Key messages

When you are engaging in advocacy, it can help to have some language to use as a starting point. Below are some suggestions to use as you reflect on what you want to say in your own voice.

Note that this page may be updated as the situation evolves.

Regarding the Conflict 
Hamas has broken ceasefires twice in the past few months. They killed mothers, children, and the elderly, and are still holding hostages. A ceasefire is not one-sided and must start with Hamas releasing the hostages, laying down their arms, turning in those responsible for October 7, and allowing Israelis to be safe in their homes.
If we are to have the lasting peace we all want, Hamas must be disarmed and disbanded so they cannot attack Israel again and again murder so many mothers, children, and grandparents.” 
We share in the grief for the loss of lives in the region. Our goal is a lasting peace and one that allows all people to live safely.
We ask all Canadians to join us in our call for Hamas to release all hostages and to lay down their arms so that the work of creating a lasting peace can begin. 
Increasing Antisemitism:
Sadly, we’re witnessing a rapid increase in Jew hatred across Canada – threats and violence against Jewish people, institutions, and Jewish-owned businesses. Hamas supporters, their rallies, and their targeting of Jews doesn’t do anything to advance peace.
We know Canadians reject hatred and extremism and we invite all people to join us in taking action against antisemitism – so that Jews can feel safe in our community and in schools and public spaces.
We will work with everyone who believes in peace to make it clear that in Canada we will not stand for antisemitism and racism.

Talking points:
Please refer to the talking points below as they provide a structured, persuasive, and concise framework for conveying our message.

Oct. 7, 2023 - historical comparison

This unprecedented and unprovoked attack on Israel, launched during Jewish holy days, was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust ended in 1945.
Compared to total population, the death toll from the attack is over 13 times that of the 9/ 11th terror attacks.

Oct. 7, 2023 - who is affected

The attack has affected the entire population; every Israeli knows someone who has lost a relative, is missing a friend, or is trying to find a loved one. Nearly everyone has family called up in the reserves. The Jewish community worldwide is small and connected. Here in Ottawa, most of us are checking in with friends and family in Israel who have spent their week at funerals.
At least 31 U.S. citizens and six Canadians were killed, as were citizens of Ukraine, Thailand, Great Britain, Germany, the Philippines, and other countries. Fourteen Americans and three Canadians are still missing.

Israel - historic homeland

Israel is the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people. We have over 3500+ years of continuous connection to this land backed up by unlimited historic and archaeological records. Most of the population of Israel are descendants of refugees who returned to their homeland to escape death, in Europe, the Middle East, or Russia. The ignorant and insulting tactic of referring to Israelis as settler-colonialists is a myth to deny our own history.

Israel - right to defend

Like every country, Israel has the right to defend its sovereignty and its citizens from terrorism, rocket fire, and incursions. Self-defence is a human right recognized under international law. Jewish Federations stand behind our Israeli brothers and sisters.

Israel - preventing harm to innocents

Every civilian loss of life in war is a tragedy. The IDF continues to emphasize that this war is against Hamas - which embeds itself within civilian infrastructure - and not the people of Gaza, and goes to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties. According to military and urban warfare experts, Israel is complying with international law. Israel has invested significant effort since the beginning of the war to evacuate civilians from combat zones, and this week it opened a second crossing to enable more humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.


• Since the outbreak of the war, the IDF has repeatedly worked to warn civilians ahead of military strikes. In addition to the designation of safe passageways and pauses in fighting.

• The IDF relies heavily on advanced technological means to map the civilian population. A senior IDF official explained that, “The IDF puts a lot of effort in…to make sure that civilians won’t be on the battlefield. Unfortunately, we are facing an enemy whose core strategy is to do exactly the opposite.”

• In a recently published article by The Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare at West Point, Professor Michael N. Schmitt wrote, “The IDF has provided unprecedented warnings throughout the conflict,” which have “exceeded what the law required.”

