We spent the better part of this week trying to understand why Amnesty International Canada launched a boycott campaign against so-called “Israeli settlements.” Since “Israeli settlements” are neighbourhoods in which Jewish people primarily reside, the Amnesty campaign is primarily targeting Jews for boycott.

We made multiple calls to Amnesty Canada throughout this week seeking an explanation and wanting to present to them our point of view. Unfortunately, our calls were largely rebuffed or unanswered. We believe it’s important for Amnesty Canada to become further educated about the antisemitic nature of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the Jewish people and are launching a petition to draw its attention to this matter.

Amnesty’s disturbing campaign is to encourage Canadians to send letters to Prime Minister Trudeau to “tell the Prime Minister it’s time to stop supporting illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land” and to “ask that Canada take measures to ban settlement goods from entering Canada.” The intent here appears to harm ordinary people (who are Jewish) from making a living.

Amnesty Canada audaciously refers to peaceful Israeli neighbourhoods situated in disputed areas as part of “Israel’s settlement industry.” It’s truly shameful to refer to Jewish neighbourhoods where families reside peacefully – where Jewish children go to school and play in parks – as an “industry.” I am not aware of any other religious group who might be described in this way. It is dehumanizing.

Worse, Amnesty Canada charges that “Israel’s settlement industry makes millions out of Palestinian suffering”! Equating Jews with money and claiming they are exploiting others is an antisemitic stereotype that would be beneath Amnesty Canada. Like anyone else, Jewish residents are trying to live peacefully with family and friends.

It is widely known that instead of building schools, hospitals and democratic institutions, the Palestinians exacerbate their people’s suffering by using aid money to line their pockets and build tunnels to strike Israel while launching rockets into Israeli towns and villages. Will Amnesty Canada expose this truth?
This boycott is antisemitic and contrary to human rights. It violates the Ontario Discriminatory Business Practices Act (1990); the Ontario anti-BDS motion passed by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (2016); the Canada anti-BDS motion passed by the House of Commons (2016); and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism (2016).

Boycott campaigns against Israel are antisemitic because of their discriminatory practice and double standard. More often than not, they disregard the safety and security of the Jewish residents in the affected areas; they disregard the fact that Israel, for all its faults and social issues (no different than Canada’s), is a thriving democracy that celebrates rights and freedoms for all its people and serves as an example in the Middle East; they disregard Jewish history and right to the land; and most significantly, they disregard Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence.

Amnesty Canada should know better. Please sign this petition and tell Amnesty Canada – we deserve “Amnesty” too.