Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.

Friday

Indian voters saw through religious rhetoric, opting instead to curtail Modi's political power

Modi’s narrow win suggests Indian voters saw through religious rhetoric, opting instead to curtail his political power
Part of the answer lies in the Modi government’s failure to realize that while economic benefits had been substantial, their distribution has been uneven. India has seen a growth in inequality and persistent unemployment both in rural and urban areas. Unemployment of those aged 20 to 24 years is at a high of 44.49%. And that is the overall national number; that data does not tell us that it may be much worse in certain regions. 
 other explanation is that Modi’s exploitation of historic Hindu-Muslim tensions seems to have run its natural course. You can beat the religious drum – and Modi did with rhetoric including calling Muslims “infiltrators” – but then the day-to-day issues of jobs, housing and other such necessities take over, and these are the things people care about the most. BJP made a miscalculation, in my analysis. It failed to realize that in a country where only 11.3% of children get adequate nutrition, 
Hindu pride cannot be eaten – ultimately, it’s the price of potatoes and other essentials that matter.

Editorial: A Faulty Case to Relocate the Science Centre

Editorial: A Faulty Case to Relocate the Science Centre

Taking all of this into account, the actual cost for repairing the science centre may be closer to $350M, including a generous $100M allocation for renovations and new exhibitions, while the cost of a relocated science centre could be in the $1B range.

The government’s case for relocating the Ontario Science Centre argues that the smaller facility will attract more visitors. The estimates count on laying off 53 people—one of every six people who currently work at the Science Centre. In short, they are expecting that 50% more people will visit a facility that is 45% of the size of the current Science Centre, with a significantly reduced staff managing it all.

Let’s make no mistake: the new, enormously expensive facility wouldn’t be a beauty queen. In the preliminary plans, student spaces and classrooms are in the basement. The Ontario government plans to use a public-private partnership (P3) method to procure the building—it already put out a call for a PDC consultant last summer.

There is an imperative to change course on the shuttering and relocation of the Ontario Science Centre. While we may take it for granted, there is value in taking care of what we have: a magnificent, much-loved Ontario Science Centre that is in need of some TLC. The value of such a gem isn’t something we usually quantify, but if we did—in a neutral way—it’s clear how the business case would land.

Saturday

Peace Caravan Toronto May 25

 ON TO OTTAWA PEACE CARAVAN

TORONTO FORUM

 

SATURDAY MAY 25, 6:30-8:30 pm

60 Lowther Ave.

Near Bedford and Bloor, 2 blocks north of St. George Station

With optional art-making from 5 – 6 pm

Refreshments 6 - 6:30 pm

 

With peacemakers:

 

LYN ADAMSON, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

CATHY WALKER, Strong Hearted Woman

Of Mohawk & European descent Founder of Giwaabamin Street Clinic

ELLEN WOODSWORTH, Women’s Int’l League for Peace & Freedom

LORELEI WILLIAMS, Skatin and Sts'ailes First Nations

SETSUKO THURLOW, Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

JUDY REBICK, on women’s peace organizing history

RACHEL SMALL, World Beyond War organizer, Gaza arms embargo 

Music by Arnd Jurgensen and Cassie Norton


Call for independent science advocate at Fisheries Canada

Independent Science at Fisheries Canada

Gideon Mordecai as the Evidence Advocate of April. Gideon is a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries who studies the ecology of viruses. But his work to protect fisheries science extends far beyond the lab. For years, Gideon has highlighted the critical need to ensure that science has a voice at the decision-making table. We interviewed Gideon last summer on his recent study which reviewed how government science advice continues to be influenced by non-science interests at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“Canada has a legal duty to protect and conserve fish for Canadians, which is not being met. Failing to use the best science can be catastrophic.”— Gideon Mordecai

Voices like Gideon’s are essential in the fight for scientific integrity. That’s why, at E4D, we’re committed to supporting researchers looking to translate their research into policy action. Our vision is to foster more grassroots advocacy within the research community and grow a generation of Evidence Advocates who can play a pivotal role in moving the needle on science policy issues in government.

Advocacy is a powerful force for change. Imagine a space where seasoned advocates and budding grassroots movements converge to exchange ideas, resources, and grow support for science issues. This summer, we’re excited to launch a brand new Advocacy Hub for scientists and researchers from all disciplines. Our Advocacy Hub will be a one-stop-shop for Canadians, offering resources, opportunities, and tools to champion important issues within our democracy.

12 years after E4D’s inception, we’ve become a national organization of seasoned advocates leading the movement to stand up for evidence-informed decision-making in Canada. But it didn’t start out that way. We began as a small group of scientists who were frustrated with the government’s disregard for science and bravely fought for change. Today, we continue to hear the frustrations of many in our community who want to see policy changes that better protect the health of people and the environment.

