BDS Quebec targets Montreal based military company over ties with Israel
In Canada a new campaign has started to target military relations with Israel: activists from the network BDS Quebec have launched efforts to stop cooperation between the Montreal based military company CAE Ltd. and the Israeli military as well as Israeli private military companies, Elbit Systems and Aeronautics Ltd.
On August 10, 2016, five members of the Coalition Québec BDS attended the Annual General Assembly of the Canadian military company CAE Inc. demanding a cessation of all military cooperation and export, directly or indirectly, to Israel. CAE has military contracts with Israel and Israeli companies that collaborate with Israeli in its war against the Palestinian people.
According to the CAE website, in February 2013, CAE signed a contract with Elbit Systems, an Israeli military company that builds Israeli drones used in Israel’s massacres and is involved in the illegal construction of the Wall and the settlements. In March 2014, CAE has agreed a further contract with the Israeli air forces to upgrade its transport aircraft, including the CH-53 Sikorsky helicopters and UH-60A Black Hawk. Finally, CAE cooperates for several years with the Israeli military company Aeronautics Ltd., especially on the Dominator UAS, which is tested in collaboration with CAE in the center of excellence drones in Alma, Quebec for use in Israel.
BDS Quebec had requested a meeting with the management of CAE already in a letter dating March 30 2016 but did not receive any answers. During the AGM, three Coalition members raised questions that invited the Company to terminate any military agreement with Israel. Members raised the question of civil and criminal liability of directors, officers and shareholders of CAE Inc. Shareholder activists further wanted to know what part of ordinary activities of the company represent and will represent in the future contracts for products and services with the Israeli army or defense agencies. They insisted in demanding response on whether CAE is ready to cancel any arms deal, direct or indirect, with Israel, or military cooperation with the Israeli army and all Israeli companies operating in the sector to avoid a global disapproval and potential loss of contracts in other countries because of CAE’s support to the Israeli military.
The direction, President and CEO, Mr. Marc Parent, have been trying to minimize collaboration with Israel and Israeli companies during the AGM and have now agreed to meet with the coalition shortly. In a media interview with La Presse, Marc Parent nevertheless underlined that "Anything that could impact the CAE brand, we will take it seriously because our brand is one of the most important things for us; it is how we are perceived around the world." In fact, CAE has started last year great efforts to promote its ‘social responsibility’ image and has joined the US Global Compact, a whitewashing investment that is at risk as Palestine activists unearth and denounce the dirty deals with Israel.
The coalition BDS Quebec will continue to build pressure on CAE to cease all cooperation with Israel and its army - an effort that is contributing to the growing global call for an immediate and comprehensive military embargo on Israel. The company CAE agreed on 10 August to meet the representatives of the Coalition BDS where full disclosure will be sought.