The Seriously Free Speech Committee
The Seriously Free Speech Committee is committed to free expression of views on Israel/Palestine. Members are concerned about growing intimidation, censorship and legal threats against individuals and organizations who criticize Israel’s actions. Last year, an informal coalition of MPs from the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP held hearings into what they call a “new antisemitism.” They focused on political protests such as Israeli Apartheid Week on college campuses and organizations like KAIROS that supports the rights and welfare of Palestinians. The coalition (CPCCA) plans to release its report in November. It is likely to recommend that human rights legislation and hate speech laws be altered to consider criticism of Israel as a form of antisemitism and be outlawed.
Seriously Free Speech Committee members are strongly committed to a free and open discussion of the contentious issues in the Middle East. They are calling on Canadians to contact their MPs and make clear that they oppose using baseless charges of antisemitism as a means to silence critics, to stifle free speech and to defend Israel no matter what it does.
Co-Chairs, Seriously Free Speech Committee
- We believe that free speech is fundamental to other democratic rights and that political criticism is the bedrock of free speech.
- We believe there is a concerted effort both in Canada and internationally to suppress open discussion on the subject of the Palestine/Israel conflict. This effort manifests itself in the media, in educational institutions, and in government, and includes attempts to criminalize or otherwise stigmatize criticism of Israel. We are dedicated to responding to this campaign by defending the principles of free speech and believe that a full and open debate in all these arenas is necessary to achieve a just solution.
- We reject all forms of hate speech, including antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism.
- We believe that political criticism of Israel’s policies and actions, including characterizing it as an “apartheid state” or campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, is legitimate political speech, the expression of which must be protected. Such speech does not constitute antisemitism.
- We believe the exclusion of alternate voices by the mainstream media is a form of censorship and constitutes a denial of free speech.
- We defend the right of students , teachers and researchers at all levels of Canada’s education system to debate, study and investigate the Palestine/Israel conflict without fear of external interference.
- We defend activists attacked for their criticism of Israeli policies and actions and for their support of Palestinian human rights.
- We defend free speech on the Palestine/Israel conflict while not adopting any position on what is needed to achieve a just resolution of the conflict.
We welcome all those who support our principles and are prepared to work in support of them. email firstname.lastname@example.org