Wednesday

Letter in support of renewal energy for Ontario

SEND A LETTER

The world is going renewable while Ontario lags far behind.

Wind and solar are now our cleanest and lowest cost sources of new electricity supply. Off-shore wind power in the Great Lakes alone could meet all our electricity needs.

Ontario needs to embrace the targets set at the recent COP28 climate summit and triple our wind and solar electricity capacity and double our energy efficiency by 2035.

Tripling Ontario’s wind and solar energy by 2035 will:

• Lower our electricity bills • Phase-out polluting gas power • Create good jobs • Provide clean power for Ontario’s manufacturing & mining industries • Help us meet our climate commitments • Reduce the need for more costly nuclear reactors.

Let’s TRIPLE wind and solar power and double our energy efficiency in Ontario by 2035!

MORE INFORMATION

Tuesday

SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE - Petition

SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE

This is a petition to save the Ontario Science Center "Ontario's Centre for Science and Nature Education".

The site also has downloadable, printable posters (for your apartment building, for instance)


Join the Movement to Keep Science Centre open in F

Carbon Markets Biased and Distorted and Undermined

IPS News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 9 2024 (IPS) - Carbon dioxide emission taxes, prices and markets have been touted as key to stopping global heating. However, carbon markets have failed mainly because they favour the rich and powerful.

Market solutions better?
Mainstream economists believe the best way to check global heating is to tax greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Equivalent ‘carbon prices’ have been set for the other significant GHGs. But many have been revised due to their moot, varied and unstable, arguably incomparable nature.

High carbon prices for GHG emissions are expected to persuade emitters to switch to ‘cleaner’ energy sources. Higher prices for energy-intensive goods and services are supposed to get consumers to buy less energy-intensive alternatives.

Positive carbon prices tax fossil fuels, GHG emissions, and products according to their energy intensity. Hence, when carbon prices fall, they deter fossil fuel use less effectively.

Developed countries have set up ‘carbon trading’ systems ostensibly to deter GHG emissions. Firms wanting to emit more than their assigned quotas must buy emission permits from others who commit to emit under quota.

Getting prices right?
Conventional economists believe carbon prices should cover the ‘social costs’ of GHG emissions, but disagree on how to estimate them. But policymakers believe it necessary to discount these prices to gain broad acceptance for carbon markets.

A recent International Monetary Fund paper acknowledged, “Differences between efficient prices and retail fuel prices are large and pervasive”. But such distortions undermine the very purpose of carbon pricing.

Gro Intelligence estimated the social cost of carbon emissions at $4.08 per metric tonne in 2022, which is used by the influential Gro-Kepos Carbon Barometer. But Resources for the Future estimated it at $185/tonne, over forty times higher!

While carbon prices are meant to tax fossil fuels, low prices reduce their deterrent effect. Fossil fuel subsidies lower carbon prices, which can even become negative. Such price subsidies undermine carbon markets’ intended effects.

Whenever carbon prices are discounted or deliberately kept low, they are much less effective in deterring GHG emissions. They also distort the price system with many other unintended, but perverse consequences.

Writing in the New York Times, Peter Coy noted the carbon price rose from under $4 per metric tonne in 2012 to almost $20/tonne in 2020 before dropping sharply to around $4/tonne in 2022!

Incredibly, he still concluded carbon prices were “headed in the right direction” since 2012. How low and volatile carbon prices are supposed to discourage fossil fuel use and accelerate renewable energy investments must be self-evident to him alone?

Western fossil fuel subsidies
Carbon prices shot up when fossil fuel energy prices spiked after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But they soon collapsed as European governments intervened to subsidise energy prices.

As the rich nations’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted, “government support for fossil fuels almost doubled in 2022” to over $1.4 trillion!

State subsidies rise with prices when governments try to mitigate rising fossil fuel prices. Such subsidies negate the purpose of carbon pricing, and can lower them so much as to become negative!

Such subsidies were deemed necessary to retain public support for NATO’s Ukraine war effort and to drive down Russian fossil fuel export prices. Thus, such ‘geopolitical’ interventions have undermined carbon taxes, prices and markets.

Carbon prices dropped sharply worldwide, from $18.97/tonne in 2021 to $4.08 in 2022. In 2022, nine of the 26 countries in the Barometer had negative prices, with only six – not the US – above $25.

Oil and natural gas prices have since fallen from their 2022 peaks, with consumer subsidies declining correspondingly. Hence, carbon prices for GHG emissions have recovered.

Such price subsidies and volatility do not help enterprises plan and invest their energy use – crucial to accelerate needed ‘carbon transitions’.

