On December 9 2017, CUSJ President Margaret Rao attended a Toronto rally in defense of Jerusalem’s continued status as a shared capital city and spiritual home to Jews, Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike. This is her report.
A large crowd of Palestinian Canadians and Palestinian-friendly Jewish, Christian and labour leaders were on hand. It was a family- friendly, defiant gathering, with many Canadian and Palestinian flags waving in the chilly air. Spirits were high. Holding up a CUSJ banner, I was approached by a few onlookers either offering to help me hold the banner or asking me what the Unitarian part of CUSJ meant. CUSJ has taken a principled stance on supporting the non-violent civilian-led boycott movement as a sign of solidarity and a necessary action to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people and the flagrant disregard of Israel of international and humanitarian laws for over five decades.
The Palestinian people have the right to be treated in a dignified and respectful way and to have a sovereign contiguous land of their own or, if reality on the ground dictates, the option of a one State democratic bi-national government in their lifetime. Instead they are confined to restrictive quarters, military checkpoints at every turn, making it almost possible to make a ‘dignified’ and viable living for themselves.
The silence and complicity of the Canadian government and other countries only emboldens the State of Israel to ramp up its repression and seizure of occupied territories. The litmus test of Canada’s stance towards the Palestinian population can be measured by its consistent vote on the side of Israel and its ally the United States, ever since Paul Martin first came into power, over 12 years ago. This December’s vote on 8 Resolutions at the UN General Assembly was no different.
The Canadian government lost its moral compass and its leadership status at the United Nations some time ago. It is not too late to turn this sorry state of affairs around. Our Prime Minister needs to muster the courage to stand up to the two belligerent bullies on the international scene and speak truth to power. As Canadians and global citizens we must also do our part in making sure Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories achieve full recognition as a sovereign nation by the Assembly of the United Nations. Silence is complicity. We can no longer say we didn’t know.
Love & Justice for All peoples!