• COGAT, the Israeli body responsible for coordinating Israel’s humanitarian response in Gaza, announced that effective December 12, a second point of entry into Gaza has been opened which will double the amount of humanitarian aid, despite evidence that Hamas is working to hamper the humanitarian efforts and steal supplies for terror purposes.

• On numerous occasions in recent years, Israel has stopped short of ridding Gaza of the Hamas regime. Each time, Hamas has attacked again. Even following the October 7th attacks, Hamas continues to vow that its plans include “additional October 7s” until Israel is annihilated. This leaves the Jewish state little choice but to ensure that Hamas is removed from power.

Infographic about IDF efforts


Read the CIJA Briefing about humanitarian aid from October 2023

Israel - violence against women

The response of international organizations and women’s rights groups to Hamas’ extreme sexual violence has been shockingly muted. On December 4, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations hosted a special session at the UN to address sexual and gender-based violence in the October 7th terror attacks and to demand international organizations condemn these depredations as human rights violations. (Trigger warning: descriptions of sexual assault).


• An in-depth report by The Times of London found that committing acts of sexual violence was part of the stated mission of the Hamas terrorists; further investigations have revealed the widespread extent of this.

• An Israeli police investigator told the Knesset that more than 1,500 testimonies of acts of sexual violence, from alleged gang rape to post-mortem mutilation, have been provided. Disturbing details have been shared by survivors of the Supernova music festival and described by volunteers who received bodies at the morgue.

• Despite the UN’s stated commitment to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, it took the entity known as UN Women, over 50 days to issue a public statement condemning the acts of violence perpetrated on that day.

• A social media campaign sprouted with hashtags such as #MeTooUnlessUrAJew” and “#BelieveIsraeliWomen.” Social media influencers have joined the condemnation of the deafening silence; among the most prominent influencers are Sheryl Sandberg and Gal Gadot.

• Zaka volunteer Simcha Greiman, recounted that the body of one woman had “nails and different objects in her female organs.” Another person’s genitals were so mutilated that “we couldn’t identify if it was a man or a woman.”

Israel - from the river to the sea


The phrase has origins and usage in anti-Israel campaigns and is a denial of the Jewish right to self-determination. This phrase is associated with groups that have not only opposed Israel's existence but have also resorted to violence to pursue their political aims.

Read more about it here

Antisemitism in Canada

Jews in Canada are experiencing a historic wave of antisemitism and live in a fear we’ve never experienced in this country. Even prior to the war, Jews represented the number one target for hate crimes by population, in Canada, the US, UK, and France.

Jewish Canadians are being attacked, harassed, and having their homes and businesses vandalized, daily.

Antisemitism in Ottawa

Jews represent the number one target for hate crimes in Ottawa. Marches in Ottawa saw protesters with signs celebrating the “Hamas martyrs.” Pro-Hamas supporters even demonstrated outside of a national conference against antisemitism.

Jews feel unsafe

The celebration of terrorism is never justified, and this creates a frightening environment for Canadian Jews, who now feel unsafe.

Hamas’ calls for global Jihad have additionally added to Jewish community fears and has created security concerns for every Jew in Ottawa and Canada.

University and public school students are now the primary target of this Jew-hatred, with rhetoric, violent threats, and the flippant use of the phrase "from the river to the sea" aimed at kids as young as Grade 4.

Ottawa - incidents of antisemitism on campus

Swastikas found on the University of Ottawa campus.

Multiple incidents on campus where Hamas actions were celebrated as a form of freedom fighting, creating a frightening and violent atmosphere for students.

Property damage to a bike displaying an Israeli flag on the Carleton University campus.

Graffiti labelling Zionists as terrorists.

Ottawa - incidents of antisemitism in the classroom

Members of a Jewish culture club reporting fear and inability to meet due to intimidating "Free Palestine" chants outside their classroom.

A bomb threat targeting a Jewish day school.

A student confronted by hate speech in a public area, where derogatory remarks were made about Jews.

