FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2017
Once Again, Trudeau Ignores Palestinian Request to Commemorate National Day of Remembrance
Ottawa, ON – For the second consecutive year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ignored requests from civil society organizations to issue an official statement in commemoration of the Palestinian national day of remembrance, otherwise known as “Nakba Day.” Palestinians around the world, including thousands of Palestinian Canadians, annually commemorate Nakba Day on May 15.
“The Palestinian Canadian Congress (PCC) sent Mr. Trudeau a formal letter requesting that he recognize the Palestinians’ most important national day of commemoration by issuing a public statement. This day commemorates the dispossession of the Palestinian people between 1947 and 1949, when the State of Israel was established over the ruins of our ancestors’ homes,” stated Aiman Shakra, President of the PCC. “We are greatly disappointed that Mr. Trudeau chose not to issue a public statement, let alone respond to our outreach. This is a very hurtful slight of the Palestinian Canadian community.”
Between 2012 and 2017, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Canada’s Prime Minister during that period have issued a public statement commemorating Israel’s independence day, known in Hebrew as “Yom Ha’Atzmaut.” Yom Ha’Aztmaut falls around the same time as Nakba Day. Last year, Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) requested that Mr. Trudeau live up to his government’s declared mandate of playing the role of “honest broker” in the region, by commemorating Nakba Day alongside Yom Ha’Aztmaut.
“Recognizing Israel’s narrative while ignoring that of Palestinian Canadians seemed highly insensitive,” said IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan. “Sadly, this year the Prime Minister has decided again not to extend a hand of friendship and solidarity to the Palestinian Canadian community.”
“We call on Prime Minister Trudeau to afford to Palestinian Canadians the same level of respect and dignity that he affords to other Canadian minorities. We are tired of being ignored, and of having our legitimate concerns as a community denigrated by successive Canadian governments,” concluded Shakra.
For more information contact:
Tyler Levitan, Campaigns Coordinator
Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Tyler Levitan’s commentary in Huffington Post Canada on Nakba Day and our Prime Minister: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tyler-levitan/nakba-day-canada_b_16582412.html