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Ontario Premier Tells Arabs He Won’t Bend on Opposing Boycott

William Davis, premier of Ontario, told an Arab delegation representing three organizations that he will not change his opposition to the Arab boycott of Israel. He made this statement to the delegation in response to a joint brief submitted to him by the Canadian Arab Federation, the Arab-Palestine Association of Toronto and the Arab Community Center of Toronto. The brief termed Davis’ view “unfair and even immoral.”

The Arab brief said the Canadian government had no need to adopt a policy on the Middle East, particularly one that was harmful to their cause. “It seems to us that in a multicultural, pluralistic society such as we enjoy…the least the parties and legislators can do is to maintain a strict and hygienic neutrality.” the brief said.

Davis announced last month after returning from a trip to Israel that the province of Ontario would refuse to give government business or financial support to companies which comply with the boycott. In an address to the United Jewish Appeal dinner held in his honor, Davis declared: “The position of the government of Ontario on the question of discriminatory boycotts is clear; it is a commitment which reflects our belief in a world devoid of economic blackmail and manipulation; it is a commitment of which I am proud.”

After meeting with the Arab delegation last week, the Premier told reporters that the boycott has had “secondary and tertiary effects on citizens of this province.” The brief presented by the six-member delegation said that the Jewish population in the province is about 125,000 while there are only 30,000 Arabs and “we can not match our Jewish fellow citizens in numbers, wealth, influence and performance.”

The brief also attacked the province’s Attorney Geheral Roy McMurtry who “has seen fit to become a card-carrying Zionist” and “encourages racism and hatred for us Arabs.” Davis said the statements about McMurtry were “totally wrong.” He added that the Attorney General “has done more and said more for the rights of all ethnic and religious minorities and his views on racism have been publicly stated.”

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