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17 Jan, 2019 14:15

Twitter up in arms after Trudeau says he’ll ‘continue to condemn BDS’

Twitter up in arms after Trudeau says he’ll ‘continue to condemn BDS’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has doubled down on his condemnation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in comments that have drawn the ire of Twitter users.

Speaking at a town hall meeting at Brock University in St. Catharines on Tuesday,
Trudeau fielded a question about his previous comments about BDS, with strong confirmation of his support for Israel.

Trudeau was thanked by a member of the audience for his recent apology for Canada’s decision to send a boat full of 900 German Jewish refugees away in 1939. The man then asked the Canadian leader about “equating the BDS movement with anti-Semitism.”

During his November apology, Trudeau spoke sternly about the scourge of anti-Semitism, and referenced Jewish students who “still feel unwelcome and uncomfortable in some of our college and university campuses because of BDS-related intimidation.” His comments were harshly denounced by over 230 academics at the time.

“Will you take this opportunity today to retract your condemnation of the BDS movement?” Trudeau was asked on Tuesday during the St Catharines event.

The Canadian PM responded by repeating much of his previous statements about BDS being anti-Semitic, and said BDS “singles out Israel” and seeks to “delegitimize and in some cases demonize” the country.

He went on to reference college students “dealing with things like ‘apartheid week’ that makes them fearful of actually attending campus events because of their religion in Canada.”

READ MORE: Pro-Palestinian students cry censorship over Israel Apartheid Week cancelations week

BDS is a peaceful global grassroots movement which seeks to pressurize Israel into complying with “international law and Palestinian rights,” through boycotting products and companies that profit from violating Palestinian rights, as well as cultural and academic institutions.

Inspired by the successful South African apartheid BDS movement, BDS does not criticize the Jewish religion and many Jewish groups support BDS and peace between Israel and Palestinians.

Trudeau explained that he views BDS as unacceptable, and “not because of foreign policy concerns but because of Canadian values.”

The prime minister’s comments were welcomed by Israeli interest groups, but slammed by many, including Independent Jewish Voices Canada, which accused Trudeau of “using our identities as Jews to go after support for Palestinian human rights.”

Trudeau is a staunch supporter of Israel and in 2015 Canada passed a motion condemning “any and all attempts” to promote BDS. During the 2014 war on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge,Trudeau supported Israel’s right to defend itself and commended its commitment to peace, despite 2,200 Palestinians being killed in the 50 day conflict which is being investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for potential war crimes.

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