Community action forces Liberal MP to switch position on Gaza, support arms embargo

PV staff 

In a stunning reversal of her position on the siege of Gaza, Liberal Member of Parliament for Davenport, Julie Dzerowicz announced on March 1 that she supports an embargo on arms exports to Israel.

Members of the Davenport community in Toronto’s west end have been mobilizing since October, through the local group Davenport for Ceasefire, to pressure Dzerowicz to take action against Israel’s genocidal actions in Gaza. For months, the MP refused to even say the word “ceasefire” and referred to Palestinian solidarity activists as “vandals” and protests against the siege as “violent and aggressive” acts that included “hate speech and discrimination.”

In the face of this, Davenport for Ceasefire mobilized thousands of community members to petition, phone and email and Dzerowicz, and march and rally on her constituency office, demanding that she call and take action for a ceasefire. They have also pressured her to oppose Canada’s military exports to Israel, which have skyrocketed from around $7 million in 2014 to nearly $28 million in 2022.

While Dzerowicz’s announcement came after nearly five months of Israeli bombardment and assault, which has killed over 30,000 people and displaced 2 million Gaza residents, it is a significant victory for the anti-war and solidarity movement and a stepping stone for more Liberal MPs to break with the government’s support for Israel and complicity in genocide.

On March 18, Parliament will debate an NDP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire, suspension of military trade with Israel, support for the International Court of Justice calls for action to stop the genocide, and the resumption of UNRWA funding.

Community activists will continue to mobilize ahead of that vote, to pressure Dzerowicz and other MPs to support the motion and force the government to take real action against the siege and occupation.

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