The local chapter of the national human rights organization Independent Jewish Voices (IJV),will be demonstrating outside of the Liberal Party convention in opposition to the Party’s near-unanimous support for a February 22 motion condemning individuals and organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Other groups will take part as well.
The demonstration will take place at the Winnipeg Convention Centre at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 28.
“We weren’t surprised that the Conservatives brought this motion forward, but we were deeply disappointed to see the large majority of Liberal MPs support it,” says IJV spokesperson Harold Shuster. “For the party that gave Canadians the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it seemed out of line to be condemning Canadians for exercising their right to peaceful protest in support of human rights.”
Amnesty International Canada criticized the anti-BDS motion, saying in a statement: “It is incumbent upon the government to now make a clear statement that the motion will not be interpreted or applied in a way that directly or indirectly violates or undermines the right of individuals to exercise their free expression right to promote the BDS movement.”
“We are relieved that the recent anti-BDS motion in Ontario failed due to the principled votes of Liberal MPPs, who saw the need to protect Ontarians’ right to freedom of expression,” says Shuster. “Our demonstration today is sending a clear message to the federal Liberal Party that it is not at all anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, and to compel Israel to change its abhorrent behaviour through the peaceful tactic of BDS. Our right to voice our opinions free of governmental intimidation ought to be respected by the Liberal Party.”