This piece is adapted from a speech at the November 4 Palestine solidarity protest in Ottawa.
There is no justification for what Israel is doing or for the Canadian government’s support for it. And it’s not antisemitic to say so.
Fifteen years ago, I was one of a handful of Jews from across the colonial state of Canada that felt a moral obligation to speak up and take action in solidarity with Palestine. We formed Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) in 2008.
In 2009, IJV became the first national Jewish organization in the world to endorse the call from Palestine for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Many more Jewish organizations have endorsed the call since then. Because it’s not antisemitic to oppose Apartheid.
Jewish people say “Not in Our Name”
To my Palestinian friends and comrades, you are not alone. Your struggle is our struggle. In the face of the genocide that Israel is perpetrating against Palestinians right now, it is more important than ever that Jews speak up and say: Not in our name. Never again is now and we refuse to let Israel and its accomplices weaponize our grief in the service of their crimes.
In the face of the horrors being inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, it gives me hope to see thousands of Jews against genocide around the world speaking out, showing up, and disrupting business as usual to put a stop to these war crimes, and ultimately to stop Israeli Apartheid.
I have hope because of the incredible leadership of our Palestinian brothers, sisters, and comrades in building this powerful movement in the midst of grief beyond measure.
Antiwar movement can disrupt Canadian complicity in genocide
All of us who took to Parliament Hill on November 4 along with the thousands in the streets from coast to coast are part of a global movement against war and imperialism and colonialism. It is a global movement the likes of which we have not seen in decades.
In 2003, the antiwar movement got in the way of Canadian complicity with war crimes and genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then, the Palestine solidarity movement has grown in leaps and bounds.
Now, like in 2003, our movement is growing in size and determination, fueled by a powerful combination of grief, outrage, and hope.
Yes, hope. When we collectively channel hope into organizing the seemingly impossible can become real.
We can win a free Palestine
As dark a chapter of human history as this is, we are going to win a free Palestine in our lifetimes.
We are going to win by continuing to organize more and bigger mass protests like those on November 4.
We are going to win with many more sit-ins at MP offices.
We are going to win with economic disruption including blockading companies making weapons for Israel, like the international days of action to stop arming Israel on November 9 and 10.
We are going to win by building the biggest pan-Canadian day of action for a ceasefire yet on November 12.
Bring your friends, your family, your neighbours, the organizations you’re part of. Bring everyone. Because that’s how we’ll build the movement. And that’s how we’ll win a ceasefire, an end to the siege, and a free Palestine.
Ceasefire now! Free, free Palestine!
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