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January 17, 2019 4:58 pm

Canadian PM Trudeau Reiterates Condemnation of Anti-Israel BDS Movement

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau addressing the Economic Club in New York on May 17. Photo: Reuters / Lucas Jackson.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to back down from his criticism of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement at a town hall in Ontario on Tuesday.

Trudeau had previously slammed BDS in an apology he issued last year for Canada’s failure to permit the entry of Jewish refugees seeking to flee Europe just before the outbreak of World War II.

As an example of modern antisemitism, Trudeau spoke of Jewish students who “feel unwelcome and uncomfortable in some of our college and university campuses because of BDS-related intimidation.”

According to The Huffington Post‘s Canadian edition, an attendee of the town hall asked the prime minister, “I believe, to my consternation, that you equated the BDS movement with antisemitism, will you take this opportunity today to retract your condemnation of the BDS movement?”

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Trudeau declined to do so, saying, “We need to understand … that antisemitism has also manifested itself not just as in targeting of individuals but it is also targeting a new condemnation or an antisemitism against the very State of Israel.”

Canada, he said, must not “sanction this new frame around antisemitism and undue criticism of Israel.”

“When you have movements like BDS that single out Israel, that seek to delegitimize and in some cases demonize, when you have students on campus dealing with things like Israel apartheid weeks that make them fearful of actually attending campus events because of their religion in Canada, we have to recognize that there are things that aren’t acceptable, not because of foreign policy concerns but because of Canadian values,” Trudeau added.

Contacted by The Algemeiner on Thursday, B’nai Brith Canada praised Trudeau, saying in a statement it was “pleased” to see him “taking a principled stand and doubling down in his condemnation of the BDS movement.”

“The prime minister was right to recognize the BDS movement’s divisive and pernicious effects both on and off-campus, and its efforts to delegitimize, demonize, and apply a double standard to the State of Israel,” the statement went on to say.

“More and more people see the BDS movement for what it is and realize its contribution to the growing antisemitism we have unfortunately witnessed in Canada over the past several years,” the statement concluded.

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