The boycott of Israel: interview with Tom Woodley, President of CJPME


Tom Woodley, President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) points to a “boycott” sticker. He has been one of the most prominent Canadian promoters of the movement to boycott Israel (BDS). In a video interview, Woodley reflects on how the BDS movement is developing in Canada. Read more.

After the Canadian Parliament voted in February of this year to ‘condemn’ the movement to boycott Israel (BDS) and the people who support it, Tom Woodley, was defiant.


His nervy response was ‘go ahead, make my day, condemn me’ – a riff on Clint Eastwood’s macho slogan.

But the Trudeau government didn’t do anything, probably sensing that few in Canada agreed with the Conservative party claim that BDS was ‘anti-Semitic’ and calculating that there was very little appetite in Canada for trying to legally stop people from supporting it.

Over the summer, CJPME has gone a step further, launching a series of short, informative videos about BDS. One explains in simple terms what the BDS movement is all about and what its 3 key demands are. Another addresses the question ‘why target Israel?’ The organization has also produced a series of BDS factsheets and other resources.

Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) interviewed Thomas Woodley about the videos and about his sense of how the BDS campaign is developing in Canada.

As Woodley points out, the BDS movement is still in its infancy. Most Canadians have never heard the term “BDS” and even fewer know what it stands for.

But there are signs that it is developing. CJPME is now part of a broader BDS Coalition in Canada. It appears that the efforts of Woodley and CJPME are gradually paying off.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. If you support our educational mission, why not join? Or make a donation? Or learn more about what we do?  Contact us at



  1. Just to be clear, the vote to condemn BDS was supported by both the conservative and the liberals. Justin Trudeau made it very clear what he thinks about the BDS in that vote as well as in his tweet :

    @JustinTrudeao : The BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses. As a @McGillU alum, I’m disappointed. #EnoughIsEnough

    1. Justin Trudeau : The BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses. As a @McGillU alum, I’m disappointed. #EnoughIsEnough

  2. Well I watched their videos and I think they are preaching to the choir. Essentially they take the charge, ask it as a question then say “absolutely not” and then don’t address the issue.

    For example the videos claim the goal of the movement is change in policy of the government. The BDS demands themselves don’t merely advocate for full fledged regime change but rather go to the next level of advocating for fundamentally altering the nation underlying the state of Israel. Demands for war crimes tribunals for essentially the entire adult population, brutal reparations to guarantee grinding poverty for generations, slashing off huge chunks of the country combined with mass ethnic cleansing, flooding the country with an enemy population… are not within the realm of what’s considered “policy change” in normal discourse. BDS demands certainly falls short of kill the men, enslave the women and children, and lime the earth so nothing grows there again . But it is far closer to that sort of engagement of a country than claims it seeks mere policy reforms would suggest. Pretending that BDS’ aims are somehow within the realm of what any society would ever agree to without massive (and likely repeated) military defeats is simply not addressing the issue in the criticism of those aims.

    Or “will it end soon” what possible evidence is there that this program is going to end this century much less this decade? If BDS wanted to “end soon” it could easily have a stop date “if the boycott proves ineffective by 2025 all boycott actives will cease…“. Having the demands be so incredibly stringent and then the enforcement date open ended is clearly designed to de-facto create a permanent enmity between Canadians and Israelis.

    Another example would be the claim that BDS demands and compatible with Canadian policy, which contradicts the government’s repeated assertions they are not and moreover contradicts voting records, policy and treaties that Canada has signed.

    The tone towards Israel / Israelis / Jews is not horrific. Which is nice. Its good to see BDS without the ferocious hatred it is normally paired with. But the total disconnect with the actual policies leaves me puzzled. The CJPME seem like good people who just don’t understand what they are advocating for.

  3. Its also worth mentioning the ignorance is not specific to just Israel. For example they seek to distinguish groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood (this grouping by itself is kind of weird) because those groups are in resistance to:

    a) ethnic discrimination
    b) religious discrimination or
    c) denial of freedom

    ISIS itself arose in opposition to (b) and (c) and Al Qaeda arose in opposition to all 3. Moreover Hezbollah certainly experiences none of these 3. Middle easter resistance movements don’t even claim to be seeking free societies they are disgusted by free societies seeing them as a form of crusader domination. The whole purpose of constructing Islamic (Sharia compliant) states is institutional religious discrimination. And finally the immediate states cause of their violence is opposition to people of the wrong ethnic group being present in their vicinity. Whether that be Hamas’ opposition to Jews moving to Palestine, Al Qaeda’s opposition to USA forces living in Saudi Arabia….

    Al Qaeda’s aims:
    Establishing the rule of God on earth
    Attaining martyrdom in the cause of God
    Purification of the ranks of Islam from the elements of depravity

    Houthi aims:
    An Islamic society
    Military victory to Islam
    Death to America
    Death to Israel
    Curse on the Jews

    Hezbollah aim:
    To permit all the sons of our people to determine their future and to choose in all the liberty the form of government their desire. We call upon all of them to pick the option of Islamic government which, alone, is capable of guaranteeing justice and liberty for all. Only an Islamic regime can stop any future tentative attempts of imperialistic infiltration onto our country.

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