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Dimitri Lascaris is not an Antisemite PDF Print E-mail
Sep 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Pro-Israel lobby groups B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) have once again levied the charge of antisemitism at a Palestinian rights activist in what appears to be an attempt to tarnish his reputation. Their latest target is lawyer and former Green Party Justice Critic Dimitri Lascaris.

Members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) and other Jewish social justice activists have worked with Mr. Lascaris for years. We state categorically that the accusation of antisemitism against him is false and irresponsible.

Mr. Lascaris has issued his own response to these charges. We appreciate the clarifications and applaud his rejoinder.

The modus operandi of these groups is to seize upon a word or a phrase by an individual, label it a manifestation of Jew-hatred, demand that people and organizations dissociate from the accused, and then repeat the allegations in the hope that the accusations, and not the facts, prevail. 

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Vancouver Activists Demand an End to Complicity in Israeli War Crimes PDF Print E-mail
Sep 13, 2018 at 12:00 AM

On September 12, 2018, protestors gathered in Vancouver, Canada outside the constituency office of BC’s Attorney General, David Eby, to call for an end to complicity in Israeli occupation and war crimes and a boycott of Israeli wines in BC government-owned liquor stores. A letter signed by 25 groups was hand-delivered to the office staff, and the protestors made it clear this was an ongoing campaign that would continue until their concerns were addressed. They highlighted the parallels with the campaign in BC 30 years ago against South African apartheid wines and concluded by refusing to be made complicit in Palestinian dispossession and violations of international law.

Following is the text of the letter that was delivered, along with the signatories to date.

David Eby, BC Attorney General

Dear Mr. Eby:

We wish to bring to your attention our concerns about Israeli wines, many of them produced in the Occupied Territories, which are being sold in our publicly owned BC Liquor Stores. We note that as BC’s Attorney General, you are responsible for the provincial Liquor Distribution Branch.

We had hoped that the current NDP government would be more concerned with these blatant violations of international human rights, but we are aware that your response to inquiries so far has been to completely ignore the issues raised and instead focus solely on “personal choice”.

The wines in question are either from the Galil Winery, which is a joint venture with the Golan Heights Winery (the name of which speaks for itself) or from the occupied West Bank, including the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc around Jerusalem. Two wines of particular note are the Efrat Judean Hills Kosher and Vision Malbec, both produced by the Israeli Teperberg Winery. This winery openly states that some of its vineyards are in occupied Palestinian territories and even provides a map on its website showing vineyards in the occupied West Bank.

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Canadian detained by Israeli authorities in the West Bank PDF Print E-mail
Jul 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

On the morning of July 5, not long before the Israeli Supreme Court froze the demolition of the Palestinian-Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, Canadian student Michaela Lavis was arrested along with other human rights activists who were conducting a “stand-in,” to try and stop the bulldozers.

Lavis, 21, is a child and youth studies student at Ryerson University in Toronto. She was part of a group that attempted to block one of the bulldozers by chaining themselves together and sitting in front of it. A member of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem was also arrested at the demonstration.

Lavis had been volunteering in the West Bank city of Ramallah with a group called Defence for Children International-Palestine. She had also been volunteering with an occupational therapist who provides support to special-needs children in the area.

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NDP Condemns Killings in Gaza PDF Print E-mail
May 16, 2018 at 04:14 PM

On Monday, Canada's New Democrats strongly condemned the killings of protesters in Gaza by Israeli Defence Forces and urged the Liberal government to take a more active stance for peace and human rights. According to numerous news reports, at least 55 Palestinians in Gaza were killed and around 2,000 were injured Monday by the Israeli military in demonstrations near the Gaza-Israel border.

“The use of live ammunition against protestors and resulting deaths are clear violations of international law and human rights,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “Our government has been shamefully silent on recent developments in Gaza, and the Prime Minister should condemn the violence, call on Israel to cease violations of international law, and support an independent investigation into these deaths.”
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CJPME Condemns Israeli Shooting of Canadian Doctor, Slaughter of Gaza Protesters PDF Print E-mail
May 16, 2018 at 04:12 PM

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns Israel’s shooting of London, ON based doctor Tarek Loubani, shot while attending the wounded in Gaza. Despite being clearly identified as a first responder, Loubani sustained a moderate injury to his left leg, and a minor injury to his right leg. A friend and colleague of Loubani’s, paramedic Musa Abuhassanin was killed, along with at least 54 other Palestinians in Gaza yesterday.

