Every year, on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, Prime Minister Trudeau makes a strong statement about Canada’s commitment to human rights and equality, in Canada and around the world. He probably doesn’t know that in doing so, he is expressing support for one of the 3 objectives of the BDS movement. Read more….
“Today, we mark Human Rights Day and celebrate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This document, which Canadian John Humphrey helped draft, outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms to which we are all entitled, and has inspired laws to protect human rights in Canada and around the world.” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement on December 10th.
In saying so, Prime Minister Trudeau may not know that he is expressing support for one of the three key demands of the international movement to boycott Israel, called BDS – the demand for EQUALITY for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. (The other two demands are an “end to the occupation” and a “respecting and promoting the rights of the Palestinian refugees”.)
The demand for equality is a key issue for the nearly 2 million Palestinians who live inside Israel, descendants of those who avoided expulsion in 1947/48. As citizens, they do have some rights, including the right to vote and to be elected to the Knesset. But, as non-Jews living in a Jewish state, many other rights are denied to them, including the right to live wherever they want in Israel. Their education system is separate (and unequal), their standard of living significantly lower and they face discrimination that is legally sanctioned.
Ironically, at almost the same time that Trudeau was sanctimoniously announcing his support for equality around the world, the Israeli Supreme Court was hearing a petition in which representatives of Israel’s Palestinian citizens argued that Israel’s Jewish Nation-State law, enshrined inequality. The Israeli justices would have no part of it. “During the hearing, the High Court justices saw no problem with demoting the status of Arabic and claimed that ‘equality’ is something best left for the future” noted Orly Noy, who attended the hearing and was an intervener.
“Protecting and advancing human rights at home and around the world is our shared duty, and together there is still much work to be done.”, continued Trudeau in his statement.
However, Trudeau has been shrill in his denunciation of BDS, a movement whose aims include protecting and advancing human rights in Israel. Just two years ago in a well publicized town hall in Hamilton, he even went so far as to call BDS – “anti-Semitic”.
Is Trudeau hypocritical? Maybe. But there is also the possibility that his close advisors have not even told him that the demand for equality is one of the 3 BDS demands. He may not know that other two BDS demands – an end to the occupation, and a just solution for the Palestinian refugees, are also very consistent with official Canadian policy as outlined on the Global Affairs website.
Either way, whether Trudeau is “hypocritical” or “willfully ignorant”, it amounts to the same thing: Canada loudly and sanctimoniously proclaims its support for human rights “around the world”, whereas in fact, we really only support them where it suits us.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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