Late last week, the Conservatives made a motion in the House of Commons that was unworthy of the place. The motion was to "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." Naturally, I immediately emailed my MP instructing him to vote against it.
The motion is objectionable on at least three counts:
First, the claim that the BDS movement "promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel" is a slander. What the movement promotes is a boycott against Israel until it ends its occupation of Arab lands, treats Palestinians equally and respects the rights of refugees to return to their homes. It encourages neither demonization nor delegitimization.
Second, calling upon government to condemn its citizens because it disagrees with their ideas is not something that governments do in a free society.
The initiative is in itself thoroughly justified. Israel has ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, collectively punished them, racially discriminated against them, subjected them to military occupation and colonized ever more of their land. Israel has thus made itself deserving of boycott, divestment and sanctions. The entirely peaceful strategy of the movement is similarly justified.
The Conservatives claim to be friends of Israel yet here they are once again dividing Canadians by shamefully exploiting the country as a political wedge issue. With friends like this ...