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Artists and academics in Montréal oppose Canada-Israel free trade agreement in stand for Palestinian rights

BDS | 8 January 2021

Artists and academics in Montréal oppose Canada-Israel free trade agreement in stand for Palestinian rights

Artists and academics in Montréal oppose the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement
Mostafa Henaway, from Academics for Palestine, Concordia University speaks at the community press conference against CIFTA. Photo: Stacy Lee

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More than 150 artists and academics and over 20 trade unions, cultural organizations, student groups and indigenous collectives in Montréal are calling on the Canadian government to cancel the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

This community declaration of collective opposition to the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) was first launched in July 2020 as part of the global wave of protests to oppose a push by the extreme right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu to formally annex the Jordan Valley, in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Specifically this statement is part of a series of ongoing local actions in Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal aiming to build solidarity with the ongoing Palestinian struggle against moves by the Israeli state to expand colonization within the West Bank.

In the local context, opposition to CIFTA protests complicity on the part of the Canadian government toward Israeli state policies. CIFTA includes no requirement to identify Israeli products made in illegal settlements within the occupied Palestinian territory sold in Canada. Also CIFTA acts as a political agreement working to normalize the violent policies of the Israeli state toward the Palestinian people, like the mass incarceration, without access to due process, of many Palestinian civilians held in Israeli prison, as documented by Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Must End, Along With Israel’s Annexation

Canada and Israel maintain an extensive free trade agreement, CIFTA, first established in 1997 and “modernized” through two phases of negotiations in 2014-2015 and 2017-2018.

In 2019 the Liberal government publicly celebrated the revamped agreement, with the former Minister of International Trade Diversification announcing : “Canada and Israel are steadfast friends and allies, and we have an impressive number of cooperative activities taking place between our two countries.”

As the Israeli government moves to [formally] annex large parts of the Palestinian West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, the Canadian government must cancel CIFTA.

Across the world international human rights organizations, activists and even some governments are taking diplomatic action. Yet Canada has failed to respond to the urgency of this brazen act of colonization by the Israeli state in occupied Palestine.

Today, the undersigned organizations and individuals stand together to collectively call on the Canadian government to cancel the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,

This is a broad coalition, representing labour unions, cultural organizations, community groups and activist collectives. We express our support and solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against ongoing Israeli colonization, while rejecting the complicity of the Canadian government in creating diplomatic cover for Israeli actions. We must not stay silent.

L’Accord de libre-échange entre le Canada et Israël doit se terminer, tout comme l’annexion

Le Canada et Israël maintiennent un vaste accord de libre-échange, l’ALÉCI, établi pour la première fois en 1997 et « modernisé » lors de deux phases de négociation en 2014-2015 et 2017-2018.

En 2019, le gouvernement libéral a publiquement célébré l’accord remanié, avec l’annonce de l’ancien ministre de la Diversification du Commerce international : « Le Canada et Israël sont des amis et des alliés fidèles, et nous avons un nombre impressionnant d’activités de coopération entre nos deux pays. »

Alors que le gouvernement israélien s’apprête à annexer de grandes parties de la Cisjordanie palestinienne, y compris la vallée du Jourdain, le gouvernement canadien doit annuler l’ALÉCI.

Partout dans le monde, des organisations internationales de défense des droits humains, des militantes et militants et même certains gouvernements prennent des mesures diplomatiques à cet effet. Pourtant, le Canada n’a pas répondu à l’urgence de cet acte éhonté de colonisation par l’État israélien en Palestine occupée.

Aujourd’hui, les organisations et les individus soussignés s’unissent pour demander collectivement au gouvernement canadien d’annuler l’Accord de libre-échange Canada-Israël.

Il s’agit d’une large coalition composée de syndicats, d’organisations culturelles, de groupes communautaires et de collectifs militants. Nous exprimons notre soutien et notre solidarité avec la lutte palestinienne contre la colonisation israélienne en cours, tout en rejetant les actions complices du gouvernement canadien visant à offrir une protection diplomatique aux actions israéliennes.

Nous ne devons pas rester silencieux.

Signataires intiaux / letter initiators:

Mostafa Henaway, Academics for Palestine.

Stefan Christoff, Howl! arts.

Individual signatories:

1. Nawar Al Rufaie // DJ + musician, (Sandhill).

2. Faiz Abhuani // Brique par brique immobilier communautaire.

3. Dominique Daigneault // Présidente Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain — CSN.

4. Chantal Ide // Vice-présidente Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain — CSN.

5. Anna Pringel // Writer, artist, and activist with Solidarity Across Borders.

6. Kiva Stimac // Artist, Popolo Press, founder of Casa del Popolo.

7. Gwendolyn Schulman // Translator, co-host of Amandla! Radio on CKUT 90.3fm.

8. Nick Schofield // Musician, (Rêves sonores, Saxsyndrum).

9. Zahra Moloo // Filmmaker, photographer.

10. Norma Rantisi // PhD. Professor , Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University.

11. Norman Achneepineskum // Artist, musician, (Buffalo Hat Singers).

12. Mariana Marcassa // PhD in Clinical Psychology, artist and sound therapist.

13. Elena Razlogova // Author, Associate Professor, History, Concordia University.

14. Aziz Choudry // Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Movement Learning and Knowledge Production in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University.

