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The Trudeau Government’s Fake Fight Against Antisemitism, Part 1

Before the ‘reject BDS’ motion, Trudeau allowed 45 Liberal M.P.s to leave the House

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As noted by the BDS Movement Facebook page: “On the same day as the Canadian parliament voted to condemn the BDS, students at McGill University in Montreal rejected repression of BDS and voted to support the movement.” (Image: BDS Movement Facebook)

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Soon after becoming the Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Deborah Lyons, Canadian Ambassador to Israel after the unceremonious sacking of her Harper appointed predecessor. Soon after, Lyons was invited to join a special meeting of the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee set to honor the contributions of Jewish Canadians to Canada. However, she did not stop there.

She went on to assure her audience: “We will continue to wage an all-out war against antisemitism and the boycott movement, and we will continue to commemorate the Holocaust, with the oath ‘Never Again’. Canada’s Jews [not Canadian Jews?] will continue to be protected and safe, like all other citizens.”

The question: Did and does the Trudeau government wage an all -out war against antisemitism and the boycott movement and protect the Jewish community and safe like all other citizens?

As it turned out, so far, the Liberal government  has failed to wage an all-out war or any kind of war against antisemitism;  Based on the evidence to date, the question must be answered in the negative and the evidence to substantiate the  answer began to accumulate from not long after  Trudeau became Prime Minister .

This conclusion is substantiated by the evidence adduced next.

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Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) in Canada

During the 2015 election campaign Trudeau ran an ad in the Canadian Jewish News which in part read:

The Liberal Party of Canada believes that…..we must oppose Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaigns in our communities and continue to speak out forcefully against them….I am opposed to the BDS movement. I think it’s an example of the new form of antisemitism in the world…an example of the three “D’s”: demonization of Israel, delegitimization of Israel, and a double standard applied toward Israel”

Further, on a number of occasions during the election Trudeau stated: “The BDS movement has no place in Canadian campuses….enough is enough”

After he won the election, he did not bother to do anything about the problem. Quite the opposite.  

On February 18, 2016 two members of the Conservative Party in Parliament decided that it was time to do something about the BDS movement in Canada and tabled their anti-BDS motion fully expecting that the leaders of both major parties would put their money where their mouths are and vote swiftly in support of the motion. They were in for a surprise. 

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The motion read:

“That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House [1] reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and [2] call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement here at home and abroad.”

During the ensuing debate on the motion a leading member of the Conservative Party told the House of Commons:

“….The boycott, divest, sanction campaigners claim it to be a human rights movement. In fact it is nothing more than a thinly disguised, multi-dimensional hate campaign. On the one hand …it seeks to delegitimize and demonize Israel with hateful, hypocritical anti-Semitic attacks. On the other hand, on Canadian university and college campuses, the BDS movement focus the new antisemitism on pro-Israel and Jewish students, disrupting with hate what should be a happy, uplifting student experience.”

Trudeau failed to show up for the debate in the House of Commons. Instead Mr. Stephane Dion, his Minister of External Affairs led the debate from the government benches. In light of the strong statements of the Prime Minister during the election campaign, one would have thought that Mr. Dion would follow suit. He did not. 

After informing the House that the Liberals would vote in favor of the motion he then proceeded, for all intents and purposes, to speak against the motion by giving a perfect demonstration of the art of speaking from both sides of the mouth.

When it came time for Parliament to deal with the BDS movement, Stephane Dion steered the Trudeau government away from the substance of the problem – organizations that raise funds for their antisemitic campaigns. Dion also effectively dismissed the dangerous environment Jewish university students face from such groups.  (Photo:  international.gc.ca)

He first paid pro-forma homage to the Canadian Jewish community beginning with an appropriate mea culpa about the ill- treatment of Jews in Canada before, during and for a time, after World War II and the government’s refusal to give sanctuary to Jewish refugees. 

He then praised the contributions of the community to Canada and proceeded to describe Canada as “a close ally and a strong friend of Israel since 1948” and the relationship between the two countries as broad and deep.

He specifically referred to the mutually beneficial exchanges of scientific research and related joint endeavors and put some emphasis on the importance of trade between the two countries and mentioned the free- trade agreement describing it in highly favorable terms the importance and the benefits of these endeavors for Canada.

Likewise, Mr. Dion paid his diplomatic dues to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and claimed that Canada is an important partner of the P.A. He said: “Our development and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza address the immediate needs of the Palestinian people.” Ignoring all the incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, he claimed that “This helps to lay the groundwork for the viable, democratic and secure Palestinian state…”

But when Mr. Dion turned to the intent, substance, effect and merits of the motion, he spoke from both sides of his mouth and he proceeded, inter-alia. to  

(a) accuse the Conservatives of bad faith;

(b) assert that the motion was divisive; 

(c) express some disagreement with the way the motion was framed; 

(e) distort the scope of the BDS movement and ignore the organizations engaged in carrying the campaign,

f) reduce the scope of the BDS movement by describing it as the work of “‘some’ hate-filled extremists, racists and anti-Semites and then said “We must strongly condemn those individuals”. 

