To Deborah Lyons, Canada's Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, and Amira Elghawaby, Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia in Canada:
We, the undersigned, are intimately familiar with fear, and trauma.
The events in southern Israel on October 7, when the terrorist organization Hamas brutally attacked, tortured, and murdered 1,400 Israelis awoke in the Jewish people memories of pogroms, the Holocaust, the Farhoud, and countless other attacks on Jews throughout the centuries.
Likewise, the events that followed October 7 in Gaza also awakened intergenerational trauma in Palestinians. Memories of the Nakba, the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians following Israel's war of independence arose as Palestinians were once again forced to flee their homes, with fears they will not be allowed back or, if they are, will have nothing to return to.
There is no disputing that the past month has brought to the fore some of the deepest pain, fear, and suffering for both Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
As Canadians, we watch in horror and synagogues and mosques increase security, as protestors are verbally and physically attacked, and hate speech is spewed on our streets.
It would be easy to retreat into our corners, our echo chambers, our tribes. But by signing this letter, we reject this idea.
We reject the idea that we hate one another, that fear will tear us apart, that we cannot build bridges and community with those outside of our cultural identity.
We ask you for your help in doing so. Please meet, and discuss these concerns that affect both the communities you were tasked with representing and Canada as a whole.
At this incredibly fraught time, we are inspired by the brave Israeli Jews and Palestinians in Israel coming together to resist racism, fascism, and extremism. If they can do it, at a time of war, uncertainty, and fear, we must be able to follow their lead, stand with them in allyship, and do the same thing here.