IJV Calls on Trudeau Government to Forcefully Condemn Anti-Palestinian Violence as Israel Marks ‘Jerusalem Day’


May 10, 2021 – Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is calling on the Trudeau government to forcefully denounce brutal Israeli violence against Palestinian protestors and Muslim worshippers as hundreds have been wounded today so far in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa Mosque – the third holiest site in Islam – was again a site of attack today, both inside and outside the mosque, as Palestinians mark the final week of Ramadan. 

Today’s violence also comes as Israelis celebrate “Jerusalem Day” (the 28th of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar), the anniversary of Israel’s capture and subsequent occupation of East Jerusalem, and with it, the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967. An annual Israeli march through the Old City is set to begin at 11:30 EDT and is expected to put Palestinian residents and Muslim worshippers at further risk of attack by violent far-right Israeli civilians seeking to reinforce Jewish dominance over the city. 

Meanwhile, just outside of the Old City walls, residents of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah are struggling to hold on their homes in the face of efforts by Israeli authorities to evict them and literally replace them by Jewish-Israeli settlers intent on ‘Judaizing’ the area and clearing it of its Palestinian inhabitants. 

“As Canadian Jews, many of whom came to Canada fleeing anti-Jewish persecution and violence, we refuse to sit back idly while Israel commits these atrocities in our names,” said Corey Balsam, IJV’s national coordinator.  A recent opinion poll found that 82% of Canadians want Jerusalem to be a shared capital between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel’s dangerous actions in East Jerusalem not only threaten such a prospect, but also the very presence of Palestinians in the city. 

“We need to be clear about what’s unfolding in Jerusalem today: it is mob violence, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution and police brutality” continued Balsam. “All of these are symptoms of Israel’s regime, which is now widely acknowledged by human rights organizations as constituting the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

“It is beyond shameful that the Trudeau government continues to stand so closely behind Israel, despite all the atrocities it is committing”, continued Balsam. “Mild calls for ‘de-escalation of tensions and for all sides to avoid any unilateral actions’ are simply not going to cut it. It’s time for Minister Garneau to forcefully denounce Israel’s actions on no uncertain terms, and to back his words up with concrete measures, including cancellation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.” 

Demonstrations are planned in several cities around the world today, including a picket co-hosted by IJV at the constituency office of Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau in Montreal  at 5pm EDT, and an emergency rally in front of the Israeli consulate in Toronto at 3pm EDT. 

Media Contact: Aaron Lakoff, IJV Communications & Media Lead | + 1 514 317 6288 | aaron@ijvcanada.org