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photo by Rhonda Spivak

CIJA Launches BUYcott of Israeli Products for Holiday Season In Response to United Church

For immediate release, December 4, 2013

Ottawa– In response to the United Church of Canada’s boycott of Israeli companies, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has launched a campaign as part of its ongoing “BUYcott Israel” initiative to encourage Canadians to buy Israeli products this holiday season.


Building on an earlier experience in Vancouver, CIJA’s BUYcott began in 2009 with a wildly successful effort to mobilize the Toronto Jewish community to counter a boycott of Israeli wines by purchasing those very products at the Summerhill LCBO. In half an hour, the LCBO had sold out its Israeli inventory of 150 cases of wine – and BUYcott was born. Since then, regularly alerts pro-Israel individuals across Canada and in other countries to purchase items targeted for boycott.


CIJA Executive Vice President Sara Saber-Freedman, who oversees the BUYcott initiative, characterized the launch of the United Church of Canada’s national boycott of several Israeli companies (Soda Stream, Keter Plastic, and Ahava) as “an abysmal failure.” CIJA monitored the campaign’s launch press conference and subsequent demonstrations at local businesses. Saber-Freedman noted that not a single journalist attended the Church’s press conference and that shoppers showed very little interest in even receiving boycott flyers.


“In Canada’s largest city, we estimate that the boycott campaign was able to muster a total of ten protesters. In contrast, tens of thousands of pro-Israel Canadians received alerts through BUYcott to purchase these great products,” said Saber-Freedman, who added that CIJA will be following up with retailers to confirm what she believes was a significant response to the BUYcott call.


“We will of course remain vigilant and respond through targeted BUYcotts when necessary. This positive initiative not only empowers the grassroots Pro-Israel community to support Israel through its consumer choices but also increases market demand for Israeli products in Canada – a direct incentive for retailers that has borne tremendous results in recent years,” added Berl Nadler, a member of CIJA’s National Board and Co-Chair, Greater Toronto Region. “BUYcott is a unique campaign that unites all supporters of Israel and benefits Israeli companies and Canadian retailers alike.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.