Canadian Media, Ontario Legislature, Condemn ‘Apartheid Week’

The province of Ontario and Canadian media have condemned tying Israel with ‘apartheid,” but 500 Montreal artists back boycott of Israel.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 12:29

Ontario legislator Peter Shurman
Ontario legislator Peter Shurman
Israel news photo: MPP Peter Shurman

The legislature of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, and major Canadian dailies have railed against the use of the term ‘apartheid” and the "Israel Apartheid Week” campaign. However, 500 Montreal artists rallied behind an anti-Zionist call to boycott Israel.

Ontario’s resolution condemned the annual anti-Israel event, which opened this week. “I want to be clear about what it is I’m trying to do,” Ontario legislator Peter Shurman said. “I want the name changed. It’s that simple. It’s just wrong.”

The legislature unanimously agreed with him and passed a resolution against the name, which Shurman says in effect means a monologue, not a dialogue. “The name is hateful, it is odious and that’s not how things should be in my Ontario.” he declared. “It’s a term that frankly I’m sick of hearing. Get rid of this word apartheid,” he said the term "is close to hate speech.”

The resolution was passed less than three months before Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is to lead a trade mission to Israel.

In the predominantly French-speaking city of Montreal, 500 artists, including several Israelis, promoted a petition supporting Israel Apartheid Week and backing the Arab claim of the "right of return” for millions of Arabs claming ancestry to those who fled Israel during the wars in 1948 and 1967. Ample historical evidence has shown that the Arab world encouraged most of them to leave to allow the Arab Legion to complete what it thought would be the annihilation of the Jewish State.

The National Post’s David Frum sharply condemned Toronto’s York University for setting different rules for pro-Israelis and anti-Zionists. He charged that the university placed stiff conditions on the campus group, Christians United for Israel, which applied to use university space for a program of pro-Israel speakers.

Frum said the university insisted that the group pay for heavy security and provide a full list in advance of the speakers and the content of their speeches. The university also prohibited advertising the program on campus. The organizers canceled the event after declining to comply with the requirements.

The hate-Israel program
Referring to 'Israeli Apartheid Week' events, Frum wrote, “The hate-Israel program is not required to pay for its own security. It is free to advertise. Its speakers are not pre-screened by the university.... The logic is impressively brazen: Since the anti-Israel people might use violence, the speech of the pro-Israel people must be limited. On the other hand, since the pro-Israel people do not use violence, the speech of the anti-Israel people can proceed without restraint."

After asking the university if “York imposes precisely the same requirements on all student groups,” a spokesman responded, “All student groups that request university space, yes.”

Writing in a column published from Vancouver to Montreal, Leonard Stern wrote that Israel Apartheid Week gives Israel the “assigned the role of Jew among the nations — singled-out, cursed and harassed….The whiff of something medieval hangs over this March ritual. This isn’t about Jews, say the organizers. It’s about Zionists. Problem is, the activist groups behind Israeli Apartheid Week are doing everything to erase the distinction.”

He pointed out that an Ottawa research group in 1998 refused to promote a lecture on African development “because Jewish students at the University of Ottawa happened to be organizing it. The event had zero connection to Israel but [the group] said it wouldn’t partner with the Jewish students’ union due to the latter’s 'relationship to apartheid Israel.'”