Canadian gov't may outlaw Israel boycotts

Stephen Harper  photo: Reuters

Plans to define Israel boycotts as hate crimes would provoke protests and legal action by anti-Israel groups, CBC News reports.

The Canadian government, headed by Stephen Harper, is considering applying hate crime legislation to anyone who tries to organize a boycott of Israel, CBS News reports in Canada.

According to the report, such a move is likely to provoke protests from parties that are highly critical of Israel and act against it, such as the United Church of Canada and organizations active on Canadian university campuses.

Canada is very friendly to Israel, and if it in fact it does go ahead with this move, it will be considered a very aggressive step. It arises as a response to moves by the BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) pro-Palestinian movement since 2006.

In January, then Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird called the BDS movement "the new face of anti-Semitism.” Shortly afterwards, speaking in the United Nations, Canada's Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney compared the attempts to boycott Israel with anti-Semitic acts and acts of terrorism such as the attacks in Paris a few months ago. Blaney said his government would show zero-tolerance towards BDS.

CBS News says that while the Canadian government can set prosecution priorities for the police, a provincial attorney general would have to approve any prosecution, and that the move would be challenged by civil liberties groups under Canada's constitution.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 12, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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Stephen Harper  photo: Reuters
Stephen Harper photo: Reuters
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