The Legislative Assembly of Ontario on Thursday passed by a vote of 49-5 a historic motion affirming the Ontario Legislature’s rejection of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The motion was brought forward by Conservative MPP Gila Martow of the largely Jewish riding of Thornhill.
“That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should; stand firmly against any position or movement that promotes or encourages any form of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in any way; recognize the longstanding, vibrant and mutually beneficial political, economic and cultural ties between Ontario and Israel, built on a foundation of shared liberal democratic values; endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” the motion read.
CIJNews reported that at the debate leading up to the vote, Martow delivered an emotional speech urging all parties to vote in favor of the motion in order to ensure protection of Jewish students who are on the receiving end of the BDS activists’ aggressive vitriol against Israel.
Martow told the House Speaker that Canadian universities have become battlegrounds of intolerance and that Canadian students incur hostility and demonization of Israel that affects their psychological well-being.
“We wouldn’t be supporting the KKK, so why are we allowing BDS organizations to hold anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses?” Martow asked, adding, “BDS want to hide behind freedom of speech. BDS is boycotting not just Israel, but all Jews and other supporters of Israel.”
She concluded her argument by urging everyone to “stand up and say no to intolerance against Jewish people”.
A bill designed to prevent the Ontario government from conducting business with companies that support a boycott of Israel failed to pass at the Ontario Legislature on May 19, 2016.
The bill identified the BDS movement as “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel globally and is increasingly promoted on university campuses in Ontario… leading to intimidation and violence on campuses.”
It called on the province, as well as on colleges and universities, to abstain from doing business with companies that support the BDS movement.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne later said she wanted to work with members of the opposition to draft a new motion on the issue which would be “less divisive”.
In February, the Canadian parliament approved by a large majority a draft resolution rejecting and condemning the BDS movement.
229 MPs from both the opposition Conservatives and the ruling Liberal party voted in favor of the resolution. 51 MPs voted against it.