Ottawa - antisemitism in the community

If you see antisemitism in the community, here are the reporting steps:

Photograph or video what you see, as long as it is safe to do so.

File a report with the Jewish Federation of Ottawa here:

If the incident occurs in a school or university, see below

Ottawa - How to report antisemitism on campus

At Carleton University, contact Deidre Butler, director of the Max and Tessie Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies, at

At Ottawa University, contact Hillel Ottawa Director Jamie Sweigman

Ottawa - How to report an incident in a public school

For all school boards:

Contact the principal and work toward a resolution.

If the outcome of the dialogue doe snot resolve the situation, email again and include the Director of Education, the Superintendent of Equity, and your school trustee.

This information can be found at:
Pino Buffone, Director of Education,
In addition, email Brian Kom, Jewish Equity Coach at

Tom D'Amico, Director of Education,

Ottawa French School Board:
Christian-Charle Bouchard, Director of Education,

French Catholic School Board:
Marc Bertrand, Director of Education,

Ottawa - "From the river to the sea," how students are impacted

This sentiment, when voiced in educational settings such as elementary, high schools, and post secondary schools can significantly affect the sense of security and belonging of Jewish students.
The feeling of being targeted or ostracized for one's national or religious identity is contrary to the principles of a safe and inclusive learning environment that Canadian schools strive to uphold.

Those in positions of authority in our educational systems must take a zero-tolerance approach to the promotion of hate against identifiable groups within its student body. This requires immediate intervention, and appropriate discipline based on the circumstances. Hateful and genocidal slogans such as “from the river to the sea” cannot be normalized. Canadian schools must maintain a space where all students, regardless of their background, can engage in learning and dialogue free from intimidation or prejudice.

Hamas was formed in 1987

Hamas is a terrorist organization backed by Iran that explicitly seeks Israel’s destruction—a goal laid out in its charter and reiterated by its leaders—and seeks to rule the entire territory “from the river to the sea.” Hamas consistently calls for attacks and extermination of Jews worldwide.

Since its formation in 1987, Hamas has consistently stood in the way of peace and any chance for a two-state solution. 

Hamas is the enemy of Palestinians

These atrocities have been committed by Hamas not the Palestinian people. Hamas is the enemy of the Palestinian people.

They are a brutal dictatorship that forces their own civilians to serve as human shields. Hamas has killed, tortured, raped, and kidnapped innocent civilians, including children. These are war crimes. They are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists.

Hamas classification as terrorists

Canada, the United States, and European Union classify Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization, alongside groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Hamas diverting aid from Palestinians

Hamas diverts international assistance aimed to help Palestinians to build its terrorist infrastructure. This impedes economic development and contributes to the humanitarian and environmental crisis in Gaza.

Hamas also restricts the rights of women and Christians, and treats homosexuality as a crime.

Hamas uses human shields

Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.

They build and hide in terror tunnels, with weapons factories, and operations centres under schools, hospitals, and in densely populated civilian areas.

Online hate

A recent comprehensive report highlights the connection between the troubling surge in online antisemitic discourse and real-world incidents in Canada. The findings emphasize the urgent need for enhanced hate crime data recording and dissemination and more transparent and accessible reporting mechanisms. The report provides a concerning wake-up call for possible upcoming violence and should be taken seriously.

Report online hate to the outlet on which it was posted.


It is absurd that Western media outlets base their reporting on Hamas propaganda. All Hamas statements and statistics on deaths or details of attacks should be questioned. 

Just as Israel was asked to provide evidence of murdered and beheaded babies, media should request Hamas provide evidence for their claims. Doing otherwise is questionable and unethical journalism and begs the question as to why Jews are held to higher standards than self-professed murderers.

Canadians deserve far more responsibility from our media.

Report inaccurate news to Honest Reporting Canada at

10 things to know and share

CIJA Executive Director, Shimon Fogels’ 10 Things to Know and Share