Deactivate Airbnb on Nakba Day

After initially committing to stop listing rentals in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, Airbnb did a complete reversal, and will now continue to allow rentals on stolen Palestinian land.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) and Jewish Voice for Peace have launched a campaign calling on people to send a clear message to Airbnb by signing a pledge to deactivate your Airbnb account on May 15, Nakba Day – a day that commemorates Israel’s establishment through the ethnic cleansing of 80% of all indigenous Palestinians from their homes and lands 71 years ago. Airbnb is enabling an ongoing Nakba – Israel’s continued and systematic dispossession of the Palestinian people.

There’s no neutrality in situations of injustice. Airbnb cannot simply donate away dirty profits, as they’ve said they will, and keep their hands clean of illegal occupation, knowing they contribute to inequality, land theft and racial discrimination. The fact remains: Palestinians cannot regain their homes and land, whereas settlers can rent out homes built on Palestinian land with the help of Airbnb.

Sign the #deactivateAirbnb pledge and save this link to deactivate.

Take action to stop the JNF Canada

Last week, a CBC exposé revealed that the Jewish National Fund of Canada has been the subject of a Canada Revenue Agency audit over a complaint that it used charitable donations to build infrastructure for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), in violation of Canada’s tax rules, and to support illegal settlement projects in the Occupied West Bank.

Created to purchase land for a Jewish State in Palestine, the JNF is today the largest single landowner in Israel. Most commonly known for its century-old campaign to “make the desert bloom,” the JNF is not a public body in Israel but a private corporation whose lands were obtained through exploitative land sales and often-violent, forced removals of Palestinians from their lands. While the JNF has planted millions of trees—a remarkable environmental achievement—it has also used its forests to keep Palestinians off the lands taken from them. In Israel, the JNF has been charged with corruption by the State Comptroller and faced High Court challenges due to its explicitly discriminatory practices.

In Canada, the JNF’s fundraising branch, JNF Canada, raises millions of dollars for its projects in Israel/Palestine each year which are tax deductible due to JNF Canada’s charitable status.

In the words of the CBC report:

[The JNF Canada has] funded infrastructure projects on Israeli army, air and naval bases. While no law bars a Canadian citizen from writing a cheque directly to Israel’s Ministry of Defence, rules do ban tax-exempt charities from issuing tax receipts for such donations, and also ban donors from claiming tax deductions for them. …

In its guide for Canadian registered charities carrying out activities outside Canada, the CRA states plainly that “increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Canada’s armed forces is charitable, but supporting the armed forces of another country is not.”

Yet JNF documents describe some of the charity’s spending in Israel in those very terms.

Independent Jewish Voices released a media release in response to the CBC’s report, saying, “A comprehensive complaint has been filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regarding the Jewish National Fund of Canada (JNF Canada). The complaint, submitted in October 2017 with the support of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), presents detailed evidence that JNF Canada works in violation of the Income Tax Act and in contravention of Canadian foreign policy in various ways.”

Despite multiple letters and complaints sent to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and to Ministers of National Revenue over the last four decades—expressing strong concerns about the Jewish National Fund of Canada’s (JNF Canada) violations—the organization maintains its registered status with the CRA. It appears that JNF Canada has not even received any penalties from the CRA.

Take action

Independent Jewish Voices has launched a new Stop the JNF Canada website where you can take action to revoke the JNF Canada’s charitable status and expose, challenge and stop the JNF’s discriminatory and harmful activities.

If you are resident of Canada or a citizen of Canada living either in Canada or abroad, take a moment now to add your name to the Parliamentary E-Petition to call for the revocation ​of JNF Canada’s charitable status!

Once you’ve signed the petition, you can also help spread the word about the campaign, sign up for campaign updates, read IJV’s policy recommendations, read answers to frequently asked questions about the JNF Canada, and read, watch, and listen to more information about the JNF Canada.

Please take action now! In the words of Dr. Ismail Zayid, a Halifax-based retired professor who was expelled from his home and whose entire village was demolished in 1967 for what became JNF Canada’s flagship project, Canada Park, along with a new adjacent Israeli settlement, “I along with several others have been complaining to the CRA about the JNF for nearly four decades now. It’s about time that the CRA acted on its own rules and regulations and revoked the JNF Canada’s charitable status.”

Tell Trudeau: The BDS movement is NOT antisemitic

Please take a minute to participate in this online Action Alert from Independent Jewish Voices.

