POSTED ON MARCH 6, 2012
OTTAWA– Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement criticizing Israeli Apartheid Week:
“Israeli Apartheid Week continues to defy logic and the cause of social justice. We expect students to engage with issues of injustice, equality, and respect for international law, and we encourage respectful dialogue on these topics on university campuses. It is therefore difficult to understand why this year the focus continues to be on Israel, rather than on the appalling massacres and human rights violations that have reached intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran.
In Syria, the Assad regime continues to shell its own people indiscriminately, adding daily to the death toll that has surpassed 8000 victims so far, yet claiming that a majority of citizens exercised their democratic right and approved a new constitution as tanks terrorize the streets.
In Iran, the imprisonment and silencing of all opposition in the lead-up to the Iranian election last week involved arrests, beatings, torture, kidnappings, and an abhorrent execution binge that took the lives of more than 60 people in January 2012 alone.
Yet the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week choose to ignore these atrocities. The failure to stand up for any other oppressed people or injustice undermines the supposed social justice underpinnings of Israeli Apartheid Week. Rather than singling out and demonizing one country, we should be encouraging students to come together and engage in constructive dialogue about peace and democratic reform in a Middle East that is transforming before our eyes.”