Lifting the curtain behind the BDS motion
Dave Gordon - Thursday, 25 February, 2016
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In its first domestic act to stand by Israel,
newly-elected Liberal government recently helped pass a Conservative-led motion
to denounce the Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
As York Centre Liberal MP Michael Levitt explained in Parliament, the condemnation
of BDS serves the purpose of speaking out against the 3Ds: delegitimization,
demonization and double standards (attributed to Israeli author/politician
One should not, after all, tolerate intolerance.
Surely, for example, if a wave of anti-Aboriginal sentiment swept across the
country, on campuses, churches and professional organizations, the Canadian
government should stand firm against it.
Similarly, if there was a wave of anti-Aboriginal boycott, unfairly and
singularly targeting Aboriginals, no sane government official would urge
tolerance and goodwill towards the boycotters.
Except something different occurred here.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion urged tolerance and goodwill -
towards the boycotters.
In critiquing the motion, he said:
“[W]e will not convince them of their error by banging them on the head, by
hitting them with condemnations of all types, by intimidation, or by
invectives. We have to speak to them with respect.”
That was a straw man argument – debating a premise that never existed -
since no one advocated for, or indulged in, disrespect, invective and so on.
As one commenter on the Canadian Jewish News’ website aptly said: “The BDSers
must be respected, but the Conservatives are bullies for criticizing BDS?”
“[M]ost of the organizations and individuals supporting the Boycott, Divest
and Sanctions movement are doing
so in good faith,” Dion continued.
Everyone believes they act in good faith. Even Hamas. I have yet to find an
organization that believes they’re acting in bad faith. That is why we measure
people not on intentions, but on actions and words.
But that didn’t stop Dion from purporting to have a looking glass into the
heads of the Conservatives: “we [Liberals] are well aware that its [the
motion’s] purpose is to create division.”
Create division? Between whom? In actual fact, Justin Trudeau’s stated
position isn’t so divided from the Conservatives’ in this regard.
BDS, he wrote last year, is “something we
have to take a firm stand against.” In an interview with
the Canadian Jewish News, he was unequivocal
of his condemnation of BDS.
Just prior to the election, he said:
“We abhor and fight
BDS the targeting of Israel
at the UN and all other examples of the new anti-Semitism and
efforts to isolate Israel”.
Strangely, taking “a firm stand against” and to “fight” BDS
also means having the Minister of Foreign Affairs rebuke the anti-BDS
motion as near-ridiculous.
Yet this should surprise no one.
Stephane Dion could not even bring himself to outright condemn terror
attacks against Israelis.
Indeed, in response to Peter Kent’s recent question
if the Liberals would condemn the latest
murder of Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists, Dion instead shifted
the topic to humanitarian aid.
Along the same vein, Justin Trudeau gave a feeble response to Conservative leader Rona
Ambrose’s question why Canada
is offering $15 million to UNRWA - with proven ties to Hamas – who spare no
effort to murder innocent Israelis.
Trudeau’s answer could be distilled as “re-engaging with the world in a
constructive way” and disparaging Conservatives’ “canceling [the funding] for
Hardly the steadfast
support for Israel
– promised as indistinguishable from the Conservatives - we were assured on
the campaign trail.
While the Trudeau government has insisted they are a friend of Israel,
we learn that standing by Israel,
in the Liberal sense, has a very liberal definition.