Jun 042024

As Israel’s genocidal bombing of civilians in Rafah continues, people in Canada who defend the rights of the Palestinian people are facing an escalating series of attacks. During May and early June, there has been a frightening pattern of more arrests, firings, media-bashings, and political intimidation. 

The aim of this pro-Zionist campaign is to counter the growing public opposition in Canada to the Israeli war in Gaza and the West Bank, by the tactic of portraying Palestinian solidarity movements and activists as anti-Semites or even “terrorists” who violate laws against hate speech. The origins of this patently false narrative go back decades, based largely on a history of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism. 

But as the Israeli war in Gaza grinds ahead, so far killing over 36,000 Palestinians (the majority of these being women and children), public opinion in Canada has made a decisive turn. Tens of thousands of people have joined marches and demonstrations demanding an immediate ceasefire, and an end to Canada’s support for Israel’s war of occupation. Increasing numbers of trade unions, student groups and other organizations are passing resolutions in solidarity with Palestine. Even in Parliament, there are now a few MPs who criticize Israeli genocide. These important developments reflect a break in the so-called “consensus” of full support for Israel imposed by the Canadian ruling class.

This is precisely the reason for renewed attempts to crush public opposition against Israel’s war in Gaza. In direct violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, arbitrary statements by pro-Zionist forces claim that solidarity demonstrations, encampments and resolutions are by definition “anti-Semitism”. The goal is to create an atmosphere in which criticism of Israel is considered to be criminal speech. Increasingly, this also applies to the expression of views regarding the nature of a just solution to the crisis in the Middle East which run counter to the official pro-Israel line of Canadian governments and mass media. Even the simple act of wearing a keffiyeh in public or in a legislature is often called a hate crime.

The Communist Party of Canada unequivocally condemns this campaign to silence all forms of opposition to Israel’s war in Gaza and to its genocidal apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. We have been active in movements of solidarity with Palestine for decades, just as we stood with others against South African apartheid and in full solidarity with the ANC, and with the people of Vietnam during their liberation war against US imperialism. We refuse to be silenced by arrests, injunctions, lies and smears spread by pro-Zionist politicians and pundits. We stand shoulder to shoulder with other solidarity activists in the streets, demanding a ceasefire now, an end to the Israeli occupation, and support for the international Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign. We reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition which falsely declares any criticism of the apartheid policies of the state of Israel to be “anti-semitism”. We condemn the war crimes committed each and every day by the Israeli government and military (crimes which began with the Nakba, the illegal displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians by Israel over 75 years ago) and we demand that Canada support the arrest of the corrupt war criminals PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. We will continue to support an independent Palestinian state, with borders based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions, with East Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return for all displaced Palestinian refugees, and the removal of all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.

Protect the right to free speech in Canada! End all forms of Canadian economic, military, diplomatic and political support for racist expansionist state of Israel!

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada