CJPME: Boycott of Israel is Fair, Legitimate and Necessary

Montreal, May 12, 2015  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) repudiates the Harper government’s threat to use “hate crime” laws against BDS activists, as suggested in a CBC article yesterday.  BDS stands for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” and is a movement to put economic pressure on Israel to – among other aims – stop its unlawful colonization of Palestinian territories.  Like CJPME, many Canadians would view legal action by the Harper government as an attempt to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights and international law. Continue reading

 

CJPME: Canada must call for ceasefire in Yemen

Montreal, April 21, 2015  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on the Canadian government to push diplomatically for a ceasefire in Yemen.  Not only is the civil war in the country causing widespread death and destruction, but the Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes are adding to the mayhem and obstructing humanitarian efforts.  “While it may be difficult to intervene neutrally in a civil war, Canada should certainly do everything it can to stop the Saudi-led airstrikes.  These airstrikes are carried out in clear violation of international law,” asserts Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. Continue reading

 

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