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"We Cannot Celebrate" - call for endorsements PDF Print E-mail
Mar 23, 2008 at 04:06 PM
To those concerned with justice and peace for the people of Palestine and Israel,

In June 2002, many of you endorsed CanPalNet’s public statement calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands conquered in 1967. That full-page statement with signatories from across Canada was published in the Georgia Straight in Vancouver and the Now newspaper in Toronto.

Regrettably, the human and political situation in Palestine-Israel has deteriorated significantly since 2002. It is against the background of this crisis that supporters of Israeli state policies and practices are organizing a “celebration” of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country. George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy are among the international leaders who will visit Israel in May 2008 to mark the event. In the U.S., George Bush SR. and Bill Clinton have been enlisted to serve as the honourary co-chairs of the national committee for Israel-60. There will be tremendous hoopla and hype around this event and we expect that Canadian politicians and other prominent public figures will be invited to join these “celebrations” as a similar campaign is mounted in this country.

Considering the prevailing tragic circumstances, we hope you share our view that this is not the time nor the occasion for “celebration”.

As a reflection of our concerns, we plan to publish the following “We cannot celebrate” statement, in full-page format, in The Georgia Straight in early May. If enough funds are collected, we would also place the ad in the Toronto Now. In addition, we plan to distribute the statement to other media as a news item and to include it in our public call to politicians and others to refuse to participate in this celebration.

We believe this statement is appropriate for the times and invite you to add your voice by endorsing it. (Signers’ names will appear with or without a “description” for identification purposes only. Please indicate your preference.)??

As was the case in June 2002, this is a grass-roots effort, so any financial contribution you can make toward the cost of publication (approximately $4,000) will be greatly appreciated. Contributions from those who wish to help us defray the costs of the ad without having their name listed on the ad will be greatly appreciated as well.

Please reply by e-mail to: wecannotcelebrate@canpalnet.ca

Contributions can be sent to:

123 North Sea Avenue
Burnaby, BC Canada
V5B 1K4

Thank you for your support.


Around the world, plans are being made to mount major celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. But this year also marks 60 years since 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland in what they refer to as the Nakba or “catastrophe”. Given this history, and the deepening conflict in the region today, we believe there is no grounds for celebration.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel starves and bombs the people of Gaza.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel extends its apartheid wall.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel builds Jewish only settlements and roads on stolen Palestinian lands.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel continues to violate United Nations Resolution 194, refusing to let Palestinians return to their homes.

We cannot celebrate
while Israel continues to promote wars and expand its nuclear arsenal.

We cannot celebrate
while the policies of Israel’s leaders fuel a conflict in which innocent lives on both sides are lost.

We can and will continue our efforts to end these injustices, upholding international law, human rights and United Nations resolutions. This is the only road map to peace.

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Vancouver panel says: "Enough!"
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

It is the conviction of Canpalnet that there are many and varied pathways that can and do bring Canadians to a simple conclusion; namely, that Israel's occupation must be ended, for elementary justice, and to salvage the humanity of all.

To illustrate this, a diverse and distinguished panel of speakers assembled in Vancouver at a press conference on June 6th to express their opposition to Israel’s 40 year occupation of Palestinian lands, and to call for the government of Canada to take action against that occupation and in support of human rights and international law. The conference took place in the Bank of Nova Scotia Room at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Naseer Aruri, noted Palestinian intellectual and prolific author, was a special guest. Born in Jerusalem, now Emeritus Chancellor Professor at the University of Massachussetts, he has been a member of the international board of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (USA), and Palestinian human rights groups. His most recent work is Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine.

A statement of support was sent by the all-party parliamentary group in Ottawa, the Canada Palestine Parliamentary Association.

That message and the statements of the panelists (listed below) are posted on this site.  

  • Svend Robinson, long time member of Parliament.
  • Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.
  • Murray Dobbin, journalist, broadcaster, and author of books on Canadian politics.
  • David Diamond, founder and artistic director of Headlines Theatre and recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Harmony Award.
  • Lee Lakeman, organizer of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and a representative for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers.
  • Carl Rosenberg, editor of Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine.
  • Terry Greenberg, recently retired member of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Reverend Brenda Faust, Minister of Port Coquitlam Trinity United Church.
  • Henry Krause, pastor of Langley Mennonite Fellowship.
  • Cynthia Flood, prize-winning Canadian short-story writer.
  • Dr. Ivar Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics at UBC and former President of the University of Paris-9.
  • Ken Davidson, head of the International Solidarity Committee of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).
  • Thekla Lit, founder and president of BC ALPHA (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War 2 in Asia).

To see podcast of press conference:

40 Years of Occupation(Part 1) Press Conf. WM video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

40 Years of Occupation(Part 2) Press Conf. video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007


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