FCG condemns in the strongest terms any acts of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, in all forms. Our organization believes that every person has the right to feel safe and included, and to be treated with respect and dignity.
Following Hamas attacks on Israel, and the State of Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank has reached horrific new levels of violent occupation and ground invasion endured by Palestinian citizens.
Any strategy which includes cutting citizens off from the essentials for daily life is in violation of international humanitarian law and is considered a war crime. Gaza is systematically placed under complete blackouts by the State of Israel; this is matched by cutting access to fuel, electricity, water, food, and medical aid. As of November 2, 2023, the World Health Organization has verified 237 attacks on health care, including 218 in the occupied Palestinian territory and 19 in Israel. Attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law. 14 out of 36 hospitals in the Gaza strip are non-functional. Palestinian civilians are experiencing unfettered violence and mass death at the hands of the State of Israel and its allies, which include the Canadian government.
The Board of Directors and Staff at Forest City Gallery (FCG) join in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and with numerous national and international organizations calling for an immediate ceasefire. We also call for an immediate end to the government of Canada’s complicity in these activities. FCG echos a recent call from Palestinian Canadians: Canada must close its relationship with the State of Israel and call for an immediate ceasefire and for a safe humanitarian corridor that allows food and water into Gaza, as well as access to fuel for its hospitals.
The Board of Directors and Staff at FCG join in solidarity with international Jewish movements that are making the vehement statement, “not in our name,” and who refuse the exploitation of Jewish grief as a multi-national settler-colonial scapegoat.
The several-decades siege of Palestine is not in the interests of Jewish religious preservation: it is genocide funded in large part by the United States and Canada, and this genocide is explicitly upheld through the tacit support of the Government of Canada over these last weeks. Journalistic coverage by The Maple indicates: “In 2022, Canadian manufacturers exported more than $21 million in military goods to Israel, meaning last year saw the third-largest tally of annual military exports to Israel on record (behind 2021 and 1987).” Given the Canadian Government’s long-standing export of arms to Israel, this crisis is also a Canadian issue. We understand this conflict and violent incursion to be the immediate responsibility of Canada’s elected officials.
The United Nations has voted overwhelmingly in favour of “an immediate, durable humanitarian truce” in Gaza. We urge our elected officials to join Palestinians, anti-Zionist Jews, the United Nations General Assembly, and people of the global majority in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Forest City Gallery has signed two petitions on behalf of our organization: “Artists & Academics in Canada: Statement of Solidarity with Palestine” and “e-4649, Petition to the Prime Minister.” We have contacted our MP and MPP with formal statements on behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, and we urge our community members to do the same.
The “Artists & Academics in Canada” petition commits to a complete cultural boycott of the State of Israel until it complies with international law.
To quote from the “e-4649, Petition to the Prime Minister”:
Canada ask that Israel lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and authorize the creation of a humanitarian corridor and an emergency humanitarian intervention; Canada meet its international commitment to promote and defend human rights; Canada take any other measure necessary to protect civilians, both Israelis and Palestinians, and help foster a climate conducive to building a lasting peace.
As arts workers, we advocate across our organization for the end of settler-colonial violence totally. We urge our elected officials to advocate to your utmost capacity for the call to ceasefire now and an opening of the humanitarian corridor for the entry of aid to Gaza.