Go ahead, make my day, condemn me

Allez-y, faites-moi plaisir et condamnez-moi


The government has committed to condemning all of us, for "any and all attemts" to promote BDS. Let's challenge the government to do it, to each of us! Here's our petition:

To the head of Canada’s government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

WHEREAS the House of Commons passed a motion calling the government “to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, both here at home and abroad,”

WHEREAS each one of us has sought to promote the BDS movement,

THEREFORE, we the undersigned petition the Canadian government to be individually condemned for, as appropriate, our thoughts, words, and actions, promoting BDS:

Le gouvernement s’est engagé à tous nous condamner, pour « toutes tentatives de tous genres » qui feront la promotion du mouvement BDS. Alors, lançons-lui un défi, au gouvernement ! Qu’il nous condamne tous et toutes ! Voici notre pétition :

Au chef du gouvernement du Canada, le Premier ministre Justin Trudeau :

ALORS QUE la Chambre des communes a adopté une motion demandant au gouvernement de « condamner toutes tentatives de tous genres, faites par un organisme, un groupe ou un individu qui visera à promouvoir le mouvement BDS [Boycottage, Désinvestissement et Sanctions] ici au pays ou à l’étranger »,

ALORS QUE chacun d’entre nous a tenté de promouvoir le mouvement BDS,

Nous, les signataires de la pétition ci-jointe, pour les raisons énumérées plus haut, demandons au gouvernement canadien de nous condamner individuellement pour avoir, le cas échéant, promu le mouvement BDS par nos paroles et par nos actions :

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PRImage400x300.pngLetter from Thomas Woodley, President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Re: Awaiting your condemnation for my promotion of BDS

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Trudeau

Given that the House of Commons yesterday passed a motion calling the government “to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad,” I anxiously await your condemnation. 

Although I regret that I have not had the opportunity to promote the BDS movement abroad, I have done my utmost to promote it in Canada.  I note that you are required to condemn “any and all” attempts to promote BDS, so I will list as many of my attempts as I can think of below. 

Before I jump into my list of transgressions, however, I thought you might want to know a bit about the BDS movement.  Surprisingly, I don’t believe its official, stated objectives were ever actually mentioned during the parliamentary debate on the motion.  I simple oversight, I suspect.

The first stated objective of the BDS movement is “Ending [Israel’s] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.” [1]  It’s almost as if the founders of the BDS movement were reading from Canada’s Global Affairs Website on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where it says, for example:

  • “Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories.” [2]
  • “Canada does not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem.” [3]
  • “Canada opposes Israel's construction of the barrier inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem which are occupied territories. This construction is contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada not only opposes Israel's construction of a barrier extending into the occupied territories, but also expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure carried out for this purpose.” [4]

The second stated objective of the BDS movement is “Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.” [5]  This is eerily similar to Canada’s Global Affairs commitment to human rights around the world:

  • “Canada takes principled positions on important issues to ensure that freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, values that define this country, are enjoyed around the world.” [6]

The third stated objective of the BDS movement is “Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” [7]  I just double-checked and confirmed that in 1948, Canada indeed voted in favour of Resolution 194.   Canada’s consistency on this issue is reflected on Canada’s Global Affairs Website:

  • “Canada believes that a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue is central to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as called for in United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (1948) and United Nations Security Council resolution 242. … This solution should respect the rights of the refugees, in accordance with international law.” [8]

Although I’m still anxious to be condemned, I’m not sure I understand why you find it necessary to condemn me, given that the BDS movement is perfectly aligned with Canada’s official policy.  I certainly hope that when Parliament debates other laws and motions, the debate is more strongly based in documented facts and positions. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if the House of Commons were debating an energy pipeline, and got the starting and ending locations wrong. 

As for my activities promoting BDS, I list the most “egregious” examples here, most of them performed in my capacity as President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East:

  • I instigated the launch of a “Boycott Centre” (http://cjpme.org/boycott_centre) on my organization’s Website in 2010.  Here we blatantly promote BDS, and provide all sorts of information and tools to Canadians.  For example, Canadians are invited to write letters to local store managers and corporate executives to reconsider their buying decisions in light of Israel’s human rights abuses as documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
  • CJPME’s Boycott Centre has a page dedicated to the moral and legal justification (http://cjpme.org/legal_and_moral_justification) of the BDS movement – also surely a blatant “promotion” of the movement.
  • I have also overseen the creation of factsheets detailing why, under international law, it is unlawful for Israeli companies to take advantage of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territory for commercial benefit.  For example, Israeli company Ahava extracts Dead Sea minerals from the shores of the West Bank and sells them as expensive cosmetics.  Highlighting violations such as this surely “promotes” BDS.
  • My organization and I have also met with a few dozen members of Parliament one day last June to talk about the BDS movement.  If you want, I can provide you their names, as you may need to condemn them too.  I suspect that parliamentarians seeking to inform themselves about the BDS movement would also constitute “promotion.”  But I leave such questions in your capable hands.

