FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2017
A dramatic schism between Canadian government policy and Canadians’ opinions about Israeli violations of international law was revealed today in a new release of results of a 2017 EKOS survey.
The first release on Feb 16th revealed that most Canadians view the Israeli government negatively and that they see Canada’s government as pro-Israel. It also found that over 90% of Canadians think that criticism of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic.
Today’s release reveals that Canadians overwhelmingly view sanctions and boycotts as “reasonable” means to pressure Israel to adhere to international law.
For example, 91% believe that sanctions are a reasonable way to censure countries which violate human rights and international law. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents view government sanctions specifically on Israel as “reasonable.”
“Even higher proportions of Liberals (75%), NDP supporters (84%) and Bloc supporters (94%) think sanctions on Israel are reasonable,” said Diana Ralph of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV). “Only the Conservatives tended to reject sanctions on Israel. But even among them, almost one-third (30%) think sanctions on Israel are reasonable.”
Seventy-eight percent of Canadians said they believe the Palestinians’ call for a boycott is “reasonable.” Ralph added, “It is striking that a majority of Jewish respondents also thought the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel was reasonable.”
Almost half (49%) of even Conservative Party supporters thought boycotting Israel was reasonable. Supporters of all the other political parties were far more receptive to the Palestinian call for a boycott, ranging from 88% for Liberals to 94% for the Bloc Quebecois.
“These results are particularly stunning in light of the vilification of those calling for sanctions and boycotts by leaders of both the Conservative and Liberal parties,” said Tom Woodley of CJPME. “While calls for boycotts and sanctions have been denounced as ‘the new anti-Semitism,’ two thirds of Canadians apparently disagree; 66% were receptive to sanctions and 78% to boycotts.”
The February 16 survey release showed that 91% of respondents rejected the notion that all criticism of Israel was anti-Semitic.
Most Canadians (53%) also opposed a February, 2016 House of Commons resolution condemning those who support sanctions and boycotts against Israel (vs. 26% who supported it). Even among Conservatives, 33% opposed the Parliamentary condemnation.
Former Green Party Justice critic Dimitri Lascaris highlighted the enormous gap between the Trudeau government’s blanket support for the Israeli government and very critical position of a strong majority of Canadians. “Since taking office in late 2015, the Trudeau government has voted against United Nations resolutions that were critical of Israel on over 25 occasions. It has never voted in favour of a U.N. resolution that is critical of Israel, putting Canada at odds with all but the US, Israel and four tiny island states.”
The survey, conducted January 25 to February 2, 2017 was co-sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Dimitri Lascaris and political commentator Murray Dobbin.
A full report and all survey results can be accessed at http://survey.cjpme.org, http://ijvcanada.org/2017/2017-israel-palestine-bds-survey/, or http://dimitrilascaris.org.
 All percentages are of those respondents who expressed an opinion, excluding those who did not reply or checked “don’t know.”
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.