Mr. Speaker, this week, some Canadian universities are taking part in what is shamefully called Israeli Apartheid Week.
An editorial in The Prince Arthur Herald recently put it this way:
In Israel, all citizens, 20% of whom are Arab, vote in elections, participate in government and serve in the army--opportunities that were not afforded to non-whites in South Africa under apartheid.
Israel is not above criticism. As a pluralistic, democratic state, there is abundant legitimate criticism and debate, both domestically and abroad.
This year, some students launched their own Israel peace week, drawing attention to Israel's peace efforts and to the state's commitment to democracy and human rights, and to Israel's remarkable record of innovation and accomplishment, despite persistent threats to its existence from determined antagonists.
There are multiple and vexing challenges to bringing about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
If the end is to promote peace, university and civil agencies must embrace respectful debate and active listening, as opposed to heated, hurtful and distorted rhetoric.