While I could continue, I suspect that my “promotion” of the BDS movement as described above is sufficient for your condemnation. 

As I reviewed the Parliamentary debate from last week, I saw some of the same questions that we get on our Facebook page.  Why, we are often asked, is your boycott targeting Israel alone?  There are many reasons, but let me identify a few of the core ones:

  • First, we boycott Israel because we have been explicitly asked to do so by the Palestinians.  In 2005, over 170 organizations from Palestinian civil society asked the international community to boycott Israel. [9] 
  • Second, all other attempts over the past 50 years to get Israel to respect the human rights of Palestinians have failed: e.g. dozens of UN resolutions, international peace efforts, decisions by the International Court of Justice, etc.
  • Third, Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights have been going on a long time.  The first Israeli colony (a.k.a. “settlement”) in the West Bank was built in 1967, soon after Israel invaded and militarily occupied this territory.  In the almost 50 years since, the numbers of Israeli colonists (“settlers”) have increased constantly and stand at over 600,000 now.
  • Finally, the human rights abuses committed against the Palestinians seem especially dreadful because they are ethnically-oriented.  That is, many of the abuses suffered by the Palestinians are the result of Israeli laws established to confer or rescind rights based primarily on one’s ethnicity.

From the above, hopefully it is clear that, whereas other countries have human rights situations that need addressing, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is unique in many ways.

In the debate in Parliament, Members supporting the motion seemed convinced that supporters of BDS were motivated by anti-Semitism and/or a desire to destroy the state of Israel.  I suspect many of them have never actually met a supporter of BDS.  Please let them know that I would be happy to introduce them to “real live” Canadian BDS supporters, if they so wished.  They might be surprised to learn that many of the most ardent supporters of the BDS movement in Canada are Jewish-Canadians.

I have to admit that I am surprised to be facing your condemnation.  With your “Real change now” election slogan last Fall, I had quietly hoped that things might work differently in government if you were elected.  As you can probably imagine, the Harper Conservatives were pretty tough on people like me: people who questioned their ideology on Israel, womens’ rights, unrestricted trade, and the environment.  Nevertheless, with their majority, they never bothered to pass a motion which obliged them to call out and condemn “any and all attempts” by Canadian “organizations, groups and individuals.”  Hopefully, this motion is a reflection of your own attention to detail and your ambition to tackle big tasks.  

As you can probably imagine, in the face of your opprobrium, I’m feeling pretty vulnerable now.  Nevertheless, I’ve realized that being condemned by Canada’s government, merely for supporting the human rights of Palestinians, might be the most admirable thing I’ll accomplish in my life. 

So bring it on.  Condemn me.  I’m ready.


Thomas Woodley

President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

[1] “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” Palestinian BDS National Committee,  http://bdsmovement.net/call accessed Feb. 23, 2016

[2] “Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” Global Affairs Canada Website, Government of Canada,  http://www.international.gc.ca/name-anmo/peace_process-processus_paix/canadian_policy-politique_canadienne.aspx?lang=eng accessed Feb. 23, 2016

[3] Ibid., “Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

[4] Ibid., “Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

[5] Ibid., “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS”

[6] “Human Rights,” Global Affairs Canada Website, Government of Canada,  http://www.international.gc.ca/rights-droits/index.aspx?lang=eng accessed Feb. 23, 2016

[7] Ibid., “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS”

[8] Ibid., “Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

[9] Ibid., “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS” 


Showing 2210 reactions

  • Charles Beillard
    signed 2016-04-08 09:07:03 -0400
  • Gillian Bowman
    signed 2016-04-07 16:44:55 -0400
  • Markham Mirotchnick
    signed 2016-04-07 16:10:20 -0400
  • Anthea Weese
    signed 2016-04-07 15:04:25 -0400
  • Esther Schmeer
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-04-06 21:53:34 -0400
    Sign the petition with me: Go ahead, make my day, condemn me... http://cjpme.org/condemn_me
  • Esther Schmeer
    signed 2016-04-06 21:53:06 -0400
    No Justice, no Peace!
  • Joy Galbraith
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-04-05 22:58:13 -0400
    Sign the petition with me: Go ahead, make my day, condemn me... http://cjpme.org/condemn_me
  • Joy Galbraith
    signed 2016-04-05 22:57:10 -0400


