FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Independent Jewish Voices appalled by expanded free trade agreement with Israel
OTTAWA, Ontario, July 22, 2015— Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) is deeply disturbed, yet not surprised, by the Conservative government’s expanded free trade agreement with the Israeli government. We are also disturbed by the silence of the official opposition, NDP, whose responsibility it is to hold the government’s feet to the fire.
“Israel is demolishing Palestinians’ homes and expanding its colonies on Palestinian land throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank; it is continuing to dispossess its own Bedouin citizens of their lands and demolishing their homes in the Negev. While Israel also continues to collectively punish the Palestinians of Gaza with a crippling blockade after indiscriminately bombing crucial life-sustaining infrastructure and murdering over 2,200 people in the besieged territory last summer, our government is rewarding Netanyahu’s regime,” says Tyler Levitan, spokesperson for IJV.
Canada has long identified Israel’s project of colonizing Palestinians’ land throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank with its illegal Jewish-only settlements as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Our official policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not only identifies this behaviour as a war crime, but goes on to state that “The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.” Meanwhile, Canada is effectively rewarding Israel for its worsening policies in this area, as Israel is expanding these settlements and establishing new ones on land from which Palestinians have been expelled.
“It is nothing short of hypocrisy to officially declare an activity to be a war crime, while simultaneously bending over backwards for the regime which is continuing this behaviour unashamedly,” says Levitan. “If this is considered a war crime, the Canadian government is deeply complicit by enabling the expansion of Israel’s colonies through providing tariff-free imports of their goods in Canada. These goods are even mislabelled ‘made in Israel’ to deceive Canadian consumers.”
Canada has also identified that “key opportunities exist for Canadian companies in the area of defense…”in which Canadian companies—through our government’s encouragement— would be assisting a rogue regime in maintaining its nearly 50-year military occupation over a defenceless civilian population.
For more information contact:
Campaigns Coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices – Canada