Montreal, January 5, 2021 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns the grossly unfair attacks against Members of Parliament Charlie Angus and Leah Gazan for sharing principled and factual criticism about Israel’s discriminatory COVID-19 vaccination program. Both NDP MPs are facing false accusations of antisemitism after they shared an article from the UK newspaper The Guardian, which was titled “Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers.”
“It is appalling that MPs would face serious and vile accusations simply for calling attention to the discriminatory nature of Israel’s vaccine rollout,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Honest debate about the human rights situation in Palestine is seriously stifled if MPs cannot even share a newspaper article without being called an antisemite.” The Guardian article in question presented the fact that Jewish-Israeli citizens settled illegally deep in the occupied West Bank receive COVID-19 vaccines from Israel, while Palestinians in the same territory are excluded. MP Angus shared this article with the comment, “This is appalling. #apartheidstate,” and MP Gazan tweeted that this was “discriminatory” and a violation of human rights.
CJPME agrees that Israel’s COVID vaccination program is apartheid-like. As the occupying power in the West Bank and Gaza, under international law, Israel is responsible for the well-being of all civilians – including taking necessary measures to combat the spread of epidemics. Each year, the UN re-asserts this legal responsibility of Israel. In recent weeks, 10 Israeli, Palestinian and international health and human rights organizations have issued a joint statement calling on Israel to live up to its legal obligations and provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health systems.
CJPME notes that MP Angus has issued a statement rejecting the false accusations against him, and hopes that other MPs will be encouraged by his example to continue to speak out against racist policies. CJPME calls on Canadian legal experts to denounce the smear campaign leveled by pro-Israel groups against Angus, Gazan and The Guardian. CJPME hopes that MPs and government officials will respond to the call from human rights organizations in the region and put pressure on Israel to fulfil its legal obligations to supply Palestinians under occupation with quality vaccines.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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