15. Eric Shragge // Associate Professor, Concordia University (retired), president of the Board of Directors of the Immigrant Workers Centre.

16. Nadine Altounji // Musician, educator.

17. Razan AlSalah // Filmmaker, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies, Concordia University.

18. Adam Gwiazda-Amsel // Community organizer.

19. Anastasia Voutou // Community organizer.

20. Philippe Battikha // Musician.

21. Catherine Debard // Musician, (YlangYlang).

22. Albu // Artist.

23. Emily R. Douglas // PhD Candidate in the Department of Philosophy, McGill University.

24. Amanda Ruiz-Méndez // Artist.

25. Aaron Vansintjan // PhD Candidate, Community activist, unevenearth.org

26. Simone Lucas // video artist and community activist.

27. Emmanuel Madan // Artist and arts worker.

28. Airick Asher // Musician, (Doldrums).

29. Jessie Lauren Stein // Musician, geographer, artist, (The Luyas).

30. Mauro Pezzente // (Casa del Popolo, Godspeed You! Black Emperor).

31. Devlin Kuyek // Researcher, GRAIN.

32. Daniel Áñez // Musician, composer.

33. Bengi Akbulut // PhD. Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University.

34. Nasir Hasan // Musician, cultural worker.

35. Duha Elmardi // Community activist, Convergence des luttes des Suds.

36. Moe Clark // Multidisciplinary Métis artist.

37. Yves Engler // Author.

38. Ricardo Lamour // Artist, community organizer, (Emrical).

39. Ky Grace Brooks // PhD Candidate, School of Information Studies, Musician (LungButter).

40. Kevin Yuen Kit Lo // Creative Director, LOKI

41. Kevin A. Gould // Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University.

42. Meriem Ramoul // Artist.

43. Freda Guttman // Artist, Activist.

44. Mary-Ellen Davis // Cinéaste, travailleuse culturelle, enseignante.

45. Amélie Nguyen // Coordonnatrice, Centre International de Solidarité Ouvrière (CISO).

46. Sheena Hoszko // Sculptor, anti-prison activist.

47. Léon Lo // Artist, (Skinnybones).

48. Sarah Pagé // Musician.

49. Omar BenAli // Community activist.

50. Mohamed El Fakir // Community activist.

51. Zahia El-Masri // Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec (CPFQ).

52. Guillaume Vallée // Film director.

53. Leila Bdeir // M.A., Humanities, Vanier College.

54. Kelly Nunes // Artist, Multimedia Director at Moment Factory.

55. Rose Marie Whalley // Community radio host, Older Women Live (OWL) on CKUT 90.3 FM.

56. Mouloud Idir-Djerroud // politologue et militant panafricaniste, Groupe de recherche et d’initiative pour la libération de l’Afrique (Montréal).

57. Norman Nawrocki // Author, musician, actor.

58. Hermine Ortega // Artist, Nullica, l’Oie de Cravan.

59. Andreas Iakovos Koch // Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill, Univsersity.

60. Maya Cardin // Artist, Mayamorphosis.

61. Sarah Mangle // Artist.

62. Samaa Elibyari // Community activist, Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

63. Lari Jalbert // Multidisciplinary artist.

64. Maude Caron // Artist.

65. Saeed Kamjoo // Artist, musician.

66. Brett Howie // Musician, McGill Law student.

67. Laura Bardsley // Artist, (blue odeur / punctï).

68. Jeremy Young // Musician (Sontag Shogun).

69. Julia E Dyck // Sound + Radio Artist + Educator.

70. Denis Kosseim-Philosophy professor Cégep André-Laurendeau.

71. Malek Abi-Saab, professor Dept. Of Islamic Studies, McGill University.

72. Rachad Antonius, Professor UQAM.

73. Adi Shulhut // Artist, Erorrist, Mediteranos.

74. Amy Macdonald // Musician, consultant // arts + culture (Nennen).

75. Bianca Mugyenyi // Writer, activist, Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.

76. Benjamin J. Allard // MFA, artist and cultural worker.

77. Fanny Latreille // visual artist + cultural worker.

78. Laurie Magnan // Master art history, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

79. Simon Brown // Poet, translator and interdisciplinary artist.

80. Sarah Chouinard Poirier // Performance artist.

81. Aidan Girt // musician (One Speed Bike, Godspeed You! Black Emperor).

82. Nelly Bassily // Activist, Disability justice, Media maker.

83. Aaron Lakoff // Media maker, activist, Communications at Independent Jewish Voices.

84. Sam Bick // Community activist, co-host TREYF podcast.

85. Miranda Gee Jones // Theatre/radio artist.

86. Aalya Ahmad, Ph.D., Comparative Literary Studies, former Adjunct Professor, Carleton University.
87. Leah Freeman // Travailleuse sociale.

