Civil Society Groups oppose anti-boycott motion before Ontario Legislature

TORONTO, Dec. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - Numerous organizations which support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are disturbed by MPP Gila Martow's latest motion. Motion 36 will be debated and voted on at Queen's Park later today. The private member motion suggests that BDS promotes or encourages "hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance" and calls on the Ontario Legislature to "reject" it.

"BDS rejects all forms of discrimination, including antisemitsm," says Mariam Nokerah, a student activist with the group Students for Justice in Palestine at UOIT/DC. According to the BDS movement's website, BDS only targets businesses and institutions that are directly aiding in the ongoing violation of Palestinians' human rights.  

"We agree that any action that stands for hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance has no place in the province of Ontario," stated Atif Kubursi, spokesperson for the Canadian Arab Federation. "However, it is defamatory to suggest that those advocating for human rights through non-violent actions stand for hatred."

 "While we strongly condemn antisemitism and any other form of bigotry, the motion's endorsement of the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism is highly problematic," says Independent Jewish Voices Canada spokesperson Tyler Levitan. "The Protocol's definition of antisemitism accepts that opposing the historic and ongoing dispossession of Palestinians amounts to a form of Jew-hatred. The definition has been widely discredited and was rejected by the European Union."

"This motion is based on falsehoods about the BDS movement and serves to whitewash the reality of Israel's ongoing and systematic mistreatment of the Palestinians," says Dania Majid of the Canadian Arab Lawyers Association. "Officially condemning a perfectly lawful and legitimate form of protest creates a serious chill on freedom of expression."

"Rather than rejecting the BDS movement, the Ontario Legislature ought to be rejecting dishonest and defamatory efforts by MPP Gila Martow to demonize Palestinian human rights supporters," says Thomas Woodley, spokesperson for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME).

Critics of the motion are calling on MPPs to vote against Motion 36.  They want Ontario to uphold the human rights and freedom of expression of all Ontarians; and have equal regard for all forms of racism and discrimination, including Islamophobia, anti-Arab racism and antisemitism.

Statement calling for an end to intimidation of Palestinian rights advocacy in Ontario by over 70 civil society organizations: http://ijvcanada.org/2016/the-ontario-government-must-end-its-intimidation-of-palestinian-rights-advocacy/

SOURCE Independent Jewish Voices

For further information: ­Tyler Levitan, spokesperson for Independent Jewish Voices Canada, tyler@ijvcanada.org; Dania Majid, spokesperson for Canadian Arab Lawyers Association, info@canarablaw.org; Thomas Woodley, spokesperson for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, thomas.woodley@cjpme.org


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