Canada should give a serious response to credible allegations of Israeli apartheid – OFIP advisory council

Over a year ago, Human Rights Watch released a 213-page report, “A Threshold Crossed,” finding that Israeli authorities are committing the crime against humanity of apartheid. It was followed by a similar substantial reports from Amnesty International, B’Tselem and other organizations. The Canadian government says it “does not agree” without giving any reasons. It appears to be embarassed by accusations against Israel which it describes as a friend and ally. Read more…

In early March, three members of the OFIP Advisory Council wrote an open letter urging the Canadian government to respond seriously to allegations of Israeli apartheid by several reputable human rights organizations. Aslightly modified version was picked up by the digital publication “The Conversation”, and then subsequently reprinted by the National Post.

Below, CTIP has printed excerpts from original open letter signed by Peter Larson (l.), Alex Neve, (c) and Michael Lynk (r) are below. A slightly modified version was printed by “The Conversation”, and subsequently printed in the National Post.

Canadians deserve to hear more from our government about human rights violations in Israel, including the allegations of “apartheid”


Michael Lynk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories

Alex Neve, Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa.

Peter Larson, Chair, Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine


Over the past two years, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released reports documenting massive and widespread Israeli violations of the human rights of Palestinians. (…) They have made headlines around the world because they have charged Israel with committing the crime of “apartheid”...

“(…) They do not compare Israel to South Africa, but are judging Israeli practices in the light of the international definition of apartheid, enshrined in a UN treaty dating back to 1973 as well as the 1998 Rome Statue establishing the International Criminal Court...

“(…) The reports are based on years of investigation, field reports and legal analysis. They document an embedded two-tier legal and political structure which gives one group (Israeli Jews) privileges in housing, employment and lifestyle while depriving others of the same access.

Accordingly, this constitutes “apartheid” – which international and Canadian law recognize to be a crime against humanity.

“(…) regrettably, the response of the Canadian government has been to reject the accusation, without providing any reasons. Perhaps that is because the evidence and legal analysis are difficult to refute, uncomfortably so when it deals with a country Canada considers to be a close friend and ally.

“(…) Why does Canada disagree with the serious allegations that the Israeli government is responsible for the crime of apartheid? The case made by experienced and impartial organizations that Israel is responsible for the international crime of apartheid, cannot be ignored simply by saying “we disagree”...


Alex Neve, Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa.

Michael Lynk, former UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory

Peter Larson, Chair, Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine

What can I do?

CTIP subscribers are encouraged to download and read the entire letter. If you agree, share it with the Prime Minister, their own MP, and any civil society organizations you know. The Canadian government appears to want to avoid this issue.

The complete text of the original letter can be found here.

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 Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine


  1. Does anyone seriously expects the government to explain why Israel is not an apartheid state. It will be like the government will try to explain that the ocean’s water is not salty.
    Of course that does not mean that we should not push to get them to tell the truth.

    1. Hey Jay, thanks for writing.
      How about the Admissions Committee Law, which allows Jewish communities in Israel to decide who they want to accept as residents? Kind of like giving areas in Ottawa the right to decide they don’t want Blacks, or browns, or even Jews. I would call that an apartheid law. What would you call it? It’s certainly discriminatory. And it allows racist practices.
      If you want more info go to:,Organization%2C%20quasi%2Dgovernmental%20entities.

      1. Less than 3% of the Israeli population lives in communities that have admission committees.
        My Kibbutz is one of these communities, we do have an admission committee, we also have Kibbutz members who are Muslim Arab Israelis and were admitted by that committee

        You are welcome to visit my kibbutz next time you plan a trip to Israel

    2. I would suggest the Basic law of 2018 that confirms that only Jews have the right to national self-determination. And he Law of Return that only allows Jews to move to Israel. Palestinians who lived in, say, Haifa for generations and were expelled during the ethnic cleansing of 1948 have no right of return. they have deep ties to the region, but because they are not Jewish, they cannot return.
      I would also suggest that you read the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports. They are exhaustively documented — book length.

    3. How about the law that recently deleted Arabic as one of Israel’s two national languages?

  2. Hello Peter,


    div>I couldn’t agree more. I have written to the Prime Minister and to Yasir Naqvi. The former did not respond. The latter sent a long boiler plate response sharing his concerns about the treatment of Palestinians, adding how much effort the Government of Canada is carrying out to resolve the Palestinian situation. Not th

  3. In France the position of the french goverment is similary according to the european union position

  4. The crimes are horrible and we must always guard against allowing them to be swept under a rug and hidden by a debate over the use of a word. Those who create dictionaries are always careful to say that their products describe how a word is used and not how they think a word should be used. I have checked several readily available on-line dictionaries and ALL of them base their definition on the system that once existed in South Africa. They do not mention the treaties to which you refer. If you want to communicate with the majority of people, use the dictionary definition; there are plenty of other words to describe the immoral and unforgivable system in Israel.

  5. Good post, Peter. Canada’s silence on the issue of Israeli apartheid screams. No doubt they are aware that to defend Israel in this area is to defend the indefensible. It is up to Canadians of conscience to pressure the government to examine the allegations and report their findings to the Canadian public.

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