As grass roots BDS initiatives gain popular support, Canada’s political representatives pass a motion to condemn the movement.
On February 22nd, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) voted 512-357 to support the BDS movement.
In doing so, SSMU agreed with McGill BDS Action Network's call for the student body to support efforts to get McGill to “divest from companies profiting from violations of Palestinians human rights.”
Two similar motions presented by the BDS Action Network were postponed and voted down by SSMU, respectively, last year.
McGill’s student government now joins those of York University, Carleton University and Concordia University in endorsing the BDS movement.
But, the next day, February 23rd, members of Canada’s Parliament passed a motion to condemn the BDS movement, and all organizations and individuals that support it.
The legislation, which was introduced by the Conservative Party and buoyed by the support of the Liberal Party, passed 229-51.
The anti-BDS motion states that “given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”
The National Council on Canada Arab Relations said in a press released that the anti-BDS motion goes “against the spirit of Freedom of Speech, a right enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” The council also encouraged Canadians to “revisit their country’s commendable history with BDS movements and its long-standing relationship with Canadian democratic principles.”
In response to the parliament’s vote, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) launched a campaign called “Go Ahead, Make My Day, Condemn Me.” The group’s Facebook says, “lets see if [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] lives up to his word and condemns thousands of us standing up for human rights.”
The petition reads: “we the undersigned petition the Canadian government to be individual condemned for, as appropriate, our thoughts, words, and actions promoting BDS.”