It’s been a busy year and in many ways a difficult one, but throughout it all we’ve seen IJV members and supporters come out time and time again in solidarity and in record numbers for peace and justice for Palestine.
Here are just some of the highlights:
IJV is growing and our membership is expanding more than ever! We now have Chapters from Coast to Coast and active campus clubs that offer spaces for Jewish activists and their allies to engage in local activism and justice-oriented Judaism. Over the past year we have written news articles, organized protests and BDS motions, hosted Shabbat dinners and Hanukkah parties and spoke out against attempts by pro-Israel groups to silence supporters of Palestinian human rights.
This year also marked IJV’s 10th anniversary which we celebrated with a fantastic conference and General Members Meeting with incredible speakers from organizations like Jewdas and Jewish Voice for Peace and activist scholars like Diana Buttu, Mark Tseng Putterman and many many more.
In February, IJV activists were among the main organizers of the Palestine Resolution at the NDP Convention which sought to ban products from the illegal settlement from entering Canadian markets. While the Resolution narrowly lost by 11 votes, it also represented the largest mobilization in favour of Palestinian rights in the Party’s history and was widely covered both nationally and internationally including in acclaimed news outlet Al Jazeera.
Yizkor for Gaza
This year saw devastating bloodshed in Gaza as over 110 protests have been gunned down and thousands more injured since the 30th of March as Palestinian protesters started their weekly Great March of Return. IJV stands in solidarity with the protestors in Gaza who are calling for an end to Israeli violence and the right to return home. In May, IJV members in Vancouver held a Yizkor –a Jewish mourning ritual to protest the ongoing killings and the International community’s callous indifference.
This year was a big one for BDS. As we’re seeing a chilling crack down on BDS activism in the United States and elsewhere, it is all the more important than ever that we stand up and fight back! This past year IJV members worked to advance BDS motions on campus and made some historic gains. More recently, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the MS St. Louis Apology for Canada’s role in turning back Jewish refugees as a way to condemn the BDS movement and throw Palestinian activists under the bus, over 800 of you took action and told Trudeau that supporting the BDS movement is NOT antisemitic! Our Halifax chapter organized a local public meeting and national webinar on the topic “Why Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel Are NOT Antisemitic.
Fighting antisemitism and white supremacy
In the wake of the devastating shooting in Pittsburgh which 11 Jewish worshippers were gunned down by a neo-Nazi white supremacist, IJV members in Ottawa and Montreal took the lead in organizing vigils against antisemitism, Islamophobia, and white supremacist bigotry. Our message was simple and was heard by hundreds: Solidarity is what will keep us all safe. Together we are stronger.
Lights Up for Gaza
Hanukkah celebrates light overcoming darkness and the ever-present potential for liberation from oppression. Which is why Chapters in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and Vancouver were again showing our solidarity with the Palestinian people by holding fundraising parties to buy gifts of solar-powered lanterns for children in Gaza, who live with only 4 hours of electricity per day. The events were extremely successful and reminded us of the many ways we can express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and to help light overcome darkness.
It’s been a pretty incredible past 12 months. Thank to all our members and supporters for making it so!