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Coalition criticizes McGuinty's attempts to increase trade with Israel

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TORONTO – Jenny Peto stood outside the legislature at Queen’s Park on Wednesday and denounced Premier McGuinty’s trip to Israel.

The premier is spending a week in Israel to boost trade and strengthen the Canada-Israel relationship. He’s also visiting the West Bank and Lebanon during his six-day trip.

“Shame on you for doing business with Israeli Apartheid,” said Peto, an organizer with the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA).

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian organizations called for a global campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it recognizes the right of Palestinians to self-determination. CAIA was formed in 2006 as part of a worldwide movement against Israeli Apartheid.

“Palestinian civil society has drawn a line in the sand and as we stand here McGuinty is busy crossing that line. He is working hard to make Ontario the most pro-Israel province in what is now the most pro-Israel country in the world and we will not stand for it.”

Peto argued that McGuinty’s side trip to the West Bank is “doing the business of cementing apartheid” by exploiting cheap labour by people who can’t work inside Israel.

“That’s the kind of business he’s investing in,” she said. “But his trip is also deeply connected to troubles at home.”

It’s part of his plan, said Peto, to lift Ontario out of the “so-called” financial crisis by creating investment opportunities while slashing social programs and dismantling the public sector.

“He’s in Israel to learn how to privatize and steal resources,” said Peto, “and how to turn universities into military and commercial enterprises.”

Peto claimed that all the water, military and security technologies (that Ontario will invest in) were developed by the Israeli military.

In response, CAIA supporters have been writing letters and emails to the Premier, condemning his trip.

“Israeli universities are so deeply embedded in the apartheid infrastructure,” said Mary-Jo Nadeau, a member of Faculty for Palestine, a group of over 400 professors from 40 universities and 13 colleges across Canada.

It’s well documented that Israeli university resources are used to support and grow the apartheid movement to produce war crimes that will kill Palestinians every day, said Nadeau.

“So why is Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf accompanying Dalton McGuinty to Israel to do business with apartheid?” she asked.

“Shame, shame,” chanted the crowd.

Nadeau predicted that if the trend continues, Canadian universities will become “occupied territories” too. 

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