Open Letter: End Annexation & the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

Independent Jewish Voices has joined a coalition of Montreal-based unions, academics, artists, and community groups calling for an end to Netanyahu’s illegal annexation plan in the occupied West Bank, as well as an end to the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA).

An open letter (full text below) signed by over a dozen community groups was launched on July 22nd at the legendary Montreal music venue Casa del Popolo. The speakers at the press conference included:

Aaron Lakoff, Independent Jewish Voices – Communications & Media Lead,

Mostafa Henaway, Academics for Palestine, Concordia University,

Chantal Ide, Vice President, Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain — CSN

Xarah Dion, Musician,

Omar BenAli, Palestinian refugee from the West Bank

Click the link below to see a great TV report on the press conference from CityNews Montreal.

Open Letter: Canada and Israel Free Trade Agreement Must End with 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.”

Photo: Julien Crête Nadeau

As the Israeli government moves to 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.

Photo: Julien Crête Nadeau

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’s moves to create diplomatic cover for Israeli actions. We must not stay silent.

July 22th, 2020.

Letter initiators : 

Photo: Julien Crête Nadeau

Mostafa Henaway, Academics for Palestine.

Stefan Christoff, Howl! arts.

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.

Photo: Julien Crête Nadeau

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).

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 // Professor, Concordia University, board member 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. Sarah 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,

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. Emmanuel-Ricardo Lamour-Blaise // 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 // Collectif des féministes musulmanes du Québec, Professor of Humanities and Women’s Studies at 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.