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IJV Canada Statement on the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba PDF Print E-mail
May 16, 2018 at 03:52 PM

Seventy years have passed since the state of Israel was established in Palestine. As a direct result, hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed, thousands were killed and and hundreds of thousands were rendered homeless. For Zionists, 15 May 1948, marks the culmination of ambitions to create a Jewish-majority state; for Palestinians, it marks what came to be known as al-Nakba: the Catastrophe.

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is a grassroots organization grounded in Jewish tradition that opposes all forms of racism and advocates for justice and peace for all in Israel-Palestine. Today, IJV stands in solidarity with Palestinians marking and mourning 70 years since the 1948 Nakba.

Palestinians say, “the Nakba continues!” and it is the shameful truth. The Israeli government systematically imprisons Palestinian children, it continues to colonize Palestinian land for Jewish-only settlement in collaboration with the Jewish National Fund, and of course denies Palestinian refugees their right to return.

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IJV deeply concerned about politically-motivated firing PDF Print E-mail
Apr 16, 2018 at 12:00 AM

April 16, 2018

“Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is deeply concerned about the firing of Kevin Metcalf, a staff person at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), following a statement he issued in the name of the organization condemning the recent attack on Palestinian protesters by the Israeli Defence Forces,” said Corey Balsam, Independent Jewish Voices’ National Coordinator.

The CJFE statement called on Canada, a close ally of Israel, to “defend universal principles of human rights, democracy and press freedom” and to condemn the one-sided use of military force against civilian demonstrators and members of the press in Gaza. The statement was written in response to the shooting of hundreds of protesters by Israeli snipers. Among those shot were six journalists wearing vests identifying them as members of the press. One of the wounded journalists, Yasser Murtaja, subsequently succumbed to his wounds....

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Call me radical, but journalists should be able to pledge support for Palestinian journalists PDF Print E-mail
Apr 15, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Apparently, though, taking such a position in Canada can damage our credibility, and should be avoided

Neil MacDonald, CBC News, Opinion

Call me radical, but I've always thought there are at least two subjects on which journalists are absolutely entitled to express public opinions: freedom of expression, and attacks on journalists.

I am all for the former, and firmly against the latter. Surely we all are.

Apparently, though, taking such a position in Canada can damage our credibility, and should be avoided. At least in certain circumstances.

I can draw no other conclusion from the uproar over a statement by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a laudably titled group that regularly denounces suppression of speech and journalism in countries such as Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China.

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Crisis in Canadian Journalists for Free Expression due to Gaza statement PDF Print E-mail
Apr 08, 2018 at 12:00 AM
 
Kevin Metcalfe writes:
 
I've been advised that I can expect to be terminated from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression this coming Tuesday evening and have pre-emptively been removed from my social media roles and the organization's website back-end. The cause for this termination, I have been informed, will most likely be the official cessation of the organization's operations and its semi-permanent closure. Congratulations Canada, you've killed free speech. I have learned that in the last 72 hours, a half-dozen resignations have been tendered on the organization's executive committee and Gala committee, including the resignation of the acting Executive Director and President of the Board. Those resignations came after we published a statement calling on Canada to condemn the woundings and killings of Palestinian Journalists by Israel during border protests.
 
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Discussing Hamas with Gazan Expatriate Samah Sabawi

I caught up with Samah Sabawi on August 1st, 26 days into the Israeli assault on Gaza. Samah is a Canadian Palestinian with family roots in Gaza. I wanted to ask her views on the current situation in Gaza and particularly on the role Hamas is playing. She is a playwright, a policy advisor to AlShabaka and is former public advocate for Australians for Palestine. She was for many years a media spokesperson for National Council for Canada Arab Relations (NCCAR) and moved in 2009 to Australia where her parents and many other members of her Palestinian family have found refuge.

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