There is a general trend in the mainstream media to ignore letters from those voices opposed to Israel's wars and/or the occupation of Palestine. Periodically the letters are published, but more often than not, they remain unpublished. We are left with but one choice, and that is to publish the letters oursevles. Where possible, there will be a link to the source that has promopted the letter. Published and unpublished letters are indicated with a thumbs up or down. Over time, this page should end up as a record of the media's bias nature - but let's hope not.
There are also letters to Others, like MPs, CEOs and other members from the ruling elites. On occassion the writer has asked that the correspondence be shared. These requests are also included in this page.
These letters are chronological based on the source that prompted the the author to write them.
Indicates Not Published
Dissent is at heart of Jewish life
May 14, 2009 (Toronto Star)
Re:Kensington Market exhibit stirs
controversy among Jews, May 10
The blacklisting of Jewish artist Reena Katz by the Koffler Centre, not for the content of her art but for her personal political views and associations, is yet another example of the intellectual sclerosis that is being imposed on the Jewish community by our so-called leaders who increasingly try to narrow the writ of permitted debate amongst Jews and declare more and more of us beyond the Pale for daring to question the party line on Israel.
Jewish criticism of and opposition to Zionism is as old as Zionism itself and is founded upon both religious and philosophical precepts within Jewish thought. Encouragement of debate and free inquiry within the Jewish community has long been a core feature of Jewish life.
Yet, despite this, a small self-appointed group within the Jewish community attempts to squelch any hint of dissent or disagreement when it comes to Israel and Zionism. Dissenters such as Reena Katz are cast out and slandered as a warning to others.
The Koffler Centre not only does the Jewish community a disservice, it attacks the right of all artists in Canada to free expression. It has also revealed itself as being unfit to play any role in the artistic or cultural life of either the Jewish community or this country.
Andy Lehrer, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto
May 14, 2009 (Toronto Star)
Like Jimmy Carter, Reena Katz is publicly chastised for supporting justice and human rights for Palestinians. What a sad state of affairs. Shame on the Koffler Centre. Katz's courage should be supported and applauded by any person or institution serious about justice and human rights. Nabil Fahel, Waterloo
Chaff confusing Middle East issues
Letter in ChronicleHerald.ca (January 21, 2009)
Letters published in the The Seattle Times (December 30, 2008)
Re: 2 Canadian soldiers killed; Bloodied Hamas vows revenge, Dec 28
Occupation is a deadly business. When will colonizers learn this?
Robert Allison, Toronto
Letter to the Editor (Toronto Star): Bombs won't bring peace to the Mideast
Re: Bloodied Hamas vows revenge, Dec. 28
As a Canadian Jew who once called Israel home, it has taken me a long time to come, very reluctantly, to this conclusion: Israel has no interest in peace whatsoever. It is interested in duping the world to believe that it is serious about pursuing peace, while all the time destroying the Palestinian people in as many ways as possible.
It knows very well from experience that the attacks and siege on Gaza will absolutely not stop the rocket attacks on Israel and that they will not weaken Hamas, but on the contrary strengthen it. The Palestinian people will never give up resisting with whatever means they have the oppression and tyranny they live under. And yet Israel persists in its murderous attacks.
Mira Khazzam, member, Independent Jewish Voices (Montreal)
Star should provide ALL facts about Rae's affiliations
Voters can tell alot about a candidate by his affiliations. On June 29, 2006 Israel's leading newspaper Ha'aretz stated: "it's well known that the "national institutions" - the Jewish Agency and Jewish National Fund - primarily exist to enable institutional discrimination based on ethnicity". A quick check of the Toronto JNF website shows that Bob Rae is a committee member of the JNF.
Here is a second letter from a Canadian anti-Zionist Jew and Co-President of Palestinian and Jewish Unity|Palestinien et Juifs Unis to NDP leader Jack Layton on their party's reversal on Canadian withdrawal from International anti-Racism Conference.
Dear Mr. Layton,
According to an article which has appeared in the National Post, the NDP has already back-tracked on the Durban Conference. That is unfortunate. Apparently, 8 members of your caucus felt that the conference would end in criticism of Israel. I am not sure that would have been the case, but I would like to know if those same 8 MPs equate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. Would they also equate criticism of France with anti-Catholicism and criticism of England with anti-Protestantism, or shall we draw a distinction between the State and religious affiliations?
When I received a letter asking for support for the NDP's position on Durban, I advised PAJU's executive committee that we should support it in principle. When, however, I saw the language of the letter drawn up by the NDP MP, which underscored a fear of possible 'anti-semitic' happenings at the Durban Conference, I immediately understood this to be synonymous with fear of criticism of Israel. I then informed PAJU's executive of this accompanied by the suggestion that PAJU not support the NDP's position. I was certain that your party would backtrack on the issue, and I was right. You might want to inform your 8 MPs that according to a Ha'aretz article, Israeli authorities are 'cleansing' Jerusalem of a certain number of its Christian inhabitants.
Will your party take a position on that? How about your 8 MPs? Will they take a position? It is about time that MPs discover that you can't dance with two partners at one time when it comes to the question of human rights.They are not arbitrary, nor is the rule of law. It applies to all states equally.
