Canada: Action to Boycott Chapters and Indigo Bookstores

Protesters in Toronto at Bay and Bloor picket a Chapters and Indigo bookstore’s support for Israeli apartheid. (Robert J. Allison)

On Saturday 23 December a picket was organized by activists in Toronto and Montreal to officially launch a boycott campaign against Chapters and Indigo Bookstores. The campaign demands an end to the financial support offered by the majority owners of Chapters and Indigo to Heseg - the Foundation for Lone Soldiers. This is a program of financial support for former ‘lone soldiers’ in the Israeli military.

The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, came out to the downtown core of Toronto, and held a mass leafleting and information picket to launch this campaign. More than 80 activists held Palestinian flags and placards calling for a boycott of Chapters and Indigo, 3500 leaflets were distributed, organizers also engaged passersby, many of whom changed their minds about shopping at Chapters and Indigo.

  • To Download/Listen to an Audio Report on the Toronto Picket click HERE. Produced by Mostafa Henaway of CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal, & CKLN 88.1FM in Toronto
  • For more information about the campaign and to get
    involved please visit CAIA online or email at

    What is the Foundation for Lone Soldiers?

  • Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, majority owners of Chapters and Indigo bookstores, founded an organisation called Heseg the Foundation for Lone Soldiers. At its peak, it will distribute up to $3M per year to provide scholarships and other support to former ‘Lone Soldiers’ in the Israeli military. ‘Lone Soldiers’ are individuals who have no family in Israel but decide to join the Israeli military. As Israeli soldiers, they participate in a military that operates checkpoints that restrict Palestinian freedom of movement, enforces the occupation of Palestinian land, and has a documented history of human rights violations.
  • Many members of the Heseg Board of Directors are high-ranking Israeli military personnel. Board member Lt. Colonel Mike Hartmen joined the IDF as a lone soldier and is now “head of the marksmanship and sharpshooters section of the IDF.” Board member Major General (Res.) Doron Almog was Commander of the IDF’s Southern Command from 2000-2003. In 2005, a warrant was issued in the UK for his arrest on suspicion of war crimes. Moshe Ronen, Co-Chair of the Canada-Israel Committee, also sits on Heseg’s Board of Directors.

    Israeli soldiers poised in the West Bank. (Aaron Lakoff ISM Montreal)

  • Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz own or control over 68 percent of the shares in Indigo Books and Music Inc. which owns and operates bookstores under the names Indigo, Chapters, World’s Biggest Bookstore, SmithBooks, Coles, The Book Company or Indigospirit. Reisman is chair and CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc.
  • According to HESEG HESEG website, “Canadian couple Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman established HESEG to express gratitude and provide support to the thousands of Former Lone Soldiers who serve annually in the Israel Defense Forces”.

    Demand that the controlling owners of Chapters and Indigo publicly announce that they will cut all financial ties to Heseg the Foundation for Lone Soldiers.

    This campaign is part of an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against the apartheid state of Israel.

    What you should do.

    Download an information leaflet [English and French versions available] from CAIA’s website to distribute outside your local Chapters or Indigo store.

    Tell friends and relatives not to shop at Chapters/Indigo. Encourage them to support independent book retailers!

    Write/fax/phone a protest to the board of Indigo/Chapters demanding a public renunciation of Reisman and Schwartz’s financial support of the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers.

    Indigo Board of Directors,
    500-468 King St W Toronto ON, MSV 1L8
    Tel: 416 364 4499; Fax: 416 364 0355

    Get in touch and join the Coalition Against Israeli
    Apartheid at endapartheid[at]