(g)  ignore the well- documented evidence of the serious harm caused by the BDS organizations and movements not only in Canada but also to the economy of the Palestinians, Canada’s “partner”; 

(h) in effect, reject the second part of the motion by re-framing it by reference to the individual supporters of the movement with sparse reference to organizations, and

i)  devote a single sentence to the adverse impact of the BDS campaign on the safety and security of Jewish university students, ignoring the opposition members’ emphasis on the gravity of the problem and the urgent need to address the problem.

After years of organizing and education, the Canadian Federation of Students voted in 2018 to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. The CFS represents 500,000 university and college students. The motion was brought forward by Rawan Habib, who began her activism as a member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University and went on to become president of the York Federation of Students. (Image: Hammah Farah FB)

Mr. Dion stated, time and again, that his opposition to the BDS movement is based on the fact that it is not the right solution to the problem; that it will not lead to a peace agreement, and that its supporters are simply misguided in thinking that the BDS will bring about the realization of the two-state solution even though the movement’s directing minds and the supporters are clearly not interested at all in that solution. In a disingenuous display of wilful ignorance of the well-established facts about

a) the nature of the BDS movement; the despicable and at times criminal behavior of its supporters on campuses and elsewhere,

(b) its ultimate goal to destroy or to contribute to the destruction of Israel, and

c) the stubborn rejectionist behavior of the P.A. towards all peace offers.

The Minister  insisted  again and again that for some individuals,  most of the people  in  the movement including many organizations are acting in good faith, believing that BDS is the way to go in order to get Israel to reach a peace agreement with the PA based on the two-state formula.

In an attempt to convince the House of the wisdom of his argument, Mr. Dion could not resist the temptation of pointing out that even some Jewish people were among those who in good faith shared this belief. 

What then did the government propose in response to the motion? How did the Minister of Foreign Affairs plan to actively combat this pernicious new form of antisemitism that attacks the very existence and legitimacy of the State of Israel? How will he prevent people from being misled by entities that have bad intentions?

The response was: “The direction we must take is to launch a number of programs that are effective in combating racism and developing tolerance, openness and acceptance in Canada. However, it is important to avoid painting everyone with the same brush, to avoid driving wedges all over the place with indiscriminate condemnations. One thing we can do is identify antisemitism and separate this antisemitism from legitimate discourse in which we are looking to find solutions and we can have good-natured disagreements… We will be there to fight any attempt to divide Canadians and to put Canadians in good faith in the same bag with [those reprehensible people who engage in violent behaviour] … The first way to fight racism is to avoid amalgamation [of these two groups of people].

He did not explain what this could possibly have to do with BDS and the Palestinian-Israel conflict since the conflict is not of racial nature.

More evidence the Trudeau promise to fight BDS was empty: On April 21 of this year, the Facebook page of the Canadian BDS Coalition posted: “Amazing news from Simon Fraser University. Congrats as SFSS joins other student associations across Canada and the U.S. in supporting the Palestinian people. #FreePalestine” (Photo: Canadian BDS Coalition)

At the end of the day, Mr. Dion on behalf of his government reinvented the BDS movement as comprising “some ” hate-filled extremists, besides which most of its supporters in good faith advocate the  demonisation, delegitimization  and ultimately the destruction of Israel.

This is certainly not how the Prime Minister characterized the BDS movement during the election and since.

In the light of the government’s handling of the debate, it came as no surprise that, at the end of the day, the government did absolutely nothing about the BDS movement in Canada. If anything, the Foreign Minister’s utterances during the debate contributed to the legitimisation of the BDS movement and in the process provided an impetus, if one was needed, to the spread of antisemitism in Canada under the guise of BDS advocacy.

Curiously enough Trudeau allowed some 45 of the Liberal M.P.s including at least one Muslim Minister- who originally arrived  in Canada as a lone child a refugee from Somalia – to leave the  House before the voting on the motion commenced. So much for Cabinet solidarity. 

Trudeau certainly did not allow such a thing in 2107 during the voting of Motion M-103 on the subject of Islamophobia. 

The government has done nothing about the boycott movement and, if anything, the movement has gotten much stronger since 2015, when Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister.

Part 2 will deal with Canada’s handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Doğan D. Akman is an independent researcher and commentator. He holds a B.Sc. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology/criminology and an LL.B in law. He held academic appointments in sociology, criminology and social policy; served as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and occupied the positions of Crown Counsel in criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation at the Federal Department of Justice. His academic work is published in peer-reviewed professional journals, while his opinion pieces and other writings are to be found in various publications and in blogs.  

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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