I am copying PAJU's executive committee on this e-mail, and I will be sending it on to various groups around the country.
Bruce Katz, PAJU
Letter to the Editor
Excalibur (York University
May 23, 2008
The Dangers of Omission
The most recent issue of Excalibur revealed a dangerous pattern in news coverage: omission. It is not necessarily the fault of Excalibur’s student editors and writers that certain questions go unasked or details unprinted; journalism is a learned skill, and a weekly publication is demanding. Still, it is worrisome that coverage of the Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) March 27 campus rally did not include any description of SAIA’s articulated purpose and intent.
SAIA organized this rally to call for an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and to commemorate the 60 years since Al Nakba, “the Catastrophe.” In 1948, more than two-thirds of the Palestinian People (equivalent to more than 750,000 people) were expelled from their homes by Zionist military forces; 531 Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed and the state of Israel was established. Today, Israel’s siege has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza – 80 percent of the population relies on food aid; unemployment is at 50 percent and fuel and power shortages make for extremely precarious healthcare access. Water and sewage infrastructure are collapsing, and Israeli military attacks indicate consistent disregard for civilian life. According to Amnesty International, “there seems to be a culture of impunity within the Israeli forces which is contributing to routine use of reckless and disproportionate force.”
This culture of impunity was conveyed this month in the promotional slogan of Toronto’s “Israel@60” celebrations: “Party like it’s 1948!” Such brazen treatment of history and neglect of Palestinian experience is a consistent feature of modern Zionism. With their rally, SAIA sought to highlight Palestinian experience, arguing that, since 1948, Palestinian refugees, Palestinians living under Israeli military rule and Palestinian citizens of Israel, have been subjected to policies of segregation that amount to apartheid. SAIA supports the non-violent, global anti-apartheid movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The BDS campaign aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and
SAIA is requesting that York president Mamdouh Shoukri co-host a campus debate about the academic boycott of Israel. A similar debate took place at Ryerson University in November 2007 with the co-operation of Ryerson president Sheldon Levy. Omission of the aforementioned details perpetuates the stereotype of Palestine Solidarity advocates as “radical” and isolated. But SAIA’s debate request is not a radical proposition; debate is the essence of education and intellectual engagement. And SAIA is far from isolated; endorsements for SAIA’s rally came from a range of campus organizations and the rally featured speeches from a diverse group of supporters, including the chair of York’s political science department professor David McNally, Toronto activist and Holocaust survivor Suzanne Weiss, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario representative Katherine Nastovski and others. While omissions of this kind reveal that sometimes it’s a struggle to enter even the most unassuming facts into the record, we must be cautious not to forget about the larger, more urgent political questions. The crisis in Palestine cannot become secondary to the concern of omissions in a campus newspaper. With this in mind, it is worth noting the public comments of Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai, who, while describing Israel’s military operations, reported on Feb. 29 that if Palestinians in Gaza do not cease resisting their occupiers, they “will bring upon themselves a bigger shoa.” “Shoa” is the Hebrew word for “holocaust,” reserved almost exclusively to reference the persecution, ethnic cleansing and genocide of European Jews under Nazism. People cannot live indefinitely in the state of willful omission. Comments like those made by Vilnai disclose an anxiety pervading the perspective of even the most resolute supporters of Israel. If the shoa was never to happen again, why does the word now appear?
Letter to the Editor
March 27, 2008
Award Dishonours All At Western
Western President Paul Davenport claims to be committed to celebrating diversity as well as promoting tolerance. With those principles in mind, he intends to accept the 2008 JNF Negev Dinner award. The problem is that, by doing so, Davenport will undermine diversity and tolerance.
I graduated from Western Law in 1990. I am also a graduate of Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law.
I started collecting pennies for planting trees in Israel when I was a pre-schooler in Sunday School. Since then, I have learned that the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is not merely a benevolent environmental protection agency. It is a quasi-governmental institution dedicated to the acquisition of land “for the Jewish people”. It administers lands, in Israel and the occupied West Bank, that were seized from Palestinian refugees and “present absentees”. The JNF claims that its charter and land administration policies authorize it to refuse to lease residential real estate to non-Jews, including Palestinian Arab citizens of the State of Israel.
In the Galilee, for example, residential communities built on lands expropriated from Arab villages in the context of “Judaization of Galilee” (sic) are reserved for Jews only. No Arabs are permitted to join those communities. I have Jewish Israeli friends who live in those Galilee communities. I have Arab Palestinian friends (citizens of the State of Israel and residents of the Galilee) on whose land those communities have been built, and whose tenancy applications have been rejected.
In Canada, similar restrictive covenants once discriminated against Jewish Canadians, and have long been declared illegal.
The Attorney General of the State of Israel, Meni Mazouz, has correctly identified the JNF policy as “illegal”.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has repeatedly gone to court to seek redress. Unlike the JNF, AC RI is worthy of Davenport’s endorsement and support.
While Davenport purports a commitment to diversity and promoting tolerance, and is being honoured for that commitment, he is lending his good name, and that of The University of Western Ontario, to a cause and a policy that has an opposite commitment and that promotes racism.
