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Sanctions are economic measures that governments can impose against other countries as a response to egregious violations of international law. If targeted and thoughtfully done, sanctions can put real pressure on a government and force a change in policy. Canada imposed sanctions on South Africa in the mid-1980s, and this proved to be important tool for pressuring the country to dismantle apartheid. In a similar way, there are a number of measures that the Canadian government can take to force Israel to comply with international law.

Here are some of CJPME's main recommendations for Canadian sanctions against Israel:

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Suspend all military trade with Israel. Canada's arms exports to Israel have been rapidly increasing over the past decades, even as Israel continues to maintain a brutal military occupation, repeatedly launches military offensives against civilians in Gaza, and is credibly accused of committing crimes against humanity of apartheid. This presents a situation of extreme risk in which Canadian exports may be contributing to violence against civilians and breaches of international law. Read CJPME's report on Canada's arms exports to Israel here, or read CJPME's position paper here.

CJPME has been calling on the Canadian government to:

a) suspend all military trade with Israel until it ends its military occupation of Palestinian territories, dismantles its apartheid policies, and complies with international law;

b) launch a parliamentary study to determine whether past and current Canadian arms exports have been used against civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or in airstrikes on Gaza; and

c) cancel all existing contracts with Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems.


Impose sanctions on Israeli officials. While Canada has been quick to impose sanctions against foreign government officials deemed responsible for acts of military aggression, violence against civilians, and violations of international law, Canada has not applied similar measures to Israeli officials guilty of similar violations. Read more here about Canada's inconsistent application of such measures.

CJPME has been calling on the Canadian government to:

a) develop a list of prohibited Israeli officials deemed most responsible for violations of human rights and international law;

b) impose an asset freeze on prohibited officials;

c) prohibit all business and financial dealings with prohibited officials.

d) ban prohibited officials from entering the country.


Ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements. Under international law, all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are illegal. However, Canada gives free trade benefits to businesses operating illegally in the settlements, and freely imports settlement goods. Canada should not be rewarding Israel's ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, but should be discouraging economic relations with settlements. Read CJPME's report on Canada's trade with Israel here.

CJPME has been calling on the Canadian government to:

a) adopt a policy of differentiation between Israel and its settlements and exclude businesses originating in settlements from all bilateral agreements, including the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA);

b) impose asset freezes and prohibit dealings with individuals and entities involved in Israel’s settlement enterprise in the OPT;

c) prohibit trade and all dealings with businesses and entities related to Israeli settlements in the OPT.

But I'm not a country! How can I support the call for sanctions?

Since sanctions are imposed by countries, the best thing you can do as a Canadian citizen is to participate in our campaigns, become knowledgeable on why sanctions against Israel are justified, and talk to your local representatives like your city councillor, your MPP, and your MP. Consider also participating in the boycott of Israel, as grassroots pressure has historically played a role in encouraging governments to take stronger action.

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