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David Kilgour



by Hon. David Kilgour, former Liberal Member of Parliament,August 13, 2011


[Editor's note: Thank you to David kilour for sending this to the Winnipeg Jeiwsh Review. We are pleased to publish it]

Permit to begin by saying that I’ve just learned that the shoes known as “Naot”, the object of a boycott at the store on this street since last October, are made by about 200 Palestinian families as independent contractors for NAOT, which then brings them from Israel to outlets across Canada.

The five or so boycotters here today from PAJU (“Palestinians and Jews United”), led by William Sloan, are holding up large banners about Palestine a few metres from where our group is gathered near the front door of one of the outlets. They are harming much-needed Palestinian livelihoods with their ongoing Saturday disruptions of commerce in this fascinating neighbourhood of Montreal.

Someone indicated earlier that what is really going on here is “antisemitism pure and simple”, with the aim of putting two legitimate tax-paying businesses out of business and their employees out of work. Is this how Quebec, this municipality and the government of Canada intend to implement on this street the Canada-Israel free trade agreement now in effect?

Can anyone today not know that in virtually every country Hitler and his Nazis invaded one of the first things they did was to seize all Jewish businesses and homes and send their owners to ghettos first and then to death camps.  Last summer, my wife and I visited Auschwitz Birkenau concentration and extermination camp built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany near Krakow, Poland; neither of us will ever be the same  (

 I wish the boycotters here today would visit it too.

The good news is that the struggle for public opinion both in this city and province, and seemingly well beyond Quebec, appears now settled in the sense that both your city council and National Assembly have taken strong positions in resolutions passed against the boycott. Why have not one or both of these bodies and the federal government (if necessary) gone further to ensure that the weekly disruptions cease. I’m told that the police feel they can do nothing; if so, let’s give them a by-law or other legislative tool quickly. This has dragged on far too long.

Three further thoughts:

• The MNA Amir Khadir as the elected representative of this district should ‘without fear or favour’ encourage all legitimate businesses, and not, as here until recently, seek to destroy two of them. It appears that in this situation he has played politics with some of his constituents’ livelihoods and the freedom of consumer choice.

I might add that M. Kadir and I know each other, having met as speakers at a conference last year.  We have since exchanged emails on the issue without finding any measure of agreement. 

• Israel is of course not perfect, but it is a democracy, with, among other things, equal rights for women. Its national assembly (the Knesset) has elected Arab members. Its courts have some Arab judges. Probably like many of you, I favour a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

• Why are the boycotters only going after only Israeli products? What about countries where governments systematically violate the basic dignity of their citizens, such as China?  David Matas and I did an independent study on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners ( We found 52 kinds of evidence that the party-state in Beijing has been killing Falun Gong since 2001 and selling their vital organs to “organ tourists”, including Canadians, and to wealthy residents of China. We also found evidence that products, including clothing, chop sticks and Christmas decorations, are made in forced labour camps across China and then exported to China’s trade “partners”. When will the boycotters picket the myriad stores across Canada selling goods made in China?


It’s an honour to be able to speak to you all today. Please resolve to continue to face the boycotters until the rule of law is applied on this famous street.  Thank you.



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.