Canadian Parliamentarians Condemn “IAW”

Statement by Minister Jason Kenney Condemning Israel Apartheid Week

Ottawa, March 6, 2012- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement on ‘Israel Apartheid Week’:

Like many Canadians I am concerned with the rise of anti-Israel activities on campuses across Canada, culminating in the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW), which is often promoted in a manner that disregards the rights and safety of Jewish students and professors.

Universities are meant to offer an environment in which academic discourse can take place freely. Jewish faculty and students have the right to engage in this debate without feeling the need to conceal their identity, or to self-censor.

The irony of this week cannot be overlooked.  While singling out the only liberal democracy in the Middle East for condemnation, the organizers of IAW ignore Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal slaughter of his own people and the suppression of basic human rights throughout many countries in the Middle East.

To be perfectly clear, legitimate debate over Israeli policy is acceptable and encouraged through academic dialogue. Israel, as the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, encourages such free exchanges of ideas.  However, there is a point at which well-intentioned debate is overrun by hatred and intolerance; creating a toxic environment that prevents meaningful dialogue on important issues from taking place.

The organizers of Israel Apartheid Week use the cover of academic freedom to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel. In reality, this week is nothing more than an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel, and her supporters as racist. This week runs contrary to Canadian values of tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding.

As Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I call on all Canadians to reject anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance, which are unacceptable and completely contrary to Canada’s fundamental values.

Statement by Liberal Leader Bob Rae Criticizing Israeli Apartheid Week

OTTAWA– Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement criticizing Israeli Apartheid Week:

“Israeli Apartheid Week continues to defy logic and the cause of social justice. We expect students to engage with issues of injustice, equality, and respect for international law, and we encourage respectful dialogue on these topics on university campuses. It is therefore difficult to understand why this year the focus continues to be on Israel, rather than on the appalling massacres and human rights violations that have reached intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran.

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to shell its own people indiscriminately, adding daily to the death toll that has surpassed 8000 victims so far, yet claiming that a majority of citizens exercised their democratic right and approved a new constitution as tanks terrorize the streets.

In Iran, the imprisonment and silencing of all opposition in the lead-up to the Iranian election last week involved arrests, beatings, torture, kidnappings, and an abhorrent execution binge that took the lives of more than 60 people in January 2012 alone.

Yet the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week choose to ignore these atrocities. The failure to stand up for any other oppressed people or injustice undermines the supposed social justice underpinnings of Israeli Apartheid Week. Rather than singling out and demonizing one country, we should be encouraging students to come together and engage in constructive dialogue about peace and democratic reform in a Middle East that is transforming before our eyes.”

 

MP Marc Adler Condemns IAW in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the beginning of York University’s participation in a nationwide smear campaign against Israel, known as Israeli Apartheid Week.

Today, as we welcome the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to our nation’s capital, we know that the idea that Israel is an apartheid state is patently false. All Israeli citizens, be they Arab, Jewish or Christian, share the same rights and freedoms. Arab and Islamic people are freer in Israel than in any other state in the Middle East; there is equality for Muslim women; and voting is allowed and encouraged. As a result of these freedoms, 82% of Israeli Arabs say they would rather be a citizen of Israel than of any other state in the region.

While the activists are entitled to express their views, those views are grossly inaccurate. They are a disgrace and their hate-filled words and tactics must be condemned by all who believe in freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I urge all members to join me in condemning this ugly smear campaign.

 

Statement by Liberal MP Joyce Murray Criticizing Israel Apartheid Week

“As a former citizen of South Africa, I lived the harms and injuries caused to all the peoples of South Africa by the policies of Apartheid. Singling out the State of Israel through Israeli Apartheid Week defies logic and the cause of social justice” said Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament, Vancouver Quadra.

Liberals expect students to engage with issues of injustice, equality, and respect for international law, and encourage respectful dialogue on these topics on university campuses. It is difficult to understand why this year the focus continues to be on Israel, rather than on the appalling massacres and human rights violations that have reached intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran.

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to shell its own people indiscriminately, adding daily to the death toll that has surpassed 8,000 victims so far, yet claiming that a majority of citizens exercised their democratic right and approved a new constitution as tanks terrorize the streets.

In Iran, the imprisonment and silencing of all opposition in the lead-up to the Iranian election last week involved arrests, beatings, torture, kidnappings, and an abhorrent execution binge that took the lives of more than 60 people in January 2012 alone.

Yet the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week choose to ignore these atrocities.

Liberal Leader the Hon. Bob Rae noted, “The failure to stand up for any other oppressed people or injustice undermines the supposed social justice underpinnings of Israeli Apartheid Week. Rather than singling out and demonizing one country, we should be encouraging students to come together and engage in constructive dialogue about peace and democratic reform in a Middle East that is transforming before our eyes.”