Canada can now formally condemn efforts to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement against Israel after Parliament passed a Conservative-sponsored motion on Monday against BDS.
The motion passed by a wide margin of 229 to 51, CIJ News reported, with the Conservative Party that proposed the move and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party voting in favor and the New Democratic Party voting against the measure.
Conservatives and Liberals voted for the motion to condemn BDS, NDP opposed it. I believe just two Liberal MPs broke ranks. #cdnpoli— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) February 22, 2016
The new motion vows to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”
Canada’s National Council on Canada Arab Relations rejected the motion in a statement Monday, saying it goes against democratic principles of free speech and the right to hold diverse political views.
“Freedom of speech and conscientious objections to buying products from countries that contravene international law are core values of a free and democratic society,” NCCAR Chair Gabriel Fahel argued in a statement.
The NDP condemned the motion as an assault on Canada’s freedom of speech, while the Liberals embraced the Conservative proposal, keeping with a record of publicly opposing the BDS movement that aims to mount pressure against Israel to end the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Trudeau strongly criticized BDS last year when he suggested the movement has no place in Canada.
While the NDP opposed the motion, the party and its leader Thomas Mulcair have also come under fire for uncritical support of Israel, including during last year’s election campaign when at least two NDP candidates had to distance themselves from statements they had made about Israel and Palestine and a third candidate was forced to resign over his pro-Palestine position.
The motion celebrates Canada’s “long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations” with Israel.
Several organizations plan to pressure the Liberal government for supporting the motion they argue infringes on freedom of expression and lets the Conservative opposition take control.
Canada’s decision comes after the British government warned city councils last week of “severe penalties” for supporting boycotts on trade with Israel.
The BDS movement, launched over a decade ago, is a cultural and consumer boycott that aims to put economic and political pressure on Israel to adhere to international law and end illegal settlements on Palestinian territory and respect the human rights of Palestinians.
According to U.N. data, foreign direct investment in Israel dropped by 46 percent between 2013 and 2014, hitting the lowest levels since 2010.
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