We are meeting on unceded land. Canada is a settler-colonial project, like most countries in the Western hemisphere.
My name is Martha Roth and I am here as a member of Independent Jewish Voices, a human rights advocacy organization that seeks a nonviolent solution to the conflict in Palestine-Israel and an end to the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. We do this by trying to influence Canadian policy and by promoting the campaign for BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.
You have all heard the slogan “The world needs more Canada.” The world doesn’t need more settler colonialism; what the world needs is peaceable acceptance of differences – different colours, different languages, different customs. Racism is about rejection of these differences. Racism is about the myth that one ethnic group is superior to all others. Racism is about forcing everyone to accept one definition of humanity.
Since the terrible racist violence in Charlottesville, many Jewish Canadians have wondered at the silence of the official “Jewish community,” represented by CIJA, the Council on Israel and Jewish Affairs. Late last week CIJA finally issued a statement deploring racist violence – but apparently only as it applies to Jews. This is not surprising, given CIJA’s support for Israel, an apartheid state.
IJV rejects this position. As we advocate for Palestinian sovereignty, we support people of all colours and languages who struggle for justice, including the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Gatherings like this one are a hopeful sign that Canada really does stand for peaceable acceptance of differences.