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Canadians use the term ‘apartheid’ the most to describe Israel 

September 7, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Pro Palestinian supporters gathered at Yonge and Dundas square in Toronto and then marched towards the Israeli consulate to protest Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid, on 22nd of May,2021 in Toronto Canada [Arindam Shivaani/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

A recent survey on Canadian public opinion conducted by EKOS Research Associates and sponsored by CJPME has found that Canadians use the term “apartheid” the most to describe the state of Israel. Only a minority of Canadians see Israel as a “vibrant democracy”.

The survey aimed to understand the general Canadian perception regarding the democratic nature of Israel, given the contrasting descriptions of Israel as a democracy and the belief that it is practicing apartheid.

Excluding the respondents who selected “I don’t know”, the EKOS survey discovered that the majority of Canadians perceive Israel as “a state practicing segregation akin to apartheid” (38 per cent). This is over three times the number of Canadians who described Israel as a vibrant democracy (11 per cent).

Younger Canadians are more inclined to describe Israel as practicing apartheid and less likely to label it as a democracy. Almost half (48 per cent) of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 view Israel as “a state practicing segregation similar to apartheid.”

In terms of political affiliation, a notable majority (64 per cent) of National Democratic Party (NDP) supporters view Israel as a state practicing segregation akin to apartheid, and this perspective is shared by a majority (53 per cent) of supporters of the Bloc Québécois federal political party. Conversely, 33 per cent of Liberal supporters view Israel in this manner.

None of the NDP and other left-wing party members view Israel as a vibrant democracy. Only just over a quarter (27 per cent) of Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) supporters and a mere eight per cent of Liberal supporters view Israel as a vibrant democracy.

READ: Israel: ex-Mossad head says state imposes ‘apartheid’ on Palestinians

When compared to US polling data, CJPME noted that Canadians are more apt to label Israel as “apartheid” and less likely to characterise it as a “vibrant democracy”.

“Despite attempts by Israel’s advocates to label the term apartheid as extremist, these survey results demonstrate that it is the primary descriptor Canadians use for Israel,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME.

In recent times, various human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have deduced that Israel’s actions towards Palestinians equate to apartheid, which is akin to a crime against humanity under international law. However, such conclusions have been dismissed lightly by the administration of Justin Trudeau and have received limited attention from policymakers and the media. “In essence, Canadians largely concur with the human rights community’s stance on apartheid,” added Bueckert. “It’s those who view Israel as a vibrant democracy who are in the minority.” 

Notably, some Israeli officials, primarily retired politicians and security agents, have concurred with the international human rights groups. Most recently, an ex-Mossad head proclaimed that the state of Israel has enacted “apartheid” measures against Palestinians.