Political Advocacy and National Liberation are not “Terrorism”

(Update: Check out the new list of individual endorsers which includes artists, activists, lawyers, professors and clergy, all joining the call to reject the criminalization of Palestinian advocacy. Our statement was also published in Mondoweiss.)

On February 28, 2021, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared that he was adding the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network to Israel’s “terror list”. The designation was based on accusations that are both spurious and false. There has been a recent upsurge in the campaign by the Israeli government to thwart effective Palestinian civil society groups that refuse to be silenced or sanitized.

There are no concrete charges against Samidoun, simply that it helps Palestinian prisoners and is involved in “anti-Israel propaganda efforts”. Samidoun operates as a public and transparent prisoner advocacy group; it is independent and has no organizational connection or affiliation with any Palestinian party.

On February 3, 2021, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Advocacy CIJA called for Samidoun to be placed on Canada’s terror list. This was included in their statement responding to the announcement by Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, that Canada was adding 13 groups to Canada’s list of Terrorist Entities. Then, on February 28, 2021, the same day Israel stated they were designating Samidoun as “terrorist”, CIJA tweeted to Bill Blair saying that Canada should now follow Israel’s lead and do the same.

Is the timing of Israel’s announcement part of its attempts to deflect attention from the ongoing International Criminal Court investigation? It is worth noting that Benny Gantz (who is not only the Israeli Defense Minister but also its Justice Minister!) is himself one of the persons who might be implicated by the ICC for possible war crimes. Gantz was the Army Chief of Staff during Israel’s 2014 aggression on Gaza. Canadian Minister Bill Blair was listed as a member of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary group for 2016, 2017 and 2019. Are these the officials to make any impartial and balanced decision on what constitutes “terrorism”? Should Canada’s policies on these important issues be decided by what the Israeli government dictates?

In 2003, the Canadian government committed the same blunder of being influenced by the pro-Israel lobby, often on the basis of faulty information, in determining who should be listed as “terrorist”. An open letter issued last month by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group also addressed the issue of the abuse of “anti-terrorism” powers by the Canadian state.

This criminalization of Palestinian advocacy is unacceptable and unfounded; Palestinian-Canadians and their supporters have no intention of allowing biased officials to suppress their democratic rights and their voices. We will continue to work for justice and equality for Palestinians, be it through prisoner support or boycott campaigns; we will not allow our guaranteed rights to free expression and association to be threatened or curtailed.

Signed by:
Canada Palestine Association
BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish

Endorsed By:
Anti-Imperialist Alliance, Ottawa
B.C. Civil Liberties Association
Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation, Victoria
Canada-Palestine Support Network CanPalNet
Canadian BDS Coalition
Canadian Foreign Policy Institute
Canadian Peace Congress
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East CJPME
Communist Party of Canada
Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War
Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Independent Jewish Voices-Vancouver
Inminds Human Rights Group
International Association of Democratic Lawyers IADL
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network IJAN
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Just Peace Advocates
Justice for Palestinians Calgary
Labour for Palestine
Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel NMJPI
Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
Palestinian and Jewish Unity
Palestinian Canadian Community Centre – Palestine House
Palestinian Canadian Congress
Palestinian Solidarity Sudbury
Palestinian Youth Movement
Reginal Peace Council
Styrian Peace Platform, Austria
Sulong UBC
Toronto BDS
U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel USACBI
Vancouver Peace Council

Individual Endorsers:

Adrian Swanston, Concerned Citizen, Burnaby
Alan Strid, retired, Arrowwood
Amir M. Maasoumi, Sociologist, Peace ambassador, Poet, CANADA
Andrew Brook, retired,  Ottawa
Andrew Lugg, University professor emeritus, Montreal
Andrew Phillips, Human Rights activist, New Westminster
Andrew Shadrack, Retired regional district director, Kaslo
Annette Lengyel, Human Rights and Antiracism activist, CALGARY
Bill Skidmore, Canadian Citizen, Ottawa
Bruce Lofquist, OPRAssoc, Oakvile
Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, artists, Toronto
Cathy Gulkin, Filmmaker, Toronto
Claude Morin, University professor, Montreal, Canada
Clive Bower, democrat, United Kingdom
Colin Royle, Justice activist, Montreal, Quebec
Caro Barton, Human rights activist, London YK
Cole Rockarts, Organizer, Edmonton
Dan Maitland, activist, Guelph
David L Mandel, Human rights attorney, Sacramento. CA USA
David Swanson, Executive Director, World BEYOND War US
Deborah Yaffe, Concerned citizen, Victoria
Diana Neslen, Activist, London United Kingdom
Dimitri Lascaris, Lawyer, journalist and activist, Canada
Donald Saunders, Injustice opposer, Colwyn Bay, North Wales, UK
Donna Young, Anthropologist, Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Retired Academic and Veteran of World War 2, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Dyala Hamzah, Associate professor, Montreal
Edward C. Corrigan, Barrister and Solicitor, Canada
Eric Mills, Editor, Toronto
(Rev) Frances Combs, Minister of the United Church of Canada,  Toronto, Canada
Gay Richardson, Activist, Ottawa
Glenn D Tarver, Activist, Toronto
Henry Evans-Tenbrinke, Activist, Independent Photo Journalist   Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Jake Javanshir, Retired, Toronto
Jalal Kawash, Activist, Calgary
Jayce Salloum, Artist, Vancouver
Jean Leahy, activist, Toronto
Jim Mitchell, retired, Toronto
Joe Modeste, retired teacher, Ajax
John Anderson Rev Dr, clergy, San Francisco
John Liss, lawyer, Toronto Canada
John MacGregor, Victoria BC In Canada
Jim & Eva Manly, Activists, Nanaimo
Karen Platt, Jewish Voice for Peace member, USA
Karen Rodman, human rights activist, Toronto
Karin Brothers, activist, Toronto
Khaled Mouammar, Former Member of Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Richmond Hill
Kimball Cariou, Political activist and writer, Vancouver
Kevin Gould, Professor of Geography, Concordia University, Montreal, QC
Khaled Naseef, Human rights, Ramallah
Larry Brockelbank, activist, Midland ON, Canada
Marion Kawas, Writer and Activist, Vancouver, Canada
Mark Matthews , Peace Activist, Vancouver
Maryanne Stone-Jimenez, Peace seeker, Toronto
Mary-Ellen Francoeur, Peace activist, Toronto, Canada
Miriam Meir, Human Rights Activist Independent Jewish Voices, Calgary, Canada
Murray Lumley, member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Toronto, Canada
Nahla Abdo, Feminist Activist and Academic, Ottawa
Nancy McEvers Anderson, architect, San Francisco
Norma Rantisi, professor, Montreal
Nyla Matuk, Author, Toronto
Ofer Neiman, Israeli citizen, Jerusalem
Peter Ashan , Activist, London England
Peter Eglin, Professor Emeritus, Kitchener
Phyllis Creighton, activist, Toronto, Canada
Ralph Carl Wushke , Queer Theologian, Toronto
Rev. Dr. Robin Wardlaw, United Church clergy (retired), Toronto
Rev. F. Mark Mealing, Ph.D, Retired Professor but active Priest, Meadow Creek, B.C. Canada
Richard Marcuse, Arts consultant, West Vancouver
Rifat Audeh, Canadian award-winning film director, Canada
Robert Kent, Emeritus Professor, Elkford, B.C.
Rod Walters, retired academic, Wales
Ron Benner, Artist, London, Ontario, Canada
Ronald Shirtliff, Teacher , Toronto
Rosemary Sayigh, Scholar, retired university lecturer, Beirut, Lebanon
Roswitha Shaw, retired, Ottawa
S.L. Bondarchuk , Artist & NPO Admin, Edmonton, AB
SHARON BURNS, artist, Vancouver
Shawkat Hasan, NDP Riding president, Richmond
Sherry Ann Chapman, Citizen, Edmonton
Sid Shniad, Founding member, Independent Jewish Voices Canada
Simon Vrouwe, activist voor Palestina, Netherlands
Stan Squires, Palestine Supporter, Vancouver,Canada
Stephen Aberle, Actor, singer, organizer, Vancouver, BC Canada
Susan Stout, activist, Canada
Sylvie Paquerot, professor, Montréal
Tamara Lorincz, Activist, Waterloo
Thomas Brown, Professor Emeritus, Vancouver
Thomas Hemeon, activist, Canada
Val innes, Activist, White Rock, BC
Wael Hallaq, Professor, Columbia University, Montreal/New York
Wendy McCreath, activist, Scarborough
William Geimer, Law Professor, Sooke
Yves Engler, Author, Montréal 
Elizabeth Block, Member of Independent Jewish Voices,Toronto
Barry Watson, Palestine sympathiser since 1967, Doncaster
Val innes, Activist, White Rock, BC
Jasmine Hawamdeh, Artist, Toronto
Rada Daniell, Activist, London