit outfitter Mountain Equipment Co-op, has made them just that.
A consumer protest has recently been adopted by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a Montreal-based organization not previously a player in the boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement. In the last year, CJPME has held speakers’ forums in Toronto that attracted several hundred people each.
The fact that the group (former Liberal cabinet minister Warren Allmand sits on its board) has adopted the BDS strategy may signal a new level of frustration among human rights groups and create more challenges for activists who want to limit a boycott to Israeli goods from occupied Palestinian zones.
“We are pro-justice and pro-international law,” says CJPME president Thomas Woodley. “When we launched CJPME, we were not thinking about a boycott campaign. But it is really an inevitable evolution, [after] the International Court of Justice passed a scathing resolution against Israel [on the security wall] and yet nothing has happened. Most progressively minded people would say it’s worthwhile to [exert] economic pressure,” he says.