Trudeau joins Harper, Blaney in condemning BDS

trudeau tweet

In an astounding move, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has lined up with Stephen Harper and Steven Blaney in calling for a ban on discussion of a boycott of Israel on Canadian campuses.

It is one thing to oppose the growing international movement to boycott Israel called BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) or to be uncomfortable with it. Many Canadians, even those who disapprove of a lot of what Israel does, still feel awkward about calling for a boycott of the Jewish state. They worry that it may be unfair, or one sided.

But it is entirely another thing to say, as Trudeau has done, that discussion of Israeli human rights violations, and what the appropriate response should be, should be banned from Canadian campuses. This is a remarkable statement in favour of curbing free speech.

Surprisingly, Trudeau’s tweet came only a few days after he gave what was billed as a key policy speech on the importance of freedom and liberty.

Whatever happened to a free society’s requirement that we can disagree with a person’s choices, but must defend their right to make them? – Justin Trudeau, Toronto, March 10th

Banning BDS or Israeli Apartheid Week would make sense if they were rooted in anti-Semitism or were promoting hate speech. Either would be despicable, and the second would even be against the law. But BDS has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. None of the Israeli Aparthied week activities on any Canadian campus I am aware of, has anything to do with anti-Semitism or hate speech. They focus on human rights, justice and international law – issues which Trudeau says he supports.

Not surprisingly, Trudeau’s tweet has been condemned by Palestinian human rights activists. But it should also be criticized by members of his own caucus and all those who really do support freedom of speech and critical thought.


  1. Hi Peter, How do I respond to this disappointing, outrageous tweet from Justin?! Regards, Carolyn

    Sent from my iPad


    1. If you want to weigh in on this, my suggestion would be to send a polite letter to Mr. Trudeau with WITH COPY TO ALL THE LIBERALS YOU KNOW, – including your local candidates. No need to be ‘outraged”, disappointment will do. My sense is that Trudeau has never been to an IAW event on campus and he has been told, and probably believes, that IAW and BDS are anti-Semitic. I think he should be better informed.

  2. Hi Peter,
    Trudeau has attended many CIJA events and with no criticism from anyone. The Liberals wrote this tweet in the wake of major criticism from CIJA to Trudeau’s comparison of islamophobia and anti-semitism. The hash tag he uses is a reference to the recenteditorial written by pro-Israel McGill students in the Montreal Gazette criticizing IAW. I have to say that I am in no way surprised that his party wrote that tweet for him. Just my two cents.

  3. Unfortunately his comments may reflect a lack of depth in his understanding of the situation and a fear of being charged with anti-Semitism,.often an effective means of silencing those critical of Israeli govn’t policy

  4. As even a cursory analysis of facts on the ground will attest, Israel (i.e., west of the green line) is most certainly an apartheid state.

    Separate from this is Israel’s belligerent/illegal/brutal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Gaza Strip, which is still belligerently occupied by Israel according to international law as it controls the entrances, exits, airspace and sea access.

    Nor should we forget that Israel is also belligerently/illegally occupying Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms.

Comments are closed.