Unsurprisingly, after over a decade, there is little evidence that carbon markets have effectively cut GHG emissions to avert climate catastrophe. Clearly, they cannot be counted upon to cut them sufficiently.

Sudan: Call for an Arms Embargo

 The ongoing conflict in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has left over 14,600 people killed nationwide and over 8 million people displaced including nearly 2 million of them seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Sign the petition and demand an arms embargo to contribute to the protection of civilians.

The people of Sudan feel forgotten amidst the spiraling violence across the country, where parties to the conflict are causing untold death and destruction.

Caught in the middle of fighting, they have no food, water, or access to medical services, and with limited internet, civilians have no access to information about safe passage or where to find medicine.

The warring parties have fought their war for a year with little regard for human rights and international humanitarian law.

People are being killed inside their homes, or while desperately searching for food, water, and medicine. They are caught in crossfire while fleeing and shot deliberately in targeted attacks. Women and girls, some as young as 12, have been raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence by members of the warring sides.

Nowhere is safe. With every minute that passes countless lives are ruined. We need to act now and demand the United Nations Security Council to extend the existing arms embargo to the whole country and not only to Darfur region and ensure it is fully implemented. This will disrupt the flow of weapons and contribute to reduce civilian suffering.

PETITION: ARMS EMBARGO NOW! 
To: Canada and the United Nations

For over a year, the people of Sudan have been neglected and ignored as they bore the brunt of violent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) against the Rapid Special Forces (RSF). Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to end violations, protect civilians, provide sufficient humanitarian aid, or hold the perpetrators of war crimes to account.

The UN Security Council must act now to disrupt the flow of arms in Sudan. Imposing an arms embargo will help reduce civilian suffering.

We call on you to:

  • Extend the existing arms embargo to the whole country and not only to Darfur region.
  • Ensure that the embargo is fully implemented.

Grassy Narrows River Run, Sept 24 (sign up form)

 On September 18th, 2024 we invite you to walk with Grassy Narrows youth and community members to show that we are with them on their path to achieve mercury justice and freedom!

Grassy Narrows people are powerful leaders in the movement for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. They have shown that together we can fight for justice against all odds and make real gains. But so much is still needed to right the wrong of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.

RSVP here to say that you will show up in solidarity and walk with them in their fight for justice.  RSVP is intended to help us plan for the day but is not mandatory to attend the event

Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle has said “no” to the nuclear waste storage site proposed in the Wabigoon River watershed near Ignace. This week, Turtle sent a fourth letter to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization opposing the proposed development citing fears of contamination. He said three letters of concern that he sent to the organization on July 2, 2020, and in 2022 on Feb. 7 and Oct. 7, received no response from the organization. In his latest letter this week, he said, “The water from that (repository) site flows past our reserve and into the waters where we fish, drink, and swim. The material that you want to store there will be dangerous for longer than Canada has existed, longer than Europeans have been on Turtle Island, and longer than anything that human beings have ever built has lasted.” He asked, “How can you reliably claim that this extremely dangerous waste will safely be contained for hundreds of thousands of years?” Turtle spoke to The Chronicle-Journal about the community’s concerns. “They explain that it’s deep underground, but regardless, we’re very concerned that in the future, there could be possible leaks that come down river towards our area,”

Gaza: UN passes Ceasefire Motion. NDP motion makes history

 https://www.ceasefire.ca/unsc-passes-ceasefire-resolution-and-amended-ndp-motion-makes-history/


To summarize, the amended motion calls for the government to:

  • demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages
  • Cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel
  • ensure continued funding to UNRWA
  • support the prosecution of all international law violations in the region
  • support the work of the ICJ and the ICC
  • demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza
  • expand access to temporary resident visa program for Gaza
  • sanction extremist settlers
  • reaffirm the illegality of settlements [in OPT] and advocate for an end to the decades long occupation of the Palestinian territories;
  • work to pursue a comprehensive peace and the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution

The vote was Yes 204, No 117
The Conservatives and three Liberals voted against the amended motion. The Liberal Cabinet and the vast majority of Liberal MPs, together with the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party, voted for the amended motion.

