Montreal, March 10, 2016 — Following the passage of Parliament’s “anti-BDS” motion on Feb. 22, and its own BDS initiatives, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and its adherents have been much more the target of threats and hate speech in social media. While the instigators of the hate speech were banned from the social media fora soon after they make their comments, the comments at times nonetheless constitute threats and hate speech. “One has to wonder whether the parliamentary anti-BDS motion made it ‘open season’ on human rights activists,” mused Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME.
CJPME is a human rights non-profit which actively promotes BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) as an economic tool to encourage Israel to respect the human rights of Palestinians. “This vicious hate speech is a phenomenon that we have rarely seen in past years,” asserted Woodley, “and the threats and hate often make direct reference to Parliament and its anti-BDS motion.” Canada’s Criminal Code, Section 319, defines “public incitement of hatred” as an indictable offence, noting that anyone who, “by communicating statements in any public place, [which] incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of (a) an indictable offence.” Statements that appeared on CJPME’s Facebook page clearly sought to incite hate against BDS activists, variously smearing CJPME’s BDS activists as “terrorists,” anti-Semites, “fascists,” and “bigots.” Such statements included the following:
- “BDS is the Bomb Destroy and slaughter movement […] Real canadians aren't Jedauephobic like you bigot liars. BTW the only thing Right Justin Trudeau has ever done was Condemn your Vial ill conceived Jewden Haste movement.” [sic]
- “[Name] you are nothing but a Jew hater and a terrorist supporter. If you are from Canada you bring it to shame. If I see you putting these [BDS] stickers anywhere in my area it won't be good. Fucking terrorist supporter”
- “I support Israel. Not Muslim terrorists, murderers, wife beaters and child molesters. BDS supporters are morally corrupt fascists and bigots.”
CJPME and BDS supporters were also the target of physical threats on Facebook. Some hostile comments sought to identify the physical location of one of the supporters of BDS. Others made direct physical threats. For example, one bully wrote, “I see these stickers, I rip the fuckers off. I see you putting on stickers – I'm gonna do some serious dental work for you!”
Other threats and hate speech – whether by design or by ignorance – sought to conflate the BDS movement with Islamic terror movements – again, tending to incite hate against the activists, as well as Muslims. Comments included:
- “Don't be told what not to buy by demonic Islam. You can be certain Muslims don't have your health in mind. They want all Christians and Jews DEAD.”
- “Be lucky you cunts haven't been whipped clean off the face of the earth. My shoes are worth more than all of you.”
- “Mais tu supporte les terroristes Islamiques de Hamas. Tu es juste un autre hypocrite antisémitique.”
- “So you are supporting Islamists and jihadist that are bent out shape on destroying the only democratic and legitimate county in Middle East.” [sic]
“Parliamentarians may propose motions to score political points, or to posture flippantly, but they may not do so if it results in incitement or encouragement to hate, or even physical threats,” argued Woodley. CJPME and other mainstream groups which support BDS in Canada have always been clear that they supports BDS for the stated purposes of the movement, all of which align with international law and Canada’s formal positions on the Israel-Palestine conflict. These purposes are: an end to Israel’s occupation and illegal colonization of Palestinian land; the removal of Israel’s wall; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and respect for the rights of Palestinian refugees.
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact CJPME at 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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