FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2016
Premier Wynne’s Mission to Israel and West Bank Whitewashes Israeli Criminality
OTTAWA, Ontario— Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is deeply troubled by Premier Wynne’s recent announcement of a business trip to Israel and the occupied West Bank. Israel has repeatedly been censured internationally for maintaining a seemingly permanent regime of military occupation over Palestinian territories. Control over everything entering and exiting these territories is in the hands of Israel as the occupying power.
“Since 2005, a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society has been calling for a boycott of Israel until Palestinians’ rights are respected,” says IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan. “Going to Israel and the occupied West Bank as part of a trade mission is both irresponsible and inhumane, considering Israel’s systematic human rights violations against the Palestinians.”
“We see this mission as an attempt to normalize relations with Israel, when—now more than ever—Israelis and Palestinians need Ontario to show its opposition to Israel’s violent occupation and deepening discrimination. If the Ontario government truly supports a just and lasting peace in this region, Israel must be sent a clear message that its brutal mistreatment of Palestinians is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the global community,” says Levitan.
In recent years, Israel has been vastly expanding and increasing its illegal settlements, appropriating more Palestinian lands and resources. Meanwhile, the Ontario and Canadian governments continue to reward Israel through strengthened commercial and diplomatic relations.
“For Premier Wynne to visit the occupied West Bank on this trade mission is particularly offensive, and clearly an attempt to look fair-minded while at the same time pandering to the West Bank’s occupier, Israel,” says Levitan. “How can businesses in the West Bank compete in a global economy in the presence of hundreds of military checkpoints and roadblocks, and with Israeli colonies, industrial zones and military operations that steal and contaminate Palestinians’ lands and resources?”
Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is a national human rights organization whose mandate is to promote a just resolution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties. There are currently ten chapters of IJV in cities across the country, in addition to a growing number of student chapters on major university campuses. IJV supports the right of Canadians to criticize and challenge the current laws and policies of the State of Israel, including through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
For more information contact:
Campaigns Coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices Canada