Over one third of Canadians perceive 'Israel' as apartheid
The survey aims to gauge public opinion regarding "Israel's democratic nature" in Canada, considering the conflicting claims about whether it operates as a "democracy" or practices apartheid.
A recent survey has revealed that the term "apartheid" is the most commonly used descriptor by Canadians when expressing their perception of the Israeli occupation. In contrast, a minority of Canadians view "Israel" as a "vibrant democracy".
The survey, titled "Survey: Canadians view Israel as apartheid, not a vibrant democracy," was sponsored by the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME).
These survey results are concerning for CJPME as they challenge the warm relationship between Canada and "Israel", which is based on the shared belief in what the survey called "democratic values". The survey aimed to gauge public opinion regarding "Israel's democratic nature," considering the conflicting claims about whether it operates as a "democracy" or practices apartheid.
Excluding respondents who selected "I don't know," over a third of Canadians provided an answer that described "Israel" as "a state with segregation similar to apartheid" (38%). In contrast, a significantly smaller portion of respondents characterized "Israel" as a "vibrant democracy" (11%).
Some notable findings from the survey include:
- Nearly half (48%) of Canadians aged 18-34 perceive "Israel" as a state with segregation similar to apartheid.
- A substantial majority (64%) of supporters of the NDP (New Democratic Party) view "Israel" in this manner, as do a majority (53%) of BQ (Bloc Québécois) supporters. In contrast, 33% of Liberal supporters share this perspective.
- None of the supporters of the NDP, BQ, or GPC (Green Party of Canada) perceive "Israel" as a "vibrant democracy". Conversely, 27% of supporters of the CPC (Conservative Party of Canada) and a small minority (8%) of Liberal supporters hold this view.
On his account, CJPME Vice President Michael Bueckert emphasized that despite attempts to downplay the term apartheid, the survey results indicate that it is the predominant choice among Canadians when describing "Israel".
Human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have acknowledged that "Israel's" treatment of Palestinians constitutes apartheid, a violation of international law.
Bueckert further claimed that Canadians largely align with the human rights community on the issue of apartheid, stressing that those who consider "Israel" a "vibrant democracy" hold a minority perspective.
It is worth noting that the survey, conducted by EKOS Research Associates from August 2-10, 2023, surveyed a random sample of 1,089 Canadian adults aged 18 and over, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Democracy in time of apartheid
Amnesty International released a report last year in February that asserted once and for all that the Israeli regime is forcing a system of apartheid on Palestinians.
Amnesty said the Israeli system is founded on "segregation, dispossession, and exclusion," which amount to crimes against humanity, and its findings were documented in a report that shows the Israeli seizure of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcibly expelling people, and denying them citizenship.
This is the second report by an international rights group to accuse "Israel" of enforcing an apartheid system, the first being Human Rights Watch whose report was released in April 2021. As per Israeli customs, the occupation used its weapon of choice, accusing Amnesty of anti-semitism.
The organization further said "Israel" was enforcing a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians in all areas under its control "in Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories], and against Palestinian refugees, in order to benefit Jewish Israelis. This amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law."
The measures employed by the Israeli entity against Palestinians include restrictions on Palestinian movement in occupied territories, underinvestment in Palestinian communities in pre-1967 occupied territories, and preventing the return of Palestinian refugees.
Even more so, "Israel" forcibly expels Palestinians, and tortures and kills them extrajudicially in order to maintain a system of "oppression and domination," which constitutes "the crime against humanity of apartheid."
"Laws, policies, and practices which are intended to maintain a cruel system of control over Palestinians, have left them fragmented geographically and politically, frequently impoverished, and in a constant state of fear and insecurity."
'Israel is not a democracy'
In an interview for Foreign Policy, the former director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Alon Liel, made brazen statements that sharply cut through arguments that the Israeli establishment continues to push; Liel openly stated "Israel" is not a democracy.
"'Israel' always says it’s a democracy. The government always says we are the only democracy in the Middle East and we are part of the West. But in real terms, we are not a democracy with the occupation, and we are only part of the West when it suits us," Liel argued.