88. Zackary Derrick //

89. Vicky Mettler // Musician, (Kee Avil).

90. Raphaël Foisy-Couture // Musicien, travailleur culturel 2. Freda Guttman // Artist, community activist.

91. Sam Shalabi // Musician, composer.

92. Samer Najari // Cinéaste.

93. Darren Ell // Photographer.

94. Amber Berson // Writer, curator, programming coordinator at articule.

95. Thomas Boucher // Photographer, musician, teacher.

96. Jérémie Dubé-Lavigne // Photographer.

97. Jason Gillingham // Artist, sculptor.

98. Nadia Moss // Artist, educator.

99. Jovien Smith // Artist.

100. Ghassen Ghariani // Community advocate.

101. Nadia Bashalani // Musician.

102. Wayne Tennant // Musician.

103. Adham Bozart // Musician, painter.

104. Adam Daudrich // Musician.

105. Aimé Claude // Organisateur communautaire, UQAM.

106. Ahmad Naser Eldein // Photographer.

107. Xarah Dion // Musician.

108. Ioannis Mitliagkas // Association Des Travailleurs Grecs De Montréal / Greek Workers Association of Montréal.

109. Thanasis Papazoglou // Association Des Travailleurs Grecs De Montréal / Greek Workers Association of Montréal.

110. Michalis Famelis // Association Des Travailleurs Grecs De Montréal / Greek Workers Association of Montréal.

111. Stefan Verna // Filmmaker.

112. Hanadi Saad // Community activist, Justice Femme.

113. May Chiu // Attorney.

114. Noah Cannon // Concordia MSc. Geography Student

115. Brian Aboud // Professor, Humanities, Vanier College

116. Alessandra Renzi //Associate Professor, Communication Studies, Concordia University

117. Ariane Lorrain // Filmmaker

118. Krista Lynes // CRC in Feminist Media Studies, Associate Professor, Communication Studies

119. Ghassan Fayad // Producer

120. Diana Allan // Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University

121. Michelle Hartman // Professor Department of Islamic Studies, McGill University

122. Amir Massoumi //

123. Emma Haraké // Artist, educator.

124. Jérémi Roy // Musician.

125. Joël Lavoie // Musician.

126. Adam Kinner // Musician.

127. Alegría Gobeil // Performing artist.

128. Andrea Levy // Ph.D, writer and editor, Canadian Dimension Magazine.

129. David Widgington // Undisciplinary Artivist.

130. Zoë Thomas // Musician, Doctor at Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital.

131. Chantal Partamian // filmmaker.

132. Natalie Kouri-Towe // Assistant Professor, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University.

133. Sharlene Bamboat // Artist.

134. Alex Pelchat // Musician, enseignant à la CSDM.

135. Sarah Spring // Film producer.

136. Noam Bierstone // Musician, NO HAY BANDA.

137. Claudia Burneo // Artist.

138. Dr. Alan Wong // Community Organizer & Educator, Vanier College.

139. Aisling Chin-Yee // Filmmaker.

140. Alex Ginella // Musician.

141. Paul Phillips // Musician.

142. Aidee Arenas // Artist.

143. Samuel Landry // Musician (Le Berger).

144. Laurence Beaudoin Morin // Performance artist.

145. Shanice Nicole // Poet and educator.

146. Fabienne Presentey // Independent Jewish Voices Canada’s chapter in Montréal.

147. Clément Schreiber // Acteur-Comédien, Metteur en scène, Narrateur.

148. Parker Mah // Community worker, artist, DJ Rhythm & Hues.

149. Simone Lucas // Filmmaker, artist.

150. Bengi Akbulut // PhD. Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University.

151. Cindy Milstein // Author, activist.

152. Ali Hammoudi // Post Doctoral Fellow, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

153. Nicolas Royer-Artuso // Scholar, musician and performance artist.

154. Amelia Orellana // Activiste, traductrice multilingue.

155. Anastasia Culurides // Musician, Interior Designer.

156. Jean-Pierre Gorkynian // Writer.

157. Omar Burgan

158. Ali Hammoudi // Post Doctoral Fellow, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law.

159. Naomi Bénéteau Goldberg // Climate justice organizer.

Organizational endorsements

1. Conseil central de Montréal métropolitain (CCMM-CSN).

2. Suoni per il Popolo Festival.

3. McGill Radical Law Students’ Association.

4. Academics for Palestine Concordia University.

5. Centre des travailleurs et travailleuses immigrants / Immigrant Workers Centre.

6. Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.

7. Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill, Univsersity.

8. Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

9. Conseil régional FTQ Montréal métropolitain.

10. Howl! Arts

11. Association Des Travailleurs Grecs De Montréal / Greek Workers Association of Montréal.

12. Le collectif Regards palestiniens.

13. College & University Workers United (CUWU).

14. Le Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO).

15. Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

16. Canadian Dimensions Magazine.

17. Indigenous Land Defenders.

18. No More Silence.

19. Faculty for Palestine (F4P), Toronto.

20. Labour4Palestine, Canada.

21. Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec (CPFQ).

22. Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, McGill University.


 source: BDS Movement