Mohamed Fahmy’s conviction a result of Canadian indifference

Montreal, June 23, 2014 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)—a grassroots citizens’ group— believes the Canadian government’s indifference directly contributed to today’s conviction and sentencing of Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy. An Egyptian court convicted Fahmy and two other Aljazeera journalists on charges of aiding terrorism and falsifying news. Fahmy and Australian journalist Peter Greste were sentenced to seven years in prison, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed to ten years. Amnesty International observers of the trial commented that the prosecution failed to produce a single shred of solid evidence for either charge. As noted by Amnesty International, Fahmy and the other Al Jazeera crew members were simply doing their jobs as a news crew. Continue reading

CJPME urges Canada to stop dithering and let Syrian refugees in

Montreal, June 20, 2014 - Following suggestions in Canadian media that Canada is reneging on its promise to resettle Syrian refugees, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urges the government to step up. CJPME—a grassroots citizens’ group—strongly urges the government to open its doors to some of the 2.4 million Syrians displaced by the internal armed conflict, now in its third year. “The government must stop dithering.  Continue reading

CJPME: Ottawa “Invisible” exhibition should stay up

Montreal, June 18, 2014 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) joins other pro-human rights organizations across Canada in support of the continued showing of the “Invisible” exhibition at Ottawa city hall. Invisible calls attention – through art – to the thousands of Palestinians who have died premature and obscure deaths under Israeli military occupation. In the Palestinian-Canadian artist’s own words, Invisible is “a protest in honour of remembrance” of her people and homeland. Continue reading

Michael Ondaatje & 15 other renowned artists endorse BDS

Montreal, June 17, 2014 — Three of Canada’s top writers are among the 16 internationally renowned artists who, after a recent visit to the West Bank, have issued a strongly worded statement. The declaration expresses the “utmost sadness and dismay” over Israel’s recent announcement of yet another 1500 illegal settlement units in the West Bank. The artists note that this move is particularly unfortunate at a moment when the Palestinians have formed a unity government.  Continue reading

Gates Foundation divests from UK firm involved in Israeli jails

Montreal, June 12, 2014 — According to a June 5 Financial Times report, G4S—a British-Danish company that is the largest security firm in the world — has confirmed that it will be withdrawing from involvement in the Palestinian Territories within three years, as announced in 2013. The announcement came at a shareholders’ meeting disrupted by human rights protesters. The firm also indicated that it will eventually withdraw from all prison service contracts throughout Israel. However, it appears that that is not soon enough for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. According to a Bloomberg News June 7 report, the Foundation has now divested entirely its holdings in G4S. The company and Foundation decisions were taken after intense criticism of G4S for its role enabling Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and repression of Palestinians. Continue reading

Palestinian unity gov’t good for peace despite Netanyahu antics

Montreal, June 3, 2014 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)—a grass-roots citizens’ group with 45,000 adherents—welcomes the formation of a unity government that includes the two largest Palestinian political parties — Fatah and Hamas. The new government was sworn in yesterday, June 2. Israel’s right-wing coalition government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has already announced it will retaliate by withholding taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which will make it difficult for the Palestinian Authority to deliver health care and education services. Continue reading

CJPME: Mass death sentences in Egypt must trigger strong response from Canada

Montreal, April 29, 2014  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls for a suspension of trade with Egypt, given yesterday’s sentencing of another 683 Egyptians to death following yet another patently unfair mass trial.  The April 29 mass sentencing raises the number of death sentences handed out in recent weeks to 720; the same judge also upheld the death sentences of 37 of 529 men whom he last month ordered hanged. The death sentences of the remaining 492 of the latter group were commuted to 25-year prison terms. Each group is alleged to have killed a policeman. Meanwhile, another judge banned the April 6 youth movement—a liberal youth group. Egyptian authorities continue to detain Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and several other Al Jazeera news channel staffers, jailed since December.  Continue reading

CJPME: Kerry’s use of “apartheid” re Israel marks major shift

Montreal, April 28, 2014  —CJPME points out the significance of US Vice-President John Kerry’s frank assessment Friday of the implications of Israel’s scuttling of peace talks with the Palestinians. At a closed-door meeting April 25 of the Trilateral Commission, Kerry warned that Israel is running the risk of becoming an “apartheid state” by refusing to negotiate a two-state solution. This is the first time such a high-ranking US official has publicly used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel. That Kerry has done so is indicative of world leaders’ deep frustration with the Netanyahu administration’s conduct, especially its escalating “settlement” building on Palestinian territory. Continue reading

Bold and timely international photo exhibition opening in Victoria

Montreal, April 24, 2014  — CJPME is delighted to announce the imminent opening of a bold and timely international photo exhibition entitled Dispossessed, but Defiant: Indigenous Struggles from Around the World.  The exhibition documents different aspects of indigenous peoples’ experiences of dispossession and their inspiring struggles to resist these processes. The three indigenous groups whose experiences figure in the exhibition are Canada’s Indigenous peoples, the Palestinians and Black South Africans.  Continue reading

Baird’s visit to Egypt sends wrong message

Montreal, April 16, 2014 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is deeply concerned by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s plan to visit Egypt later this week. According to a ministerial announcement, the Minister will be meeting with members of Egypt’s interim government during an April 17-20 visit. “The Minister is ignoring the fact that Field Marshall Al-Sisi and his cronies assumed power via a coup and since then, according to neutral international human rights organizations, have ruthlessly violated human rights,” says C JPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME warns that Baird’s visit will be interpreted as tacit approval of the regime’s conduct, of its overthrow of a democratically elected president, and of the recent mass death sentences handed down on March 24 to 529 alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Continue reading