Last week, Trudeau issued a long overdue apology on behalf of the Canadian government for turning away a ship full of Jewish refugees in 1939 to the eventual death of over 250 people by the Nazis.

Shamefully, Trudeau took this important opportunity to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights, which he portrayed as an example of antisemitism today.

In making this false equivalency, Trudeau lends credence to Israel lobby efforts to silence Palestinians, Jews and others across Canada who support BDS as a peaceful means of putting pressure on the state of Israel to abide by international law.

It has absolutely nothing to do with antisemitism, and saying so is slanderous.

IJV-member and Holocaust survivor Suzanne Weiss has already sent Trudeau a letter expressing her outrage.

Join Suzanne by sending your own message to Trudeau now that the BDS movement is NOT antisemitic!

Emergency rally in solidarity with Gaza

Emergency Rally in Solidarity with Gaza
Tuesday, May 15 (7:00-8:00 pm)
Alberta Legislature Building
10800 97 Ave (map)

Please help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Today in Gaza, 55 killed Palestinian civilians were massacred by Israeli forces, including 7 minors and 1 paramedic, and another 2,771 were injured, including 225 minors, 11 journalists, and 17 paramedics. At least 130 are in critical condition in Gaza’s overburdened hospitals. More than 1,300 non-violent protesters were shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition. Those responsible for these outrageous human rights violations must be held accountable

Join us at the Legislature grounds for a short rally to let the world know that Edmonton stands in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

You can also take action to call on the Trudeau government to condemn and take action in response to the Israeli massacre in Gaza.

As of Monday afternoon, the Gaza Ministry of Health released the names of 43 of the 55 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces:

1. Ezz el-din Musa Mohamed Alsamaak, 14 years old

2. Wisaal Fadl Ezzat Alsheikh Khalil, 15 years old

3. Ahmed Adel Musa Alshaer, 16 years old

4. Saeed Mohamed Abu Alkheir, 16 years old

5. Ibrahim Ahmed Alzarqa, 18 years old

6. Eman Ali Sadiq Alsheikh, 19 years old

7. Zayid Mohamed Hasan Omar, 19 years old

8. Motassem Fawzy Abu Louley, 20 years old

9. Anas Hamdan Salim Qadeeh, 21 years old

10. Mohamed Abd Alsalam Harz, 21 years old

11. Yehia Ismail Rajab Aldaqoor, 22 years old

12. Mustafa Mohamed Samir Mahmoud Almasry, 22 years old

13. Ezz Eldeen Nahid Aloyutey, 23 years old

14. Mahmoud Mustafa Ahmed Assaf, 23 years old

15. Ahmed Fayez Harb Shahadah, 23 years old

16. Ahmed Awad Allah, 24 years old

17. Khalil Ismail Khalil Mansor, 25 years old

18. Mohamed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26 years old

19. Bilal Ahmed Abu Diqah, 26 years old

20. Ahmed Majed Qaasim Ata Allah, 27 years old

21. Mahmoud Rabah Abu Maamar, 28 years old

22.Musab Yousef Abu Leilah, 28 years old

23. Ahmed Fawzy Altetr, 28 years old

24. Mohamed Abdelrahman Meqdad, 28 years old

25. Obaidah Salim Farhan, 30 years old

26. Jihad Mufid Al-Farra, 30 years old

27. Fadi Hassan Abu Salmi, 30 years old

28. Motaz Bassam Kamil Al-Nunu, 31 years old

29. Mohammed Riyad Abdulrahman Alamudi, 31 years old

30. Jihad Mohammed Othman Mousa, 31 years old

31. Shahir Mahmoud Mohammed Almadhoon, 32 years old

32. Mousa Jabr Abdulsalam Abu Hasnayn, 35 years old

33. Mohammed Mahmoud Abdulmoti Abdal’al, 39 years old

34. Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Hamdan, 27 years old

35. Ismail Khalil Ramadhan Aldaahuk, 30 years old

36. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Alrantisi, 27 years old

37. Alaa Alnoor Ahmed Alkhatib, 28 years old

38. Mahmoud Yahya Abdawahab Hussain, 24 years old

39. Ahmed Abdullah Aladini, 30 years old

40. Saadi Said Fahmi Abu Salah, 16 years old

41. Ahmed Zahir Hamid Alshawa, 24 years old

42. Mohammed Hani Hosni Alnajjar, 33 years old

43. Fadl Mohamed Ata Habshy, 34 years old

Canada must condemn and act on Gaza slaughter

On the day commemorating 70 years since the Palestinian Nakba, and on the day a ceremony was held to mark the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israeli “defense” forces carried out a slaughter of Gazans participating in the Great March of Return.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health (as of 19:30 GMT):

  • 55 killed, including 7 minors and 1 paramedic
  • 2,771 injured, including 225 minors, 11 journalists, 17 paramedics
  • 130 in serious and critical condition
  • 1,359 shot by Israeli soldiers using live ammunition.

