Canadian human rights advocates launch “cross sector initiative” to pressure Canadian government to address serious allegations of Israeli apartheid

Faced with the Canadian government’s refusal to take seriously allegations of Israeli apartheid made by a series of international human rights organizations, a Canadian group has launched Canadians Against Apartheid, an initiative aimed at pressuring for a response. Read more….

In April, the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel UNJPPI) became the first Canadian advocacy group to sign on to an initiative designed to pressure / persuade the federal government to evaluate the charges of apartheid that numerous human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have levelled against Israel.

UNJPPI is the first advocacy group to sign onto the iniative. The sponsors are hoping many more organizations will also do so.

The authors are hoping that many other human rights organizations will join the initiative. They propose to create a website where individuals and organizations could sign a petition or send a letter to the Minister of Global Affairs or to their own Member of Parliament.

The initiative specifically asks the Federal government to:

  • study the reports by Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and others and evaluate their allegations of apartheid in the West Bank and Israel.
  • share the government’s evaluation of the allegations, including points of agreement and disagreement with the human rights community, and
  • direct the Minister of Global Affairs to recommend a proper course of action for Canada in consultation with other like-minded international partners.

We believe the time is right for such an initiative, as Israel’s far-right government is ever-more clearly exposing Israel’s apartheid policies and practices,” write Philip Sherwood and Colter Louwerse, the project initiators. “It is also important that this window of opportunity is not missed as the “shelf life” of the human rights reports is not indefinite.”

The proposal is currently being circulated to human rights organizations in Canada. A full copy of the proposal 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. Horrible idea. From what I have read, the reports by both AI and HRW do not make a serious effort to look at the claims of Apartheid and merely regurgitate the propaganda of critics of Israel. The authours were not knowledgable about international law and they don’t examine the very reasonable objections that have been advanced numerous times to the claims that Israel is an Apartheid state. The reports add nothing to the discussion other than putting the imprimatur of once-respected organizations that have sadly been highjacked by anti-Zionists on the outrageous and tendentious claims that Israel is an Apartheid state.

    Israel is in a war. The people under Israeli occupation are the defeated party in the war. The difficulties facing Palestinians are a result of this unresolved war and not a result of Apartheid. The claim of Apartheid ignores the role the Palestinians are playing in the perpetuation of the current standoff. They have refused to come to terms with Israel, even though Israel has offered to withdraw from most of the territory it occupied. To then claim that the Israeli occupation is Apartheid is to ignore the war and pretend that Palestinians have no agency.

    Apartheid is a useful term for villifying Israel. If you are on the Palestinian side in the war between Israel and the Palestinians it certainly serves to maintain the sense of outrage you have toward the Israeli enemy. But it is of no value in actually making sense of the conflict and third parties such as the Canadian government have rightly rejected these arguments and should continue to do so.

    1. Hello David,
      thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      You have raised a serious challenge to the AI and HRW reports that deserve further discussion.
      Would you be interested in a public discussion on this issue? I think that would be very useful.
      It could be done in a number of ways. You and I could discuss the reports in an open webinar. Or we could find people even more expert than we are to discuss.
      Either way. Up to you.
      Thanks again.

    2. Hi David,
      I gather from your comments that you have not read the reports from
      AI and HRW. Don’t you think that would be a first step before commenting on their veracity?

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