Letter from Canadian Palestinians to the Prime Minister: IHRA Must Not Silence Us

To the Right Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The following letter is sent to you on behalf of the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (hereinafter referred to as the “Coalition”) in response to the government’s recent decision to appoint a Special Envoy designated to preserve Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism through the implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (hereinafter referred to as “IHRA”) working definition of antisemitism. We are deeply concerned with the government’s recent decision regarding the advancement of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism through the Special Envoy and wish to outline the repercussions that this may have on Canadian Palestinians. Continue reading




As Palestinian Refugees Face Severe Crisis, Canada Must Show Support for UNRWA

Montreal, November 24, 2020  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (CCPO) are urging the Canadian government to take action in response to the crisis facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN agency responsible for 5.7 million Palestinians refugees. CJPME and the CCPO are calling on Canada to renew and increase its annual support for UNRWA, provide the agency with emergency financial assistance, and to vote in support of Palestinian refugees at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Continue reading




CJPME Applauds Repeat of Canada’s UN Vote for Palestinian Self-Determination

Montreal, November 19, 2020  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds Canada’s decision to once again vote in support of Palestinian self-determination at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The resolution was overwhelmingly adopted 163-5 at the UN’s Third Committee and will now go to the UNGA plenary for a final vote. Earlier this month, CJPME and the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations had urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to repeat his vote, and more than 3,000 Canadians wrote to the government to stand up for Palestine at the UNGA. Continue reading




CJPME Dismayed by Death of Eminent Journalist Robert Fisk

(Image: Robert Fisk playfully embraces a polar bear in Victoria, BC, ahead of CJPME speaking event in October 2019) Montreal, November 4, 2020 – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is saddened by the death of veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk. CJPME had the privilege to host Fisk on cross-Canada speaking tours on three different occasions: in 2013, in 2016 and in mid-November of last year. “With Robert’s death, the world has lost a champion for diligent and authentic journalism,” announced Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME.  Continue reading




Contradictory Messages Show that IHRA Remains A Threat to Free Speech in Ontario

Montreal, November 3, 2020  — New statements from Ontario MPPs suggest that when Ontario suddenly adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, that it also adopted the IHRA’s controversial “illustrative examples” which conflate Israel and Zionism with antisemitism. This contradicts previous claims by Ontario MPP Kaleed Rasheed, who had told Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and other civil society organizations in a Zoom meeting that the examples had been excluded. CJPME warns that the IHRA definition therefore continues to be major threat to free speech, political expression, and academic freedom in Ontario. Continue reading




Joint Statement on the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism in Ontario

On October 26th, 2020, the Government of Ontario unilaterally adopted the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism (IHRA-WDA) by means of Order in Council 1450/2020. This move occurred just prior to public hearings on Bill 168 – a private Member’s bill which would have written the IHRA-WDA, including its problematic list of illustrative examples, into law. Bill 168 therefore appears to have been abandoned.  While we raise serious concerns with regards to process and note that much remains to be understood about the implications of the Order in Council, it would appear that the outcome of all this amounts to a partial win for defenders of human rights and freedom of expression.  Continue reading




Conservative MPP Confirms that Ontario’s Adoption of IHRA Excludes Harmful “Illustrative Examples”

Montreal, October 30, 2020 — Conservative Ontario MPP Kaleed Rasheed (Mississauga East—Cooksville) has confirmed that Ontario’s recent Order in Council (OIC) adopted only the main text of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and that the associated “illustrative examples” were deliberately excluded. In a Zoom meeting with CJPME and other community groups, Rasheed stated: “Rest assured, the definition as adopted by the Order in Council does not include the IHRA definition’s ‘illustrative examples.’” This is significant because over half of the IHRA’s illustrative examples mention Israel or Zionism, and therefore conflate antisemitism with most forms of criticism and protest of Israel. Continue reading




Canadian Organizations Call on Canada to Maintain Support for Palestinian Self-Determination at UN

As the UN General Assembly gears up for a series of votes on 16 annual resolutions in support of Palestinian human rights, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (CCPO) are calling on the Canadian government to repeat last year’s vote in favour of Palestinian self-determination. Continue reading




CJPME Condemns Doug Ford for Anti-Democratic Move to Protect Israel from Criticism

Montreal, October 27, 2020  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns Doug Ford’s Ontario Government for pulling the plug on democracy in an attempt to protect Israel from criticism. This afternoon, Ford circumvented public opinion by unilaterally adopting the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism through an Order-In-Council, even as Bill 168 (which would have adopted IHRA) was entering the stage of public input and debate. Continue reading




CJPME Settlement with Rebel Media in Defamation Lawsuit

Montreal, October 27, 2020 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is pleased to announce that its defamation lawsuit with Ezra Levant and Rebel Media News Network Ltd. has been settled. Launched in 2016, CJPME’s suit was based on a series of defamatory publications released by Rebel Media that attacked CJPME for its promotion of the BDS campaign. BDS, standing for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” is an international movement to apply economic pressure on Israel such that it fully respects the human rights of Palestinians. Rebel Media’s publications accused CJPME of anti-Semitism, comparing CJPME to Nazis and calling CJPME “Jew-baiters.” The publications also called for CJPME to be stripped of its charitable status, although CJPME has never had charitable status. Continue reading