Despite this horrific toll, the reaction of the Canadian government has been muted and entirely inadequate.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland tweeted only the following, calling on “all parties” to ensure civilians are protected, rather than calling on Israel to stop firing on civilians:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made no public statement on the massacre, and Global Affairs Canada has made no official statement on the massacre.

To its credit, the NDP has criticized the slaughter:

On Monday, Canada’s New Democrats strongly condemned the killings of protesters in Gaza by Israeli Defence Forces and urged the Liberal government to take a more active stance for peace and human rights. According to numerous news reports, at least 55 Palestinians in Gaza were killed and around 2,000 were injured Monday by the Israeli military in demonstrations near the Gaza-Israel border.

“The use of live ammunition against protestors and resulting deaths are clear violations of international law and human rights,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “Our government has been shamefully silent on recent developments in Gaza, and the Prime Minister should condemn the violence, call on Israel to cease violations of international law, and support an independent investigation into these deaths.”

The protests follow the decision by US President, Donald Trump, to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the disputed city as the capital of Israel. Trump’s move has been widely criticized by the international community, as this move will further destabilize the region and hinder the peace process. The Liberal government has refused to condemn Trump’s decision.

“The decision by the US government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is reckless and flies in the face of international law, not least since East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory,” said Hélène Laverdière, the NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs. “All those responsible for the outrageous killings in Gaza today must be held to account. The Canadian government must call on the government of Israel to respect international law, condemn illegal settlements, and finally stand up for the rights of Palestinians as well as the rights of Israelis.”

Gaza has been under a total land, sea and air blockade since 2007, a situation that was described by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as a form of collective punishment, which is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. Palestinians have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Illegal killings, arbitrary and abusive detention, forced displacement, restrictions on movement, the expansion of illegal settlements, collective punishment and institutionalized discrimination have characterized this occupation that has persisted for over half a century. The NDP believes that Canada must do more towards a real, long-term, just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, and must call on the government of Israel to end this occupation.

The Government of Canada cannot stay silent about this latest massacre in Gaza. Use the contact information below to call on the government to publicly condemn the Israeli military attacks on unarmed protesters in Gaza, demand accountability, and pressure Israel to immediately end the blockade of Gaza.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

Email:  justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Ottawa Office

Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
(No postage required)

Phone: 1-613-992-4211

Constituency Office

Phone: 1-514 277-6020

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland

Twitter: @cafreeland

Email: chrystia.freeland@international.gc.ca

Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Dr
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 0G2

Phone:  1-343-203-1851

Ottawa Office

Chrystia Freeland
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
(No postage required)

Phone: 1-613-992-5234

Constituency Office

Phone: 1-416-928-1451

Edmonton-area Liberal MPs

Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods)

Twitter: @SohiAmarjeet

Email: Amarjeet.Sohi@parl.gc.ca

Ottawa Office

Amarjeet Sohi
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
(No postage required)

Phone: 1-613-992-1013

Constituency Office

Phone: 1-780-497-3524

Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre)

Twitter: @R_Boissonnault

Email: Randy.Boissonnault@parl.gc.ca

Ottawa Office

Randy Boissonnault
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
(No postage required)

Phone: 1-613-992-4524

Constituency Office

Phone: 1-780-442-1888

Tell corporations to get out of Israeli settlements

On January 31, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report announcing a historic database of companies doing business with illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

But they didn’t name any of the 206 companies on it.

Luckily, we already know at least some of them.

The Washington Post reported in August that among the American companies that received letters informing them that they’d be on the UN list were Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb.

Jewish Voice for Peace has launched an online tool where you can add your name to call on these four US-based corporations to get out of the settlement business.

The UN has spoken:

“The violations of human rights associated with the settlements are pervasive and devastating, reaching every facet of Palestinian life. Owing to settlement development and infrastructure, Palestinians suffer from restrictions on freedom of religion, movement and education; their rights to land and water; access to livelihoods and their right to an adequate standard of living; their rights to family life; and many other fundamental human rights.”

