The Canadian Boat to Gaza

The Canadian Boat to Gaza

March 24, 2011 14:30 ET

Prominent Canadians Support the Boat to Gaza: Taking to the Sea Because We Cannot Remain Silent in the Face of a Crime Against Humanity

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 24, 2011) - Today, more than a dozen prominent Canadians, Francophones & Anglophones, indigenous people and representatives from different political, cultural, social and religious backgrounds join with several civil society groups to launch a united call in support of the boat sailing to Gaza (canadaboatgaza.org) this spring to break the Israeli military blockade, as part of the Freedom Flotilla II.

United mainly by their humanism and their faith in the fundamentals of human rights, individuals and groups involved in this project chose to put aside the differences that often divide them on other issues and to forge a common front to challenge the illegal blockade that the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Human Rights Council has called "a crime against humanity."

Warren Allmand, the Solicitor General of Canada under Trudeau who currently teaches international human rights at McGill University, "confirms this judgment." While Raymond Gravel, a Catholic priest and former MP representing the riding of Repentigny for the Bloc Quebecois, stresses that "Israel is acting in a violent and inhumane way towards the civilian population of Gaza."

The author and journalist Gil Courtemanche cannot help but "make connections with the logic of the apartheid system that long existed in South Africa," while actress and winner of the Artist for Peace Prize, Pascale Montpetit, expressed her "inability to comprehend the political choices of a government that deliberately starves 1.5 million civilians."

Ellen Gabriel, a well-known Aboriginal leader states that "the attempt to eliminate the history and presence of a people from their ancestral lands is a despicable crime against all of humanity, which morally, culturally and socially impoverishes all of us, "; While Nicole Filion from the Ligue des droits et libertés protests against the movement that tries to silence the voices advocating a boycott of Israeli products and denouncing Israel and its crimes.

For Françoise David and Amir Khadir of Québec solidaire, "the right for populations to decide for themselves is not negotiable. Similarly, the imposition of the blockade is not acceptable because of the dramatic human impact it entails. We therefore support the Canadian boat to Gaza."

As for Yakov Rabkin of Independent Jewish Voices, "The siege of Gaza, like any siege of a civilian population is a crime. More and more Jews condemn it, denouncing the claim of the State of Israel that it acts on behalf of Jews throughout the world."

The filmmaker and novelist Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette says that after her many visits and filming in the area she considers it her "duty to take a stand for the project, and that the Canadian boat to Gaza is acting in a concrete and peaceful way". For his part, the sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, seethes about "the violence of the Israeli army against the Palestinian people" and goes on to call the boat to Gaza "a noble gesture".

For Dr. Bachar ElSolh of the Canadian Muslim Federation, "supporting this project is something that is obvious when you know even a little about the situation in Gaza."

Among the public figures that came out to support the project, there were also representatives from labour groups such as Christian Martel of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the FTQ, the National Federation of Teachers of Quebec (FNEEQ), the Montreal Metropolitan Central Council (CSN), and the regional FTQ Council of Metropolitan Montreal.

The Quebec Association of International Cooperation Agencies (AQOCI), on behalf of 65 NGOs in Quebec, was represented by Brian Barton, as along with civic groups such as FRAPRU.

All these public figures and associations call on the public to support the project by making a donation on the site canadaboatgaza.org " $240,000 has already been collected in just a few months, simply by word-of-mouth. We are confident that with today's appeal, we can quickly achieve the goal of $300,000 needed to complete the project" says Stéphan Corriveau, a volunteer who coordinates the Quebec branch of the project.

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