Toronto police action against anti-war activists is unjustified: CJPME

Montreal, November 24, 2023Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is appalled by the actions of the Toronto police in violently arresting 11 anti-war activists who had allegedly affixed posters and red paint to the exterior of an Indigo bookstore. CJPME notes that Indigo is a long-standing target of the movement to boycott Israel, due to the CEO’s indirect financial support for the Israeli military. CJPME insists that protesting Indigo is a legitimate form of expression against Israel’s war on Gaza and urges Toronto police to drop the spurious charges against the activists.

 “This is a grave overreach by Toronto police which aims to stifle legitimate activism against Israel’s genocidal war,” states Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME. “We are appalled by the way that activists were aggressively arrested, and their families terrorized. There is absolutely no justification for this inhumane treatment, which is a clear form of intimidation,” continued Woodley.

CJPME notes that the activists were charged with mischief and conspiracy and that the incident is being investigated as “hate-motivated,” based on false accusations that Indigo CEO Reisman was targeted for being Jewish. However, supporters of Palestinian rights have been protesting Indigo since at least 2007. The reason for the boycott is not because of Reisman’s identity, but specifically because Reisman co-founded the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers, which incentivizes foreigners to join the Israeli army and continue their studies in Israel. CJPME has long argued that by supporting and rewarding the “Lone Soldiers”, Reisman by means of Indigo Books and Music Inc. is indirectly supporting Israel’s military efforts in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, as well as the current war on Gaza.

CJPME is outraged about the treatment of the activists by Toronto police during the arrest. CJPME is aware that the police raided the suspects' houses in the early morning hours of November 22, breaking down doors, handcuffing suspects alongside all other residents present, and confiscating their cell phones and laptops. CJPME agrees with the Jews Say No to Genocide Coalition who said in a statement that “these arrests are aggressive, unjustified, abusive – and are all specifically designed to silence all who oppose genocide and support a Free Palestine.”

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected].

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

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