That is why Davenport should reconsider, and decline this invitation. Being honoured by the JNF brings dishonour to Western’s president and to all students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Henry N. Lowi Toronto
Ms. Helen Connell
Associate Vice-President Communications and Public Affairs
University of Western Ontario
London , Ontario
Dear Ms Connell
I saw your letter to Ron Saba in which he protested JNF "honouring" of Dr. Paul Davenport as "The 2008 Negev Dinner Honouree".
As a former Associate Professor at UWO and as a resident of London for many years where my children were born and graduated from UWO, I find Dr Davenport's acceptance of this "honour" misguided and harmful to the university. The university is a place where justice, human rights and knowledge are given the highest consideration.
Knowledge – now accessible more than ever – would have revealed that JNF was a prime operator of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Yosef Weitz, Director of JNF Lands Dpt was the head of the "Transfer" Committee which led the ethnic cleansing operation of Palestinian villages – an act which is, of course, a war crime.
JNF also participated directly in the destruction and demolition of most villages out of a total of 665 villages which have been depopulated in 1948. The inhabitants of these villages, who now number 7,000,000, are still refugees today.
JNF has directed the Israeli army to occupy villages whose lands and property it coveted.
JNF has participated in the loot and plunder of Palestinian property.
Theses facts are now a matter of historical record, verified even by Israeli historians such as Benny Morris in his book "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949 -Revisited", Cambridge University Press, 2004. (Further proof is available.)
After Israel was established on the ruins of Palestine, Ben Gurion arranged a fictitious 'sale' transfer of 2,380,142 donums (about 600,000 acres) of Palestinian land to JNF for fear of the sanctions of the UN which called on Israel , in its resolution 194, to allow for the return of the refugees to their homes. By labelling this land under JNF, a multi-national corporation, Israel would claim that land to be outside its control.
The land thus appropriated by JNF is the land of 372 Palestinian villages who make up 55% of all refugees. A casual visitor to JNF "parks" would immediately notice the remains of the destroyed villages, such as mosques, churches, shrines and cemeteries.
The UN has frequently condemned JNF racist policies in its Treaty-based Committees. The UN committees resolved that JNF discriminates in favour of Jews who are not citizens of Israel against Palestinians who are citizens of Israel . According to JNF Charter, non-Jews are not allowed to buy, sell, rent, use or live on lands under JNF control.
Indeed the name "Negev" recalls the ethnic cleansing which is happening TODAY in Beer Sheba district. Israel and JNF expelled the population of the District, its own citizens, demolished their houses, killed their cattle and destroyed their crops. You can watch this on BBC TV for example.
One does not to be a university professor to dig into these facts. It is readily available on TV Screens and world newspapers, not so much in Canada and USA unfortunately. Pursuit of justice comes before any other principle of learning. Without justice, words like tolerance and diversity ring hollow. There is no equivalence between the evil of war crimes and the virtue of tolerance. Only when justice is made, rights are restored and war crimes are dealt with, tolerance and diversity in a just society which upholds principles of equality can and should be admirable objectives.
Waiting for justice from the Israeli High Court is to expect condemnation of Apartheid from the previous South African government. Justice cannot be expected from a law system which expelled the inhabitants of the country, confiscated their property and labelled it as "state land."
Dr Davenport does himself, and indeed the University, no service by participating in a racist endeavour. He should be condemning it. I hope, for the sake of UWO's name, of which I am proud, that Dr Davenport will reconsider his position.
Dr S.H. Abu-Sitta
February 19, 2008
To: David Johnson
And to: Martin Van Nierop
And to: Anne Pidduck
I am writing to ask you to turn down the offer of money from Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz for an exchange program in Israel, unless students also get to spend some time at Bir Zeit. The excuse that Bir Zeit is in a danger zone doesn't cut it, since it is Israel's actions, such as blocking or destroying the road to it, that make it dangerous.
Reisman and Schwartz's offer is part of their campaign to rescue Israel's public image, an image which has been seriously, and deservedly, damaged, by Israel's own actions. (I will forward you an account of one recent action, in which, for once, no one was killed or injured, but peaceful Palestinians had their livelihoods destroyed.)
I am one of an admittedly small, but growing, number of Canadian Jews who are totally opposed to the Occupation; who cannot but admit that it amounts to apartheid; and who want Israel to rescue its image not by PR, not by indoctrinating students without letting them see what is really going on, but by ceasing to occupy the West Bank and Gaza.
Sorry to hear about the recent unjust arrest of Mohamed. Our group NION (Not In Our Name) which consists of anti-Zionist Jews, would like to endorse the statement from the Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee. You are welcome to view our website at: http://www.nion.ca/
We are with you in this criminal and unending injustice and torture which is inflicted on Mohamed, you and your family.
All the best,
In the name of NION,
Commend Rick Salutin's January 25 column
To The Editor:
I would like to commend the Globe and Rick Salutin for Mr. Salutin’s January 25th column.
I am a Jew. I am not represented by the Zionist organizations that insist they speak for all Jews everywhere. They do not--in spite of the fact that their enormous donation base is predicated on that assumption. Even in Israel there is a large and growing number of Jews who are appalled by the Israeli apartheid inflicted on the Palestinian people.
