College and university students across Ontario are condemning the Ontario Legislature's vote in favour of private members bill presented before the Ontario Legislature today by MPP Gila Martow.
Members of the Ontario Liberal government and the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus voted unanimously in favour of Motion 36, which called on the legislature to "reject" the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement making claims that the movement is "hateful, hostile, prejudice, racist and intolerant".
"By passing this motion members of the Ontario legislature have vilified Palestinian solidarity activists, who are challenging the state of Israel's continued violations of international law," said a representative from Students for Justice in Palestine at UOIT/DC. "For student organizers at UOIT/DC this motion mischaracterizes our pursuit of justice and human rights."
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is a non-violent global campaign led by Palestinians that is increasing social, economic and political pressure on the state of Israel until it complies with international law. The movement is directly opposed to anti-Semitism and does not work to target any individuals. Rather, the movement applies pressure to any institution or corporation complicit in the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the violent oppression of Palestinian people.
"Students at York have taken a stance in support of BDS recognizing that youth and students in occupied territories like Palestine should have their human rights protected" said Rawan Habib, Vice President Campaigns of the York Federation of Students. "Our campuses are spaces where we should engage in activism work on this issue, and blocking this is an attempt to censure activists doing BDS work."
"Motion 36 is quite obviously an attempt to silence activists, many of which are students, who are standing up against the countless documented accounts of human rights violations committed by the state of Israel against Palestinian people" said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "It is disappointing to see the government move to silence human rights activism, but regardless of the vote today students will continue to fight to ensure that our tuition fees do not fund Israeli war crimes and the occupation of Palestine."
The Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.