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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



False face of body investigating anti-semitism

Report on anti-Semitism seeks only to protect Israel

Debate, National Post
By Sue Ferguson, Mary-Jo Nadeau, Eric Shragge, Abby Lippman, Gary Kinsman and Reuben Roth

maple leaf


This month, a serious attack was made against free speech in Canada. A pseudo-parliamentary committee calling itself the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) issued a report calling on the federal government to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that would criminalize criticism of the state of Israel. The report claims to support free speech and open debate around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but its recommendations aim to silence pro-Palestinian voices, especially on campuses. The CPCCA’s biased processes and dubious conclusions contradict its own argument for balanced debate, and make a mockery of the notion of disinterested parliamentary inquiry.

The CPCCA was founded in 2009. While it included MPs from all parliamentary parties, the CPCCA is not an official parliamentary committee. It nonetheless draws upon the resources and authority of Parliament, while refusing to hold open debate in keeping with due process.

The CPCCA’s mandate was to define, analyze and address anti-Semitism. However, the coalition formed its core conclusions before beginning its inquiry. Its founding documents emphasized the so-called “new anti-Semitism,” associating it with the global movement for Palestinian human rights.

CPCCA materials published prior to the hearings cited campuses as places of special interest, but provided no substantive evidence. Later, the inquiry’s findings confirmed their biases through distorted claims that pro-Palestinian events create a campus environment ripe for anti-Semitism. Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an annual program of public talks, films and workshops supporting the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, is singled out; it is depicted as an aggressive campaign that “hijack[s] any open and honest dialogue regarding the Middle East.”

The report conveniently overlooks IAW’s value as a site of global education on the plight of Palestinians living on, and in exile from, land that is illegally occupied by Israel. The participation of Jewish students and professors in IAW is systematically ignored. So is the fact that IAW organizers focus their analysis on a critique of the Israeli state, not Jewish people. That IAW explicitly condemns anti-Semitism and all racism is similarly neglected.

The report also dismisses the testimony of campus administrators who refuted the CPCCA’s preconceived notions. To be clear, the 25 university presidents or their representatives who spoke to the panel are no friends of pro-Palestinian organizers, having previously banned IAW posters, obstructed room bookings and otherwise tried to silence criticism of Israel on their campuses. And yet, their testimony consistently denied that the “new anti-Semitism” threatens their students. Instead, they suggested debate of difficult ideas should be encouraged at universities, not censored.

Most who seriously challenged the CPCCA were simply excluded from the so-called “public” hearings. Faculty for Palestine — a network of 450 faculty members from Canadian universities and colleges — for example, was not invited to discuss our written submission despite the CPCCA’s assertion that the “new anti-Semitism” is especially concentrated on campuses. Co-chair Mario Silva explained these exclusions as follows: “I personally feel I didn’t want to give a platform to individuals who had no time for us. Why should we have time for them?” It is no wonder that Bloc Québécois MPs withdrew from the CPCCA in 2010, citing the refusal of the steering committee to hear groups with opposing viewpoints, including from organizations such as the Canadian Arab Federation.

The CPCCA is fluent in doublespeak. The coalition urges critics to commit to serious and rigorous debate, but it avoids engaging in debate. It relies on hearsay, anecdotes and cherry-picked testimony while ignoring a wealth of research countering its claims. The report asserts that IAW should not be banned, but then asks university presidents to condemn IAW and calls on government to legislate this new criminalizing definition of anti-Semitism.

Faculty for Palestine is deeply concerned by the CPCCA’s analysis and recommendations — we think it should be treated with extreme skepticism. Its conflation of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is inaccurate and dangerous. Indeed, the Israeli state just announced unprecedented legislation banning boycotts. If Canada accepts the CPCCA’s recommendations, we may soon travel this same politically repressive road. A commitment to real dialogue on this complex conflict in the Middle East must win out over attempts to shut down debate and criminalize movements for social change.

The authors are members of Faculty for Palestine.

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