Mr. Blaney has a big problem!! Can BDS really be “criminalized”?

supreme court of Canada

Mr. Blaney probably knows the Supreme Court would not uphold a charge of “hate crime’ against someone who promotes a boycott of Israeli goods as a protest against that country’s policies. But he faces an even bigger problem as well: The 3 BDS demands are actually supported by existing Canadian official policy.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have made vague threats about criminalizing the movement to boycott Israel known as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). They have even claimed that that Canada will have a “zero tolerance” policy toward it, ominously threatening to use “hate crime” legislation.

This threat has already galvanized dozens of civil society organizations in Canada to speak out against this infringement on our freedom of speech. And it seems very unlikely that the Supreme Court would allow it.

But Messrs Blaney and Harper have an even bigger problem: the three main demands of the BDS movement are consistent with Canada’s existing official policy as shown on the Government of Canada website. In a recent op ed in Embassy Magazine, I explain that far from attempting to generate “hate” toward Israel or Jews, the BDS demands are specific democratic demands consistent with Canadian values of fairness and respect for international law.

What are the 3 BDS demands?

That Israel meets its obligation to fully comply with the precepts of international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

These legitimate, democratic demands are supported by Canada and much of the international community. The Harper government would look rather foolish in court claiming that they are hate crimes.


  1. Any serious examination of Israeli Democracy reveals that in spite of their claims it is far short of being a modern democracy for all its citizens.

    As for the Harper Government, it is obvious by now they will use their power and their version of democracy to shut down or limit the democratic rights of anyone who challenges their abuse of democracy.

    1. if they can. I don’t think they can do it. But there is a risk. The biggest risk is that they will scare a lot of “third parties” (e.g. universities, churches, etc.) who will be worried about allowing their premises to be used for healthy, honest debate.

  2. Right on!!!
    I have always been proud to call myself Canadian–at home and abroad. This has changed. I am now embarrassed to admit I am a Canadian, especially in the Middle East.
    This government does not even follow its own policies!

  3. For me this Harper government already looks too foolish for words with their insistence on ignoring evidence when their opinions are at odds with well founded evidence let alone informed and expert opinion.

  4. What a confused government we have! Well done for exposing this absurd situation.



Comments are closed.