    ONE WORLD ORDERFOR , 3 1/2 YEARS , BUT , NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT , FROM GOD’s PEOPLE !!!!!!!!! … .. THE ZIONISTS ARE FROM SATAN !!! …………. … AND THEY LOSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD’s PEOPLE WIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    …………………..TRUDEAU …. REPENT !!!!!!!!!!!! BEFORE IT’s TO LATE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • louise woychesko
    signed 2016-04-05 22:32:07 -0400
  • rehana webster
    signed 2016-04-05 19:07:51 -0400
    get a grip on reality Justin. what will you try and take away next????
  • Eugene Léger
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-04-05 18:39:33 -0400
    Sign the petition with me: Go ahead, make my day, condemn me... http://cjpme.org/condemn_me
  • Eugene Leger
    signed 2016-04-05 18:38:53 -0400
    We have the right and obligation to protest an illegal occupation and the human rights violations that accompany it.
  • Caroline Yeend
    signed 2016-04-05 15:12:21 -0400
  • Victoria Harcourt
    signed 2016-04-05 12:22:52 -0400
    Victoria (Vicki) Harcourt
  • Amine-Zakaria Choukhmani
    signed 2016-04-05 12:05:53 -0400
  • Joe Lanteigne
    signed 2016-04-04 23:29:59 -0400
    I am truely outraged that any sain human being would choose to support such a violent and law breaking country like Israel. Just this week the U.N. has declared that Israel is the worst offender of human rights. They also ignore the U.N. ’s condemnation of the illegal occupation of Palestine. It is disgraceful and should be illegal to do business with such criminals.
    Joe Lanteigne
  • Martha P. Lodge
    signed 2016-04-04 22:00:48 -0400
  • Casim Parak
    signed 2016-04-04 07:22:58 -0400
  • Bill Clary
    signed 2016-04-03 19:56:51 -0400
    Watch out we are going after Saudi Arabia next. So you better hurry up and sell as many weapons as you can.

    “Give peace a chance”

    Get on the right side of history

    Give your head a shake !!!!!
  • Laura Hammerlindl
    signed 2016-04-03 19:36:54 -0400
  • Dimitri Lascaris
    @dimitrilascaris tweeted link to this page. 2016-04-03 15:07:00 -0400
    Sign the petition with me: Go ahead, make my day, condemn me... http://cjpme.org/condemn_me http://www.cjpme.org/condemn_me?recruiter_id=117353
  • Dimitri Lascaris
    signed 2016-04-03 15:06:40 -0400
  • Sharon Ellis
    signed 2016-04-03 14:16:54 -0400
    Supporting Israel is putting us on the wrong side of History. Israel originally conquered the land, existed for less that 70 years, and was conquered in turn. The bible is neither History nor Prophecy. Israel has been breaking international law since before the ink was dry on that law.
  • Farook Wookey
    signed 2016-04-03 07:24:42 -0400
  • Carl Clarke
    signed via 2016-04-03 05:15:20 -0400
  • Rumaan Ahmad
    signed 2016-04-02 21:32:49 -0400
    What shame you have brought upon this great country when you try to muzzle those simply seek to end an incredible injustice. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Christopher Weigel
    signed 2016-04-02 20:35:21 -0400
    Proudly signed.
  • Marianne Phillips
    signed 2016-04-02 16:53:44 -0400
    I DO NOT Agree with the government’s decision to condemn the BDS Movement.

    The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is a global campaign to non violently increase economic and political pressure on Israel to observe the human rights of the Palestinian people.  Since 1947 Israel has systematically denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, military occupation, bombing and arrests without cause.

    The BDS Movement is not about anti Semitism which is a narrative often used to silence the voices of Palestinian human rights activists. The real issue is Human Rights, solely and unequivocally.

    Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, world wide arts groups, as well as universities, unions and private citizens, the world community at large has failed to hold Israel accountable. There has been a failure to enforce compliance with the basic principles of international law and Israel has continued to commit human rights violations on a daily basis.

    The Palestinian people have a right to freedom, equality and self-determination. They have a right to shelter, clean water, a secure food supply, education, security and unencumbered access to work, just as we want to have these rights afforded for ourselves and our children.

    We must stand up for the Human Rights of the Palestinian people and free political expression in Canada.. We must never forget that as Martin Luther King jr.once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    Marianne Phillips

    New Westminster
  • Rick Magill
    signed 2016-04-02 15:29:09 -0400
    It is a sad day when a Canadian Parliament votes against freedom of expression. You have shamed the house and the nation in the interests of a foreign state which is in violation of international law and UNSC resolutions.
  • Sajdah Sajdah
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-04-02 14:43:55 -0400
    Sign the petition with me: Go ahead, make my day, condemn me... http://cjpme.org/condemn_me