BIAC supports national Community Radio BDS resolution

The National Community and Campus Radio Association (NCRA) passed a strong BDS resolution at its most recent Annual General Meeting (see resolution text below.) The AGM took place in Halifax, NS on June 10, 2011; Vancouver-area community radio stations that are members of NCRA include Co-Op Radio (CFRO 102.7) and the student radio stations at the University of British Columbia (CITR 101.9) and Simon Fraser University (CJSF 90.1).

BIAC wrote the following letter to NCRA president Catherine Fisher expressing its support for the BDS resolution and NCRA’s commitment to grassroots media work. For more information about NCRA’s resolution, please see its press release and Electronic Intifada coverage.

Dear President Fisher and the NCRA Board,

We write today to congratulate you and the National Campus Community Radio Association for your groundbreaking ethical action of endorsing BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it ends its oppression of the Palestinian people and complies with international law. This action, the first such action by a Canadian media body, follows in the footsteps of Canadian labour institutions such as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, international community media associations like the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, and a growing international movement inspired by the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society for the international community to take up its moral responsibility to stand against injustice and oppression in Palestine through boycott, divestment and sanctions.

In the Vancouver area, NCRA affiliates like Co-Op Radio (CFRO 102.7), and the student radio stations at the University of British Columbia (CITR 101.9) and Simon Fraser University (CJSF 90.1) have been invaluable resources for student and social movements, oppressed communities and silenced voices, creating and providing valuable space in the airwaves that belongs to the community and its people rather than the highest bidder.

Joining the BDS movement and taking a stand for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people – the right of refugees to return, the right to be free of occupation and oppression, the right to equality – and against Israeli apartheid is a position that is consistent – and indeed necessary – with the fundamental principles of community radio. It is a stand that supports the suppressed, occupied and dispossessed voices of Palestinian artists, activists, cultural workers, media makers, and grassroots organizers. It is a stand that – in direct and clear distinction from the corporate media – privileges the voices of those who have been forced to be silent yet have struggled to be heard for over sixty years.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is a movement that says occupation and oppression are unacceptable – and that as communities who uphold justice, liberation and international solidarity, we will come together to say that occupation, dispossession, colonization and oppression will not be normalized by our silence, complicity and participation. It is an opportunity to refuse complicity with occupation and oppression – an opportunity that every Canadian institution should take on, particularly in light of Canada’s own colonial settler nature and the ongoing complicity of the Canadian government in war and occupation.

Any attempt to silence or suppress international solidarity work within community radio is directly contrary to the activist, grassroots, community-based spirit of community radio. We salute NCRA’s decision, and express our strongest support for the resolution passed by NCRA’s membership.

With best regards,
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign (BIAC)
Vancouver, BC

Text of Resolution passed by NCRA (at NCRA site)

2011-F7: Support of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel
Motion submitted by the Equity Officer
(clarify mover/seconder): Carried

Whereas Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people comprises the following:

-Denial of its responsibility for the Nakba – in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession that created the Palestinian refugee problem – and therefore refusal to accept the inalienable rights of the refugees and displaced stipulated in and protected by international law;

-Military occupation and colonization of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza since 1967, in violation of international law and UN resolutions;

-The entrenched system of racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa;

Whereas Israeli media institutions and the vast majority of Israeli journalists have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying the above forms of oppression, or have been complicit in them through their silence;

Whereas all forms of international intervention have until now failed to force Israel to comply with international law or to end its repression of the Palestinians, which has manifested itself in many forms, including siege, indiscriminate killing, wanton destruction and the racist colonial wall;

Whereas people of conscience in the international community of journalists and media producers have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott;

Whereas the growing international boycott movement against Israel has expressed the need for a Palestinian frame of reference outlining guiding principles.

In the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency, and resistance to injustice and oppression –

Be It Resolved That NCRA/ANREC supports the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel;

Be It Further Resolved That NCRA/ANREC representatives comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli media institutions and products as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli media institutions;

2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli media institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international media institutions;

4. Support Palestinian media institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support;

5. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by encouraging that resolutions be adopted by our respective radio stations, associations, and organizations.

Be It Further Resolved That, unless violating any of the above criteria, in the absence of official Israeli sponsorship, the individual product of an Israeli media worker per se is not boycottable.

Be it further Resolved that we do welcome the creation of community radios in Palestine/Israel.

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