A Quebec political party is being urged to condemn antisemitism after recent statements and a video by one of its members accusing Israel of "apartheid" that contained "explicitly antisemitic language."
B’nai Brith Canada called on the leadership of Quebec Solidaire (QS), the third largest political party in Québec, to condemn antisemitic statements and to clarify its position on the BDS movement.
The advocacy organization noted that in 2016 the Canadian Parliament passed a motion formally condemning BDS, stating that it “promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel.”
On April 17, QS Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Haroun Bouazzi sent a letter to Quebec Finance Minister Éric Girard, requesting that the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ), the provincial corporation responsible for the trade of alcoholic beverages within the province, delist 18 Israeli wine products.
According to B’nai Brith, Bouazzi also released a video the same day, in which he called on his supporters to take action and “quoted reports containing inflammatory and explicitly antisemitic language,” referring in the video to Israel as the “apartheid state” and quoting a report which repeatedly uses the term “Jewish Supremacy.”
Bouazzi’s request to SAQ was based on a misrepresentation of a 2021 decision issued by the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) which related to how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) labels products regarding their “country-of-origin,” B’nai Brith asserted.
On May 13, the CFIA issued a statement, agreeing with the FCA’s 2021 decision, to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) regarding Israeli wines produced from grapes “grown on territories administered by Israel.”
“These wineries are the target of the BDS movement in its attempt to vilify and delegitimize the State of Israel,” B’nai Brith said. “Contrary to Bouazzi’s contention, the CFIA statement did not say that 18 Israeli wine products being sold at the SAQ were falsely labeled or that a country-of-origin label was necessary. Rather, it said that without additional information clarifying that the contents were produced in areas administered by Israel, the voluntary labels on two wine products would be considered false under federal statutes.”
B’nai Brith added that it “remains concerned with Bouazzi’s repeated use of incendiary language, exemplified in a claim made in his April 7 video that accepting the label on the Israeli wines would be the equivalent of ‘normalizing illegal colonization.’ The MNA has also recently posted a tweet accusing Québec of being complicit in the ‘apartheid regime in Israel-Palestine.’”