Young Canadian Jews urge Canadian government to strongly oppose forced expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah

Jewish settlers wave Israeli flags and mock Palestinians on the street below protesting their expulsion from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.

On July 22, 2021, young Jewish leaders from three liberal Zionist organizations (New Israel Fund of Canada (NIFC), JSpaceCanada, and Canadian Friends of Peace Now (CFPN) sent a joint letter to the Canadian government and the heads of all the major political parties urging them to speak out strongly against the forced expulsions and demolition of homes of Palestinians in East Jerusalem:

“We write to you urgently as young leaders in the Canadian Jewish community. Although the recent violence in Israel/Palestine may have ceased, forced expulsions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem by Israel continue—including the parents of a Canadian citizen, say the letterwriters using official letterhead of the 3 organizations.

Their letter comes in the wake of a slow and rather weak response by the Trudeau government to this violation of international law and official Canadian policy. (NOTE: Canadian policy officially opposes any change in the status of Jerusalem and does not “recognize” Israeli annexation of the city.)

Sheikh Jarrah is only the tip of the iceberg

The expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah are only a small part of Israel’s actions against Palestinians in both occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Silwan is another area of Jerusalem where Israel deploys administrative and legal tools, and its paramilitary forces, to enable Jewish settlers to take over a Palestinian neighbourhood, expelling Palestinian families.

Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes has averaged between 35 and 91 PER MONTH since 2016

Similar actions are taking place all over the West Bank.

A recent report from the Jerusalem-based UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is blunt in its assessment. “In June, the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 91 Palestinian-owned structures accross the West Bank including Jerusalem, reported OCHA. “This resulted in the displacement of 108 people, including 62 children, and otherwise affected the livelihoods or access to services of nearly 2,700 others.”

“The number of structures demolished or seized in June is the highest this year (…) a 600 percent increase compared to May”.

– OCHA June report

Canadian liberal zionists growing increasingly uncomfortable with Israeli policy and actions

The letter to Trudeau and the other political leaders is signed by 13 young Jewish Canadians members of three Jewish organizations – the New Israel Fund of Canada (NIFC), Canadians Friends of Peace Now (CFPN), and J-Space Canada. It reflects a significant increase in the level of critique of Israel by liberal zionist organizations in Canada and the USA.

CFPN has recently organized, in conjunction with its US counterpart (Americans for Peace Now), several excellent webinars examining the East Jerusalem issue. While CFPN avoids using the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe Israel’s policy of Judaization of East Jerusalem (that is the official Israeli term for the policy) it has been very clear in its criticisms of the practice.

NOTE: In conjunction with Americans for Peace Now, CFPN will be holding an urgent “high level” public webinar on the East Jerusalem issue on July 30th.

With both prime minister Netanyahu and his American enabler Trump gone – with no change on the ground – it is becoming clearer that Israel’s abuse is systemic and the occupation is permanent. Public letters and webinars by liberal Zionists reflect this. We encourage these young Jewish leaders to remain seized with the issue and go beyond calling on the Canadian government to simply “reiterate your position to Israel,” as the current letter does, and actually demand that it impose meaningful consequences on Israel for its actions.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

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  1. What has changed people’s minds? Pro-Palestinian activism? or, more likely, Israeli brutality.

    1. Hey Elizabeth, thanks for these questions. Very good questions. What DOES make people change their minds? On anything? Direct experience? trusted friends? accumulated evidence? I am sure I don’t know. But I am pretty sure that yelling at people or dissing them doesn’t work, even though some people seem to think so. (I’m not talking about you…)
      The OFIP motto is “Firm on the principles, soft on the language”.

    2. The three Liberal zionist organizations who issued that letter have always been opposing the demolition in Shikh Jarah, long before the issue gained international attention

    1. They also copied many other political leaders. Trudeau/Garneau will say/do something depending on where they think the votes are, IMHO.

    1. Hey David, thank you. I had seen that too. I think even the Biden administration is warning Bennett that further evictions would make it more difficult for the US to support Israel.

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