Petition to Gov of Canada re Nuclear Waste Management - COC

Petition e-4852 - Petitions

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been engaged since 2010 in a multi-step process to site a deep geological repository to emplace the high-level nuclear (irradiated fuel) waste from all of Canada’s nuclear power reactors;
  • The NWMO project will involve the transportation, processing, burial and abandonment of an estimated seven million bundles of radioactive waste over a 50-year period which would be extended by additional reactor construction or refurbishments;
  • The NWMO has repeatedly stated that it will not proceed without an “informed and willing” community;
  • There are scientific and public concerns about the risks of radioactive exposures along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream from the repository site under both normal operating and accident conditions;
  • The Government of Canada has affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which sets out that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent (Article 29); and
  • Canadian law recognizes that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment (CEPA 2023).
We, the undersigned, citizens, residents and Indigenous peoples of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to demonstrate that it has the consent of residents and communities, including First Nations and Treaty Organizations, along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream of the candidate repository site(s) before selecting a site.

from the Council of Canadians

Thursday

Petition against Privatization of Via Rail

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • Passenger rail is a safe, efficient, sustainable, affordable, and accessible mode of public transportation;
  • Due to federal cutbacks and underinvestment over many years, Canada’s current passenger rail services lag far behind those available in other countries;
  • Since its creation in 1978, VIA Rail has lacked both the legislative mandate and stable budget necessary to maintain and expand passenger rail service in Canada;
  • While VIA Rail's on-time performance on tracks it owns is over 90 percent, it is only 60 percent on tracks it shares with other railways;
  • Rail privatization and outsourcing schemes in other countries have led to higher fares, reduced service, deteriorating safety performance, and lower salaries for workers;
  • Unlike other public passenger rail providers around the world, VIA Rail lacks representation from passengers and workers on its board of directors; and
  • In its Corporate Plan, VIA has warned that its long-distance fleet, built in the 1950s, is overdue for replacement, without which it will soon be unable to provide services in Atlantic and Western Canada.
We, the undersigned, Residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Incorporate the contents of Bills C-371, the Rail Passenger Priority Act, and C-236/C-640 (41-2) the VIA Rail Canada Act, in a Government Bill and prioritize its passage through the legislative process;
2. Commit, in the 2024 federal budget, the funds necessary to renew VIA Rail’s long-distance fleet;
3. Provide passenger and worker representation on VIA Rail’s board of directors; and
4. Revise the High Frequency Rail project to protect VIA Rail’s role in delivering public passenger rail service along the Windsor to Quebec City corridor.

Monday

Naomi Klein, Hisham Matar, Maaza Mengiste and More Have Withdrawn From the PEN World Voices Festival

 https://lithub.com/naomi-klein-isabella-hammad-maaza-mengiste-and-more-have-withdrawn-from-the-pen-world-voices-festival/


Naomi Klein, Michelle Alexander, Hisham Matar, Isabella Hammad, Maaza Mengiste, Zaina Arafat, and Susan Muaddi Darraj are among the writers who have signed a damning open letter to PEN America in which they announce their decision not to participate in this year’s PEN World Voices Festival due to the organization’s inadequate response to the unfolding genocide in Gaza.

“In the context of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza,” the letter reads, “we believe that PEN America has betrayed the organization’s professed commitment to peace and equality for all, and to freedom and security for writers everywhere.” The letter goes on to detail the various ways in which PEN America has failed Palestinian writers and journalists—as well as their allies in the United States—since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza, and take the organization to task for declining “to join other leading human rights organizations and United Nations officials in the demands for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.”

One of the world’s most high profile literary events, and the centerpiece of PEN America’s annual programming, the PEN World Voices Festival is a weeklong celebration of international literature which has taken place in New York and Los Angeles each April/May since 2005. Its 20th incarnation is likely to be the rockiest on record, however, as the past three months have seen the 102-year-old free expression organization mired in controversy.

Friday

 https://www.ndp.ca/vote-for-peace?source=20240315_INBND_PLIS_1_FORWARD_NWMODE_NDP_EN_INBND&utm_medium=INBND&utm_source=NWMODE&utm_campaign=Palestine%2FIsrael_INBND&utm_content=20240315_INBND_PLIS_1_FORWARD_NWMODE_NDP_EN_INBND

For five months we have watched horror unfold in Gaza and in Israel. We grieve with two peoples utterly traumatized by violence, death, and terror. And we are outraged by Canada’s failure to take actions to try to stop it.

Palestinians are suffering on a massive scale from Netanyahu’s bombardments and ground offensive in Gaza. So many innocent people – including thousands of children – have been killed. Many more are forcibly displaced, injured, and now starving. Canadians are terrified for their friends and family in Gaza. Gaza is the worst place in the world to be a child. 

Canadians also continue to mourn friends and family in Israel who were killed in the horrible Hamas terror attacks and fear for their futures. Those whose loved ones were taken hostage fear every day that they will never see them again.  

We are witnessing the complete failure of the international community to uphold international law and the failure of the Liberal government to lead us in the right direction.  

Prime Minister, for five months we have urged you to find the moral courage to take actions to stop this horror. We are outraged by your failure to act. 

Canada cannot stand by while thousands more die.   

In the absence of action from your government, the NDP have put forward a motion calling on your government to: 

- Demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages; 

- Suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas; 

- Immediately reinstate funding and ensure long-term continued funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and support the independent investigation; 

- Support the prosecution of all crimes and violations of international law committed in the region, and support the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court; 

- Demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza; 

- Ensure Canadians trapped in Gaza can reach safety in Canada and lift the arbitrary cap of 1000 temporary resident visa applications; 

- Ban extremist settlers from entering Canada, impose sanctions on Israeli officials who incite genocide, and maintain sanctions on Hamas leaders;  

- Advocate for an end to the decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories and work toward a two-state solution;  

- Officially recognize the State of Palestine and maintain Canada’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist and to live in peace with its neighbours. 

Canada must call on Israel and Hamas to end this violence NOW, and work towards a sustainable solution where Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and security, with full recognition of their human rights.  

Saturday

Amazon rainforest teetering on the brink of destruction - Petition

Amazon rainforest teetering on the brink of destruction
in the vast, green heart of the Peruvian Amazon, a big problem runs deep – the threat of oil drilling and the decrepit “Oleoducto Norperuano” This pipeline, owned by PetroPerĂș, has caused over 90 oil spills over the last 20 years. Imagine crude oil spilling into rivers and forests, harming the land where Indigenous communities live, their water, and their food. It's a disaster that's happened too many times and one that never gets remediated.  

 Now, here's where things get even more troubling. Spanish bank, Santander, has provided substantial financial support, approximately $1 billion, for the expansion and upgrade of the Talara refinery – directly contradicting its environmental commitments. The Talara refinery, also owned by PetroPerĂș is where the oil from the Oleoducto Norperuano is processed and exported. This makeover will see the refinery’s processing capability jump from 65,000 barrels of oil per day to 95, 000 – further exacerbating the oil demand and threat to the ecological integrity of Amazonia. With the bank's Annual General Meeting scheduled for March 22nd, the timing is critical for your voice to be heard. It is paramount that Santander is held accountable for its environmental policies and stop financing projects that harm vital ecosystems.

PETITION on website for StandEarth, link above.

Canada reinstates UNRWA funding on International Women’s Day | Ceasefire.ca

Canada reinstates UNRWA funding on International Women’s Day | Ceasefire.ca

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 30,000 people, displaced more than 85% of the 2.3 million-strong population from their homes and left more than half of the strip’s infrastructure in ruins, according to data from Gaza’s health ministry and the UN. – The Guardian 

 US plans to build a floating port off the Gaza coast to bring in more aid You need drivers, trucks and a distribution system that doesn’t exist. – President of Refugees International.  The US plans to build a floating port off the Gaza coast on which shipborne food aid can be unloaded from ships from Larnaca, Cyprus and a causeway for it to be driven onshore. The question is, then what? Most of Gaza’s population, the majority of whom have been displaced several times over, are not concentrated at the beach. Jeremy Konyndyk, a former senior aid official in the Biden administration and now president of the Refugees International aid advocacy group, asks: Who is going to distribute it? [Our] presence in northern Gaza is pretty close to zero because the Israelis have wanted everyone out and then have been restricting access to the north ever since.

Friday

Tell your MP: Vote for the NDP motion on Palestine! - CJPME Content Site

Tell your MP: Vote for the NDP motion on Palestine! - CJPME Content Site

On March 18, Parliament will finally be voting on an important motion in support of Palestine. This the first opportunity since Oct. 7 that MPs will be asked to vote individually on questions related to Israel’s genocide in Gaza, so this is extremely significant.  

The motion, introduced by the NDP, includes important proposals on how to respond to Israel’s current genocidal war on Gaza and the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that has ensued. These include an immediate ceasefire, an arms embargo, the resumption of aid funding for UNRWA, and more – items that CJPME and others have advocated for months. Please join CJPME in demanding that all MPs vote in support of the NDP motion on March 18.

Use the fields below to send an email to your local MP and the political party leaders and demand that they vote YES in support of the NDP motion for Palestine. Parliament must stand up for an end to the bloodshed. Make sure that your MP is counted

Open Letter & Petition to the Israeli and U.S. Governments and Others Weaponizing the Issue of Rape

Open Letter to the Israeli and U.S. Governments and Others Weaponizing the Issue of Rape | Portside: Whether we identify as feminists, as Jews, as anti-zionists, as all of the above, or as allies, and wherever we are based in the world, we proclaim that we can hold many truths simultaneously in our heads and in our hearts; that is what we do every minute of every day. 

We excoriate rape and all forms of sexual assault against anyone of any gender or age – whether perpetrated by Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) or anyone else. We also excoriate carpet bombing of civilians, deadly blockades of food, water and fuel, use of illegal chemical weapons, targeted murders of journalists and aid workers, decimation of homes, hospitals, schools, houses of worship, infrastructure and entire family lines, annihilation of culture, kidnapping and hostage-taking, and all war crimes when committed by any party.

