Normally, at the end of each year, we send an email highlighting CJPME’s many accomplishments. Yet even though 2019 has been an amazing year for CJPME (see below), I need to start with a more sobering message: donations to CJPME are shrinking – NOT growing.
Despite our many achievements, unless we’re able to grow the support that we need, CJPME may not survive more than another year or two. What we REALLY need are monthly donations, as they allow us to plan and budget our resources.
If you’ve never given monthly, would you consider a monthly donation? Can you give $20/month, $50/month, $100/month, more? We need to raise an additional $5000/month to address our current challenges.
Left: CJPME president Thomas Woodley speaks at a press conference on Parliament Hill. Right: CJPME president Thomas Woodley (at left) with volunteers during a delegation day on Parliament Hill.
Operating without sufficient funds has a huge impact on CJPME, our people, and our effectiveness. Among them are:
- Inability to meet the need. With only two low-paid, full-time staff, we don’t have sufficient people to meet politicians, pressure the media, launch campaigns, direct volunteers, and perform the many tasks required to run a credible advocacy organization.
- Inability to attract qualified staff. When I took a staff position at CJPME in 2011, I accepted a salary that was 50% what I was making in the private sector. But we can’t expect everyone to make such sacrifices. For five years, I’ve been unable to hire a qualified VP, because we just don’t have the funds to pay them.
- Inability to offer a real career option. Occasionally in the past, we’ve hired bright university grads in junior positions. But when we can’t offer anything other than entry-level salaries, they’re going to leave for jobs that offer viable career options.
- Staff burnout. It’s hard to admit, but I often wonder whether the sacrifices of this job are worth it. I do CJPME’s Website, graphics, videos, finances, admin, policy, fundraising, advocacy and more. Given the downward trend in giving to CJPME, and the stressful work environment, I’m sometimes tempted to take an easier job with double the salary.
I don’t like to have to speak of the closure of CJPME to encourage donations, but we won’t survive under the status quo. If you believe in the value and effectiveness of our work, then please make an investment to see it continue.
Thank you immensely,
P.S. We always encourage our supporters to get in touch, whether to donate, or offer ideas, suggestions or comments. Please feel free to email or call us anytime.
P.P.S. We mailed a 4-page newsletter to our supporters on Dec. 4th. It contains a full interview with me, plus other highlights of our work. Please click here to view the full newsletter.
Above: A high-level view of CJPME's expenses and revenues in 2018. CJPME is funded entirely by private donors, and is limited in growth because of the limited funds.
Did you ever wonder how CJPME compares to the pro-Israel lobby groups?
Because CJPME does advocacy, media, and outreach work, we’re facing off with some of the strongest players of the pro-Israel lobby. Unfortunately, we’re at a huge disadvantage in terms of staffing and funding. Consider the comparisons below.
- 2.5 paid staff; one office in Montreal
The pro-Israel Lobby in Canada (1)
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (2)
- over 40 total paid staff
- 12 staff in Ottawa office
- 14 staff in Toronto office
- 3 staff in Vancouver office
- 9 staff in Montreal office
- 3 staff in Israel
B’nai Brith Canada
- About a dozen or more paid staff
- Offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary
Honest Reporting Canada (3)
- Two paid staff; office in Montreal
(1) Not a comprehensive list.
(2) Note that in 2011, the CIJA replaced the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canada-Israel Committee, the Quebec-Israel Committee, National Jewish Campus Life and other pro-Israel organizations in Canada.
(3) Despite its name, “Honest Reporting Canada” is in fact dedicated to squelching criticism of Israel in Canadian media.
2019 Updates and Accomplishments
The staff at CJPME work so hard. I myself regularly work 80+ hour weeks. That’s how we’re able to do so much! Here’s a sampling of the highlights from 2019:
Dozens of face-to-face, one-on-one meetings with Members of Parliament, lobbying for things like increased Canadian funding for Palestinian refugees, condemnation of Israel’s territorial ambitions, reduced sales of arms to Israel and Middle East dictatorships, and greater action against Islamophobia in Canada.
In addition to our visits to Parliament Hill, we are repeatedly “in the face” of politicians with our constituent email campaigns, postcard campaigns, and policy campaigns.
Left: CJPME delegates pose for a photo in the atrium of Parliament's Centre Block during a delegation in the Spring. Right: CJPME delegates pose in front of Centre Block between meetings . Through half a dozen "delegation day" trips to Parliament Hill in the Spring, CJPME representatives had close to 50 face-to-face meetings with MPs.
CJPME 2019 Speaking Tours Reach Across Canada
Hopefully, you had a chance to be present at one of CJPME’s events this past year, as we hosted three dynamic and articulate speakers on Palestine and the Middle East. These events elevate the conversation in Canada on important Middle East topics, and enable us to get strategic voices into mainstream Canadian media.
In September, we brought Palestinian-American lawyer and author Noura Erakat to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto for a talk entitled, “Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine.” Erakat has become increasingly well-known in recent years for her brilliant and incisive appearances on mainstream media advocating for Palestinian human rights. Erakat was interviewed by the CBC’s Michael Enright for his program Sunday Edition, heard by two million.
