In what has become a predictable annual event, federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on March 7 issued a statement condemning Israeli Apartheid Week, which “condemns Israeli Apartheid Week, in no uncertain terms” and accuses the event of “targeting Jewish and Israeli students for abuse on our university campuses,” even going so far, in classic Orwellian fashion, to state that “the organizers and supporters of Israeli Apartheid Week tarnish our freedom of speech.”
If you disagree with this blatant misrepresentation of IAW events, we encourage you to write to Mr. Ignatieff and the Liberal Party to express your concerns. You may want to remind him of the op-ed he penned for the Guardian on April 19, 2002, in which he wrote: “When I looked down at the West Bank, at the settlements like Crusader forts occupying the high ground, at the Israeli security cordon along the Jordan river closing off the Palestinian lands from Jordan, I knew I was not looking down at a state or the beginnings of one, but at a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control.”
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Here is the full text of Ignatieff’s statement:
“Israeli Apartheid Week is an attack on the mutual respect that holds our society together. It is a dangerous cocktail of ignorance and intolerance, both of which stand in the way of peace. The Liberal Party of Canada condemns Israeli Apartheid Week, in no uncertain terms.
“Recent events in the Middle East offer us an opportunity to build a candid and constructive dialogue about peace and democratic reform in the region. Such a dialogue requires give and take; we must be able to acknowledge criticism as legitimate, while treating with respect those who share our hopes for peace and democratic freedoms for all.
“Israeli Apartheid Week does the opposite. By portraying the Jewish state as criminal, by demonizing Israel and its supporters, and by targeting Jewish and Israeli students for abuse on our university campuses, the organizers and supporters of Israeli Apartheid Week tarnish our freedom of speech.
“The voices of anti-Semitism and intolerance have no place in Canada, in the Middle East, or anywhere in the world. All Canadians – and all university students – have the right to feel safe and secure in our communities, regardless of who they are or what they believe.
“On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus, I urge all Canadians to join with us in once again condemning Israeli Apartheid Week here in Canada and around the world.”