United Church launches Unsettling Goods campaign

The United Church of Canada has launched the national Unsettling Goods campaign to work towards peace and justice in Palestine/Israel. The campaign “encourages United Church members and others to become involved in the search for a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis by contributing to the end of the occupation of Palestinian Territories.”

In a November, 2013 letter to all United Church congregations announcing the campaign, United Church of Canada Moderator The Right Rev. Gary Paterson wrote

The 41st General Council in August 2012 called on United Church members to take concrete actions to support the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. You and your congregation are now invited to Pray, Choose, Speak for Peace in Palestine and Israel.” Join in worship, prayer, and study; economic action focused on settlement goods; and support for trust-building programs between Palestinians and Israelis. Become involved in conversations with Canadian Jews and Canadian Palestinians. Take positive actions for peace with justice.

A core element of the Unsettling Goods campaign is support for the boycott of three settlement products: Ahava, Keter Plastics, and SodaStream, and engagement with four key Canadian retailers that sell these products: Canadian Tire, The Bay, Home Depot and Walmart Canada. Fact sheets, sample letters, and tips for engaging with retail store managers can be found on the UCC’s Economic Action Resources page.

Craig and Cindy Corrie to keynote Edmonton Israeli Apartheid Week 2013

PSN is thrilled to announce that Craig and Cindy Corrie will be keynote speakers at the Fifth Annual Edmonton Israeli Apartheid Week, running March 4 – 8, 2013. Check out the full schedule of events for IAW 2013.

The Legacy of Rachel Corrie: A Family’s 10-year Journey for Justice and Peace
Featuring Cindy and Craig Corrie
Wednesday, March 6 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 150
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

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

Ten years ago, Cindy and Craig Corrie’s daughter, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old human rights activist and observer volunteering in Palestine, was killed by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9R bulldozer in the Gaza Strip as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. The Corrie family has spent the last decade fighting for answers and accountability for Rachel’s death, and have continued Rachel’s work by becoming active in Palestinian solidarity through the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Join us for a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about Rachel’s legacy and the Corrie’s decade-long search for justice through US and Israeli courts, and the Corries’ ongoing work in Palestine. Cindy and Craig will also explore why the Palestine/Israel issue is relevant to all North Americans, and discuss the critical role North Americans can play in taking action to support the ongoing worldwide movement for Palestinian human rights.

This is a free event. Donations to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Human Rights are gratefully accepted.

Organized by the Palestine Solidarity Network as part of Edmonton Israeli Apartheid Week 2013.

PSN is a Working Group of the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG), which provided financial support for this event. This event is also supported by the University of Alberta Department of Political Science.

About Cindy and Craig Corrie

Cindy and Craig Corrie are the parents of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie who on March 16, 2003, was killed by an Israeli military, Caterpillar D9R bulldozer in the Gaza Strip as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. Motivated by their daughter’s work and example, the Corries have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East and have made numerous visits to the region, most recently in fall 2012 leading Interfaith Peace-Builder delegations to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  “Rachel wrote of the importance of making commitments to places and initiated this one to Rafah and Gaza. The commitment she made continues,” said Cindy Corrie.

The Corries have continued to seek accountability in the case of their daughter and to promote changes in U.S. foreign policy in Israel/Palestine through efforts with the U.S. Congress, U.S. Departments of State and Justice, the Israeli Government, the Israeli and U.S. court systems, and at the corporate headquarters of Caterpillar Inc.

It is the continuing policy of the U.S. Government that the matter of Rachel Corrie’s killing has not been adequately investigated and addressed by the government of Israel.  Encouraged by U.S. officials, the Corrie family in 2005 filed a civil lawsuit in Israel in their daughter’s case.  On March 10, 2010, seven years after Rachel Corrie’s killing, oral argument in the case began in Haifa District Court.  It proceeded with sporadic court dates until a final hearing on July 10, 2011.  In an August 28, 2012 ruling, Judge Oded Gershon absolved the Israeli military and state of all responsibility.  The Corrie family has recently filed an appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court.  A hearing is scheduled for February 14, 2014.