All across North America, too, Jews are gathering together, in person and through the Internet, to share their horror at the contradiction that is Israel.
Norman Mailer said not long ago, “I look at Israel and I see Hitler.” I myself look at The Wall, the embargo, the constant shelling and flyovers by the Israeli Military, and I see the Warsaw Ghetto. Perhaps some kind person will explain the difference to me— without illusion, that is.
And before you dismiss me as just another “self-hating Jew” (that loving epithet reserved for non-Zionist Jews), I would remind you that both Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein were adamantly opposed to the European, colonialist, Zionist land grab.
Please continue to work on presenting a more realistic view of the tragedy being acted out in Palestine/Israel. This is the true and honorable role of the Press.
Toronto, ON M4W 1J8 416-929-5952
cc: Rick Salutin
Dear Rick Salutin,
Thank you for answering Dow Marmur. Someone had to do it, and I'm glad it was you. I'm one of the small number of Jews who aren't Zionists and who abhor what Israel is doing. I can't understand how Jews can support it. (Well, actually I can understand it, but I detest it.) Suppose it were Jews who were being treated this way?
Elizabeth Block, Toronto
PS. Maybe we should start using the phrase "Gaza Ghetto." The imprisonment of a million and a half people, with no way for most of them to make a living, should put most people in mind of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Dear Mr. Salutin,
I would like to thank you for your last article on Friday responding to Rabbi Dow Marmur, in regard to Hamas/Israel issue. I appriciate the clarity in which you criticize this tragic situation and it is a breath of fresh air for many of us who are involved in action to bring a just peace to Palestine. I personally am an Israeli-Jew which has been dismayed by much of what the media here is informing the public about this issue. I hope that you and your newspaper will write many more articles reflecting the truth, and hopefully this will help turn the tide and stop the unnecessary killings and sufferings.
All the best,
Hi Mr. Salutin,
I would like to congratulate and thank you for your last Friday article, responding to Rabbi Dow Marmur, in regard to Hamas/Israel issue. Thank you for your courage and honesty. You expressed what many of us know but our voices are always suppressed. I am an ex Israeli living in Toronto. I am deeply disturbed to see what my people, who cried fowl for 2000 years, are doing to innocent people for so many years, the moment that they gained power.
Rick Salutin's Response
Thanks very much for your impassioned response.
Not In Our Name (NION) Toronto protests demolition of Bedouin dwellings
We are a Jewish group in Canada very disturbed and concerned to learn that Israeli Defense Forces, with the collaboration of the government, are continually demolishing Bedouin dwellings. This is happening in the south desert areas of Israel and is leaving women,men and children homeless in harsh winter weather: for example the demolishing of 27 homes on December 11. 2007. We are appalled as well at the racism of this violence and destruction. These people are Israeli citizens, but discriminated against simply for being non Jews. History should have taught us to do better, since we, being Jews, have experienced discrimination and injustices throughout our long past How can we do the same to others with clear conscience?
We would appreciate hearing from you to discover why these acts are taking place.
Not in Our Name (NION) Toronto: Jewish Voices Against Israeli Wars
News I would like to hear about!
Dear CBC News staff,
I would like to draw your attention to a crisis as a result of the Canadian-led international sanctions against the Hamas government that is happening right now. The Gaza strip has been totally closed and they are not getting basic supplies like medicine, medical equipment, fuel, and many other basic necessities. This is a humanitarian crisis that should be covered in the news!
Canada has been involved in creating this human rights catastrophe and is complicit in aggravating the suffering of the civilians in Gaza. I am an Israeli-Canadian who is very concerned about human rights, and especially about civilians under occupation. I hope that you are too. I am enclosing several published articles and I urge you to make this information known to viewers and listeners.
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Not in his name Ben Saifer -
Member of Not In Our Name; Jewish voices opposing Zionism
IN HER RESPONSE to Jessica Carpinone’s critique of Zionism and its promotion on campus at the Dr. Ephraim Zuroff lecture (“Event Sponsor Besides the Point” Nov. 22, Volume 68, Issue 12), Rebecca Margel defines Zionism as “a movement that believes in the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland in Israel.” While this definition seems benign in theory, in practice it has proven to be devastating.
When Israel was created 60 years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were made refugees and prevented from returning home in direct contravention of International Law. In trying to maintain a state which is both “Jewish” and “democratic”, the Zionist project has imposed a number of disturbing measures to maintain a Jewish majority, including the expansion of illegal settlements, the creation of an apartheid system in the occupied territories, and a religion-based immigration policy, which bars Palestinians from returning to their homes while encouraging foreign Jews like myself to immigrate. Despite the fact that over 1/5th of its population is not Jewish, Israel has recently demanded that the Palestinian Authority recognize it as a “Jewish State”, as opposed to a state for all of its citizens. Ms. Margel argues that Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (of which Ms. Carpinone is a member) should support events like the aforementioned one, as a way to speak out “against the Holocaust, genocide, and hate in the interest of all human rights.” I hope Ms. Margel is not conflating being Jewish (which I am) and being a Zionist—which many increasingly vocal Jewish Canadians including myself are not. Henry Siegman, former head of the American Jewish Congress, recently articulated this quite well: “The subjugation and permanent dispossession of millions of people is surely not the vocation of Judaism.” The insinuation that challenging the injustice in Israel/Palestine is somehow opposed to remembering the injustice of the Holocaust obscures the true lessons we ought to learn from it. In taking a public stand against injustice, Ms. Carpinone is indeed speaking out in the interest of human rights and in the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Indeed, it is only by standing up for the oppressed and giving a voice to the voiceless that we can stand any chance of living up to those haunting words—Never Again!
