September 20, 2011
Mr. Farid Ayed, President, Canadian Arab Federation
Dear Mr. Ayed
I am writing on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) of Vancouver to offer our support for your Federal Court legal battle against Minister Jason Kenney and the Conservative government. Your case is just one of many instances of the Conservative government and pro-Israel supporters using political, legal, bureaucratic, financial and media campaigns to undermine and suppress those who support human rights in Israel/Palestine and oppose the illegal occupation of the Palestine territories.
The Seriously Free Speech Committee began in Spring 2008 as a defense committee for three individuals who were taken to Court for allegedly producing a parody of the Vancouver Sun and its biased coverage of Palestine/Israel. Our campaign did much to expose the ongoing intimidation of Palestinian supporters and eventually ended when Canwest went bankrupt and the Court case was set aside.
Since that time we have expanded our mandate to support other individuals and organizations who are being attacked for their support for human rights in Israel/Palestine. SFSC has conducted a major public education campaign and participated in the political lobbying against the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) and the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) Ottawa Protocol. It looks like our work in this area will be reactivated as a result of recent statements by the Conservative government regarding the Ottawa Protocol and its re-introduction of the so-called anti-terrorism legislation.
In addition, we have supported campaigns such as the Jenny Peto case, the attempted exclusion of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) from the Toronto Gay Pride parade, Kairos, attempts at UBC to block a donation to the Canadian Boat to Gaza and the refusal to allow George Galloway entry into Canada.
While there may be political or tactical differences among the many groups that support human rights in Israel/Palestine, it is important for us to unite in protecting free speech from the harassments outlined above.
I am pleased to attach a cheque for $500 for your very important legal battle against the funding cuts directed at the Canadian Arab Federation. A positive decision on your behalf will strengthen all organizations and individuals in Canada who want to oppose the illegal occupation.
Co-Chair, Seriously Free Speech Committee