Rachel Corrie was a prolific and gifted writer. With their daughter Sarah, the Corries co-edited Let Me Stand Alone: the Journals of Rachel Corrie, a collection of Rachel’s poetry, essays, letters and journal entries, published by W.W. Norton & Co in 2008. The Corries speak widely of their daughter’s story and experience, and of their own work with the people of Palestine and Israel   They are frequent guests at post-performance discussions of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, co-edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, and produced in theaters across the U.S. and world.

The Corries have resided in Olympia, Washington, for over thirty-five years where with community supporters, they now carry on the work of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.  In December 2010, the foundation was recognized for “outstanding service for Human Rights-Unique Achievement” by the Thurston County Diversity Council. The Corries are recipients of a Human Rights Advocate of the Year Award from Seattle University’s Human Rights Network and a Pillar of Peace Award from the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Friends Service Committee.  In October 2012, they accepted the LennonOno Grant for Peace on behalf of their daughter Rachel.

For information about the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice:

For further information about Rachel Corrie:

Let Me Stand Alone and My Name is Rachel Corrie website: http://www.letmestandalone.com

Palestinian hunger striker told he ‘could die any moment’

Below is the Electronic Intifada‘s latest update (May 10) on the mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. To support the hunger strikers, you can:

Thaer Halahleh has been told he “could die any moment,” by an Israeli prison doctor, as the gravely ill Palestinian who is held without charge or trial by Israel, completed his 73rd day of hunger strike.

Meanwhile, there have been continued solidarity protests in Palestine against international neglect of the estimated 2,000 Palestinian hunger strikers, and new expressions of solidarity.

Halahleh recounted the warning he was given to a lawyer from Addameer who was allowed to visit Halahleh and three other hunger strikers at Ramle prison clinic.

According to an Addameer statement today (full text below), Thaer “now weighs 55 kg. He has exceedingly low blood pressure and his temperature is fluctuating at dangerous levels. In addition to vomiting blood, Thaer is also bleeding from his gums and lips.”

Despite his dire physical condition, Halahleh is mentally “still strong” according to Addameer’s lawyer.

Halahleh is still being denied family visits by Israeli authorities, and by keeping him in Ramle prison clinic instead of transferring him to hospital, Israel continues to deny him medically necessary treatment.

Physicians for Human Rights – Israel issued another urgent call on 9 May to Israeli authorities to end such medical malpractices and transfer long-term hunger strikers to hospital.

Warning about long-term hunger strikers

Three other hunger strikers held at Ramle, Mohammad Taj (54 days), Jaafar Azzedine (50 days) and Nidal Shehadeh (24 days) are suffering physically and being kept in “isolated rooms,” according to Addameer.

Addameer also reiterated its urgent concern for the lives of Bilal Diab (73 days), Hassan Safadi (67 days) and Omar Abu Shalal (65 days) whose critical conditions are being “blatantly disregarded by Israel and the prison authorities.”

Protests at ICRC inaction

Families of prisoners and other protestors today blocked the entrance of the International Red Crescent (ICRC) in al-Bireh near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank today to protest the perceived inaction of the organization. Ma’an News Agency reported:

Family members prevented employees from entering the building, calling on the UN to intervene to protect hunger strikers, a Ma’an correspondent said.

Protesters said they opposed the negative role which the Red Crescent plays in relation to the issue of prisoners and called on international organizations to stop Israeli violations against Palestinian detainees.

Yesterday, protesters blockaded the entrance of the UN offices in Ramallah, prompting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to issue a statement urging Israel to avert “any further deterioration in the condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike,” and that those held without charge “must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, or released without delay.”

70-day Irish hunger striker Lawrence McKeown sends message to Thaer and Bilal

In 1981, Laurence McKeown took part in the Irish Hunger Strike that was led by Bobby Sands. McKeown endured 70 days without food before ending his fast. He sent this video message to Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab.

