Ontario Legislature condemns Israeli Apartheid Week

Progressive Conservative Resolution receives all party support at Queen’s Park

(Queen’s Park) – On Thursday, February 25, Thornhill Progressive Conservative (PC) MPP, Peter Shurman, brought his resolution to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario calling on the Ontario Legislature to condemn Israeli Apartheid Week. 

The resolution passed unanimously in the Ontario Legislature and that condemnation now exists.

“Passage of this resolution today sends a clear message to Ontarians and the rest of the world that use of the term, ‘apartheid’, in relation to the state of Israel borders on hate speech and that the events staged during Israeli Apartheid Week have no place in Ontario, particularly on its university campuses,” said Shurman.

“This is an important condemnation, and one that discredits those who seek to delegitimize Israel through the absurd notion of apartheid,” said David Spiro, chair, UJA Federation’s Committee on Public Affairs. “Thinly veiled anti-Israel campaigns like this are created for one purpose and one purpose only: to deny Israel’s right to exist and hopefully this condemnation will make that clear to all.”

Between March 1st and March 14th this year, cities and university campuses across Ontario and around the world will mark Israeli Apartheid Week.
“Public debate in Ontario should be informed, respectful and fair to all who seek to express an option.  Those behind the events of Israeli Apartheid Week assume untenable, unilateral positions and offer no reasonable room for discussion.  Use of the term, ‘apartheid’, serves only to diminish the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa.  I am pleased that the elected members of the Ontario Legislative Assembly stood up and condemned activities in Ontario that offend the principles of a free and democratic society,” Shurman concluded.

“What I would suggest to all those on campuses is that instead of engaging in inflammatory language, instead of using terms that divide, that we perhaps begin the discussion somewhere else,” said Cheri DiNovo, New Democratic Party (NDP) MPP from the riding of Parkdale-High Park. “Perhaps we talk about what we do agree on and how we can move forward so that people’s lives could be saved.”

“In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the suggestion that apartheid exists, is just factually wrong,” said David Zimmer, Liberal Party of Canada MPP from the riding of Willowdale. “That’s the first problem with the word ‘apartheid’ as it relates to the Middle East; it’s factually wrong. In Israel, there’s freedom of religion. All races, all ethnicities are free to come and go as they please. Arab-Israelis serve in the Knesset. Arab-Israelis vote. It’s a fully functioning democracy; the Knesset is a fully functioning democracy, unlike a lot of other countries in the world.”

Others who spoke during the debate included, Speaking in favour were David Zimmer, Liberal MPP Willowdale, Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP Parkdale-High Park, Ted Arnott PC MPP Wellington-Halton Hills, Mike Colle Liberal Party of Canada MPP Eglinton-Lawrence, and John O’Toole, PC MPP Durham. The full debate can be found at Yesterday at Queen’s Park.

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