This past weekend I got a call from an activist friend asking if I was interested in being part of an action on Tuesday. I had the day free and could see no reason not to take part. I was asked to be a disrupter at a luncheon at the Canadian Club in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The title of the event: Modern Trade Made Possible: a NextGen Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. The guest speakers were François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of International Trade, and Eli Cohen, Israel's Minister of Economy and Industry.
The promo read:
"Canada and Israel's Free Trade Agreement was built on historic ties, deep people-to-people links and common values. As the world finds itself challenging trade orthodoxy, Canada and Israel have worked quietly behind the scenes to modernize and improve their trade agreement to make it more accessible, more 21st-Century relevant and more productive. Join Canadian Club Toronto on May 29 to find out how modern trade is possible and how Canada and Israel are redefining how it can be done and how more people can benefit."
I prepared my statement in advance with the idea that I would read it, as you can see in the video.
"I am SandraLaya Ruch, a Canadian-Israeli, and I have been a Jewish spiritual leader in the community for over 30 years. A trade agreement with Israel puts blood on the hands of Canadians. Palestinians are calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. We all must heed the call.
"Israel is killing innocent people, killing and imprisoning children. Canada must call for an investigation into the murders of innocent Palestinians. Canadians of conscience cannot condone benefitting from the lives of innocent women, children and men."
The other disruptors were Dimitri Lascaris, Stephen Ellis and Hammam Farah, with Lia Tarachansky videographing it all.
As I write, the number of views is at 25,000. This is the kind of action we need to get our message out to the world. I strongly believe that everyone must do their part as they are able. Whether you are taking part in disruptions like this, or flashmobs, or marching in the streets, boycotting Israeli products, lobbying your government leaders, writing letters, signing petitions, developing strategies or sharing on social media, we all have an obligation to bring justice and peace to Palestine.
I believe that it is absolutely necessary for Canadian Jews of conscience to become members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. Increase our numbers -- pay the low membership fee or pay what you can -- but join. Join today -- don't wait! We are not a fringe organization. We are the voices! Let's make sure we are heard!
At this time the Freedom Flotilla has boats that are on the move toward Gaza as their final destination. The people of Gaza have given their endorsement and support of the boats. I urge you to follow the Canadian Boat to Gaza on the web, Facebook, Twitter (see below), and (new!) Instagram, and share our posts widely.
Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla
SandraLaya Ruch is a member of IJV Spiritual and Cultural Committee. She is the former national coordinator of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. She is a Celebrant of Life Cycle events at Miriamswell and the Founding Ritual Director at the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute.
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