Open Letter to Co-Op Radio Board and Members: Supporting BDS is necessary

To the Board of Directors and Members of Co-Op Radio;

The Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver (BIAC) was deeply disappointed to learn that the resolution in support of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (see below) proposed by the Voice of Palestine was rejected at the Co-Op Radio Annual General Meeting on November 27, 2011.

Co-Op Radio (CFRO 102.7) has been a valuable resource to grassroots and progressive movements and oppressed and marginalized communities in the Vancouver area throughout its history. It has been the home for the Voice of Palestine, an internationally-respected radio program representing the struggle of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian civil society has issued a “call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel” until it complies with international law and recognizes and implements Palestinian rights. BIAC was formed in response to that clarion call for the people of the world to act when international bodies have remained complicit with occupation and apartheid.

Adopting a BDS resolution is a position that is consistent – and indeed, necessary – to the principles of community radio. Support for BDS is support for Palestinian activists, artists, media makers and grassroots organizers, and their own repressed community and collective institutions. Supporting BDS means standing 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, the right to self-determination – and against Israeli apartheid.

It is a stand that, in direct distinction from the corporate media and in the best tradition of Co-Op and community radio, privileges the voices of those who have been forced to be silent yet have continued to raise their voices clearly for over sixty years. Support for BDS rejects complicity with occupation and oppression. This rejection of complicity is particularly important in recognition of Canada’s own colonial settler nature and the ongoing complicity of the Canadian government in war and occupation, in Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti, Libya and elsewhere.

For these reasons and others, the National Community and Campus Radio Association of Canada, of which Co-Op Radio is a member, passed a strong resolution in support of BDS on June 10, 2011 at its own AGM, itself following in the footsteps of AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, a network of over 4,000 community radio broadcasters worldwide, which adopted BDS in December 2010. We were also disappointed to learn that Co-Op Radio’s representatives voted “no” or abstained on NCRA’s resolution, an action that makes Co-Op Radio’s own adoption of a BDS resolution even more relevant and necessary.

BIAC urges the Co-Op Board to support BDS, and for this resolution to be accepted and approved at the 2012 Co-Op Radio Annual General Meeting.

BIAC is committed to working with Voice of Palestine and other organizations to make this resolution a reality and to provide all information and support needed to adopt this resolution and move to support BDS, the call of Palestinian civil society, and the rights of the Palestinian people.

Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver

BDS Resolution Introduced at Co-Op Radio 2011 AGM by Voice of Palestine

“Whereas Coop Radio has a long tradition of social justice advocacy in many areas, and
Whereas in 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights, and
Whereas both The World Association of Community Broadcasters AMARC and our national network in Canada, NCRA, have supported the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel –

Therefore be it resolved that Vancouver Cooperative Radio supports the call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel,
And be it resolved that Co-op Radio will explore ways to implement that support,
And be it further resolved that we will support alternative media outlets in Palestine/Israel.”

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