BDS protestors greet regional councillors


Niagara Regional councillors met with protestors yesterday as they gathered at the region for their regular council meeting.

Members of the Niagara BDS movement, set up pickets outside regional headquarters, to protest a June 8th decision by councillors condemning the movement which calls for a boycott of Israeli businesses over the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The motion was brought forward by Fort Erie councillor Sandy Annuziata and also included a condemnation of the Niagara Centre NDP riding association which voted earlier this year in support of BDS.

Protestors taking regional council to task for failing to hear both sides of the story.

Delegates from several Jewish organizations spoke to council during the June 8th meeting, calling BDS racist and discriminatory.

No members of the movement were invited to speak to council.

Both the region and Annunziata released statements yesterday defending council's decision.

The following is the statement released by Niagara Regional Chair Alan Caslin:

On June 8, 2017 Niagara Regional Council received delegations from eminent Jewish organizations including B'nai Brith Canada, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs who informed Council of the damaging effects of the BDS movement that target the Jewish community and their concerns that the riding association of a Niagara MPP would support such a cause.

 

After learning more about the subject and how the BDS movement negatively impacts the human rights of the Jewish community, Regional Council voted resolutely in favor of Councillor Sandy Annunziata’s motion to condemn the BDS movement by a vote of 21-2.

Yesterday's demonstration was in no way affiliated with, nor does it reflect the democratically determined position of Niagara Regional Council.”

On June 8, 2017 Niagara Regional Council received delegations from eminent Jewish organizations including B'nai Brith Canada, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs who informed Council of the damaging effects of the BDS movement that target the Jewish community and their concerns that the riding association of a Niagara MPP would support such a cause.

 

After learning more about the subject and how the BDS movement negatively impacts the human rights of the Jewish community, Regional Council voted resolutely in favor of Councillor Sandy Annunziata’s motion to condemn the BDS movement by a vote of 21-2.

Yesterday's demonstration was in no way affiliated with, nor does it reflect the democratically determined position of Niagara Regional Council.”

Sandy Annunziata also issuing a statement.  

See below: 

"The BDS Resolution put forward by the NDP Niagara Centre Provincial Riding Association has been called "slanderous", "outrageous", "false", "defamatory", "shameful" while spreading and inciting antisemitism, Jew hatred and the marginalization of the Jewish people. Anything that offensive coming out of Niagara should not be left unchallenged. Just as the NDP Niagara Centre Provincial Riding Association exercised its democratic right to pass a resolution in Niagara and move it up to the NDP policy convention, so to is it the democratic right and obligation of Regional Council to condemn it. Difference of opinions are welcomed, but on this issue, I congratulate the principled decision of Regional Council to condemn any group or organization that singles out and targets an entire people. 

Calling BDS anything but antisemitic is irresponsible. Calling it a "peaceful, non violent tactic" is outrageous. It is anti-Semitic by no other standard than the education and information  brought forward by trusted leaders in the Jewish Community. B'nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Friends Of Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies all took the time to deliver informative, powerful delegations. All delegates declared it anti-Semitic. Both Federal and provincial levels of Government have discredited it and condemned it. Three weeks after the fact, to declare Council was uninformed is ridiculous. The Motion was delivered through a Notice of Motion which gave all of Council over 2 weeks to prepare their position and cast their vote. Furthermore, how legitimate is BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) if the very own Palestinian authority won't even recognize it. Israel continues to be Palestines largest trading partner. The top export destinations of Palestine are Israel ($803M). The top import origins of Palestine are Israel ($2.86B)."

Sandy Annunziata