Israel’s current campaign to discredit feminists – especially feminists of color, Arab feminists and Jewish anti-zionist feminists – and others critical of its lethal offensive against Palestinians is insulting and dishonest, but it is nothing new. We see it for what it is: a cynical attempt to incite public fury and deflect attention from the genocide it is perpetrating. And far too many public figures and elected officials have allowed themselves to become participants in this onslaught of accusations against us.

So, let us once again make ourselves clear: We condemn rape. We condemn genocide. And we also condemn the opportunistic manipulation of the issue of sexual assault by those committing war crimes themselves – or by anyone else.

We support the investigation initiated by the highly-qualified members of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into the entire range of war crimes committed during both the October 7 Hamas attack and the Israeli state’s subsequent assault on Gaza – an effort in which Israel thus far has refused to participate. We also support additional inquiries into these sexual assault allegations conducted by impartial feminist and human rights authorities with proven expertise in, and sensitivity about, sexual violence, as well as provision of a comprehensive range of services for all survivors by those explicitly trained in addressing sexual trauma. Additionally, we urge investigation into reported atrocities by both Israeli military personnel and non-state actors – including vigilante settler groups – throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Finally, we continue to raise our voices as part of the world-wide call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages and political prisoners, termination of U.S. military aid to Israel and an end to Israeli apartheid.

Below is a list of initial signers of this statement.

Please click here if you would like to add your name; the list will be updated periodically.

Wednesday

War on Gaza: SIGN THE PETITION NOW - Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

War on Gaza: SIGN THE PETITION NOW - Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

The war on Gaza continues. Last Friday the International Court of Justice concluded that Israel is plausibly committing genocide. This charge will be pursued. In the meantime the ICJ called for interim provisional measures to ensure that genocidal acts are prevented and that aid is delivered. In the days that followed hundreds more Palestinians have been killed and injured. There has not been a ceasefire, which would stop the bombing and be the best chance for both releasing the hostages and releasing Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Right now, everyone in Gaza is being held hostage in a horrific war that has killed or injured 5% of the population and destroyed 60% of the country’s buildings and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and universities.

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace calls on Canada to stop sending arms to Israel, to restore funding to UNRWA and for steps to be taken for a just resolution.  


Israel Not Complying with World Court Order in Genocide Case | Human Rights Watch

Israel Not Complying with World Court Order in Genocide Case | Human Rights Watch

Other countries should use all forms of leverage, including sanctions and embargoes, to press the Israeli government to comply with the court’s binding orders in the genocide case, Human Rights Watch said.

Israeli authorities have kept its supply of electricity for Gaza shut off since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks. After initially cutting the entire supply of water that Israel provides to Gaza via three pipelines, Israel resumed piping on two of its three lines. However, due to the cuts and widespread destruction to water infrastructure amid unrelenting Israeli air and ground operations, only one of those lines remained operational at only 47 percent capacity as of February 20. Officials at the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility told Human Rights Watch on February 20 that Israeli authorities have obstructed efforts to repair the water infrastructure.

According to data published by OCHA and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the daily average number of trucks entering Gaza with food, aid, and medicine dropped by more than a third in the weeks following the ICJ ruling: 93 trucks between January 27 and February 21, 2024, compared to 147 trucks between January 1 and 26, and only 57 between February 9 and 21. A survey of impediments to the entry of aid faced by 24 humanitarian organizations operating in Gaza between January 26 and February 15 pointed to a lack of transparency around how aid trucks can enter Gaza, delays and denials at Israeli crossings and inspection points, and concerns about safety of trucks.

By comparison, an average of 500 trucks of food and goods entered Gaza each day before the escalation in hostilities in October, during which time 1.2 million people in Gaza were estimated to be facing acute food insecurity, and 80 percent of Gaza’s population were reliant on humanitarian aid amid Israel's more than 16-year-long unlawful closure.

High-ranking Israeli officials have articulated a policy to deprive civilians of food, water, and fuel, as Human Rights Watch has documented. The Israeli government spokesperson said more recently that there are “no limits” to aid entering Gaza, outside of security. Some Israeli officials blame the UN for distribution delays and accuse Hamas of diverting aid or Gaza police for failing to secure convoys.

Monday

Pope Francis renews call for Ceasefire in Gaza -

 YOUTUBE VIDEO

January 27, 2024

Pope Francis made a renewed call for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying that because of global conflict “too many children continue to suffer, to be exploited and to die.” Francis made the remarks during an address to an Italian nonprofit fundraising for a Rwandan orphanage.