Parliament must make provision to let US war resisters stay in Canada
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2007
November 19, 2007 ( Toronto ) – The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) has added its voice to the growing demand that US war resisters be allowed to stay in Canada . On November 15, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that it would not hear the appeal of former US soldiers Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. That decision increases the urgency for an immediate political solution that would allow all resisters to stay in Canada .
“These men and women made the same brave decision that the Canadian government did in 2003,” says Khaled Mouammar, president of CAF. “Canadians were right to oppose the war on Iraq , and so are the US war resisters. We should let them stay.”
US soldiers who refuse to fight in Iraq face lengthy prison sentences in the US . “If US soldiers refuse to fight in an illegal and immoral war, they shouldn’t spend half an hour in a prison cell, let alone five years,” adds Mohamed Boudjenane, Executive Director of CAF. “Canada must not deport these young men and women to a prison sentence.”
CAF is calling on its members and supporters to contact their Members of Parliament, asking them to support the demand to let US war resisters stay in Canada .
For more information, please contact:
CAF National President
CAF Executive Director
416-493-8635 x 23
Canadian Arab Federation La Fédération Canado-Arabe
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2007
Joint statement on the new Security Legislation
A broad alliance of human rights, civil society and community organizations are calling on Parliamentarians to reject the new legislation that re-instates the use of the security certificate and allows ³special advocates² to speak on behalf of the detainee.
The Supreme Court in February struck down the security certificate in Charkaoui v. Canada but the government hopes that the addition of the special advocate measure will allow the security certificate to remain a legal practice in the eyes of the Supreme Court although this law (minus the special advocate clause) is nearly identical to the previous, unconstitutional one.
The emergence of these provisions ensure that law enforcement and security agencies will be given extraordinary powers to detain and question individual suspects accused of terror activities without due process. Furthermore, the suspects have no means to defend themselves as they are forbidden to see the evidence, if any, against them, thereby further eroding the principles of the legal system.
This legislation also does not address human rights concerns and violations and does not even attempt to limit the powers of our policing bodies. The Conservative government does not even appear interested to relate our legitimate concerns regarding the egregious nature of the bill.
Canada is well on its way to creating a two-tier justice system one for non-citizens and one for citizens. The implication that non-citizens pose a serious threat to Canada underlies this piece of legislation; it is a part of immigration policies and not part of the Criminal Code. If a citizen were detained under a security certificate, one may be assured of the public outcry resulting from several violations of the Charter.
We want to remind the Harper government that the re-introduction of the security certificate measure indicates a contempt for organizations in Canada which are opposed to this bill and represents a categorical and outright departure from the legal values of this country because it:
This coalition of organizations supports the rejection of the bill and a return to legislation which takes into account Canada's history as a fair and just nation. We believe that this bill and the Anti-Terrorism laws in this country do nothing to quell the threat of terrorism and instead impose threats to human rights and the rule of law. A strong commitment to safeguard human rights and the freedoms allowed by our Constitution will be a much more secure and sound means to keep those living in Canada safe from terror and rights abuses by the state. We do not want and should not have to live in fear from the state and each other.
The coalition consists of the following groups:
Adala - Canadian Arab Justice Committee, Vancouver
Al-Huda Lebanese Muslim Society
Al-Nahda Social and Cultural Club
Albilad Newspaper, London
Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Bayan Centre, Progressive Iranian Canadian Muslims
BC Southern Interior Peace Coalition, Grand Forks,
Brampton Coalition for Peace and Justice
Canadian Arab Society of London, Ontario
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Canada Palestine Support Network, Ottawa
Canadian Islamic Congress
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Peace Alliance
Chinese Canadian National Council
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Coalition of Arab Canadian Professionals and
Community Associations, Ottawa
Communist Party of Canada
Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada
CUPE Local 2191
Forum Musulman Canadien Canadian Muslim Forum
Gerald and Maas, editions, Ottawa
Hamilton Council of Canadian Arabs
Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada
Islamic Society of York Region
Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation
Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee
Lawyers Against the War
Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Moroccan Association of Toronto
Muslim Council of Montreal
Muslim Unity Group
National Anti-Racism Council of Canada
Niagara Coalition for Peace, St Catharines
Niagara Palestinian Association, St Catharines
Not In Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Against
Ontario Federation of Labour
Palestine House, Mississauga
Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Montreal
Parole Arabe, Montreal
Salaheddin Islamic Centre
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Carleton
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, McMaster
Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance
Somali Canadian National Congress
TARIC Islamic Centre, Toronto
The Muslim Services, Toronto
Voice of Palestine, Vancouver
For more information, please contact:
CAF Executive Director
416-493-8635 x 23
CAF National President
Established in 1967, the Canadian Arab Federation is
non-partisan, non profit and membership-based
organization. CAF represents
Canadian Arabs on issues relating to public policy.
