Canadian co-op rejects Israel boycott

TORONTO (JTA) – Canada’s leading supplier of outdoor clothing and equipment voted down a resolution that would have boycotted Israeli products.

A spokesman for the Mountain Equipment Co-op chain said the Israel resolution was defeated by more than half of participants attending last week’s annual general meeting in Vancouver.

The motion was proposed by British Columbia Teachers for Peace and Global Action, or PAGE, a group affiliated with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

On its Web site, PAGE said it was concerned that selling Israeli-made goods amounts to supporting Israel’s policies, and "MEC’s members may not be aware of their organization’s disturbing lack of concern for the human rights of Palestinians."

The chain sells two products through Israeli companies: seamless underwear and a hydration system for hikers and bikers.

"We’re delighted with this decision, which should be taken as a ringing endorsement of MEC’s outstanding policy on ethical sourcing," said Dr. Michael Elterman, Pacific region chair of the Canada-Israel Committee.

"MEC members across the country were outraged by this attempt by a few hard-line ideologues to hijack the agenda of one of Canada’s most socially responsible organizations," he added. "We’re hopeful that this matter is now definitively closed."

B’nai Brith Canada also applauded the company’s leadership "for its responsible handling of this situation and for its decision to continue its policy of ethical sourcing to all countries that meet its stringent criteria, including Israel."

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