On Nov. 8, defend free speech in Canada

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By Independent Jewish Voices



The Harper government is sponsoring a conference of the ‘Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism’ (ICCA) – the CPCCA’s international counterpart – in Ottawa on November 8 and 9. The CPCCA and ICCA have an agenda to attack free speech and to silence legitimate criticism of Israel by falsely conflating this with anti-Semitism.

Independent Jewish Voices is deeply concerned about the threat to free speech and civil liberties posed by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism'(CPCCA). It is legitimate and ethically necessary for Canadians of conscience to criticize Israeli human rights abuses and to support non-violent remedies.


The Harper government has already slashed funding to NGOs that dared to express support for Palestinian rights, brutally attacked and abused G20 demonstrators, barred British MP George Galloway from entering Canada because of his aid to the people of Gaza, and attacked CUPE, CUPW, and Israeli Apartheid Week activities. The list doesn’t end there.

The CPCCA, with Minister of Censorship and Deportation Jason Kenney as one of its driving forces, aims to entrench these attacks on free speech in the federal parliament.

The CPCCA held hearings this past year to try to paint a veneer of credibility on its transparent intention to attack free speech in Canada.  It ignored many critical submissions, including those from Independent Jewish Voices. Even the CPCCA witnesses from Canadian universities and the police confirmed that there is no rise in anti-Semitism and called on the CPCCA to respect free speech.

The ICCA conference is intended to distract from this embarrassing result.  At a cost of over $451,280 in federal funds, the ICCA conference is closed to the public and the media, and makes no pretence of unbiased research.


1. Raise your voices for a day of action for free speech on Monday, November 8. Organize locally – get in touch with the nearest IJV chapter, human rights groups, free speech advocates and Palestine solidarity coalitions. Local events for the day of action could include press conferences, protests, teach-ins, or other creative ideas to build the movement to defend free speech.  IJV will release a 10 minute video on Nov. 8, which will be posted on YouTube and the IJV web site. Feel free to use it in your events.  Please let us know what actions you’ve taken:  Contact Independent Jewish Voices at ijv@magma.ca.

2. Contact your MP and the federal party leaders and demand they reject any attempts to silence or criminalize legitimate criticism of Israel, and to stand up for the principle of free speech in Canada. www.webinfo.parl.gc.ca.

3.  Contact university presidents and human rights offices in your city and ask them also to issue a statement affirming the right of students and faculty to free speech.

4. Sign our anti-CPCCA petition at http://ijvcanada.org/sign-signez-petition-cpcca-hearings/ which will be released to the press and all MPs on Nov. 8.

5. Send a photo to ijv@magma.ca of yourself holding an anti-CPCCA sign (perhaps with duct tape over your mouth) or a sign saying “I support free speech.”  We will post it on line with a title “The is what Democracy looks like.”

6. Donate to IJV to help fund our campaign for free speech: Please send donations to IJV,  P.O. Box 23088, Ottawa, Ontario K2A 4E2.

For more information, visit Independent Jewish Voices at www.ijvcanada.org.

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