Naming Anti-Palestinian Racism: CJPME Welcomes Ground-Breaking Report

Montreal, May 18, 2022 Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) welcomes a ground-breaking new report on anti-Palestinian racism which was published this month by the Arab-Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA). Based on extensive community consultation, the ACLA report provides, for the first time, a working description of anti-Palestinian racism which can be used as a starting point towards identifying and challenging its manifestations throughout Canadian society. The report discusses anti-Palestinian racism as a “distinct” form of racism which impacts Palestinians and non-Palestinians, and which “aims to censor and erase Palestinians and their narratives from the public sphere.”

“For many years, we have witnessed Palestinian narratives be defamed, censored, and erased, and it is important that we accurately identify this phenomenon as racism,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. CJPME believes that this report will make it easier for Palestinians and their supporters to name and challenge the forms of racism that they encounter on a regular basis.  

The ACLA report provides the following description of anti-Palestinian racism:

Anti-Palestinian racism is a form of anti-Arab racism that silences, excludes, erases, stereotypes, defames or dehumanizes Palestinians or their narratives. Anti-Palestinian racism takes various forms including:

  • denying the Nakba and justifying violence against Palestinians;
  • failing to acknowledge Palestinians as an Indigenous people with a collective identity, belonging and rights in relation to occupied and historic Palestine;
  • erasing the human rights and equal dignity and worth of Palestinians;
  • excluding or pressuring others to exclude Palestinian perspectives, Palestinians and their allies;
  • defaming Palestinians and their allies with slander such as being inherently antisemitic, a terrorist threat/sympathizer or opposed to democratic values.

There are many examples of anti-Palestinian censorship which CJPME has followed in just the past year, and which should be documented as racism; for example: journalists were reprimanded by the CBC for signing an open letter calling for better reporting standards on Palestine; a children’s book was banned from Indigo Books for including a map that says “Palestine” rather than “Israel”; Postmedia apologized to a pro-Israel lobby group for running an advertisement for Amnesty International which featured a 15-year-old Palestinian journalist; and an article featuring local Palestinian perspectives which was censored by a Saskatoon student newspaper.

CJPME notes that the ACLA has simultaneously launched a new tool to enable individuals to self-report any incidents of anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian racism that they experience or witness. CJPME encourages Canadians to use this tool to report anti-Palestinian racism if they see it in their school, workplace, in the media, or elsewhere.

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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