Full text of Addameer statement

Update: Situation of Long-Term Hunger Strikers Becomes Increasingly Urgent

Ramallah, 10 May 2012 – Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf visited four hunger strikers in Ramleh prison medical clinic today, including Thaer Halahleh, now on his 73rd day of hunger strike. According to Ms. Neddaf, Thaer’s condition continues to deteriorate. The prison doctor has said to Thaer that he could die at any moment. Thaer has lost significant weight, and now weighs 55 kg. He has exceedingly low blood pressure and his temperature is fluctuating at dangerous levels. In addition to vomiting blood, Thaer is also bleeding from his gums and lips. The prison doctor also told him that he now has an infection in part of his body. Thaer is drinking water, but not taking any vitamins or minerals. Though he is very weak, Ms. Neddaf reported that mentally he is still strong. Thaer was supposed to receive a visit from his family today, but the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) cancelled the visit yesterday.

The health of Mohammad Taj, now on his 54th day of hunger strike, is also at a dangerous level. In addition, Jaafar Azzedine, on his 50th day of hunger strike, reported that he had stopped drinking water for a short period but has started to drink again, with minerals and vitamins. Nidal Shehadeh, who began his hunger strike on 17 April as part of the mass hunger strike, was moved back from a public hospital to Ramleh prison two days prior. He is on hunger strike in protest of receiving inadequate medical treatment while in prison.

Ms. Neddaf noted that all the prisoners on hunger strike in Ramleh prison are in isolated rooms. She further reported that they continue to be threatened by the IPS. Even at this stage of hunger strike, they have been told that if they do not stand for the “daily count”, they will not be permitted lawyer visits.

Addameer fears for the lives of Thaer, Bilal Diab, also on his 73rd day of hunger strike, Hassan Safadi, who is now on his 67th day of hunger strike, Omar Abu Shalal, who is now on his 65th day of hunger strike, and all the other prisoners on hunger strike whose critical conditions are being blatantly disregarded by Israel and the prison authorities. Addameer reiterates its call for immediate action on behalf of the hunger strikers.

Humanserve International’s Palestinian Bazaar

The HUMANSERVE International Society for Development is holding it’s inaugural Palestinian Bazaar, a full-day festival celebrating the cultural richness of the Palestinian people!

The Palestinian Bazaar
Saturday, March 17 (Noon – 10:00 pm)
12:00 – 6:00 pm: Bazaar (Main Foyer, Free)
7:00 pm: Evening Concert (Westbury Theatre, $15)
Transalta Arts Barns
10330-84 Avenue

Help HUMANSERVE get the word out about this amazing event! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Click here to see the detailed program

We know the struggles. We know the politics. We know the pain. Do we really know the talent of the people?

It is time to celebrate the contributions Palestinians make to society through their art, film, food, products, knowledge, literature and their music. Our evening concert will especially highlight their vibrant hip hop scene by featuring the amazing talent of Shadia Mansour, along with AOK, Cousin, People’s Poets, Mazzi, and G.O.

Full details are available on the HUMANSERVE website. You can also like the bazaar on Facebook. Be sure to come check out the PSN table at the bazaar.

About Humanserve

Humanserve aims to share the Palestinian heritage with Albertans and to inform the Canadian public about humanitarian aspects of Palestinians and Lebanese in the Middle East. We endeavor to develop mutual ties with all stakeholders interested in the humanitarian aspects of disadvantaged populations in this area. One of the ways we are able to achieve this goal is to organize public engagement activities such as The Palestinian Bazaar. Public engagement activities link international development activities with community awareness and education in Canada. By making these links, HUMANSERVE works to facilitate a learning process that will enable Canadians to better understand the nature and importance of global issues while encouraging the appreciation of the culture and talent of the people affected by these issues.

Palestine sessions at iWeek 2012

Palestine Solidarity Network is pleased to once again be part of the University of Alberta International’s International Week, which runs from January 30 – February 3. The theme for iWeek 2012 is Living Democracy: Citizen Power in a Global Age.

PSN is presenting the following session:

Wednesday, February 1
Living Justice: Global Action for Palestinian Human Rights
Wednesday, February 1 (11:00 am – 11:50 am)
Dentistry / Pharmacy Centre 4114

(Click here for map)

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

The struggle for Palestinian human rights has in recent years shifted from political maneuvering towards a global, Palestinian-led civil society movement. Governments around the world have failed to take meaningful action to end ongoing human rights violations in the region or to enforce calls by the international community to end the 44-year-old occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Through non-violent direct action and a growing global movement, citizen power has become the main force in promoting human rights and self-determination for the Palestinian people. This presentation will explore this global movement and its implications for a just resolution of the Israel/Palestine question.

You may also be interested in the following presentations being sponsored by other groups, which focus on the issue of Palestine or the broader Middle East. For a complete listing of events you can visit the iWeek website or download the program guide.

Palestine: Democracy in 2012?
Monday, January 30 (4:00 PM – 4:50 PM)
Tory Building Room 365

(Click here for map)

Lenora Yarkie, Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine/Israel (EAPPI), World Council of Churches
Sponsored in part by the United Church of Canada

What is the status of the Palestinian bid for entrance to the United Nations? Presenters were recently in the West Bank and Israel on a 3-month accompaniment program, working with both Palestinians and Israelis. Gain a first hand account of issues like home demolitions, settler attacks, checkpoints and the separation wall as experienced daily in the region. These government policies obstruct the quest for peace and democracy in Palestine and perpetuate the Occupation of the West Bank.

North Africa in Focus, a Year After: Lessons and Prospects from the Arab Spring
Wednesday, February 1 (4:00 pm – 4:50 pm)
International Centre Lobby, HUB Mall

(Click here for map)

Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi, Dr. Iman Mersal, and Maxwell Zhira
Sponsored by the African Students’ Association

Join us for a panel discussion on the rise of “people power” that emerged in 2011 in North Africa (particularly Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya) and led to the overthrow of authoritarian governments. The focus of the panel will be to re-examine the genesis and nature of the “revolutions”, assess the lessons learned, and look at future prospects and the broader impact on the African continent and the world. Central to discussion will be the prospects and challenges of consolidating “democracy” or a kind of constitutional rule that attends to the needs of the people.

The Middle East in Transition: LIVE from Palestine
Thursday, February 2 (9:00 am – 10:20 am)
Telus Building Room 145

(Click here for map)

Sponsored by The Centre for Global Education at Queen Elizabeth High School and TakingITGlobal

Join us as we get a first-hand account from a classroom in Palestine, via video conferencing, to help us shed light on the complexity of the history taking place daily in the region. This session will explore the continued evolution of societal transformation over the last year throughout the Middle East and the implications for Palestine. Learn about current causes of conflict and uprising, like poverty and the struggle for women’s rights.

The Palestine Statehood Bid in Context

The Palestine Statehood Bid in Context
A Panel Discussion featuring Richard Falk (via Skype), Mojtaba Mahdavi and Ghada Ageel
Tuesday, November 8 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 217

Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

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

In September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas filed an application with the United Nations asking for official recognition of a Palestinian state within the internationally recognized 1967 borders. While many countries have supported Palestinian statehood, the Canadian government has joined Israel and the United States in rejecting the bid. Within Palestinian civil society, there are diverse opinions about the effectiveness and consequences of a UN recognition of a Palestinian state. How does a UN recognition affect the prospects for ending the decades-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories? What does it mean for the Palestinian people (in Palestine, in Israeli, and in diaspora), and for the grassroots anti-apartheid movement? Join us for a panel discussion to discuss these and other related questions.

Free and open to all. Co-sponsored by the University of Alberta Department of Political Science.

About the panelists

Richard Falk has since 2008 served as the United Nations Special Human Right Rapporteur in Palestinian Territories. He is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2001 he served on a three-person Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestine Territories that was appointed by the United Nations, and previously, on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Religion and Humane Global Governance, Human Rights Horizons, On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics, and Human Rights and State Sovereignty. He serves as Chair of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Board of Directors and as honorary vice president of the American Society of International Law. Falk also acted as counsel to Ethiopia and Liberia in the Southwest Africa Case before the International Court of Justice.

Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi is an assistant Professor of Political Science and Middle East & African Studies at University of Alberta, Canada. His research interests include post-Islamist Islam, Islamism and democratization, new theories of secularism and modern Islamic political thought. His writing has appeared in the Canadian, U.S. and Iranian academic journals. He is currently working on a project on post-Islamism and democratization in the Muslim world. Dr. Mahdavi’s forthcoming book examines problems and prospects for democratization in the post-revolutionary Iran.

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a third generation Palestinian refugee. She was born and raised in the Khan Younis Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip, were she attended high school and completed a BA in Education. In 1999, Ghada won the Jerusalem Studies’ Scholarship of the University of Exeter in Britain, where she completed her Master’s degree in Middle East Politics, and her PhD in Refugees Studies. Sine then, Ghada has worked with several organizations and institutions in Canada, UK and Palestine. She currently lives in Edmonton and works at the Canadian Red Cross.

Mahmoud Darwish remembered

Thanks to everyone who made it out to commemorate the life and poetry of Mahmoud Darwish at the Rouge Lounge on the anniversary of his passing.

You can learn more about the life of Mahmoud Darwish below in the two-part Al Jazeera feature on Darwish made shortly after his death on August 9, 2008.

Part 1:

Part 2:

You can learn more about Darwish and hear him reading his poetry here and find many of his poems in both Arabic and English online.

CPCCA: Follow the money

An excellent article in Macleans magazine on the secretive funding behind the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.

Follow the money
An MP inquiry into anti-Semitism vowed to be open and independent. Its shadowy funding says otherwise.

When a group of Conservative, Liberal and NDP MPs formed the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism in 2009, they decided to work outside of the normal structures of Parliament and raise their own money to hold a conference and conduct an inquiry. But transparency would be crucial, they said, pledging on their website to “voluntarily disclose all sources of funding” and remain independent of the Conservative government, advocacy groups and “Jewish community organizations.” By the time they released their report this month, however—warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Canada—that vow of full disclosure seemed to be forgotten, and the coalition appeared closely tied to the government.

Conservative MP Scott Reid, chairman of the coalition’s inquiry steering committee, said the CPCCA promised anonymity to private donors, who contributed a total of $127,078. As for their relationship with the government, the coalition accepted $451,280 from the department of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who sat on the CPCCA’s inquiry steering committee as an ex officio member. The coalition’s key conclusion that a “new anti-Semitism” tends to focus on criticism of Israel echoes Kenney’s long-standing position.

Perhaps surprisingly, the MPs’ ethics code appears not to oblige them to reveal the names of their backers. The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner didn’t comment specifically on the CPCCA, but told Maclean’s the “Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons” requires only that individual MPs disclose money they receive—not MPs acting as a group. “There is no mechanism within the code for a group of MPs to disclose a collective gift,” the commissioner’s office said. The coalition knows the rules. “The ethics commissioner doesn’t cover [the CPCCA] because the donations went to an entity, not to an MP,” said Mike Firth, Reid’s executive assistant.

If the CPCCA’s private backers remain unnamed, the government’s support is a matter of record. Still, the arrangement between Kenney’s department and the coalition isn’t straightforward. The grant was paid to a third party, a non-governmental organization called the Parliamentary Centre, a not-for-profit group that helps legislatures around the world, mainly in developing countries, to build their capacity. The centre took on a narrowly limited role for the CPCCA, acting as the recipient of both the Citizenship and Immigration grant and private contributions. As a registered charity, it was able to issue tax receipts to those anonymous donors.

Citizenship and Immigration refused to release its full agreement with the centre. A summary description says the grant was provided to the centre to “host the Ottawa Conference for Combating Anti-Semitism.” That three-day conference was put on last fall by the CPCCA; the centre played, at most, a supporting role. “There was government funding that was earmarked for this particular conference, and we were approached because we had NGO status, and charitable status, and had the systems in place to manage donor funding,” said centre spokeswoman Petra Andersson-Charest. “We were not involved in designing or managing the subject matter that was discussed,” added Ivo Balinov, senior expert in parliamentary development at the centre.

