As a collective that organizes around migrant workers’ rights – organizing that transcends so-called borders and is inherently transnational in its scope – we stand firmly in solidarity with Palestine. We denounce the settler-colonial violence enacted by the state of Israel in every form it takes, and condemn the loss of civilian lives through the 75 year-long occupation. We strongly support Palestinians in their struggle for liberation.
Palestinians have been subject to over 75 years of occupation and apartheid at the hands of the state of Israel, with the colonial theft of their lands, the monitoring and policing of Palestinians’ movement, and limited access to basic human rights. Over the past three weeks, we have witnessed an active campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide happening in Gaza, with state violence being enacted in unthinkable ways – through the denial of humanitarian aid, deprivation of food and water, and mass forced displacement.
Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed Palestinians being framed in ways that conjure up images of barbarism and less-than-humanness. The settler-colonial state uses every possible tactic to strip the oppressed of their humanity in order to justify its own violence.
Moreover, much like Canada, Israel relies on exploitative state structures that extract labor from “developing” countries, bringing in temporary foreign workers to prop up an agricultural industry built on stolen land to further displace and povertize Palestnians. At least 30,000 migrant farm workers from countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and Nepal live and work on farms across Israel — including many adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Over the past two weeks, at least 50 migrant workers have been killed. We condemn the deaths of these workers at the hands of a settler-colonial state, because by virtue of its foreign worker program, the Israeli state alone bears responsibility for the workers’ lives and livelihoods.
One in four hostages are foreign workers. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza endangering their lives is further evidence of the callousness of this settler-colonial state towards these racialised, vulnerable, and invisibilized workers – workers whose labour is deemed essential to the Israeli economy, but whose lives are seen as disposable. We call for the protection of migrant workers everywhere — a community of people consistently pushed to the margins through these inherently violent processes of colonial and imperial dominion.
These are the same structures of settler-colonial violence that form the very foundation of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). As a collective that strives to advance the rights of migrant workers in this program, we recognize that colonialism is not a relic of the past. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program functions as an extension of the colonial project, with the Canadian settler-colonial state actively exploiting and profiting off of the labour of Black, Brown, and Indigenous workers from the so-called “Global South.” Within the structures of the TFWP, these bodies are brutalized, dehumanized, and devalued.
As a collective of organizers who believe in transforming our food system into one rooted in food justice, we would be remiss to not draw the connections between Israel’s state violence enacted on migrant farm workers and the state’s continued attacks on Palestinian food sovereignty. For over 75 years, Israel has controlled Palestine’s food systems — uprooting olive trees, banning traditional farming practices, and denying residents access to clean drinking water. Food sovereignty is deeply linked to land sovereignty, and we affirm Palestinians in their fight for power over their own food system, and their struggle for Indigenous land and water rights.
We believe that all struggles for liberation in the face of oppression are deeply intertwined. To continue building meaningful movements, it is critical that we understand how systems of power here are directly connected to the structures that oppress across seas. The same government that dehumanizes and exploits migrant farm workers here in Canada is complicit in the ongoing violence in Palestine.
We strongly condemn the retributive, McCarthyist tactics we’ve seen in response to public support for Palestinian liberation. We call for an end to the ongoing aggressive censorship of voices supporting Palestinian liberation, particularly the voices of marginalized workers and students, whose precarious status in Canada makes them vulnerable to deportation and repatriation at the will of the federal government.
Echoing the demands from our comrades in Palestine, we call for a ceasefire, and an end to all settler-colonial occupation and violence. We implore our networks of folks who have spoken up about migrant workers’ rights here in Canada to take action for Palestinian liberation. Writing to your elected representatives to call for a ceasefire, showing up at actions, and donating to emergency response initiatives on the ground are just a few ways you can support the struggle against settler-colonial violence in Palestine. Additionally, we urge our networks to show continued solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle against Zionist colonialism, including supporting boycott, divest, and sanctions campaigns and actions.
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