Take a stand with Jewish Voice for Peace by taking action today.

Hands Off Jerusalem! rally

Hands Off Jerusalem!
Sunday, December 10 (2:00 – 4:00 pm)
Alberta Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue NW, Edmonton
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Join us this Sunday as we stand in solidarity with Palestine in protest against US President Donald Trump’s unilateral and illegal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv. We call for solidarity with the Palestinian people, and demand that the Canadian government rejects and openly condemns this move.

Organized by the Canada Palestine Cultural Association.

This rally is one of dozens being organized across Canada and around the world.

You can also use this online tool to send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland  demanding a stronger response by the Canadian government.

Amnesty International calls for settlement goods ban

For the last 50 years, Israel has been forcing thousands of Palestinians off their land, occupying and illegally using it to create settlements that exclusively house Jewish Israeli settlers.

Entire Palestinian communities have been displaced by these settlements. Their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed, they’ve had restrictions enforced on their movement, access to their own water, land and other natural resources. The communities have also been violently attacked by the Israeli military and settlers.

Amnesty International wants governments to stop enabling the economy that keeps these illegal settlements growing and fuels the suffering of Palestinians.

The issue is not just about Israel taking Palestinian land and resources illegally. Governments around the world are letting goods produced in these settlements into their markets, and are allowing companies in their countries to operate in settlements. All of this helps the illegal settlements profit and thrive.

Help put an end to the cycle of violations. Join Amnesty International in calling on the Canadian Government to ban Israeli settlement goods from entering Canadian markets, and stop companies based in Canada from operating in settlements or trading in their goods.

Read Amnesty International’s media release from earlier this year, background information on 50 years Israel’s occupation and Palestinian dispossession, and Amnesty’s public statement calling on states to stop sustaining illegal Israeli settlements.

Support the No Way to Treat a Child campaign

The No Way to Treat a Child campaign seeks to challenge and end Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. It is a joint project of Defense for Children International – Palestine and American Friends Service Committee.

Palestinian children have the right to a safe and just future. No Way to Treat a Child Canada believes the Canadian government must use all available means to pressure relevant Israeli authorities to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children.

You can support the campaign by signing the petition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland or by joining the campaign.

Background

Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.

Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year. Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.

Defense for Children International – Palestine collected affidavits from 429 West Bank children detained between 2012 and 2015 that show three-quarters of them endured some form of physical violence following arrest. In 97 percent of the cases, children had no parent present during the interrogation or access to legal counsel. Israeli police also did not properly inform them of their rights in 84 percent of the cases.

Recent amendments to Israeli military law concerning children have had little to no impact on their treatment during the first 24 to 48 hours after an arrest, when most of the ill-treatment occurs at the hands of Israeli soldiers, police, and the security service.

Recommendations

In no circumstance should children be detained or prosecuted under the jurisdiction of military courts. However, as a minimum safeguard while Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation continue to be arrested and prosecuted within the Israeli military court system, Israeli authorities must respect and ensure basic due process rights and the absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment. From the moment of arrest, operations and procedures must be carried out in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, specifically the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including:

  • Detention must only be used as a last resort, and only for the shortest appropriate time;
  • Children must not be subjected to physical or psychological violence;
  • Children must have access to legal consultation and parents prior to and during interrogations;
  • Children must only be arrested during daylight hours;
  • Children must be properly informed of their right to silence;
  • Children must not be blindfolded or painfully restrained;
  • Children must not be subjected to coercive force or threats;
  • All interrogations must be audio-visually recorded;
  • Any incriminating evidence obtained during interrogation where a child was not properly and effectively informed of his or her right to silence must be excluded by the military courts;
  • Any statement made as a result of torture or ill-treatment must be excluded as evidence in any proceeding;
  • The practice of using solitary confinement on children in Israeli military detention, whether in pretrial detention for interrogation purposes or as a form of punishment, must be stopped immediately and the prohibition must be enshrined in law;
  • The practice of using administrative detention orders against Palestinian children must stop immediately and the prohibition must be enshrined in law;
  • All credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be thoroughly and impartially investigated in accordance with international standards, and perpetrators brought promptly to justice; and
  • Children must not be transferred out of the West Bank in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Learn more in the campaign’s resources section and read updates about the campaign.