CJPME urges Egypt to free Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy

Montreal, February 3, 2014  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on Egypt to release Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and the other Al Jazeera journalists currently languishing in jail there.  CJPME also calls on Canadian political leaders to get involved to prompt Egypt to drop all trumped up charges that have been filed against Fahmy and other Al Jazeera journalists. Egypt’s Prosecutor General announced on January 29 that it would try 20 Al Jazeera journalists on charges of incitement, distorting Egypt’s image broad and fabricating news to aid the Muslim Brotherhood. “Egyptian authorities must release Mohamed Fahmy, and Canadian political leaders must address this terrible travesty of justice,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. Continue reading

Three years after Tahrir, democracy eludes Egyptians

Montreal, January 27, 2014 — CJPME laments that three years after the massive protests that eventually toppled authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak began in Tahrir Square, democracy is still eluding Egyptians. According to a January 23 Amnesty International (AI) report, at least 1400 people had been killed in political violence since the military ousted elected president Mohammed Morsi July 3. AI says that Egypt has witnessed “state violence on an unprecedented scale over the last seven months.” In addition, on Saturday, January 25, 49 anti-government protesters were killed, and another 1079 were arrested, according to media reports. Continue reading

Torture report reflects need for more urgent engagement in Syria

Montreal, January 23, 2014  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) implores the Canadian government to address the Syrian civil war with urgency and greater substance.  Earlier this week, a report by renowned international war crimes judges, with the aid of forensic scientists, confirmed evidence of massive torture of prisoners committed by the Assad regime.  The thousands of photos document severe beatings, starvation and strangulation. This report makes meaningful involvement by Canada even more urgent.  Canada must press both sides of the Syrian conflict to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. Continue reading

CJPME: Harper’s trip should not be a love-in with Israeli right

Montreal, January 16, 2014  — CJPME is troubled that Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears poised to miss an excellent opportunity to contribute to a just peace between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis during his upcoming trip to the Middle East. “Harper should press Israel to halt settlement expansion, once and for all; if it continues, a viable Palestinian state cannot be created, nor peace ever achieved,” states CJPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME believes that the PM has a responsibility to Canadians, Israelis and Palestinians to uphold international law and fundamental human rights at all times, especially during such a state visit. CJPME reminds the PM that Israel’s establishment of “settlements” in the occupied Palestinian territories is a grave violation of international law and has been repeatedly condemned by most western nations. Continue reading

CJPME: Ariel Sharon leaves legacy of violence, settlement growth

Montreal, January 13, 2014  — CJPME laments that Ariel Sharon has died without ever facing justice for his role in massacres of Palestinian refugees and in the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.  In multiple roles in successive Israeli governments, Sharon was cited for several violations of international law. “With Sharon’s death, there is surprisingly scant mention of the war crimes in which he is directly implicated, let alone any remedial action by western governments, including Canada,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley.   Continue reading

CJPME laments re-establishment of police state in Egypt

Montreal, December 3, 2013  — CJPME urges Canada’s government and MPs to press Egypt’s interim government to rescind an anti-protest law severely curtailing freedom of assembly. The law, ratified November 24 by interim president Adly Mansour, obliges groups wanting to demonstrate to obtain seven separate permissions to protest publicly. It gives police the final say on whether a protest can take place and allows police to forcibly disperse even a legal protest if even a single protester throws a stone. It also bans overnight sit-ins. The law also stipulates harsh prison sentences for vaguely defined offences, such as attempting to “influence the course of justice” or “impeding the interests of citizens.” Continue reading

CJPME cancels Elizabeth May’s speaking engagement at Ottawa fundraiser

Montreal, Dec. 2, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) has withdrawn its  invitation to Green Party leader Elizabeth May to speak at its  Ottawa fundraiser Dec. 5th.  The decision was taken  following the release of the full transcript of an interview May gave to the Jewish Tribune.  “When we invited May, we had assumed that she would present a position that was closely aligned to the official Green Party position on the Middle East and Israel-Palestine,” stated CJPME President Thomas Woodley.  The Green Party’s ‘Vision Green’ policy document on Israel-Palestine is clear in its intent to uphold international law, to promote the creation of a Palestinian state, and to seek to end the blockade of Gaza.  “Unfortunately, May’s comments to the Jewish Tribune indicated that she intended to stray surprisingly far from the ‘Vision Green’ platform in her speech at our event,” continued Woodley.  “As such, we felt it would be inappropriate to host her as a keynote speaker.” Continue reading

Latest Israeli settlement plans make peace negotiations irrelevant

Montreal, November 4, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East urges both the Harper government and the Opposition parties to take a strong stance against the dramatic wave of settlement expansions announced last week by Israel. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the settlement approvals include both implementation of previously expansion plans plus completely new initiatives. “If Canada’s federal parties are still committed to the ‘two-state solution’ to the conflict, or indeed to any negotiated solution, they must vigorously oppose these plans,” warns CJPME President Thomas Woodley. Although both the US State Department and the UN Secretary General condemned the plans, announced October 30, Canada has remained silent. CJPME reminds MPs that establishing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories violates international law. Continue reading

CJPME to appeal TTC’s rejection of “Disappearing Palestine” ads

Montreal, October 24, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) intends to appeal the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) rejection of ads about various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  CJPME learned Monday, Oct. 21, that its ads had been rejected by TTC staff. The centerpiece of the ads is a series of four maps depicting Palestinian loss of land over the past six decades, ultimately obstructing the creation of a viable Palestinian state.  In its rejection, TTC staff asserted that CJPME’s ads did not comply with the guidelines of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, but did not specify what aspects of the ads were non-compliant.   Continue reading

Canadian gov’t could have secured Canadians’ release earlier

Montreal, October 7, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) joins other voices across Canada in celebrating Saturday’s  release of John Greyson and Tarek Loubani from detention in Egypt.  However, CJPME urges Canadian MPs to investigate the Harper government’s muted response to the arbitrary detention and brutal assault of the two Canadians.  Continue reading