ARPCF condemns the role of Public Safety Canada in dehumanizing pro-Palestine protests in Canada.

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2024_7_05_PSCMontreal, July 05, 2024— The Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) strongly criticizes statements by Public Safety Canada (PSC) that dangerously mischaracterized pro-Palestine advocacy and protests as extensions of terrorist activities. These statements falsely frame the Palestinian struggle for rights and self-determination under Israeli occupation as terrorism. This framing not only distorts the peaceful nature of these protests but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes of Palestinians and their supporters as inherently violent. This systemic depiction of pro-Palestine solidarity as inherently hateful, violent, antisemitic, terrorist, uncivilized, unintelligent, and backward constitutes a form of Anti-Palestinian Racism (APR), according to the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association’s definition of APR.

Lead Researcher at ARPCF, Jamila Ewais, explains, “By publicly equating peaceful pro-Palestine protests with terrorism, PSC not only undermines the democratic rights of Canadians to express solidarity but also delegitimizes the Palestinian struggle for freedom, suggesting that only some people have the right to justice.” The ARPCF considers that the chilling effects of such actions are profound, deterring individuals from participating in or organizing demonstrations due to fear of reprisal or mischaracterization as violent extremists. This not only stifles free speech but also reshapes the discourse around Palestine, pushing the narrative toward a more socially conforming viewpoint that aligns with dominant political interests rather than with truth or justice.

PSC’s actions contradict its own established findings that many pro-Palestine rallies and demonstrations across Canada have proceeded peacefully, with no evidence linking them to violent activities. By doing so, PSC strikes a tone which is aligned with that of far-right and extremist irrational groups in Canada, promoting anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim sentiments by branding pro-Palestinian advocates as fronts for terrorist groups. This also serves as 'liberal washing,' legitimizing these unfounded claims under the guise of protecting democracy and the rule of law to counter what they claim are illiberal, anti-modern, and anti-democratic minorities. Such approaches can lead to increased hostility and violence against pro-Palestinian individuals, justified by baseless national security threats.

ARPCF calls on PSC to make a public statement disavowing previous racist statements about the pro-Palestine demonstrations, and henceforth revise their approach and recognize the advocacy for Palestinian rights as a legitimate exercise of free speech, not a security threat. It is imperative that Canadian institutions distinguish between legitimate political advocacy and actual threats to peace and security, ensuring that the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly are protected for all, irrespective of the political stance they support. This is crucial not only for upholding the values of democracy and justice but also for preventing the institutionalization of discrimination under the guise of national security.

About the ARPCF – The mandate of the Anti-Racism Program of the CJPME Foundation (ARPCF) is to create public awareness about racism in Canada.  This mandate falls in line with the Foundation’s broader purpose of monitoring and combating manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination by increasing public awareness of such biases.

For more information, please contact Jamila Ewais, 514-389-8668
ARPCF, [email protected]

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  • Jamila Ewais
    published this page in Statements 2024-07-05 12:31:41 -0400