Firth said most of the grant money went to pay expenses of conference participants, including visiting parliamentarians and experts. The coalition also held 10 days of hearings in 2009 and 2010 on Parliament Hill, gathering testimony from dozens of witnesses concerned about anti-Semitism. The CPCCA did not invite outspoken critics of Israel’s stance toward the Palestinians to testify. Its final conclusions were faulted by some for blurring the distinction between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of Israeli government policy.

If the coalition’s findings were controversial, its funding mostly escaped attention. But it’s far from typical. MPs normally work within their own office budgets, or through official House committees, which are of course paid for by Parliament. The CPCCA’s broad membership largely insulated it from partisan scrutiny. Along with well-known Conservatives like Reid and Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner, the MPs who joined included prominent Liberals such as interim party leader Bob Rae, and veteran New Democrats like Peter Stoffer and Pat Martin. That opposition support, and close compatibility with Kenney, made it unlikely the coalition’s financing, however unusual, would be criticized from within political circles. It seems any questions about this shadowy new model for MPs to tackle a policy issue will have to come from outside.

Israel boards French Flotilla 2 ship

CALL TO ACTION from the Tahrir, July 19:

Israel has boarded the Dignité, Canadian Stephan Corriveau on board

We Will Not Let Israel Control Palestinian or International Waters

It is imperative that we mobilize in order to ensure that Israeli and the Canadian governments know that the world is watching, and that we demand that all passengers and crew of the Dignité be released so as to continue their legal travel to Gaza. Supporters of the Flotilla and the Palestinians of Gaza need to press for the Dignité delegation and the boat to be freed. There is no legal reason for Israel to stop the Dignité and detain its crew and passengers. The Dignité was in international waters when boarded in which Israel has no legal jurisdiction.

We are calling on supporters and all concerned people to hold public demonstrations and to contact Israeli and Canadian government representatives.

1. We ask people to write Canadian MPs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Opposition critics to demand that Canada condemn Israel’s illegal actions and to remind them of Canada’s Consular obligations with regards to Canadians in international environments. Tell them that the obligations are clearly established in international law and, more specifically, under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Canada is a signatory.

2. Keep up local actions, which might include vigils, demonstrations at consulates or embassies or government offices, or other creative actions aimed at drawing public attention to the situation.

3. Continue tweeting and using social networking to spread messages and images far and wide.

The Israeli government needs to know that we know what they are doing and we won’t be silent. We know and the world knows that their actions are illegal.

The Canadian Government needs to know that we know they are complicit in these illegal acts. And that they have a responsibility by international convention, to protect Canadians involved in legal actions, such as the Flotilla and specifically the journey of the Dignité. Included in the letter is a note of disgust that Canadian government is giving in to pressure by the Israeli government. Below, there is a template letter to Canadian MPs and a link for their contact information.


– Public rallies, vigils, etc: Please, do whatever and wherever you are able. We need this to be big. We need to be visible.

– Letter to our Canadian MPs: We have a letter template for you to use to send to MPs reminding them that the Canadian government has obligations under the Geneva Convention.


1. Letter to Canadian MPs

[feel free to edit using your own words]
Click here to find you MP’s contact information

[MP for your RIDING]
[DATE — do it today!]

Dear [NAME of MP in your riding]:

I am writing to you as a concerned Canadian about the alarming news that vessel “The Dignité” bound for the Gaza Strip has been boarded in international waters and the passengers and crew have been detained by the Israeli government. One of the passengers, Stéphan Corriveau is Canadian and was on that boat.

The Dignité, along with the other boats, such as Canada’s Tahrir, are part of the Freedom Flotilla, which is an international initiative with the goal of challenging the illegal blockade of Gaza, and bringing humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza in the spirit of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009). The Dignité and the Flotilla in general, are not breaking the law but are actively upholding international law. Respected organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross have stated clearly that all states have an obligation to facilitate all humanitarian convoys to the Gaza Strip.

I am deeply concerned that the Canadian government is giving in to pressures from the Israeli government in preventing the Flotilla from sailing to Gaza by referring to this action as “provocative”. By doing so, the Canadian government is implying that the Israeli government is acting within its right when imposing an inhumane siege on 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and seeking to control international waters.

