BIAC letter in support of Three Little Birds

BIAC sent the following letter to CTV in support of the Three Little Birds, Ottawa musicians with a strong commitment to social justice, including the struggle to end Israeli Apartheid. The Three Little Birds were featured on CTV and later attacked by HonestReporting Canada. SAIA Carleton issued an alert calling for support. We urge all BIAC members and supporters to send similar letters to CTV Regional Vice-President Richard Gray at Richard.Gray@bellmedia.ca to let him know how much we appreciate their decision to feature an Ottawa band unafraid to tackle important social justice issues and ask that they refuse to concede to HonestReportingCanada’s attempted censorship. Please BCC saia.carleton@gmail.com in your letters.

Dear Mr. Gray,

As advocates for Palestinian human rights, we thank you for broadcasting the Three Little Birds and respecting their song choice on CTV. The Three Little Birds are excellent musicians with a firm commitment to social justice – including Indigenous rights and self determination, the tarsands and the environment, and standing against gender violence. It is a tribute to their inclusive and universal views of social justice expressed through music that their vision of resisting oppression also includes the rights of Palestinians.

Numerous Palestinian and international voices have testified to the apartheid nature of the Israeli state. The crime of apartheid, in international law, is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Among many other examples of Israeli apartheid, Palestinian refugees are denied their right to return; the West Bank and Gaza Strip are subject to military occupation, land confiscation, home demolitions, and closure; and Palestinian citizens of Israel are denied equal access to jobs, education and state resources.

And as more people around the world have recognized that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid (Israeli Apartheid Week included events in hundreds of locations around the world last year, five years after its 2006 inception in Toronto), and joined the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until its apartheid policies end, the phrase “Israeli apartheid” has been subject to threats, attempted and actual censorship across Canada. Organizers of events and activities in support of Palestinian human rights have been singled out by politicians and lobby groups in an attempt to silence dissenting voices.

We would like to congratulate CTV for recognizing that music is not merely entertainment – it often illustrates important issues and speaks out against injustice. Three Little Birds’ song “Apartheid” was in fact inspired by an attempt to censor a student program on Israeli Apartheid at Carleton University and silence voices in solidarity with Palestine. Thank you for refusing to concede to the demands of those who seek to silence critical voices and continuing to provide a venue for the expression of opinions on subjects of major importance.

We also encourage you to provide space for such voices in CTV’s news programming and invite guests with a strong critique of Israeli apartheid and Canadian foreign policy, and committed advocates for Palestinian human rights to be heard and join the political debate on the airwaves as well.

Thank you again for showcasing the Three Little Birds, talented musicians of insight and conscience.

Sincerely,

Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver

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