By Marion Kawas
Did you know that Air Canada has been outsourcing maintenance work for its B787 jets to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)? And that IAI is the largest state owned defence and aerospace company in Israel?
In fact, IAI is the subject of boycotts across Europe and is well-known for its drone technology and production.
Corporate Watch in the UK says that “IAI was one of the earliest developers of drone technology and launched its first surveillance drone, the IAI Scout, in 1979…”
IAI writes on its website of its drones ‘unsurpassed track record of over 1,200,000 operational flight hours for over 50 users on five continents’.
According to Drone Wars UK, IAI has exported their UAVs, sometimes through joint venture agreements, to various European countries as well as South America, Australia, Canada and India and the company has a growing market in Africa.”
And a 2014 study entitled “Sleepless in Gaza” by Dr. Atef Abu Saif, Al-Azhar University in Gaza, has detailed the terrifying impact of drone warfare on the Gaza Strip, especially on children, and states:
“Since their first use in 2000, drones have led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians and have injured thousands more. In addition, they have directly negatively impacted Palestinian psychological and social life, as well as causing a grossly negative impact on education.”
Two years ago, BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish started a global campaign targeting Air Canada, which is now being relaunched.
As international efforts become more focused on Israel’s military defense industry, it is high time that corporations like Air Canada are held accountable for their complicity in Israeli war crimes.
Although any outsourcing of its maintenance work was originally considered illegal and even challenged in Canadian courts, the current Trudeau government has recently made moves to change the law and allow Air Canada more “labour flexibility”.
The campaign is calling on people to inform their union, church, and community or political groups and encourage them to sign the petition and show solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as workers in Canada.
Air Canada also has direct routes to several Arab capitals, including a regular route to Dubai and new seasonal routes to Casablanca and Algiers. Hopefully BDS activists and supporters in those countries can take up the boycott call as well as pressuring their governments and the appropriate agencies to re-examine their relationship with a corporation that is complicit with Israeli military aggression against the Palestinians.
Furthermore, Air Canada includes Sabra Hummus and Guacamole on some of their in-flight food and drink menus.
Sabra Hummus has already been an issue of controversy on university campuses in the U.S. and Canada because of the deplorable human rights record of one of its partner companies, Strauss Group.
Strauss is the second largest Israeli food and beverage company and is known for supporting two Israeli military units implicated in human rights abuses, the Golani and Givati brigades.
The campaign concluded its new statement by saying: “It is truly shameful that Air Canada is ‘outsourcing’ its maintenance work to this Israeli defense company that is directly responsible for the deaths of Palestinian civilians.
“We call on all supporters of Palestinian rights and social justice to check all other possible options before finalizing your travel plans. Send the message to Air Canada that Israeli government abuses of international law will not be rewarded with your travel dollars!”
(See background info on original campaign.)
– Marion Kawas is a long-time pro-Palestinian activist, a member of BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish and co-host of Voice of Palestine. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.