As the MP of my riding I urge you to speak out publicly and without delay for the legitimate right of Canadians on the Flotilla to actively express their solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza, as well as

– to demand the Government to uphold its responsibility for the safety of all Canadians including Stephan Corriveau, a passenger on the Dignité;

– to demand the Israeli government immediately release the Dignité and implement all necessary measures for the safety of the its passengers and to allow, as is their legal right, the Dignité to continue, unhindered, its journey to Gaza;

– to condemn this act of illegal agression or state piracy by the Israeli military

– to demand the Israeli government to abide to international law by removing the illegal blockade of Gaza

I look forward to hearing from you what actions you have taken on the above.


[contact information]

2. Letter to Israeli Officials in Canada and in Israel

Sample letter addressed to Israeli authorities (consular and government)

[MP for your RIDING]
[DATE — do it today!]

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing to you as a concerned Canadian citizen who has just learned that the Dignité, one of the boats that is part of the Freedom Flotilla, has been illegally boarded – and the passengers and crew detained in international waters. As you well know, Israel has no legal jurisdiction in international waters, and thus has committed what is understood in international law as an act of illegal agression or state piracy.

The Freedom Flotilla is an international initiative with the goal of ending the illegal blockade of Gaza and to bring humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza in the spirit of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009).

All participants on the Dignité are committed to peaceful and non-violent action. Their intention is to break your illegal blockade of Gaza. Their intention is not to break the law but to uphold international law, something which the Israeli government – as it purports to be a democracy – ought to be embracing.

I look forward to hearing what steps you will take to hold your government accountable for its illegal actions. I also expect to have impartial confirmation that all passengers and crew of the Dignité are receiving the proper treatment as is directed in the Vienna and Geneva conventions, to which your government is a signatory.

[your contact information]

Some Israel contact emails & phone numbers:

Montreal: 1.514.940.8500
Ottawa: info@ottawa.mfa.gov.il / 1.613.567.6450
Toronto: 1.416.640.8500

Prime Minister’s Office: media@it.pmo.gov.il
Foreign Media Spokesman Mark Regev: mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il
Foreign Press Coordinator David Baker: david.baker@it.pmo.gov.il
Ministry of Defense: mediasar@mod.gov.il
Spokesperson for the Minister Shlomo Dror: dover@mod.gov.il

Ministry for Foreign Affairs:
Spokesman YigalPalmor: palmor@mfa.gov.il
Deputy Shachar Arieli: shachar.arieli@mfa.gov.il
Deputy Andy David: andy.david@mfa.gov.il
Foreign Press Dept: Sharon Goldhammer: sharong@press.pmo.gov.il
Foreign Press visitors: Jason Pearlman: jason@press.pmo.gov.il

Or cut and paste the following into the bcc field of your email program to send an email to all of the above officials:

media@it.pmo.gov.il; mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il; david.baker@it.pmo.gov.il; mediasar@mod.gov.il; dover@mod.gov.il; palmor@mfa.gov.il; shachar.arieli@mfa.gov.il; andy.david@mfa.gov.il; sharong@press.pmo.gov.il; jason@press.pmo.gov.il

People For Palestine fundraiser

People for Palestine Fundraiser
Monday, August 1 (Doors at 6:30 pm, program starts at 7:00 pm, dinner (iftar) at 9:30 pm)
Mirage Banquet Hall
360, 8170-50 Street
Dinner and presentation: $20

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

This fundraising event, organized by People for Palestine and hosted by Islamic Relief Canada, includes a silent auction, a panel of speakers and a Q+A session, followed by a short presentation on the current state of Palestine.

The event will end with a fundraiser along with dinner at 9:30 pm (because of Ramadan observances), and a chance to win a trip to Palestine.

More details are available on the People for Palestine website.

Tickets can be purchased at the following locations:

Earth’s General Store (9605-82 Avenue)
Al Rashid Mosque (13070-113 Street)
Rahma Mosque (MAC Center) (6102-172 Street)

For information email peopleforpalestine@hotmail.com.

“Change will not come without action, and action will not come without people taking an initiative.”