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  4. A BDS Victory Story: Naot closes its shoe store on St. Denis Street

A BDS Victory Story: Naot closes its shoe store on St. Denis Street

Publication date : 2015-01-02

Press Release

Montreal, January 2nd, 2015

In 2010, PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity) announced its campaign to make Montreal’s St. Denis Street an apartheid-free zone. The campaign began by targeting Beautyfeel shoes (made in Israel) at Le Marcheur shoe store.

Although the ultimate target of the campaign was the Naot store, a transnational corporation (Disney is the major share-holder by way of Shamrock investments) with a manufacturing centre in the illegal Gush Etzion settlement block near Hebron, the choice of beginning our picket in front of Le Marcheur made it clear that PAJU was picketing an Israeli product and that there was nothing ‘anti-Semitic’ about the campaign, despite comments to the contrary by the usual circles of support for the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

A BDS Victory Story: Naot closes its shoe store on St. Denis Street

In 2010, PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity) announced its campaign to make Montreal’s St. Denis Street an apartheid-free zone. The campaign began by targeting Beautyfeel shoes (made in Israel) at Le Marcheur shoe store.

Although the ultimate target of the campaign was the Naot store, a transnational corporation (Disney is the major share-holder by way of Shamrock investments) with a manufacturing centre in the illegal Gush Etzion settlement block near Hebron, the choice of beginning our picket in front of Le Marcheur made it clear that PAJU was picketing an Israeli product and that there was nothing ‘anti-Semitic’ about the campaign, despite comments to the contrary by the usual circles of support for the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Thanks to the latter – and their supportive media contacts – the PAJU campaign became front-and-centre in the media, not only in Montreal but across Canada. We had thereby pierced the curtain of silence concerning the question of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the illegal Israeli occupation and its institutionalized system of apartheid.

It was at that point that PAJU moved its Saturday picket across the street in front of the Naot shoe store. Soon after, a group of counter-demonstrators began showing up on Saturdays to harass the PAJU picket and to lend their support to the principle of Israeli apartheid. They had the support of both the Journal de Montréal and The Suburban. Despite this pro-apartheid opposition (the latter stopped showing up around two years ago), the members of PAJU distributed on average around 300 leaflets (French and English) every Saturday to passersby for the two-hour period that the picket lasted.

This continued for 4 years until the Naot store on St. Denis Street closed its doors several weeks ago. Over those 4 years – from 2010 to 2014 – PAJU’s members on the picket line distributed more than 35, 000 leaflets explaining the nature of the illegal Israeli occupation, the purpose of the BDS campaign and the nature of Naot’s illegal manufacturing centres in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

PAJU used its BDS campaign against Naot to inform and educate the public on what is happening on the ground in occupied Palestine and what role the public can play in forcing Israel to respect the rule of law as it applies to international law and the principle of human rights by way of support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

PAJU continues its boycott campaign against the Indigo-Chapters bookstore chain whose CEO, Heather Reisman, continues to promote the HESEG Lone Soldier program which incites young people to enroll in the Israeli occupation army in exchange for educational and social benefits in Israel. (See Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East factsheet:http://www.cjpme.org/DisplayDocument.aspx?DO=853&RecID=46&DocumentID=1062)

PAJU invites all members of the public to buy their books elsewhere than at Indigo-Chapters. The PAJU Indigo-Chapters boycott takes place every Friday from noon to 1 P.M. in front of the Indigo bookstore, Ste.Catherine Street corner McGill College Avenue in Montreal. Come join us.

When hundreds of popular groups and social activists around the world work together in support of the Palestinian people, things change on the ground as they did in South Africa consequent to the BDS campaign against South African apartheid. The tide is turning against Israeli apartheid. PAJU is proud to be part of that process.

www.pajumontreal.org

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