Members of Canada’s Jewish Community Condemn the Extreme Silencing of Protest
March 29, 2010
We, the undersigned, members of Canada’s Jewish community, believe that Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Israeli citizen both Jewish and Palestinian, as well as internationals, have a right to demonstrate nonviolently in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip against acts, practices and installations they consider to be in violation of fundamental human rights.
We are concerned that recent actions by the Israeli authorities in both Israel and the West Bank, as well as recent actions by the Canadian government in Canada, threaten basic values of fairness and justice, thereby further obscuring the path of peace and justice in the Middle East.
These actions are:
1.The ongoing military crackdown on the non-violent protest movement throughout the West Bank, namely:
- The arrest and continued imprisonment of 15 residents of Bil’in village, including Abdullah Abu Rahma, the leader of its nonviolent movement, arrested on December 10, 2009
- The new military order declaring Bil’in a closed military zone
- The ongoing imprisonment of Wa’el Al-Faqeeh, a non-violent grassroots leader in Nablus , arrested on December 9, 2009
- The ongoing military suppression in the village of Nil’in where 17 people are currently in prison including the co-ordinator of the Popular Committee, Ibrahim Amira
- The shooting and/or killing of peaceful Palestinian and international demonstrators and activists, among others Ellen Stark (March 19, 2010 in An Nabi Saleh), Tristan Anderson (March 13, 2009 in Nil’in), Bassem Abu Rahma (April 17, 2009 in Bil’in) and Rachel Corrie (March 16, 2003 in Gaza)
- The ongoing arrests of peaceful Israeli and international demonstrators throughout Israel and the West Bank, including the Director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) - Hagai El-Ad, arrested along with sixteen others, at a peaceful demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah on January 23, 2010
- The torture in an Israeli prison of Omar Alaaeddin from the village of Al Ma’asara - arrested on March 14, 2010 and released one week later with no charges pressed against him
2.The ban of Israeli and international visitors, and extreme restrictions on food, medicine and reconstruction supplies to Gaza.
We believe that not only are these actions a significant threat to democracy and justice in Israel, their repercussions are being echoed here in Canada.
1.The Conservative government has staged a coup of Canada’s flagship public agency for human rights and democratic development, Rights and Democracy. By cutting funding to Betselem and Al Haq, the newly Harper government appointed leadership no longer permits support for Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups.
2.The Harper government funding cut dropped cash flows to Alternatives and KIAROS, two major NGOs supporting Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups.
3.The government surreptitiously formed, with no authority from Parliament, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) in an attempt to curtail freedom of speech across Canada, with a view to possibly criminalize certain human rights debates.
These actions by the Israeli and Canadian governments aim to prevent a united effort by Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, and others to forge a non-violent and just alternative to the occupation.
We call for continued denunciation of ongoing Israeli state and police disregard of human rights and non-violent action. We as Jews of conscience will not remain silent- we add our voices to the growing number of Jewish and non-Jewish voices around the world who understand that universal human rights and values include Israel and the Jewish people. We reclaim the right and the responsibility to speak out against all forms of occupation, segregation and discrimination.
Shalom u Bracha
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