Left: CJPME hosted Palestinian-American author and lawyer Noura Erakat in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Right: CJPME hosted veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk in ten different cities, from Montreal, QC to Victoria, BC.
CJPME also hosted former NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies in a talk entitled, “Palestine on the Hill.” Davies described the challenges facing federal politicians in Ottawa as they seek to raise the issue of Palestinian human rights. She also provided guidance to activists on how to raise these issues within political parties and on Parliament Hill.
Finally, in November, CJPME brought veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk to ten different Canadian cities, from Montreal to Vancouver. Taking place just a week after Turkey invaded northern Syria, Fisk treated audiences to a very timely commentary on a broad range of topics, from Turkey and Syria, to Russia and the US, to Israel and Palestine. CJPME procured many media spots for Fisk, including CBC’s The Current, heard by millions across Canada.
Broad election impacts, with our lobbying, our campaigns, and our policy. Our Elections Guide on the positions of Canada’s political parties was repeatedly cited through media and social media. Our campaigns supporting pro-Palestinian candidates meant that those candidates were allowed to run, and weren’t abandoned by their parties.
Above: CJPME's elections guide - covering 13 different issues - was one of many important policy initiatives that CJPME launched in 2019. Another major initiative was CJPME's "Middle East New Deal" which proposed recommendations for 23 different policy areas.
Other major projects of 2019:
- CJPME’s “Occupation 101” Video Series. Still being rolled released, this 12-part series shows how the oppression and suffering of the Palestinians today is similar to prior historic tragedies. These videos help our supporters explain Israel’s oppression and the brutality to their friends. See the first three published videos here:
- “Segregation” draws parallels from history between Jim Crow-era segregation of Blacks from Whites in the US, and present-day Israel’s explusion of Palestinians to create Jewish-majority areas and neighborhoods.
- Racially-based Travel Laws, Israel’s permit system controlling all Palestinian movement, and Apartheid South African “passbook” laws governing where Blacks could travel, live and work.
- Cultural Genocide, Israel’s funding reserved for Palestinian schools which drop the Palestinian curriculum, and Canada’s oppressive use of “Residential Schools” to erase indigneous culture.
Above: CJPME's "Occupation 101" video series is a series of 12 different videos which compare Israel's mistreatment of the Palestinians to various other important historic injustices. Above, segregation in the American south is compared to segregation imposed by Israel on the Palestinians.
Major Policy Work of 2019:
CJPME is unique in its ability to do both grassroots organizing, as well as professional policy work. Throughout the year, CJPME developed solid policy that was used by politicians, the media, and the general public. Below is just a sample
Position Papers. CJPME produces position papers that it uses when it meets with politicians, but which are also convenient for average Canadians in working locally with their own representatives. Here are a few examples:
- Responding to Israel’s Territorial Ambitions
- Responding to Quebec’s Islamophobic Bill 21
- Supporting Designation of January 29 as a National Day
PRs. Throughout the year, CJPME issues press releases on active issues that go out to about 1000 media, organizations, and politicians. Here are a few recent examples:
- CJPME: Canada reverts to anti-Palestinian Votes at UN
- CJPME: Canadian Report Ignores Risk of Sale of Arms to Saudis
- Canadians Demand Support for Palestinian Human Rights at UN
- CJPME: US Government doesn’t Dictate the Law on Israel-Palestine
- CJPME: Violence against Iraqi Protesters must end
Factsheets. CJPME regularly publishes factsheets which provide an overview of key issues of importance in Canadian policymaking. They are used when CJPME visits politicians, and when average Canadians want a quick primer on a hot Middle East topic:
- Trump’s Illegal Golan Heights Decree
- Protests in Algeria
- Why Céline Dion should cancel her concert in Israel
- Netanyahu’s Annexation of Israeli “Settlements”
Left: CJPME published quite a bit of material on the impact of Trump and his illegal decrees on the Middle East. Right: Among many other projects, CJPME also published a campaign and factsheet on the protests in Algeria for more representative governance..
How we did with our Strategic Projects from 2019:
Last year, we asked our supporters to enable four projects, and many of you responded generously. Here’s how we did.
Success! Challenging Candidates in October Federal Elections: CJPME made big waves with its “Elections Guide” on Middle East issues, released in advance of the fall elections.
Success! Combatting Islamophobia: Last year, CJPME joined Muslim Canadian organizations calling for January 29 to be designated as a national day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia. We made fantastic progress, and will renew our calls for this designation to take place with the new government.
Still at it! Palestine Map Ads in Canadian Cities: In 2014, we launched a campaign to get the “Disappearing Palestine” maps into a major Canadian city’s subway or buses, but were blocked by scared city administrators again and again. While not successful in 2018, we are still trying to action a successful strategy to make this happen.
The CJPME team has worked hard for values and principles that we all hold dear, both for Canada and in the Middle East. While we do as much as we can, we depend on your ongoing support for the continuance of our work.
Please consider making a donation, or renewing your donation to enable CJPME to continue its vital work.
We’ve got some great projects lined up for next year, so you’ll be hearing from us again soon!
On behalf of the CJPME Team