FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2016
Jewish group disturbed by the passing of anti-BDS motion
Toronto, Ontario— Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is deeply concerned and disturbed by the passage of the private members motion 36 against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The motion passed despite opposition from the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP).
“It is outrageous for our elected representatives to publicly chastise human rights supporters, and falsely accuse them of hatred and bigotry for standing in solidarity with the victims of Israeli state violence and oppression. The so-called debate in the Ontario Legislature was little more than a slurry of lies and defamation against Palestinian human rights advocates,” says IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan.
“We are encouraged by ONDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh’s understanding of the issue, as he pointed out that opposition towards a government’s policies should not be conflated with a hatred of that government’s citizens. Real antisemitism, Singh points out, must be strongly opposed, but we cannot stifle freedom of expression by falsely labeling opposition to Israel’s policies as antisemitic.”
Several civil society organizations expressed their opposition to the motion, including CUPE Ontario, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, the Israeli organization Boycott from Within and dozens of other groups.
“IJV is also disturbed by this defamatory motion’s endorsement of the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism. This Protocol uses a widely discredited definition of antisemitism rejected by the European Union, which conflates opposition to political Zionism with antisemitism. This is an affront to those who have suffered under real antisemitism, and openly discriminates against Palestinian residents of Ontario who have been displaced and dispossessed as a result of political Zionism.”
“Israel’s efforts to distract from its systematic human rights violations have gained a footing amongst many of Ontario’s elected representatives,” continues Levitan. “Palestinian human rights advocates are simply demanding that Western governments and civil society apply non-violent pressure on Israel until it ends its brutal mistreatment of the Palestinians. Many of these advocates have requested a meeting with Premier Wynne over numerous months to explain their positions, but the requests have gone unheard.”
“The Ontario government, rather than challenging Israel’s blatant violations of international law, has done the opposite by rewarding the Netanyahu government with moral and diplomatic support, even boosting trade between the two governments. The message our government is sending is that Ontarians could care less about the suffering and oppression of the Palestinian people. This brings enormous shame on us all.”
For more information contact:
Tyler Levitan, spokesperson for Independent Jewish Voices Canada