Quaker organisations call for a ceasefire and humanitarian protections in Gaza | QUNO

Quaker organisations call for a ceasefire and humanitarian protections in Gaza | QUNO: Stop the violence and allow humanitarian access to Gaza — this is the strong call from Quakers from around the world in a statement issued this week. The Quaker United Nations Office was among signatories to this statement, along with Quaker organisations that work on the ground in Palestine and Israel. 
 “The Israeli government must grant access and safety to the U.N. (United Nations) and humanitarian agencies to fulfill their duties. Instead of further bloodshed, we need immediate humanitarian access for Gaza and adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law,” reads the statement. 
 “We demand that national leaders, faith leaders, and journalists use their power and influence to bring a bold voice for humanitarian protection and to end ongoing war crimes. Wherever there have been war crimes and violations of International Humanitarian Law, there must be accountability.” In their statement, Quakers also said that “violence such as this is never justifiable, and we insist that a ceasefire must be realized along with the return of all hostages”.
 “Following the start of Israel’s attack, Israel also intensified its siege of Gaza, blocking access to water, food, fuel, electricity, and medicine in an act of collective punishment. It directly impacts all people in Gaza.  “People are going hungry and thirsty, and thousands are injured. Medicine is running out, hospitals do not have power and are operating on generators with limited fuel supplies, and overwhelmed medical facilities cannot help those in need. People are dying as a preventable humanitarian crisis deepens. “The moral authority of the international community will be evaluated based on its response to the needs of communities in peril. The time for action is now.”

(the Quakers issued this in Oct 2023). 

UUA Condemns Violence Against Gaza, Urges Immediate and Total Ceasefire | Press Releases | UUA.org

UUA Condemns Violence Against Gaza, Urges Immediate and Total Ceasefire | Press Releases | UUA.org: This statement was developed by the Office of the President and other senior national staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), grounded in the values of Unitarian Universalism and in conversation with previous resolutions, statements, and actions passed by General Assembly, the UUA’s democratically-elected governing body. 

 There are crystallizing moments in the course of history when, in spite of the differences that exist among us, our common reverence for life demands that we speak with moral courage and clarity on the side of love. As people of faith and conviction, Unitarian Universalists share a belief that every human life is sacred, endowed with worth and dignity from the moment of birth, with no person more deserving of freedom and flourishing than any other. Our living tradition has long maintained that the only hells that exist are those that we create for one another, here on earth.

Friday

J Street Welcomes Resetting American Policy on Settlements: ‘Inconsistent with International Law’ -

J Street Welcomes Resetting American Policy on Settlements: ‘Inconsistent with International Law’ - J Street

J Street welcomes Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s clear statement today that “new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace,” are “inconsistent with international law” and expansion “only weakens, doesn’t strengthen” Israel’s security.

This move marks an explicit rejection of the Trump-era ‘Pompeo Doctrine’ – restoring US acknowledgment that settlement construction on occupied territory is a violation of international law.

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said, “J Street called on candidate Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign to reverse the Trump Administration’s permissive view of settlements, which overturned decades of bipartisan American policy. This has been a clear, consistent request by J Street over the last three years, and we welcome the Secretary’s remarks today.”

“Now, the administration must make clear that, particularly in light of the volatility of the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians, there must be no further expansion of the settlement enterprise. The United States government should take further steps to enforce its view – and the view of the international community – that the creeping annexation of the West Bank must stop, including through use of the Executive Order issued by President Biden on February 1.”

The Secretary’s comments follow a provocative announcement yesterday by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich of plans to advance over 3,000 settlement units as part of “deepening our eternal grip on the entire Land of Israel.”

Tuesday

Danielle Smith and gender affirming care - petition

Right now in Alberta, Premier Danielle Smith is launching an all-cylinder assault on medically-necessary healthcare for trans people.1

It’s nothing more than a cynical move to pander to her far right base amid the rising popularity of Trump-style culture wars in Canada. But if she gets her way, Smith’s latest fixation will harm queer and trans people across the province – forcing young people back into the closet and drastically increasing the incidences of youth self-harm and suicides.2

It’s a well-documented fact: gender-affirming care saves lives.3,4 And denying medically-necessary care to anyone goes against the very premise of Canada’s health care system.

Alberta receives billions every year in federal healthcare funding via the Canada Health Transfer.5 Will you sign the petition calling on federal Minister of Health Mark Holland to make access to gender-affirming care a condition of the Canada Health Transfer for all provinces?

