CJPME: Canada Should Intervene in Yarmouk Crisis

Montreal, April 13, 2015  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on the Canadian government to make an emergency intervention to help the Palestinian refugees caught between warring factions at the Yarmouk camp.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the situation in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp this week, calling it Syria’s “deepest circle of hell.” Yarmouk Camp, located just seven kilometers from central Damascus, is currently home to approximately 18,000 Palestinian refugees and has been threatened by Assad government forces, Syrian rebel groups and, most recently, Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. The situation in Yarmouk has deteriorated in past weeks with aid agencies unable to reach people in need and ISIS militants engaging in violent acts against civilians. Secretary Ban Ki-Moon further described Yarmouk by saying, “a refugee camp is beginning to resemble a death camp.” Continue reading




CJPME: Netanyahu refusing Palestinian State a huge issue

Montreal, March 19, 2015  — On the eve of the recent Israeli elections, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu definitively stated that there would be no Palestinian state should he return to office. The statement represented a last minute appeal to right-wing Israeli voters given the tight polling between Netanyahu’s Likud party and the center-left Zionist Union. Nevertheless, with Netanyahu likely to serve another four years as Israeli Prime Minister, his statements have huge implications for Israel’s allies – including Canada – who have pinned their hopes on the “two state solution.” Continue reading




Author Gideon Levy speaks in Canada on Israeli Elections

Montreal, March 5, 2015 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is delighted to announce the imminent lecture tour of renowned Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levy. The title of the lectures is “Israeli Elections: What next for Israel-Palestine” The lecture tour will take place almost immediately after the upcoming Israeli elections on March 17.  Thus Levy—who has written for the Israeli daily Haaretz since 1982, and is a member of its editorial board—will critique the Israeli election results, and give his take on how the outcome will influence the Israel-Palestine conflict. Continue reading




CJPME urges restraint with regards to Bill C-51

Montreal, February 23, 2015 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East urges caution in regards to the Conservative government’s new anti-terror legislation, known as Bill C-51. The legislation proposes lowering the threshold for arrest, criminalizing the promotion of terrorism, expanding the no-fly list, and allowing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the ability to disrupt and counter-message suspected terror activity. While the Harper government has promoted the bill as way to protect Canadians against “violent jihadism,” many are arguing that the legislation unduly curtails Canadian freedoms and privacy. Continue reading




Canadian M.O.U. with Israel Threatens Open Debate

Montreal, February 4, 2015  — During his visit to the Middle East last month, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird signed a number of agreements with the State of Israel, among them a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding diplomatic cooperation. While the memorandum covers a variety of topics, including advocating the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the document also touches on limiting criticism of Israel, which it identifies as “the new face of anti-Semitism.” While the MOU is vague, it has the potential of being interpreted very broadly.  As such, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) criticizes the MOU as having the potential to dangerously curtail public debate.  Continue reading




Deal to train Egyptian police betrays Canadian values

Montreal, February 3, 2015 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) questions the appropriateness of a recently announced police training agreement between Canada and Egypt.  Under the agreement, Canadian police would travel to Egypt to train Egyptian officers, and a number of Egyptian police officers would come to train at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa. CJPME opposes this agreement given that the current Egyptian government is widely condemned for civil liberties and human rights abuses against its people.  Most of the abuses cited have been carried out by Egypt’s Interior Ministry, the very ministry whose staff would receive training from Canadian police experts.   Continue reading




CJPME warns against growing Islamophobia in Canada

Montreal, February 3, 2015  — While all Canadians are concerned about the threat of violent extremism in the world, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) warns against the danger of growing Islamophobia in Canada.  CJPME believes that the threat of violent extremism in the world – including violent Islamic extremism – must be condemned and addressed, but that Muslims in Canada must be protected from a number of emerging forms of discrimination. “For the protection of Muslims and other minorities, and for the preservation of cherished values, we should not let global events undermine the legal right to equality in Canada,” stated Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. Continue reading




Canada Should Rethink Relationship with Saudi Arabia

Montreal, January 28, 2015  — The Canadian government has come under fire this week after critics raised questions about its recently finalized arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The $15-billion export deal is without question the largest ever brokered by a Canadian Crown corporation, although many have begun to wonder whether the agreement complies with federal export controls. Under Canadian trade policy, export partners with a “persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens” must be able to guarantee that the military equipment it is purchasing will not be used against its own people. As of this week, the Canadian government is refusing to confirm that it has obtained these assurances from the Saudi state. Continue reading




Harper Knesset speech avoids real reasons for Mideast conflict

Montreal, January 21, 2014  — CJPME laments that in his address to the Knesset yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper misrepresented the reasons for international criticism of Israel’s conduct. “Harper attributed criticism of Israel’s conduct to anti-Semitism.  In reality, the criticisms – including those from various European governments whose commitment to Israel’s survival is unstinting—are of Israel’s ongoing illegal land grab in the West Bank, its harsh military occupation, the longest in modern history, and its brutal blockade of Gaza,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley.  CJPME notes that although Harper alleges that critics of Israel’s conduct are “singling Israel out” for criticism, in fact most of the organizations and governments criticising Israel’s conduct also frequently criticise other countries’ actions. “In effect, through such accusations, Harper has thrown Palestinians under the bus of Israeli territorial ambitions,” adds Woodley.  Continue reading




Canada’s Reputation in the Middle East Needlessly Squandered

Montreal, January 21, 2015 – Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this week demonstrated just how badly Canada’s image has been tarnished in the Middle East. Upon arriving in the West Bank, Baird’s convoy was pelted with eggs and shoes by Palestinians dissatisfied with the Canadian government’s stance on the situation in the region. While Canada managed to remain somewhat neutral with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict under previous governments, recent remarks by Baird illustrate just how far Canada has come in its fawning support for Israel and its disregard for legitimate Palestinian concerns. Continue reading