Landwer, Aroma and Indigo Boycotts
Actions of pro-Palestine protesters targeting a few businesses in Toronto were widely denounced as antisemitic. But, as described in Anna Lippman’s article and by others, boycotting Israeli businesses has long been a peaceful tactic of Palestinian rights groups, and is not necessarily antisemitic.
On Nov. 10, red paint was splashed on the doors of Indigo's flagship Bay and Bloor location and signs were put on the window saying founder and CEO, Heather Reisman, is “funding genocide.”
There have been calls to boycott Indigo since 2007 because of Reisman and husband Gerry Schwartz’s HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers, an organization which encourages foreigners to join the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and others pointed out the Indigo action coincided with the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night Nazis vandalized many Jewish businesses in 1938. Indigo CEO Reisman is Jewish. This sparked fears over the incident’s significance.
Beyond that, there doesn't seem to be evidence that activists targeted the store because of Reisman’s religion.
Cafe Landwer is part of a large Israeli company with many locations there. One location was built on top of an ancient Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem in 2015, which outraged many Palestinians.
Aroma Espresso Bar is an Israeli company which built locations in the occupied West Bank. The development pushed out Palestinians and is illegal under international law.
At pro-Palestinian protests, there were calls and chants to boycott these cafés.
Other businesses targeted around Canada this fall for their involvement with Israel include Scotiabank, L3Harris (weapons), Lockheed Martin (weapons) and INKAS (weapons).
Hostages’ Families Frustrated with Israeli Government
Several family members in Israel are becoming increasingly frustrated with the government, unsure if their loved ones taken hostage by Hamas are alive, or whether there is a strategy for getting them back from Gaza. Some family members have called for a prisoner exchange, which Hamas had also called for. Israel holds over 10,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
Over 200 Israelis were taken from their families and homes by Hamas as hostages on Oct. 7. Their families and people around the world have called to bring them back home.
The Guardian and others have reported that Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have secured the release of more hostages early in the conflict in exchange for agreeing to a temporary ceasefire with Hamas, but chose not to.
“According to three sources familiar with the talks,” The Guardian reports, “the original deal on the table involved freeing children, women and elderly and sick people in exchange for a five-day ceasefire, but the Israeli government turned this down and demonstrated its rejection with the launch of the ground offensive.”
Netanyahu has been adamant that Hamas release all the hostages unconditionally.
As of mid-November, Hamas released four hostages.
These article appear in the Nov/Dec 2023 issue.