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


CJPME supports U. of Windsor student referendum on BDS

Montreal, March 17, 2014  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) welcomes the University of Windsor students’ recent decision to support divestment from companies implicated in Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. CJPME notes that this is the first time that such a decision has been taken by a campus-wide referendum, rather than by the student association’s council.  CJPME laments U of W President Alan Wildeman’s current attempt to discredit the referendum, and believes his actions are in response to coercive pressure from donors who are hostile to Palestinians and Muslims.  “It is lamentable that in this day and age, a university president is making vague threats against a student organization because the results of a student referendum are not to his own liking, or to that of certain donors,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. Continue reading


CJPME condemns surge in violence between Israel, Islamic Jihad

Montreal, March 13, 2014  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns the recent escalation of cross-border violence between Israel and the militant group Islamic Jihad, operating in Gaza.  CJPME also condemns the Canadian government’s lop-sided response to the escalation. The Harper government condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza, but ignored Israel’s role – beginning on Tuesday – in the current surge of violence.  “On what basis does the Harper government condemn one act, and condone another,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. Canada has thus far also failed to critique Israeli airstrikes in Gaza conducted late Wednesday.  CJPME urges the Canadian government and Canadian MPs to press both Israel and Islamic Jihad to respect the cease-fire. Continue reading


Canadians to protest detention of journalists in Egypt

Montreal, February 25, 2014  — Canadians will demonstrate with others around the world this Thursday, February 27th, in a global Day of Action against the arrest of journalists in Egypt.  Protests are planned for Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square, and Montreal, the Egyptian Consultate, and perhaps other Canadian sites at noon on Thursday.  They join dozens of other events around the world in a global Day of Action under the theme: “Journalism is not a Crime.”  “Journalists are being arrested and detained in Egypt simply for doing their jobs,” asserted Thomas Woodley for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME).  “It is time for the world – Canada included – to demand their release.”   Continue reading


Palestinian lawyer to the ICJ to speak in Canada

Montreal, February 25,  2014  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is pleased to announce that it is hosting a three-city lecture tour by Diana Buttu March 19th to March 21st. Ms. Buttu is a Canadian human rights lawyer, now based in Ramallah, occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). From 2000 to 2005, Ms. Buttu worked as an advisor to the Palestinian peace negotiations team. In that capacity she was part of the legal team that successfully represented Palestinians before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), resulting in the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion on the Israeli Wall: Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2004). Continue reading