NCCAR Urges Putting Canadians' Right to Free Speech First When Considering BDS Position

OTTAWA, Feb. 22, 2016 /CNW/ - In light of a motion in Parliament today calling on the Canadian government "to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement" in relation to Israel, the National Council on Canada Arab Relations (NCCAR) invites Canadians to revisit their country's commendable history with BDS movements and its long-standing relationship with Canadian democratic principles.

BDS is a non-violent campaign that supports proven methods of conscientious objection to encourage Israel to respect international law. In the past, Canadians have supported BDS aimed at several countries. Canadian churches, NGOs, universities and labour organizations were significant participants in BDS movements against South African apartheid. Such legitimate scrutiny and action by citizens can encourage countries that violate human rights to change their policies and no country should be made immune to these.

At its core, the vote on the anti-BDS motion would go against the spirit of Freedom of Speech, a right enshrined in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Democratic governments do not ordinarily attempt to dictate the political views of their citizens. NCCAR Chair, Gabriel Fahel, reminds us that "freedom of speech and conscientious objections to buying products from countries that contravene international law are core values of a free and democratic society."

NCCAR believes that Canadians' free speech should be protected and put first when considering a position for or against BDS.


For further information on NCCAR please visit our website at or write to us at 1 Rideau Street, Suite 700, Ottawa, ON, K1N 8S7

SOURCE National Council on Canada-Arab Relations

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