On International Human Rights Day Trudeau inadvertently reconfirms his support for key BDS objective

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.

Wilful ignorance?

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.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org.


  1. Trudeau will have to retract his opposition to BDS, including the preposterous charge that it is antisemitic, as he realizes that it is a peaceful citizens led boycott of the type that brought change to apartheid South Africa, brought Soviet Jews to Israel advanced civil minority black and indigenous rights to Canada and the USA etc to just name a few of the causes where such boycotts movements have played a major role. Indeed, Trudeau should begin advocating for BDS, as a friend of Israel and Palestine, to ensure more equality between Arabs and Jews in Israel and self determination for Palestinians in a free independent state of Palestine, if he is really interested in seeing Israel survive and thrive as a Jewish democrstic and accepted human rights respecting state. With the death of the Trump annexation Pal bantustine plan, the time is now for Canada to step up in its policy of realizing equality and human rights a real 2 state solution of Israel Palestine.

    1. Hey George, thanks again. Your contributions are always thoughtful.

      I expect the main reason Trudeau (and his advisors) are opposed to BDS, is because of its demand for the right of return for the refugees.
      If even if only a small number of refugees return to where they came from (i.e. Israel), Israel will no longer have a Jewish majority. Whether or not the NAME of the country will changes, but when Jews are no longer a majority I expect that the laws and regulations that give special privileges to Jews inside Israel will soon be annulled. That will be the end of the Zionist project of a “Jewish State”.

      1. Right of return is a factor but this is not going to happen en masse except to a viable and independent Palestine and only symbolically and with compensation to Israel proper,. Believe rather that Trudeau has simply being assimilated perhaps unknowingly into the rejectionist stance of the Israel lobby in Canada Bnai brith Cija which rejects any movement towards Palestinian human rights and Palestinian state that challenges the supremacist ethicist and all controlling claiming survival security at all costs philosophy of the extremist pan Israel Zionists ruling Israel. He should know that like in South Africa this kind of approach is not going to work and that only a free Palestine and Palestinians can ensure the survival of a Jewish democratic state of Israel and that BDS can play a positive role in this transition.

  2. It is curious that many actually think this man is a progressive but in matters of human rights, ecological rights, international and foreign affairs his record is consistently misguided. His promises and attempts to present himself as a progressive are completely misleading and reveals as this article points out either ignorance or outright hypocrisy. He continues to take our country down a militaristic imperialistic neocolonialist shameful path. At a time when our world desperately needs wisdom, integrity and a commitment to peace his stance and orientation have been destructive on all fronts and represents a complete betrayal of values typically associated with Canada as a Peace Keeper. Many have attempted to analyze the meaning of all this – as pointed out – in the article – ignorance, deceit, hypocrisy. I also wonder about mental stability. Whatever the reasons – we are being led by a corporatacracy war hawk – committed to carrying out the agendas of the military industrial complex, and consistently adopting actions which represent a complete disregard for human rights. I invite everyone to examine the record looking for the facts, not the promises, nor the distortions so typical of our corporate controlled mainstream media.

    1. So true ! Both the Conservatives under Harper and the Liberals under Trudeau choose to endear themselves to the Zionists, seemingly without realizing the implcations of supporting Israel which continues to choke and terrorize, with impunity, Palestinians, including imprisoning children. Furthermore, Trudeau is ignoring Canada’s foreign policy, which has been against the settlements and fhe occupation for many years.,,

  3. If Canada truly believes and stands for Human dignity and human rights then Mr. Trudeau must come out of his double standard attitude and make it happen loud and clear for Palestinian and their rights of return. Canada could become a champion of peace and harmony in the World if our politicians have any faith in Canadian true values of moralities and truths.

  4. Lets hope that it is not inadvertent. Canada’s politicians are all afraid of the pro-Israel lobby. He might hope that this “baby step” towards BDS will escape their notice.

    1. Hey David, thanks for your comment. I think you are far too optimistic. (Unfortunately). There is very little political gain for Trudeau to give any ground to BDS, in my view and a high cost.

      I think its more likely he likes making these sweeping statements about equality without realizing what the implications would be for other parts of Canadian policy.

  5. Larson, this is likely your most idiotic article. The Arab citizens of Israel have equal rights. That part of BDS is just smoke screen for the call for the destruction of Israel, the true goal of BDS and the antisemites that support it.

    1. Hey Mr. Sigman, I dont accept ad hominem arguments on this site. If you continue you will be banned permanently.

      On the substantive point, you are quite wrong. The nearly 2 million Palestinian Citizens of Israel (which Israel prefers to call “arab citizens”) most definitely do NOT have equal rights. While they are citizens, they face legalized discrimination somewhat reminiscent of Jim Crow USA. That second class status was actually written into the Israeli constitution (or equivalent) in the “Nation State Law” which is a basic law. Their second class status is reflected in many rules and regulation including where they are allowed to live and which schools they can attend.

      Nobody reading this exchange needs to take my word for it, just check out the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, https://www.english.acri.org.il/ , an Israeli NGO based in Tel Aviv.

      Thank you for raising this point so I could clarify for the benefit of others.

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