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EKOS Poll Part 2: The vast majority of Canadians are receptive to sanctions and boycotts on Israel

March 2, 2017

A second batch of results from an EKOS survey of Canadians’ attitudes towards Israel reveals a dramatic schism between Canadian government policy and Canadians’ deep concerns about Israel’s violations of international law. The first release on February 16threvealed Canadians’ mostly negative opinion of the Israeli government and their feeling that Canada’s government was pro-Israel. This release reveals overwhelming acceptance of sanctions and boycotts as “reasonable” means to pressure Israel to adhere to international law.

For example, 91% believe that sanctions are a reasonable way to censure countries violating human rights and international law. That number drops to 66% when respondents were asked whether “government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable.”

“The number of respondents who support sanctions drops when talk turns to Israel, but that number is heavily skewed by Conservative supporters, 70% of whom reject sanctions on Israel,” said Diana Ralph of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV). Receptiveness to sanctions on Israel from supporters of other parties ranged from 75% for Liberals to 94% for the Bloc Quebecois. Eighty-four percent of NDP respondents regarded sanctions on Israel as reasonable.

Similar openness to the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel was revealed in the survey. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed believe the Palestinians’ call for a boycott is “reasonable.”  Again, Conservative supporters expressed radically different views from respondents of other parties: 51% rejected a boycott.  Supporters of other parties who were receptive to the Palestinian call for a boycott ranged from 88% for Liberals to 94% for the Bloc Quebecois.

“These results are particularly stunning in light of the vilification of those calling for sanctions and boycotts by leaders of both the Conservative and Liberal parties,” said Tom Woodley of CJPME. “While calls for boycotts and sanctions have been denounced as ‘the new anti-Semitism,’ two thirds of Canadians apparently disagree; 66% of respondents were receptive to sanctions and 78% to boycotts.” Results from the earlier survey release cast serious doubts about acceptance of the notion of a ‘new anti-Semitism’: 91% of respondents rejected the notion that criticism of Israel was necessarily anti-Semitic.

In February, 2016, the House of Commons passed a resolution condemning those who support sanctions and boycotts against Israel. When asked whether or not they support this condemnation, 53% of survey respondents said no and 26% answered yes. Almost twice as many Conservative supporters answered yes but a significant number – 33% – said no.

Former Green Party Justice critic Dimitri Lascaris highlighted the enormous gap between the Trudeau government’s blanket support for the Israeli government and the very critical position of a strong majority of Canadians. “Since taking office in late 2015, the Trudeau government has voted against United Nations resolutions that were critical of Israel on over twenty-five occasions. It has never voted in favour of a U.N. resolution that is critical of Israel, putting Canada at odds with all but the US, Israel and four tiny island states.”

The survey, conducted in the last week of January and early February, was co-sponsored by a coalition consisting of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Dimitri Lascaris and political commentator Murray Dobbin.

A detailed report on the second batch of the EKOS survey results can be viewed here:

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