The federal government has recently suggested that they may try to criminalize criticism of Israel and its policies, as part of a “zero tolerance” policy on hate speech. Their new definition of hate speech may include support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which is having its intended effect: to exert real pressure on the state of Israel to review and repeal its apartheid policies that oppress the Palestinian people.
CUPW has had constructive debate within the union, and has resolved democratically to support the BDS movement. We work for self-determination and human rights for the Palestinian people and an end to oppression and occupation. As it once did in South Africa, economic divestment and boycott is proving to be an effective part of the international effort.
This spring, more than 70 organizations joined us in signing a statement on defending the right to criticize the state of Israel and support the BDS movement. We stand together with peace organizations, labour organizations, indigenous groups, governments and others.
This attack against free speech is clearly designed to have a chilling effect, and to stifle genuine discussion about this issue. We will not be intimidated by the government’s policies. CUPW will never apologize for standing up for peace and justice everywhere. As long as the occupation continues, CUPW will work towards a peaceful solution which ensures the safety and the dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians. And no Prime Minister will tell us what we are allowed or not allowed to talk about.
Peace and justice for all: the struggle continues.