News / Toronto

Queen's Park unity as parties band together to condemn BDS movement

Only the New Democrats opposed censuring the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” campaign that has targeted Israel.

Ontario PC candidate for Thornhill Gila Martow led the motion condemning the BDS campaign.

Torstar news service file

Ontario PC candidate for Thornhill Gila Martow led the motion condemning the BDS campaign.

Progressive Conservatives and Liberals have banded together to formally denounce the controversial BDS movement that targets Israel.

Led by Tory MPP Gila Martow (Thornhill) and with support from Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, members voted 49-5 in favour of a motion condemning the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” campaign for promoting “hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance.”

Only the New Democrats opposed censuring the Israeli boycott movement.

“This is a very emotional issue,” Martow said Thursday.

Echoing Premier Kathleen Wynne’s statement in Israel during her trade mission there earlier this year, Del Duca said that the Ontario government “strongly rejects the BDS movement.”

While NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea-Gore-Malton) agreed that combating racism is paramount he expressed concern that the motion was contrary to “the right to dissent.”

Berl Nadler, co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said BDS unfairly takes aim at Israeli businesses, academics and artists, adding that it can provide cover to anti-Semites.

But its supporters insist BDS only boycotts businesses and institutions that contribute toward violations of Palestinians’ rights, notably through Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

“It is defamatory to suggest that those advocating for human rights through non-violent actions stand for hatred,” Atif Kubursi, of the Canadian Arab Federation, said in a statement.

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