Last month, 11 peace activists were violently arrested by Toronto police and are being investigated for criminal mischief for allegedly putting red paint and posters on the storefront of an Indigo bookstore, in protest of Indigo CEO Heather Reisman’s indirect financial support for the Israeli military. The severe charges and mistreatment of these activists, and terming their actions “hate-motivated” by the police were completely unjustified. These actions were also an act of intimidation intended to silence critics of Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.
Use the fields below to send an email to Indigo executives and Ontario’s Attorney General to tell them to drop the charges against the ‘Peace 11’ and everyone speaking up for Palestinian liberation. Protesting war and genocide is not hate!
On November 10, 2023, an Indigo bookstore in downtown Toronto was affixed with washable red paint and posters accusing CEO Heather Reisman of “funding genocide.” Indigo is a long-time boycott target of the Palestinian solidarity movement in Canada, due to Reisman’s indirect financial support for the Israeli military.
Almost two weeks later, Toronto police arrested and charged 11 people after conducting violent pre-dawn raids on their homes, breaking down doors, handcuffing suspects, confiscating their cell phones and laptops, and ‘terrorizing’ residents. The Jews Say No to Genocide Coalition 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.”
For allegedly putting up paint and posters, the peace activists have been charged with mischief, conspiracy, and criminal harassment, and the incident is being investigated as a “suspected hate-motivated offence.” The 11 maintain their innocence.
Terming these charges “hate motivated” is 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 2006. The reason for the boycott has nothing to do with Reisman’s identity, but has everything to do with the fact that Reisman co-founded the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers, which incentivizes Canadians and other foreigners to join the Israeli army and continue their studies in Israel. CJPME has long argued that by supporting and rewarding “Lone Soldiers,” Reisman is – via Indigo Books & Music Inc. - indirectly supporting Israel’s military efforts in the occupation of the Palestinian territories, as well as the current war on Gaza.
Click here to read CJPME’s Factsheet on the Indigo Boycott, which was originally published in 2010 but has been recently revised and updated.
Israel has been waging a murderous war on Gaza in response to the October 7 Hamas attack, indiscriminately bombing civilians, starving the population of food, water, fuel and electricity, and threatening to push the population into Egypt. More than 17,000 people have been killed, and 1.8 million are displaced. 36 UN experts have warned that Israel’s actions point to a “genocide in the making.” Amid unfolding genocide in Gaza, non-violent protest against the war is more important than ever. As Naomi Klein put it in a recent speech, “We are, today, in a time of terrible war and massacre with huge civilian casualties and that means we are all going to have to get used to seeing some red paint.”
Protesting Indigo is a legitimate form of expression against Israel’s war on Gaza. Please help us by telling Indigo executives and Ontario’s Attorney General to drop the charges against the ‘Peace 11’ and anyone else engaged in speaking up for Palestinian liberation.