(Spoken at demo in Montreal, Canada, Wednesday 16 July 2014; (supplied by Dolores Chew)


We are here this evening to express our solidarity and love with you, our sisters, the women of Gaza and their families and communities.  We are appalled at the attacks they are suffering, a genocide of the Palestinian people, and we demand that it stops.


It is important to put what is happening in historical context.  This is not a simple tit-for-tat – some rockets launched from Gaza, some Israeli bombardment and more rockets.  The context is one of European imperialism and colonialism, followed by Partition in which the Palestinians had no say and then military occupation, which is still on-going, the longest military occupation in history.  The Palestinian people have suffered colonialism, ethnic cleansing, land-grab, occupation and now genocide.


Under international law, people under occupation have a right to resist and that is what the Palestinians are doing.  To simply deal with recent rockets is to miss the point and to play into Zionist manipulations of the realities on the ground – realities of occupation, daily humiliation, violation of human dignity, checkpoints, land grabs, destruction of olive groves, raids, imprisonment, collective punishment, torture and the taking of Palestinian land to build so-called settlements, which in reality are huge suburban sprawls linked by “Jews-only” roads.


At this point we must also smash the myth that criticism of Zionism and Israeli state policies are anti-Semitic.  For too long this has been used to silence criticism of Zionist and Israeli occupation and repression.  Just because the Israeli defense forces wear uniforms does give them legitimacy to occupy and attack.  Just as we have been taught to appreciate the valor, heroism and courage of those who stood up to Nazi occupation and terror, like the Jewish inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto who put up such a courageous fight against the Nazis, we should also appreciate the courage of Palestinians who are struggling to break free from the imprisonment of occupation.  Gaza, the most densely-populated place on earth is a virtual prison, surrounded on all sides with Israel and Egypt controlling all routes in and out.


What is happening in Gaza is genocide.  And we are appalled at those Israelis who are sitting on couches and lawn chairs on hilltops watching Gaza being bombarded like some obscene kind of reality TV.


We must inundate our politicians with demands to take action to stop this genocide.  Even though we might be cynical about Stephen Harper and his government and their unconditional support for the massacre of Palestinians, we must write to them and let them know that we will not tolerate this and we will remember on election day.  We must also write to the NDP and demand that they speak out and recognize the disproportionate force and destruction with respect to the Palestinians.  And to the Liberals we must urge them to be stronger and take the side of justice.  We must write to the news media and demand that they are fair in their reporting.


To our sisters in Gaza, and their families and communities, we want you to know that we can only imagine the pain and suffering you are experiencing.  We admire your courage and humanity in the face of such suffering and terror.  And we send you, our sisters,  our deepest love and solidarity.  Palestine will be free!!!

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