Anti-BDS motion to be debated in Ontario Legislature (again)

The Ontario Legislature will once again debate a motion that seeks to silence supporters of Palestinian human rights and attempts to erroneously connect support for the Palestinian-led movement for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) with anti-Semitism.

Motion 36, presented by Conservative MPP Gila Martow, which will debated in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday, December 1, 2016 reads:

That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should; stand firmly against any position or movement that promotes or encourages any form of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in any way; recognize the longstanding, vibrant and mutually beneficial political, economic and cultural ties between Ontario and Israel, built on a foundation of shared liberal democratic values; endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combatting Antisemitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

This is the second time this year that the Ontario PC Party has attempted to push through an anti-BDS motion. In May, Bill 202, failed to pass second reading and was defeated. After the failure of Bill 202, over 70 organizations released an open letter calling on the Ontario Legislature to “support the right of Ontarians to engage in peaceful advocacy for human rights in Israel/Palestine, free from defamation or condemnation from our provincial government.”

Independent Jewish Voices has already released a statement and issued a joint press release calling on Ontario’s legislators to reject the motion, stating, “This motion constitutes an outrageous attack on freedom of political expression in Ontario, and therefore should be strongly opposed by all those who cherish this freedom. … As a Jewish organization, IJV is greatly disturbed by such efforts to manipulate the meaning of antisemitism in order to intimidate and silence critics of Israeli government policy.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario and the Ontario Civil Liberties Association have also called on MPPs to reject the motion.

You can read more in this post on the Electronic Intifada.


Motion 36 was passed on December 1, 2016 by a vote of 49-5. You can read the so-called debate and see the vote breakdown.

Independent Jewish Voices said in a release that it “is deeply concerned and disturbed by the passage of the private members motion 36,” with IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan saying, “It is outrageous for our elected representatives to publicly chastise human rights supporters, and falsely accuse them of hatred and bigotry for standing in solidarity with the victims of Israeli state violence and oppression. The so-called debate in the Ontario Legislature was little more than a slurry of lies and defamation against Palestinian human rights advocates.”

The passing of the motion was also denounced by college and university students across Ontario, the Toronto Chapter of the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel.

Read more reaction to the passing of Motion 36 at the Electronic Intifada and Middle East Eye.

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