November 5, 2007
A Letter to the Editor of the Fulcrum, from Prof. David F. Noble
The Israel Lobby Strikes Again: Revelations from the Rancourt abitration
Going into yesterday's arbitration hearing all assumed that it was about a grievance filed by Professor Denis Rancourt against the University of Ottawa. Rancourt was challenging a disciplinary action taken against him for allegedly describing his course in a manner inconsistent with the course description approved by the Senate. But documents obtained in the course of the hearings suggest that, in fact, the dispute over the course description was merely a ruse and that Rancourt was rather the victim of a zionist campaign against his course.
On September 17, 2005 Rancourt sent out an email describing his upcoming course. Two Days later, September 19, an Ottawa yoga instructor named Shulamit Day-Savage sent an email to U of O professor Pierre Anctil complaining about Rancourt's email. In particular, she expressed concern about Rancourt's reference to a guest lecture by U of O professor Michel Chossudovsky, in which he included several links to websites attacking the guest lecturer as a self-hating Jew because of his criticism of Israel. Day-Savage took exception to Rancourt's note that such websites illuminate 'how Zionism intimidates free thinkers." Day-Savage has worked with the UJA's Jewish Family Services organization. In other unrelated emails Day-Savage had expressed her concerns about criticism of Israel on the part of anti-war activists. Her email to Anctil was signed only by her first name, indicating familiarity.
Since 2004 Anctil has been the director of U of O's Canadian Studies Institute. A scholar of Yiddish literature and French Canadian Jewry, Anctil has also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Israel Association for Canadian Studies, an Israel-based organization. Other Executive Committee members include a number of former presidents of the Canadian Jewish Congress and other leading Canadian zionists. Under Anctil's leadership', the U of O Canadian Studies Institute has established an undergraduate program in Jewish studies funded by Sarah and Zeev Vered. Vered owns the Ron Engineering and Constuction Company and is an important member of the zionist Jewish Federation of Ottawa, whose stated mission is to enrich Jewish life in Ottawa, Canada, and Israel. According to U of O's counsel Michelle Flaherty, U of O Vice President Academic Robert Major was alerted to Day-Savage's email by Anctil. (No documents have yet been disclosed about this communication. It remains unclear whether Anctil contacted Major directly or through another route, such as the office of the President. President Patry was a participant in a zionist campaign against an academic boycott of Israel). On September 21, Major faxed to the Dean of Science Christian Detellier, Rancourt's superior, a copy of Rancourt's course description, together with a print-out of material from one of the self-hating Jew websites and a hand-written note: "va voir le site alternative voices où D.R. annonce ce cours comme crédité!" (exclamation and emphasis in original). The same day, which happened to be the very day that Chossudovsky was giving his guest lecture, Dean Detellier appeared in Rancourt's classroom and announced that the class would be cancelled. It appears that the U of O is trying to discipline Rancourt in response to direct pressure from Ottawa's Israel lobby, courtesy the good offices of Professor Anctil.
Historian David F. Noble is a professor at York University in Toronto.
A letter to Mr. Ignatieff with a copy of a letter from members of the United Church to Stephen Harper attached.
Dear Mr. Ignatieff,
I am a constituency resident of Etobicoke Lakeshore who is concerned about Israeli-Palestinian issues, and I am forwarding the letter enclosed that was written by a committee in the United Church of Canada to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Last year I attended the General Council the United Church in Thunder Bay; although I am not a member of the Church but an Israeli Jew who is very disturbed about my country’s contribution in the Middle East. For your information, I am not alone in this concern and there are many other Jews here who share my perspective.
I find it alarming that the mainstream Jewish community here has successfully blocked most of the truth about the grave human rights violations that are being inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli government and army. This truth includes the place of democracy in Israel: Israel is experienced as a democracy only by its Jewish population. Others, like the Palestinian population that lives inside Israel – which is twenty percent of the entire population – have been subjected to a slow genocide. Most of their land has been robbed from them, they are subjected to house demolitions, many professions are not available for them, and their children have a very difficult time getting into schools of higher education. Growing up in Israel, I experienced Palestinians living inside Israel only as a shadow, they are forced to stay in their villages and towns because most Israelis will not rent or sell them any real estate. The conditions inside these towns and villages are very bad, partly because they are too crowded, and also because Israel will not supply them with the same services they supply Jewish settlements. As far as the Palestinians who are living under the illegal occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, the list of human rights violations would take me many pages to document. Briefly, they include basics like water supply and the freedom of movement, and also regular incursions and assassinations by the Israeli army.
Yet the Canadian government chooses to listen to a specific group of citizens (the mainstream Jewish community), and by choosing that participates in crimes and human rights violations against Palestinians.
