Statement from the Steering Committee of the Law Union concerning the Open Letter to the Legal Community on Pro-Palestine Speech
The Law Union of Ontario condemns the recent attack by Hamas against innocent Israelis, the ongoing attacks by Israel against innocent Gazans, and all expressions of hate including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab racism, all of which have amplified in the wake of these attacks.
The Law Union supports the rights of all people to freely speak out against human rights abuses and atrocities, and to call out Canada for its foreign policy positions. However, it appears that some prominent voices equate any criticism of Israel’s military policies as constituting anti-Semitism. This is a false equivalency. It would be similarly unfair to label those who have condemned the heinous actions of Hamas as being Islamophobic or anti-Arab.
Regrettably, we have heard of instances where hierarchical power structures have worked to oppress people speaking out against atrocities in Gaza, dismissing such discourse as being anti-Semitic and thereby stifling respectful public discussion on this important issue.
It has been reported (see Toronto Star article) that at least one law school and at least one prominent law firm have recently taken actions to oppress certain speech regarding the ongoing conflict. The LUO, as well as we believe the public at large, expects lawyers and law firms to be the final wall of resistance to attacks on freedom of expression. We are sadly disappointed by the actions of our colleagues in abandoning their responsibility in this regard.
For this reason, the Law Union has signed onto the Open Letter to Legal Community on Pro-Palestine Speech https://forms.gle/nLPi5v15juYWG7p28