An Open Letter From Anti-Zionist Jewish Youth in Canada

((If you would like to sign on to this letter, please send an email with your name and city to

January 5th, 2009

Like much of the world, we have spent the last week watching in shock and disgust as Israel continues its assault on the Gaza Strip. With the body count rising and a new tragedy in full bloom, we feel that it is important to speak out as Jewish youth in Canada and to denounce what Israel is doing in our name. The Jewish diaspora is diverse and divided on its positions on the state of Israel's policies. At this juncture in history, as Israel has committed its worst massacre in Gaza since it began its illegal occupation in 1967, we feel that it is crucial that Jews speak out and denounce Israel's actions that amount to no less than war crimes committed by an apartheid state.

As Jewish youth, we are diverse, but we are unified in our solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza.

Some of us are students. We are outraged by the bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza city, as well as other civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and mosques.

Some of us are Arab-Jews and people of colour. We stand against Israel's racism, which has been enshrined in Israeli law, and privileges its Jewish citizens over its non-Jewish ones.This apartheid state views Palestinians as an expendable people, no more than collateral damage.

Some of us are queer. We reject Israel’s branding of itself as the only safe place for queer people in the Middle-East while it targets gay and lesbian Palestinians and renders life unsafe for millions of others.

Some of us are Israelis living in Canada. We are calling for a solidarity that stretches beyond borders and nationalities. Israel's violent actions will only serve to further isolate the state and its citizens from the rest of the world. By calling itself a Jewish state and committing war crimes in the name of Jews everywhere, Israel makes the world even less safe for Jews, leading to an increase in animus towards Jewish people around the world.

Even though there have been approximately 100 Palestinian deaths for every Israeli killed by rocket fire, we recognize that Israeli Apartheid also leads to Israeli casualties. The blame for these deaths lies with Israel – if there were no occupation and no apartheid policies, there would be no rocket fire. If Israel, the world's fourth largest military power, is concerned about its citizens, it would abandon its apartheid policies and seek out justice for the Palestinian people.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society put out a clear call for international support through a non-violent campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) similar to that carried out against the apartheid regime of South Africa. Now, with the people of Gaza being crushed by Israeli bombs, manufactured in the USA and launched with Canada's blessing, it is more important than ever for Jewish communities throughout the world to take up this BDS campaign in order to end Israel's apartheid system, which makes life unsafe for millions of Jews and Palestinians alike.

Let us not be silent bystanders while humanity suffers. Let us raise our voices, as Jewish youth, and demand a single, democratic state, with equal rights for everyone in Israel/Palestine.

Ours is a generation that is committed to ending Middle-East violence by opposing all forms of discrimination, calling for a just peace within the entire region, and condemning Zionism to the dustbin of history.

Free Gaza, Free Palestine,

1 Jenny Peto, Toronto, ON
2 Aaron Lakoff, Montreal, QC
3 Max Silverman, Montreal
4 Rachel Gurofsky, Peterborough, ON
5 Simon Gurofsky, Ottawa, ON
6 Zohar Melinek, Montreal
7 Claire Hurtig, Montreal
8 Ben Saifer, Ottawa
9 Brook Thorndycraft, Toronto
10 Joel Balsam, Montreal
11 David Mandelzys, Toronto
12 Reena Katz, Toronto
13 Mia Amir, Vancouver, BC
14 Matthew Shuster, Kingston, ON
15 Avi Grenadier, Kingston
16 Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Waterloo, ON
17 Melissa Harendorf, Montreal
18 Jeff Hiemstra, Toronto
19 Sacha Moiseiwitsch, Vancouver
20 Jake Javanshir, Toronto
21 Noam Lapid, Montreal
22 Stephen Kamnitzer, Toronto
23 Naava Smolash, Vancouver
24 Tamara Herman, Victoria, BC
25 Ryan Katz-Rosene, Ottawa
26 Sarah Fuchs, Montreal
27 Daniel Thau-Eleff, Winnipeg, MB
28 Deborah Rachlis, Ottawa
29 Marie L. Belliveau, St. Catharines, ON
30 Sarah Kardash, Sackville, NB
31 David Taub Bancroft, Vancouver
32 Kinneret Sheetreet, Montreal
33 Rachel Marcuse, Vancouver
34 Lisa Barrett, Bowen Island, BC
35 Rosanne Iland, Echo Bay ON
36 Max Tennant,Vancouver
37 Noah Fine, Vancouver
38 David Hill, Vancouver
39 Corey Balsam, Ottawa
40 Lee Skinner, Vancouver
41 Britt Lehmann-Bender, Toronto
42 Alexis Mitchell, Toronto
43 Jesse Rosenfeld, Montreal
44 Peter Driftmier, Calgary, AB
45 Joshua Schwebel, London, ON
46 Gideon Boxall, Vancouver
47 Diana Jewell, Mission, BC
48 Judith Mintz, Peterborough
49 Omri Haiven, Halifax, NS
50 Anne Bosch, North Vancouver
51 Emily Bitting, Moncton, NB
52 Vivian Belik, Winnipeg
53 Sasha Lofquist, Oakville, ON
54 Maya Shapiro, Toronto
55 Lisa Frances Greenspoon, Montreal
56 Aviva Cipilinski, Winnipeg
57 Daniel Tetrault, Vancouver
58 Yaacov Iland, Kitchener, ON
59 Jonah Gindin, Toronto
60 Rachel Huot, Toronto
61 Michelle Ohnona, Montreal
62 Myka Tucker-Abramson, Vancouver
63 Smadar Carmon, Toronto
64 Eytan Holtzer, Kingston
65 Irene Germain, Montreal
66 Emma Beltran-Kulikovsky, Toronto
67 Jordan Topp, Montreal
68 Adam Balsam, Ottawa
69 Natalie Kouri-Towe, Toronto
70 Simone Arsenault-May, Toronto
71 Louisa Worrell, Ottawa
72 Rachel Deutsch, Toronto
73 Bee Sack, Toronto