Ottawa, March 4, 2013 — The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement regarding so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ activities:
“Everyone in this country has the right to freely and publicly express their views. That being said, I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out.
“There is no better example than the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse.
“The disproportionate vitriol directed against the democratic State of Israel during ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ stands in stark and ironic contrast to the silence of IAW organizers on the ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against its own citizens, and on the rampant brutalities and denial of rights in non-democratic countries in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world.
“In free societies such as Canada’s and Israel’s, it is absolutely legitimate to debate and criticize government policies and practices. Indeed, Israel supports the right of free expression more than any other country in its part of the world. But with the freedom to criticize comes the responsibility to guard against hateful and intolerant rhetoric.
“Operating under the guise of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week is a misleading attempt to delegitimize and demonize the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East. IAW’s organizers choose to promote inflammatory propaganda over civil and enlightening debate. Their approach is at odds with the Canadian values of tolerance and mutual respect, and prevents meaningful dialogue from taking place.
“As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I encourage Canadians to speak out against all forms of discrimination, intolerance and anti-Semitism.”