Citizen Action Monitor

Israeli citizens call on Ontario Legislature members “to vote against this patently anti-democratic Motion”

“The Motion is a clear infringement of free speech which would render Ontario a politically backward and repressive province in an important aspect.”

No 1843 Posted by fw, December 8, 2016

“Putting all Jews into one basket that is represented by Israel is not only racist. It is also ignorant of Jewish history and Jewish tradition, which embrace and take pride in political and ideological diversity among Jewish communities around the world, including in Ontario…. This anti-BDS Motion adds insult to injury by using this false and misleading identification of all Jews with Zionism and Israel to protect Israel’s occupation and egregious human rights violations. For these and other reasons we urge you to reject the private member Motion Number 36. Please do not vote for repression.”Israeli Citizens

As it turned out, the call from Israeli Citizens fell on deaf ears and “repressive” minds in the Ontario Legislature.

Introduced by Thornhill Conservative MPP Gila Martow, the motion passed by a vote of 49 to 5, with almost half of the 107 members of the legislature absent, including Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was in Asia on a trade mission. Only the 5 NDP members in the house voted against the resolution.

The 11 Israeli signatories to the letter are members of Boycott Israel, which defines its mission this way:

We, Palestinians, Jews, citizens of Israel, join the Palestinian call for a BDS campaign against Israel, inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid. We also call on others to do the same. We are devoted to the promotion of just peace and true democracy in this region. We are particularly opposed to Western governments’ decision to boycott the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, most especially in besieged Gaza. This is particularly outrageous given the same Western governments’ prolonged support of Israel’s apartheid and other daily violations of international law.

Here is a copy of their letter to the Ontario Legislature.

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From Israeli Citizens – Letter to Ontario Legislature Members published by Boycott Israel, December 1, 2016

Dear MPP

We are writing you from Israel about the proposed Private Members’ Notice of Motion Number 36. This motion is designed to counter the movement for Palestinian rights by restricting the rights of Ontarians to express their opposition to Israeli policies through advocating the nonviolent tactics of BDS. We call on you to vote against this patently anti-democratic Motion.

The Motion is a clear infringement of free speech which would render Ontario a politically backward and repressive province in an important aspect. For that reason alone the motion should be opposed but We would like to stress two additional points.

First, the call for BDS and the BDS movement as a whole are an exemplary nonviolent and inclusive movement for human rights, very much in the tradition of the movement to end Apartheid in South Africa and the US Civil Rights Movement. In fact, BDS for Palestinian rights is very much inspired by many aspects of these two great justice struggles.

Second, the so-called Ottawa Protocol on Combatting Antisemitism, [fw hyperlink] which the motion endorses, is an exceptionally deceptive, repressive and offensive document which should be rejected. Most glaringly, the protocol includes the opposition to the political ideology of Zionism in its definition of antisemitism. By doing that the protocol identifies Jews everywhere with the state of Israel–a position that the very same protocol (rightly this time) condemns as antisemitic.

Putting all Jews into one basket that is represented by Israel is not only racist. It is also ignorant of Jewish history and Jewish tradition, which embrace and take pride in political and ideological diversity among Jewish communities around the world, including in Ontario.

In particular, the Ottawa protocol and by extension the Ontario anti-BDS Motion would define a large part of Holocaust victims and survivors who oppose Zionism or are critical of Israeli violations of international law as antisemitic. The largest Jewish political movements in Europe before World War I were anti-Zionist, including Bundists, communists or Orthodox Jews and so were many of the survivors who sought shelter in Ontario. It would be an outrageous insult to them to endorse such a definition.

This anti-BDS Motion adds insult to injury by using this false and misleading identification of all Jews with Zionism and Israel to protect Israel’s occupation and egregious human rights violations.

For these and other reasons we urge you to reject the private member Motion Number 36. Please do not vote for repression.

Sincerely,

Ronnie Barkan
Ohal Grietzer
Chaska Katz
Ari Libero
Ofer Neiman
Jonathan Pollak
Michal Sapir
Yonatan Shapira
Tali Shapiro
Michal Sapir
Kobi Snitz

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SEE ALSO

Jewish group disturbed by the passing of anti-BDS motion by Independent Jewish Voices, December 1, 2016 — “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.

Boycotting Apartheid: Ontario’s 50 Year Long Attack on the Campaign for Palestinian Rights by AJ Withers, The Bullet, December 8, 2016 – “…the reason that the BDS campaign is under attack by the provincial government is because it is having an impact. Repression often increases when social justice work is effective. Greater and continued support is needed to end Israeli apartheid. We can also do what NDP MPP Patrick Lawlor suggested in the Ontario provincial assembly in 1978 and say, ‘I will not buy [any product] from people who are addicted to apartheid.’” In his informative article, AJ Withers traces the history of campaigns against the boycott of Israel on provincial and federal levels of government, beginning with the Discriminatory Business Practices Act in the 1970s, making it illegal for businesses to participate in this and many other boycotts. This law is still on Ontario’s books.

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