 PETITION

Thursday

Council of Canadians 2nd letter calling for ceasefirel

 LINK

CALLING FOR A CEASEFIRE IN GAZA: OPEN LETTER TO PM TRUDEAU AND MINISTER JOLY

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Joly,

I am writing on behalf of the Council of Canadians, including 150,000 supporters and 45 chapters across the country, to urge your government to publicly support the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and take immediate measures to comply with its orders that all states must work to prevent genocide in the Gaza strip. Your government must:

  • actively work for an immediate ceasefire, a negotiated release of all hostages, and an end to the longstanding blockade of Gaza by the Israeli government;
  • ensure increased and uninterrupted humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, including by reversing your pause in funding for UNRWA, and;
  • immediately suspend all arms exports to Israel, which in 2022 were valued at more than $21 million.

While the full ICJ investigation is ongoing, the Court has found that there is a plausible case that Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute genocide, and the provisional measures it recommended on January 26, 2024, were clear: Israel and the international community must take immediate steps to prevent a genocide and any further loss of life. To date, more than 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, including nearly 10,000 children.

This ruling has major implications for Canada and must be treated with utmost seriousness. As a signatory to the Genocide Convention, Canada is obliged to act in accordance with the court’s ruling and take steps to end the destruction of civilian life in Gaza.

Canada has the power and leverage – and indeed a moral and legal obligation – to help bring an immediate end to the violence and destruction inflicted on Palestinians. Your government’s inaction places Canada at odds with the majority of Western governments, including the European Union, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium.

While the recent announcement of $40 million in aid is an important ongoing commitment, pausing funding to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) makes it more likely that Gazans will die from famine and increased diseases they are facing because of Israel’s military actions. UNRWA is a critical agency on the ground whose services cannot be replaced by other organizations. It has said it will be forced to stop operations by the end of February if funding is not restored. We are adding our voices to the dozens of leading aid groups around the world in urging you to change course.

There can be no military solution to this crisis. The humanitarian crisis, ICJ ruling, and spreading conflict across the region require immediate action to prevent further violence. Only a durable ceasefire can prevent further loss of life and create the conditions for a lasting and just peace.

Guyana, Leading the UN Security Council, Is Not Giving Up on a Ceasefire in Gaza

PassBlue LInk

The United Nations Security Council’s continuing failure to agree on a ceasefire in Gaza is troubling many members, including Guyana, which assumes the rotating presidency of the Council on Feb. 1. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Guyana’s permanent representative to the UN, told PassBlue that her country would continue to lead the conversation to get more humanitarian support to the people of Gaza.

“Several members of the Council continue to call for a ceasefire, but we have at least one Council member that is not at that point as yet,” Rodrigues-Birkett said. “I can tell you that Guyana will continue to call for this as it is with the other members. We have to go back to the mandate of the Council in the maintenance of peace and security around the world.”

The United States, a permanent Council member, is the only country in the body still resisting calls for a ceasefire. Jeffrey Laurenti, an international affairs analyst formerly with the Century Foundation think tank and a UN expert, told PassBlue that Guyana’s effort as rotating president would achieve nothing until President Joe Biden is ready to push “a ceasefire down Israel’s throat.”

Wednesday

How To Read the ICJ Decision and End Genocide, War and Settler Colonialism

 ARTICLE
On Jan. 26, the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, issued a historic decision that some progressives applauded while others decried it as not going far enough to demand a ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza.

The decision was a partial ruling in a case taken against Israel by the government of South Africa, an interesting note given that some — myself included — have been suggesting for months that the best path for peace and justice in the region will follow a pattern similar to the one that brought an end to the political apartheid of the racist South African regime of the 20th century.

In order to not lose sight of the ultimate goal — an end to the genocide, war and settler colonialism in Palestine — a better understanding of the ICJ decision is crucial. Here then, are answers to four of the most common questions stemming from the legalese inherent to international law mandates. As you’ll see, this better understanding reveals the tools activists can use to organize more strategically

South Africa says Israel ignoring UN court's ruling to prevent deaths in Gaza

LINK TO  AP ARTICLE

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Israel has ignored the ruling by the 
U.N.'s top court last week by killing hundreds more civilians in a matter of days in Gaza, South Africa’s foreign minister said Wednesday, adding that her country has asked why an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been issued in a case South Africa filed at the separate International Criminal Court.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa would “look at proposing other measures to the global community” in a bid to stop Israel killing civilians during its war in Gaza against Hamas militants, but didn’t go into details.

The preliminary ruling by the U.N.’s International Court of Justice in South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide against Palestinians in the territory. It stopped short of ordering a cease-fire. It also ruled Israel must urgently get basic humanitarian aid to Gaza and submit a report on steps taken to abide by the ruling within a month.

A top official in South Africa’s foreign ministry has said the country hopes that Friday’s ruling, and whether Israel is abiding by it, will be discussed on a wider level at the United Nations, possibly as early as Wednesday.