6 Reasons to Oppose Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to Ottawa

May 26th, 2010 | Posted in Culture, Palestine

oppose Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit May 31st Tadamon! statement


Photo: Palestinian students in Gaza sit beside names of fellow students killed during the Israeli bombardment during Operation Cast Lead in winter 08/09.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to visit Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on May 31st. The visit will be another step towards strengthening Canada’s support for Israeli apartheid, war crimes, and Israel’s long history of contempt for international law. Middle East solidarity collective Tadamon therefore calls upon all supporters of human rights and social justice to join us in protesting at 5pm May 31st in front of the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa against Benjamin Netanyahu’s presence in Canada.

The Canadian government has been an ardent supporter of Israel and its colonial policies for many years. Canada has been identified by both Canadian and Israeli politicians as being one of Israel’s most unconditional allies and supporters (i). In fact, in the fall of 2008, Conservative MP Jason Kenney publicly declared that “according to the Israeli government, Israel now has no better friend in the world than Canada.”(ii)

Not in 2002, Not in 2010!

When Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to speak at Concordia University in Montreal in September 2002, protestors objected strongly on the grounds that Netanyahu was responsible for war crimes and for the brutal suppression of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation. The protest resulted in the cancellation of Netanyahu’s speech, sending a strong message that people in Canada would not be silent in the face of such brutality and criminality and would not be complicit in efforts to whitewash them. The protest also demonstrated that Netanyahu, or any other Israeli government official, is unwelcome in Canada as long as the Israeli government pursues such policies. The Israeli government has not changed its apartheid policies since 2002.

In addition to protesting Netanyahu’s visit, we appeal to all who oppose Israeli apartheid and Canada’s complicity in supporting Israeli apartheid to join the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign in its boycott of Israeli goods and services until Israel changes its apartheid policies against the Palestinians. For more info on the BDS campaign and products or companies to boycott, visit www.bdsmovement.net and www.tadamon.ca

Until Israel addresses the issues mentioned below, the presence of war criminals like Netanyahu is unacceptable in Canada. We strongly urge the Canadian government to cease any form of cooperation with the State of Israel until Israel abides by international law, stops violating the human rights of Palestinians, and discontinues its apartheid policies.

Top 6 Reasons why Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu is not welcome in Canada!

1) Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government are currently violating international law.

Israel continues to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, even though UN Security Council resolutions including Resolutions 446, 452, 465, 471, and 476 find the settlements to be illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the occupation of East Jerusalem is also illegal, thus rendering the apartheid wall around the West Bank illegal. The apartheid wall’s illegality was confirmed by a 2004 opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (iii). In April 2010, Netanyahu rejected demands to freeze settlement activities in East Jerusalem amid mounting pressures from the international community, including the Obama administration. More information can be found on-line

2) Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government recently committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government committed war crimes during its military offensive against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, also known as Operation Cast Lead. Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli armed forces, of which 82% were civilians. At least 5,300 Palestinians were also injured, and public and private property throughout the Gaza Strip was extensively targeted and destroyed (v). A UN Fact-Finding Mission found that the Israeli army used war tactics banned under international humanitarian law, including the intentional targeting of civilian areas and the use of human shields. The UN Mission also strongly criticized Israel’s use of highly dangerous weapons, including the use of white phosphorous and flechette missiles in densely populated civilian areas. The Mission concluded that “the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility.” More information can be found in the UN Mission’s report, known as the Goldstone Report.

We cannot ignore the fact that Netanyahu refused to co-operate with the judge of the UN inquiry into the Gaza attacks and did not permit the team conducting the inquiry to enter Israel or the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu later rejected the war crimes findings of the Goldstone report, stating that the report was biased against Israel.(vi)

3) Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government continue to impose a severe blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Since 2006, Israel has imposed a brutal blockade in the Gaza Strip, controlling the entry and exit of all people and goods. This blockade has crippled the economy in Gaza and has created a severe humanitarian crisis. The U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, visited the Gaza Strip a year after Israel’s assault on the territory ended. He said that the blockade resulted in misery for the Palestinians: “They’re living in a kind of open-air prison. They’re still suffering from this kind of collective punishment they’ve been suffering for three years now.” (vii) Aid agencies warn that the blockade of Gaza threatens the health of the 1.4 million Palestinians living in Gaza. (viii)

4) Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government are currently pursuing apartheid policies against Palestinians.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government are openly pursuing apartheid policies against Palestinians by building the wall around Jerusalem and the West Bank and by creating a two-tiered system which differentiates based on race. In November 2009, an Israeli judge publicly condemned Israel’s two-tier judicial system, in which harsher jail sentences are systematically given to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Judge Yuval Shadmi explained that the judicial system was “working on two fundamentally different enforcement levels in relation to crimes perpetrated by Israeli minors.”(ix) The UN Fact-Finding Mission highlighted another example of the two-tier system after discovering that the Israeli occupation forces are instructed to follow different “open fire regulations” in response to non-violent protesters in the West Bank when only Palestinians are present versus when Israelis or internationals are present.(x) In an article by Desmond Tutu entitled Apartheid in the Holy Land, the former Archbishop of Cape Town and Chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated that “ I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land: it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.” (xi)

5) Prime Minister Netanyahu and the colonial Israeli government continue to occupy the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

After establishing a colonial state on Palestinian territory in 1948, Israel went on to occupy the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. This illegal military occupation imposes limitations on Palestinians’ freedom of movement via checkpoints, curfews, and the apartheid wall, as well as via administrative measures such as laws on family reunification. It also includes the continuous building of illegal Israeli settlements, in addition to the regular demolition of Palestinian homes. Although settlement building is illegal under international law, Netanyahu declared in January 2010 that several Jewish illegal settlement blocks in the West Bank “would always remain part of Israel” as part of any deal with Palestinians.(xii)

6) Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government continue to deny millions of Palestinian refugees around the world the right to return to their land and homes after 62 years of exile.

In contravention of U.N. Resolution 194 of 1948, Israel continues to refuse to allow Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees in exile around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land – a right recognized by the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Further, Article 49 of the Declaration of Human Rights states that “an occupier may not forcibly deport protected persons… or transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory.” Palestinians are the largest and oldest refugee population in the world.

While Palestinians continue to be dispossessed, imprisoned in enclaves, and prevented from building homes for their families on their own land, according to Israel’s Law of Return, Jewish people from any part of the world can live almost anywhere they choose within Israel and the West Bank. The Israeli government continues to expand its illegal Jewish-only settlements and to encourage Jewish immigration in order to consolidate its hold on the occupied Palestinian territories. The new Jewish-only settlement towns being built by the Jewish National Fund within the state of Israel, in the Negev and Galilee, also contribute to the perpetuation of Palestinian dispossession.

Netanyahu you will see – Palestine will be free!

see you in Ottawa May 31st!
Tadamon! Montreal

(i) Yves Engler, Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, RED Publishing, 2010, 94.

(II)“Canadian Official Says Canada Is Israel’s Best Friend,” Arutz Sheva, 23 September 2008,

(iii) International Court of Justice press release 2004

(iv) Associated Press, “Mitchell en route, J’lem freeze rejected,” The Jerusalem Post, 22 April 2010,

(v) The Palestinian Center for Human Rights report winter 2010

(vi) Rory McCarthy, “Israel rejects war crimes findings of UN Gaza inquiry,” The Guardian, 16 September 2009

(vii) “UN envoy: Gaza an open-air prison,” Al Jazeera Network, 3 March 2010

(viii) James Sturcke, “Gaza blockade threatens health of 1.4 million, aid agencies warn,” The Guardian, 20 January 20, 2010,

(ix) Jonathan Cook, “Judge Warns of Israel’s Two-Tier Legal System,” antiwar.com 18 November 2009,

(x) Goldstone Report from the U.N. Fact Finding Mission

(xi) “Apartheid in the Holy Land” from the Guardian April 29th, 2002 by Desmond Tutu

(xii) New York Times, January 24th, 2010


Perhaps if Palestine would stop the 8 year barrage of rockets into Israel, there might be something to discuss. You have yet to admit that Palestine is at least equally complicit in the dispute. Stop using women and children to hide behind, and the rest of the world would have more respect for you. There is nothing noble or honourable in this, in my opinion.
Also, Palestine has yet to submit a reasonable solution for peace. But then, one has to wonder if peace is what the leaders of Palestine really want.

Comment by J. Webb — May 27th, 2010 @ 6:17 AM

I took the below clip while both Prime Minsters were in there meeting in Parliament,…copy and paste the below youtube link into your browser to see how many people showed up for the event of the visit!! Does this reflect what Canadians really feel about all this??


Comment by Danno — May 31st, 2010 @ 4:28 PM

Perhaps if you were to get your head out from under the rock you reside, you would see that their “barrage of rockets into Israel” has done far less damage than the Israeli military has been able to accomplish in less than 24 hours. But of course, the Palestinians with their pebbles and mortar shells pose a grave danger to American manufactured and sponsored tanks, missiles, rockets and various other firearms.. Go fuck yourself, J. Webb.

Comment by B. Boxafella — June 1st, 2010 @ 3:00 AM

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