Canadian union adopts Israel boycott resolution


TORONTO (JTA) — Jewish groups denounced a resolution by one of Canada’s largest unions that approves a boycott of Israeli universities.

Delegates at a Canadian Union of Public Employees conference of Ontario university locals on late Sunday adopted a resolution that would cut partnerships between universities in Ontario and universities in Israel.

The non-binding resolution is intended to protest Israel’s recent military action in Gaza. It now heads to CUPE Ontario’s annual convention in May for further debate.

According to a CUPE Ontario news release, the motion also "encourages research into military connections between Ontario and Israeli universities, and calls on Ontario universities to refuse to conduct research that benefits the Israeli military."

The union stressed the resolution does not call for a boycott of individual Israeli academics. That is a step back from the union’s pledge last month that it would seek a ban on Israeli academics at Ontario universities if they did not explicitly condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Also last month, CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan apologized for comparing Israel’s bombings of academic institutions in Gaza to actions perpetrated by the Nazis.

B’nai Brith Canada has called the latest resolution "discriminatory and racist."

The Canadian Jewish Congress expressed its "sadness and bitter disappointment" at the motion. CEO Bernie Farber called it "bigoted and anti-Israel. It diminishes a once proud union."

The union represents 200,000 government and other public sector workers, including the staff at most Ontario universities. Some locals have said they would not support the resolution.

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