Heather Maxine Reisman, Toronto, for her achievements in business and for her social engagement in support of charitable causes.
Order of Canada honoree Heather Reisman and husband
Gerry schwartz the majority owners of Chapters Indigo
Bookstores, have established a program called the
“HESEG Foundation for lone soldiers”. HESEG offers
grants of financial support to former ‘lone soldiers’ in the
Israeli military to pursue post secondary education in
Israel. At its peak, HESEG will distribute $3M per year to
provide scholarships and other support to former ‘lone
Unlike Israeli citizens, the Lone Soldiers are under no civil obligation to participate in the Israeli army. On the contrary, they volunteer to participate in Israel’s occupation forces. The HESEG Foundation, promising financial assistance, thus encourages individuals to take part in the occupation. Like Israeli soldiers, Lone Soldiers may participate in military activities at various checkpoints that restrict Palestinian movement while strengthening the occupation of Palestinian lands. The HESEG Foundation thus encourages individuals to participate in activities which are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Convention and several other related instruments of international law (e.g. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 3, etc.)
Moreover, the HESEG Board of Directors makes the selection of scholarship recipients. This Board is composed primarily of members or retirees of the Israeli army, some of which are criticized for major violations of international law under their command. Notably Doron Almog, who escaped arrest in London in 2005 on charges of war crimes.Reisman and Schwartz are therefore directly linked to the Israeli army, and work jointly with it. The Israeli army has shown its gratitude to the foundation by providing the couple with the firearm of a “Lone Soldier” American killed in action during a ceremony praising the importance of foreign troops and the financial support provided by Reisman and Schwartz.
From a legal point of view, the boycott strategy focuses on the Israeli army since it is the subject of such criticism from international institutions following its noncompliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. In effect, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is one of the longest occupations in modern history, and is highly criticized because of its ongoing legal violations by international legal bodies. Moreover, according to recommendation C of the UN Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights, any involvement by business enterprises in war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts
On July 9, 2005, a call endorsed by 170 Palestinian civil society organizations was announced. It appeals to the people of the world to impose boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
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