For me “Ethical Investment for Peace in Palestine and Israel” is more about education than anything else. Israel is being supported by massive amounts of dollars from the U. S., and although it's been at war for the last 60 years, their economy is booming; they will not be intimidated by a few less dollars. If Canadians had been more informed, we could not continue to stand on the roadside and watch the people of Gaza die of hunger and lack of medications. Because Canada is known for its human rights, if we do not act to stop the siege on Gaza, we will be contributing to the horrible death of innocent men women and children and also to a loss of our integrity as a nation.
I think it is time to make a choice between our tradition of democracy and human rights and the propaganda and censorship of the mainstream Jewish community here. Since I voted for you to be my voice in Parliament, I strongly believe that it is time for you to raise your voice in order to stop the human rights violations in the Middle East. If you need any more information I will be happy to supply it, you can also check the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz or the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Sincerely, Smadar Carmon
24 July 2007
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Dear Prime Minister:
As you know, the United Church of Canada has long been committed to international peace and justice. It has tried to help facilitate the end of conflict, followed by reconciliation, in many parts of the world. Only in recent years has the Middle East become a major focus of this concern, where we have Palestinian church partners as well as a responsibility to try to sustain Jewish-Christian dialogue.
The UCC has made a number of statements on the Middle East, often responding to and endorsing the statements of the World Council of Churches. At the General Council in Thunder Bay last year it adopted GS2, “Ethical Investment for Peace in Palestine and Israel”, which not only moved the Church forward to back up its previous exhortations with action but reviewed its many past statements that expressed those concerns. Thus many in the Church have been following Middle Eastern events quite carefully. The undersigned have personally visited the Holy Land one or more times.
We are pleased that you have announced your intention to resume Canadian aid to the Palestinian people, who have suffered grievous harm as a result of the aid cut-off by Western powers last year. However, we are concerned that the restrictions that you have now placed may still have serious disadvantages for the people of Gaza, whose extreme suffering increases daily. Nor is the availability of humanitarian goods for the Gazan people alone sufficient to restore and sustain the economy, even at a subsistence level; opening of Gazan crossing points to trade goods, as was done before, is essential for a truly humanitarian policy, as former World Bank president James Wolfensohn has pointed out.
We understand your concern to deal only with "legitimate" authorities. But we would like to remind you that it was Hamas that was chosen in a free and fair election to form a government for the Palestinian Authority. And it was Hamas which pursued a coalition with Fatah, finally accomplished under terms agreed at the Mecca summit, which required all parties to accept past agreements with Israel, thus recognizing it by implication. And last month it was President Abbas who violated the Basic Law of that Authority--according to the critique of the drafters of that law--in his creation of an "emergency government" without legislative authorization. But now the best approach undoubtedly would be to urge Fatah and Hamas to compromise on a new coalition. Thus we urgently request you to expand your offering of aid to Palestinians to include goods to be distributed in Gaza by Hamas, which has a sterling record of providing welfare services honestly and efficiently. As you have recently said in Colombia, Canada cannot encourage countries to improve human rights and embrace democracy with a strategy of economic isolation--which clearly has applicability in this case. (We would certainly be glad to support a Canadian proviso that aid to Gaza would flow only if Hamas recommitted to a long term cease fire, sustainable, of course, only if Israel reciprocated.) The most urgent humanitarian action we would request would be the reopening of the Rafah gate on the Egyptian border, controlled by Israeli forces, where nearly 6,000 Palestinians trying to return to their homes are now trapped; many have already died from exposure and lack of medical care.
We would also urge you to support King Abdullah of Jordan in his effort to secure Israel's acceptance of the Arab League's proposal for a final settlement, which would permit the revival of meaningful negotiations.
In the meantime, we believe that Canadians would also favour a strong condemnation by your government of Israel's continued violations of international law by construction of the Separation Wall on Palestinian land, building new settlements on Occupied land and expanding existing ones, the continuing destruction of Palestinian homes, and military action against Palestinian communities--alongside your previous condemnation of suicide bombers and rockets used by Palestinians. After all, in the last year, according to the well-respected Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, deaths resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were 657 Palestinians, mostly non-combatant civilians, killed by Israeli forces and 14 Israelis.
We would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues with your advisors at an early date.
Sincerely, David Wurfel, with endorsements and assistance in drafting from Frances Combs, Jean Lee, Lawrence Pushee, Karin Brothers, Vicki Obedkoff, John Gilbart, and Judith Weisman Copies to Moderator, UCC; KAIROS; Minister of Foreign Affairs; members of parliament
Israel is not the Problem, Toronto Star, Consul General of Israel, Ya'acov Brosh, June 29, 2007
Resulting letters to the editor:
What is so outrageous to so many of us is the arrogance of Israeli government policies and actions, as evidenced once again by the letter of the Consul General of Israel, Ya'acov Brosh, Israel is not the Problem, June 29, 2007.
Mr. Brosh, in justifying the building of the "fence", actually an 8- metre wall that in many cases separates Palestinian farmers from their fields and prevents people from obtaining even emergency medical care, claims that "the importance of saving lives far exceeds the certain discomforts imposed on some Palestinians." It is this arrogant attitude which underlies Israeli relations with Palestinians, clearly implying that Israeli lives are worth much more than Palestinians. The world is supposed to believe that Israel is the innocent victim of Palestinian terrorists and ignore the fact that Israel has been responsible for the death of hundreds of Palestinians for every Israeli life lost. Until this arrogance (and disinformation) is eliminated, there can be little hope for a lasting peace.
