Mountain Equipment Co-op may ponder Israel boycott

A major Canadian outdoor-equipment chain with an outlet in Calgary could be setting up camp on the thorny soil of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. A motion is expected to be presented next week at Mountain Equipment Coop’s annual general meeting in Vancouver, calling for a boycott of all products produced in Israel.

“We just don’t think(MountainEquipmentCo-op)should be doing business with Israel until it changes its behaviour,” said Patrik Parkes, a spokes-man for BC Teachers for Peace and Global Education.

“Many of us are MEC members, and because MEC promotes itself as an ethical company, we believe their actions need to reflect that.”

The chain, whose website lists it as “a retail co-operative that sells exclusively to members,”gets two products through Israeli companies: seamless underwear and a hydration system for hikers and bikers.

Mountain Equipment Coop spokesman Tim Southam said Tuesday the organization is aware of the pending motion.

“We will strive to ensure that the meeting is conducted in an orderly and civil manner,” Southam said.

“One of the concerns we’re hearing from people that are opposed to the resolution is that this appears to be an attempt to politicize the organization. . .

“We need to take that very seriously.”

The co-op has an ethical sourcing program aimed “to improve the human condition in factories.”
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