Confronting Israeli Apartheid in Montreal: Activists disrupt Israeli Ambassador to Canada
Montreal, Wednesday, April 9th, 2008: Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, was humiliated by demonstrators at the posh Queen Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Montreal.
Protestors successfully disrupted a lunch-in sponsored by the Quebec-Israel Committee, marking “60 years of relationship” between Canada and Israel. After effectively evading hotel security and the Montreal police, social justice activists burst into the appointed conference room, abruptly bringing to a halt the pro-apartheid discourse of Israel’s ambassador to Canada.
Visibly stunned by the protests, Israel’s Ambassador stood silent as protests chanted “fight the power, turn the tide; End Israeli Apartheid!” Throughout the disruption, over twelve thousand pieces of brightly colored protest-confetti were showered across the conference room and throughout the hallways of the Queen Elizabeth hotel, carrying a simple message: “60 years of Israeli Apartheid, 60 years of Palestinian dispossession; Boycott Israel!”
Thursday’s action marked the 60th anniversary of the massacre at Deir Yassin. In 1948, the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin came under military siege; over two hundred Palestinian men, women and children were butchered by pro-Israeli forces. This crime took place just one month prior to Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence at the expense of the Palestinian people.
In cynical disregard for Palestinian history, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, planned to celebrate Israel on the very anniversary of a horrific massacre.
This is the same Alan Baker who, at the height of Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2006, described “civilian establishments and civilian areas” in Lebanon as “legitimate targets.” The military campaign eventually took the lives of over one thousand Lebanese civilians, and massively destroyed the country’s infrastructure.
Social justice activists in Montreal from Block the Empire and Tadamon! successfully disrupted Baker’s speech in support of a growing international campaign to impose boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel.
Israel is maintaining a military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights. Within Israel’s unilaterally declared borders of 1948, the 1.5 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship live as second-class citizens, under an apartheid-like system that accords them lesser economic, social and political rights.
Israel is in the process of constructing a massive separation wall, an eight meter high concrete barrier stretching over seven hundred kilometers of Palestinian territory, annexing significant parts of the West Bank and encircling Palestinian villages, towns and cities. Apartheid is an Israeli-enforced reality for the Palestinian people, a reality that has inspired a global movement for Palestinian liberation, with Nelson Mandela declaring; “our freedom [in South Africa] is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”