Smadar Carmon, Toronto
To the editor:
When I learned that Israel was building settlements in Gaza, I said to a friend of mine (Jewish, like me) that they could only have been built on stolen land. She replied, "It isn't stolen, it's conquered!"
The Israeli consul says that Israel did not conquer Palestine in 1967. In that case, the land they have taken over, for settlements, roads that only Jews may use, the Wall (no fence is three stories high and sixty metres wide), and so on, was stolen. (Some of the West Bank settlements are built on land that the Israeli courts have recognized is the property of Palestinians.)
In 1969, the Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibovitz anticipated that concentration camps would be built in the occupied territories, and said, "Israel would be a state that would not deserve to exist, and it will not be worthwhile to preserve it." And Irena Klepfisz, a Holocaust survivor, asked, "As long as hundreds of Palestinians are not being lined up and shot, but are killed by Israelis only one a day, are we Jews free from worrying about morality, justice?"
Elizabeth Block, Toronto
What is so outrageous to so many of us as Jews ( I myself born in the land called Palestine in 1944) is the arrogance of Israeli government policies and actions toward Palestinians, as evidenced once again by the letter of the Consul General of Israel, Ya'acov Brosh, Israel is not the Problem, June 29, 2007.
Mr. Brosh, in justifying the building of the "fence", actually an 8- metre concrete wall that separates Palestinian farmers from their fields and prevents people from obtaining even emergency medical care, claims that "the importance of saving lives far exceeds the certain discomforts imposed on some Palestinians. " It is this arrogant attitude which underlies Israeli relations with Palestinians, clearly implying that Israeli lives are worth much more than Palestinians. The world is supposed to believe that Israel is the innocent victim of Palestinian terrorists and ignore the fact that Israel has been responsible for the death of hundreds of Palestinians for every Israeli life lost. Until this arrogance (and disinformation) is eliminated, there can be little hope for a lasting peace.
Ronny Yaron, Toronto
Just a few words in response to the Israeli Consul letter.
Once again the usual lies from Israeli officials about the wall being built as a security fence and Israel's willingness to negotiate with the Palestinians, in regard to establishing a state for them. The wall is nothing but a land grab. The actual border is about 350 km. but the wall is about 700 km. This wall is being built in order to ensure that the lands which are confiscated will never be returned, no matter what will happen in future negotiations or world pressure.This wall is also another means of ethnic cleansing. Israel did not and does not want to negotiate in good faith. They always set preconditions (which they know cannot be met), or even at times when negotiations did start, they would continue targeted killings repeatedly, until a retaliation would occur, so they could end any further dealings and blame the other side for it. Israel has a plan of taking parts of the Palestinian lands and they will not stop until the plan is complete. This is being achieved with utmost brutality, disregard of international laws and total disregard for human rights. By doing so, they endanger themselves, their neighbours and the whole world.
I lived in Israel for 20 years and most of my family presently resides there.
J. J., Toronto.
A response to the article "So they're not Kosher," by Beppi Crosariol
To The Editor of The Globe and Mail:
I find your publishing an article by Beppi Crosariol extolling Israeli wine produced on stolen land to be reprehensible. In 1967 following years of engaging in provocative acts and attacks against Syrian farmers and positions Israel invaded Syria, capturing the Golan Heights (I was in Israel during the early years of those provocations and witnessed some of it) It then expelled most of its residents, settling it with Jewish Israelis, creating kibbutzim, moshavim and towns. Despite many UN resolutions condemming this theft of land and ethnic cleansing and despite Syria's many attempts at making peace with Israel in return for the return of the Golan Heights Israel continues in its illegal occupation. Through its escalating expansion Israel is being exposed for what it is, a dangerous and aggressive state. A recent poll in Europe showed that most of the respondents consider Israel the greatest threat to world peace. Mr. Crosariol if you had any moral fibre you would join the growing movement worldwide and call for a boycott of those wines, not extoll them.
A response to Josh Frohwein's reponse to Freeman-Maloy NOW article: Meanwhile in Palestine . . . Social fabric crumbles while Harper holds firm to deadly boycott.
Middle East perspective
Letter writer Josh Frohwein, who accuses Dan Freeman-Maloy of not knowing Middle East history (NOW, June 14-20), is either ignorant of it himself or, more likely, doesn't want to know.
It's true that Gaza and the West Bank used to belong to Egypt and Jordan. (Legally, I suppose they still do.) But neither ever kicked the inhabitants off their land and replaced them with their own citizens.
Neither did they prevent them from earning a living, planting and harvesting, buying and selling, going from place to place or sending their children to school.
They didn't demolish their homes, schools, hospitals. They didn't take their water.
As for the supply of weapons, piles of them, along with tens of millions of dollars, are coming from the United States to pro-Fatah militias, especially the "Preventive Security Force" headed by U.S.-favoured strongman Mohammed Dahlan. This is being organized by Elliott Abrams.
Remember him? He was convicted of perjury in the Iran-Contra affair.
Elizabeth Block, Toronto