Ontario legislature condemns Israel Apartheid Week

TORONTO (JTA) — The legislature in the Canadian province of Ontario has condemned Israel Apartheid Week.

All 30 members of the 107-seat provincial legislature who were present on Feb. 25 voted for the resolution that denounced the campus event that kicks off March 1 at universities and colleges in 35 cities around the world.

Israel Apartheid Week events and speakers are scheduled at several university campuses across Ontario.

The term Israeli Apartheid Week incites “hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word ‘apartheid’ in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa,” Conservative legislator Peter Shurman told Shalom Life, a Toronto-based Jewish Web site.

“If you’re going to label Israel as apartheid, then you are also calling Canada apartheid and you are attacking Canadian values,” he said. “The use of the phrase ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ is about as close to hate speech as one can get without being arrested, and I’m not certain it doesn’t actually cross over that line.”

Jewish students across Canada have adopted several campaigns to counter Israel Apartheid Week.

Meanwhile, York University in Toronto canceled a pro-Israel event that had been scheduled for Feb. 22, citing “security” concerns. One of the speakers was to have been conservative U.S. scholar Daniel Pipes, who spoke at York in 2003 amid threats of violence.

Also last week, tongues were wagging in Jewish circles over a spicy new video designed to sell Canadian university students on Israel as a travel destination.

The video, at sizedoesntmatter.ca, shows a couple in bed, with the woman looking at the man’s crotch and saying she “can’t go there because it’s too small.”

The man replies, “I consider this a spot of worship. It may be small, but it’s brought the driest places to life. Baby, this is paradise.”

The camera then pans to a map of Israel on the man’s lap.