Canadian Liberal Party Leader: ” Wholesale condemnation of the State of Israel and the Jewish people is not legitimate. Not now, not ever.”

Statement by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff regarding Israeli Apartheid Week

Published on March 1, 2010

OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff made the following statement today:

“On university campuses across the country this week, Israeli Apartheid Week will once again attempt to demonize and undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state. It is part of a global campaign of calls for divestment, boycotts and proclamations, and it should be condemned unequivocally and absolutely.

Apartheid is defined, in international law, as a crime against humanity. Israeli Apartheid Week is a deliberate attempt to portray the Jewish state as criminal.

The activities planned for the week will single out Jewish and Israeli students. They will be made to feel ostracized and even physically threatened in the very place where freedom should be paramount — on a university campus.

Let us be clear: criticism of Israeli government policy is legitimate. Wholesale condemnation of the State of Israel and the Jewish people is not legitimate. Not now, not ever.

The very premise of Israeli Apartheid Week runs counter to our shared values of mutual respect and tolerance, regardless of nationality, race or creed. It is an attempt to heighten the tensions in our communities around the tragic conflict in the Middle East.

On behalf of the Liberal party of Canada and the Parliamentary caucus, I urge all Canadians to join with us in condemning Israeli Apartheid Week, and to reject, in principle, all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance, both within this country and around the world.”

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