A call from Canadian arts workers to support Palestinians in Gaza

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On March 30, 2018, known as Land Day, Palestinians in Gaza launched a six-week “Great March of Return” protest, which culminates on May 15, 2018, the 70th year of the Nakba (Israel’s systemic expulsion of Palestinians from their land). Their aim, in the face of an 11 year blockade that has crippled Gaza, is to peacefully demonstrate for the Palestinian Right of Return of refugees. To date, the Israeli military has killed over 40 unarmed protestors – including journalist Yaser Murtaja who worked on Ai Wei Wei’s film Human Flow and Basma Alsharif’s Ouroboros – and severely injured over 5,500 others.

Israel’s disproportionate use of military force has been condemned by the United Nations, as well as Israeli and international human rights organizations – but not Canada. In a statement, a collective of UN human rights experts affirmed: “The freedoms of association, assembly, and expression are all fundamental rights under international human rights law. […] Israel must fully observe these rights.”

Israel's violent and illegal oppression of Palestinians must end, and will only come about in part if the Israeli state is held accountable by the international community for their deadly use of force. It's time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government to speak out against Israel’s disproportionate and deadly response towards Palestinian protesters.

As Canadian artists, writers, cultural workers and academics, we are gravely concerned by Israel’s use of violence against Palestinians lawfully advocating for their human rights.

We call on Canada to institute an arms embargo against Israel.

We call on Canada to support the call for an international, independent to investigate the events that have transpired since March 30, 2018. 

We call on Canada to end all trade in illegal settlement products.

We call on Canada to refrain from celebrating Israeli independence until Palestinian rights are respected. 

Signatures will be delivered to Prime Minister Trudeau on Nakba Day, May 15, 2018. The deadline for signatories will be May 14, 2018, 11.59pm EST.

For more information, please email: greatmarch2018@gmail.com