Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crushing defeat for the BDS conference in Montreal

par Comité Québec-Israël

The Boycott-Israel conference that ended Sunday in Montreal was supposed to show the growing momentum for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. With barely 100 activists attending the closing plenary Sunday afternoon at UQAM, it is clear that the BDS movement has no noticeable traction or support in Quebec. Even the participation of media-hyped Amir Khadir, Quebec Solidaire MNA, was not enough to attract curious participants to a session meant to outline the goals of suspending the Quebec-Israel Cooperation Agreement and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

Since its launch in Quebec, the BDS campaign has achieved nothing but dismal failures ; failures which it amazingly claims as successes, thanks to an absurd rhetoric that only seem to fool its own followers.

In fact, since the launch of the BDS campaign, the commercial and cultural links between Quebec and Israel have grown enormously and have never been as solid or diversified.

- In 2007, the Quebec Government renewed and expanded the Quebec-Israel Cooperation Agreement in the areas of culture, education, science and technology, health, economics and commerce.

- In 2008, the Quebec Minister of Economic Development led the largest ever Canadian commercial delegation to Israel, and signed an additional Cooperation Agreement with Israel targeting economics and technology.

- In 2008, the most influential business magazine in Quebec, Les Affaires, published a 16 page report called the « miracle israélien », underlining the extraordinary growth of the Israeli economy, especially in the high tech sector, while pointing out the many similarities between the Israeli and Quebec economies for which Israel could serve as a model.

- This year, La Presse demonstrated the growing interest of the Quebec business world in Israel by publishing a series of 10 articles that explore Israeli exploits in terms of innovation, research and development and suggested that Quebec follow the Israeli model to increase competitiveness and growth in Quebec.

- Most recently, Bombardier, the Quebec leader in aeronautics and rail transportation, signed a $185 million contract in Israel.

- Junior Chambers of Commerce across Quebec are promoting commercial exchanges with Israel.

If these are the types of so-called victories that we can expect from the BDS movement, we hope to see many more in the near future. And if in fact there is a serious movement to boycott Israel in Quebec, as is the claim of its organizers, it has been so marginalized that no one knows that it exists.

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