Tell Minister Khera: Define and fight anti-Palestinian racism

Over the last 6 months, Palestinians and their allies in Canada have been under attack by right-wing and pro-Israel groups for standing up for Palestinian human rights and against Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza. More concerning is that this anti-Palestinian rhetoric is being mirrored by elected officials and civil servants across the country.

Canada has an anti-Palestinian racism problem and it’s time to stand up and say that enough is enough. Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy is due to be rereleased this spring, and it must finally address this problem. Palestinians cannot wait any longer for the government to acknowledge the systemic racism against Palestinians in Canada.

Use the fields below to send an email to your local MP, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and other key government actors responsible for anti-racism in Canada. Join us and demand that Canada immediately acknowledge and fully define anti-Palestinian racism within the Federal government's renewed Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy.

In 2019, the Federal government developed the first version of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy (CARS) without hearing from any Palestinian or Arab organizations in Canada (according to its “What we heard” documents from its 2018-2019 consultation sessions there were no Arab or Palestinian voices). Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy serves as the basis for receiving federal funding for undertaking domestic anti-racism initiatives. Later versions of CARS have continued to be silent about anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism.

Making things worse, the Anti-Racism Strategy also included an endorsement of the controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism, which conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism. Pro-Israel groups want to use IHRA as a way to shut down speech and protest of Israel, thus silencing Palestinians and their allies.

Due to the Liberal government’s failure to proactively address anti-Palestinian racism the events that culminated in Oct 7th and the subsequent genocide of Palestinians have led to a climate of unchecked institutional anti-Palestinian racism throughout organizations in Canada, including medical and law schools, and universities more broadly.  Canada has seen an explosion of openly genocidal hatred against Palestinians and a wave of repression of those who speak up for Palestinian human rights.

Pro-Israel and Zionist organizations have led a witch hunt against Canadian human rights defenders and used this moment to further silence Palestinians when they speak up about their experiences of systemic and structural racism in Israel.

Concerningly, Canadian security agencies and police forces have followed the lead of pro-Israel groups and stepped up their surveillance, harassment, and repression of Palestinians in this hostile climate.

Canada’s elected leaders for combatting racism and hatred must step in and right the ship. They must show us we can address all racisms hand in hand rather than pit one against the other, as the IHRA definition of antisemitism does by silencing Palestinians and their supporters. Join us in urging the federal government to acknowledge and fully define anti-Palestinian racism within its renewed Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy this spring, which would be a significant way to push back against these trends.

For more resources on anti-Palestinian racism, click here to read CJPME’s Factsheet, or click here to read CJPME’s 2022 report on examples of Anti-Palestinian Racism. You can also check out the Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation.