Hill Times Column Misrepresents Facts To Falsely Claim Canadians Accept Anti-Israel Claims

September 18, 2023

In his September 6 opinion column in The Hill Times, “Canadians recognize what their leaders won’t: Israel practices apartheid,” Thomas Woodley trumpeted the results of a poll commissioned by his anti-Israel organization, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), which purports that roughly one-quarter of Canadians allegedly believe Israel practices “apartheid”.

In his column, Woodley attempted to portray Canada’s federal politicians as being out of touch with Canadians, writing that they support Israel’s alleged “ongoing oppression of Palestinians,” and that “with the latest polling results, it’s now clear that they do so at their own peril.”

Even without entering into any criticism of the methodology or accuracy of the poll itself, there are a number of reasons why the results of the survey do not support the claims being made by Woodley.

According to the poll, only 27 percent of respondents agreed with the position that Israel practices apartheid, compared to three-in-four Canadians who don’t. No reasonable observer would conclude, then, that anything more than a minority of Canadians view Israel in such terms.

To respond to this glaring weakness in his survey results, Woodley evidently gets creative, but that still doesn’t change the facts. Even after Woodley attempts to manipulate the data by baselessly excluding those who said “I don’t know” from the survey results, the conclusion is little changed: the vast majority of Canadians simply do not agree with the contention that Israel is guilty of apartheid.

Earlier this year, another poll carried out by Leger gives additional weight to the conclusion that opposition and hostility to Israel is a decidedly minority view. The poll found that only 28 percent of respondents say they see Israel in an unfavourable light.

More critically, even if this recent survey had in fact reflected what Woodley erroneously claims that they do, it still does not change the fundamental fact that Israel is in no way an apartheid state.

Israel is a vibrant democratic state, home to millions of Arabs, who enjoy the same democratic rights as the Jewish majority, including being able to vote, stand for election, live and work where they want, and live their lives as they see fit.

Israel’s conduct with the Palestinians also does not come anywhere close to constituting apartheid.

Unlike apartheid South Africa, which discriminated against its Black citizens in favour of its White citizens, the vast majority of Palestinians live under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), not Israel, of which they are not citizens. Not only is comparing Israel to apartheid-era South Africa a total misrepresentation of reality, it is also a slap in the face for Black South Africans, who suffered under brutal discrimination, and a cynical use of their suffering to further an entirely unrelated anti-Israel agenda.

As Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, a Black member of South Africa’s parliament, has written on the anti-Israel apartheid claims, “Those who know what real apartheid is, as I know, know that there is nothing in Israel that looks like apartheid.”

The Palestinians could have enjoyed an independent Palestinian state by now if their leadership had accepted Israel’s perpetually outstretched hand in peace. But alas they have not, instead preferring to pursue violence, spew incitement & antisemitism and keeping their people from achieving self-determination.

Woodley makes many errors in his column, but he is right about one important fact: our leaders have shown time and again that they recognize Canada’s friendship with Israel, and with good reason. Well over one-third of all current Members of Parliament (MPs) are members of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group (CAIL), which seeks to further cooperation between elected officials in Canada and Israel.

The leaders of Canada’s three main federal parties have all spoken out clearly in support of Israel and in opposition to the anti-Israel boycott movement.

No misleading poll results, nor after-the-fact fancy footwork to misrepresent the data, can change the indisputable facts: Israel is not an apartheid state, the vast majority of Canadians do not view it that way, and our political leaders are well on the side of most Canadians when they reject intellectually dishonest claims to that effect.

Israel is a small, often misunderstood country on the other side of the world, but Canadians still recognize – and rightly so – that the Jewish State is not what its detractors falsely claim.


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