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Holocaust survivor urges solidarity and justice

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

Thank you for issuing a belated apology from Canada to the Jews from Germany who sought refuge here in 1939 as they desperately fled the Nazi murder machine.

Unfortunately, your apology rings hollow when, in the name of Canadians and the whole Jewish people, you denounce the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which Palestinians and their supporters around the world are using to pressure their Israeli persecutors and colonizers to respect Palestinian human rights and abide by international law.

The BDS campaign embodies the humanitarian values we hold so dear by defending Palestinian victims of the illegal Israeli occupation of their lands, protesting their unequal treatment within Israel, and supporting their quest to be liberated from the world's largest open-air prison, where they are confined in Gaza. Your expression of regret for the “callousness of Canada’s response” in 1939 would resonate more convincingly if you would speak with equal empathy for unarmed Palestinians being shot down by Israeli snipers as they engage in non-violent protest marches.

As someone who is a Holocaust survivor, I am alive today because I was hidden in France within Nazi territory by farming people inspired by love for all of humanity. We must all demonstrate the spirit of human solidarity that Canada failed to show in 1939 to counter the persecution and suffering of all afflicted peoples, including the Palestinians.

Suzanne Berliner Weiss
Member, Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Image: Flickr/European_parliament

Suzanne Berliner Weiss, a child hidden in France under Nazi occupation, is a social activist and writer based in Toronto.

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