FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2016
Independent Jewish Voices slams Conservative Party’s attack on BDS campaign in House of Commons
Ottawa, ON—In what is clearly designed to be an attention-grabbing opposition-day move, the Conservatives are demanding that the House of Commons back a motion to reject the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, urging the government to condemn attempts by Canadian organizations, groups, or individuals to promote it both in Canada and abroad.
“This is so disappointing,” said Tyler Levitan, campaigns coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices Canada. “At a time when we need real leadership, we’re getting old ideas that have passed their moment. Around the world, support is growing for the BDS campaign to exert pressure on Israel to change its ways. The red herring that BDS is anti-Semitic is now clearly nothing more than a way to shut down legitimate discussion regarding Israel/Palestine.”
Debate on the Conservatives’ motion began in the House of Commons on Thursday, but the vote will take place today.
“We’re well aware that the major political parties feel a need to protect themselves from criticism in the mainstream Jewish community in Canada, which continues to give unquestioning support to Israel. Unfortunately, it appears that the Trudeau government will echo the position of the Conservatives on this issue,” Levitan continued.
“This is really shameful. Israel has long been in violation of international law but apparently no one is allowed to say this or oppose it. BDS is a completely non-violent exercise of free speech, a global campaign that has been attempting to increase economic, political and moral pressure on Israel for positive change,” concluded Levitan.
While both the NDP and Green Parties are opposed to BDS, both intend to vote against the Conservatives’ resolution on the grounds that advocating BDS constitutes a legitimate form of free speech. The Bloc Québécois also intends to oppose the motion.
For more information contact:
Tyler Levitan, spokesperson for Independent Jewish Voices Canada