IMAGINE IF TORONTO WAS BOMBED LIKE GAZA

In his compelling new video Gazonto, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson reimagines Israel’s massive bombardment of the Israeli-occupied and besieged Gaza Strip as if it were an attack on his home city Toronto.

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Short film “Gazonto” by John Greyson imagines Toronto bombed like Gaza

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA ! – BONNE FÊTE CANADA

Rambling down Memory Lane…….

July 1st has always been a special day for me. Forty seven years ago today I left the United States and applied for Landed Immigrant Status in Canada. My wife and I picked this date as it was a National Holiday and we figured there would be less security at the Toronto Airport…. and less questions. It was a special day in Canada, it was the 100th anniversary of Confederation.
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My suspicions proved correct…. there was only a handful of security personnel on duty and I was asked only two questions…
“How long do you plan on staying in Canada?”…. to which I responded “Forever!”*
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The second question was “Are you a subversive?”…. to which I responded quite naively “What does that mean?”
“Do you consider yourself a threat to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second or any one of her heirs?” (pronounced ‘hairs’ when I verbalise this story)…. to which I responded “Definitely not!”
“Welcome to Canada! Here is your Landed Immigrant Status Card!” (Let it be known that in no way did I consider the Royal Family ‘Divine’ in any way, but I did not feel I was a threat to their existence.)

Little did that Immigration Officer know, but in the United States I WAS considered a subversive…. in fact, I carried with me a ten page document of allegations against me from Army ‘Intelligence’ which ended with the words “Your entrance into any branch of the Armed Forces at any time would be detrimental to the security of our nation.” How much more of a ‘subversive’ can one hope to be?
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It would be ‘safe’ to say that I owe my life to the FBI. The document I mentioned above was full of information provided by them. Their ‘planted’ informants knew the exact date and time that I joined the Communist Party of the United States. They knew every move I made during all my years of activity.
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On my 18th birthday I registered with the Draft Board. We had to do that by law in those days. A few years later I received my order to report for my physical examination. I will never forget the short, burly man in charge that day…. Sgt. Randazzo. His face and voice haunts me to this day. The day I had to report was like a mini High School Reunion. Almost every male in my graduation class was present that day. We were lined up and were asked if we were interested in volunteering for the Marines. As this was a sure way to be sent to Viet Nam, there wasn’t a single volunteer. Randazzo then proceeded to pick every third person in line to serve in the Marines. But…… immediately before that an announcement was made…. “Anyone that was ever arrested, please go to Room 101.” Off I went….. which meant that poor Michael, who was standing next to me, was picked to be a Marine…. it should have been me, but I was being interrogated instead. Needless to say, Michael does not speak to me to this day.
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If you move the ‘timer’ to 9:10 on the following video, you will get a pretty good idea what that interrogation was like….

A few months later I received my 4F. At first I was given ten days to deny the allegations in the document I received…. non compliance earned me my 4F. The rest is history…..
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Moving on…. here we were in a new country, a country with totally different values and definitions than the one we had just left. But, I felt that we were still not ‘home free’…. our new government might discover our past and deport us, so we prepared for this by purchasing a framed photograph of Her Majesty and hanging it in the hallway of our new apartment. If the Royal Mounted Police ever came to ‘visit’ it would be the first thing they saw. We had two new statuses that we did not want to lose…. Landed Immigrant and NON Subversive!
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My political activities continued throughout my years in Canada, including running in elections for both the Federal Parliament and the Province of Ontario…. on the ticket of the Communist Party of Canada. This Party was/is legal, so my status of Non Subversive did not change.
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The Mounties never came and we were never deported. Canada was a totally different world than the one we had just came from… that was in 1967. Things are a bit different today, unfortunately. Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party hacks have ‘bridged the gap’ between the two countries. Canada today is as close to a 51st State of the United States as Israel is…. this makes me very sad. Hopefully things will change and Canada can once again pride itself for being the country represented as ‘”The true North, proud and free!” As long as the Tories remain in power that will not be the case.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA ! – BONNE FÊTE CANADA
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Also see

ART AS A WEAPON AGAINST OPPRESSION

First, from Wikipedia ….. Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as “a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science”. Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.

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Second, Kudos to the City of Ottawa for the following …

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(Right under Stephen zio Harper’s big lying nose)

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Ottawa Won’t Shut Down Palestinian Art Show in Canada Capital City Hall

‘Invisible’ Focuses on Occupation — Jews Blast Incitement

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COURTESY OF REHAB NAZZAL

By JTA Via

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The City of Ottawa will not close an art exhibit denounced as a glorification of terror by Israel’s embassy and the local Jewish community.

“Invisible,” the creation of Toronto-based Palestinian artist Rehab Nazzal, focuses on “Palestine … and its military occupation by Israel,” according to a gallery brochure. The exhibit, which is scheduled to end June 22, has been on display at a gallery inside Ottawa City Hall since May 9.

Israel’s embassy in the Canadian capital said the exhibit “reflects a culture of hate and incitement that contradicts the values of Canada as a guardian of peace and champion against terror.”

Rafael Barak, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, met last week with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to discuss “the problematic nature of the exhibit, especially because it does not portray ‘artists, activists, writers and leaders,’ as is presented in the pamphlet, but known terrorists,” said a statement from the embassy a day after the meeting.

The statement added that the artist is a relative of Khalil Nazzal, who masterminded the Maalot school massacre in Israel that took place 40 years ago this month that killed 22 children and three adults.

While Barak was “pleased” to learn through his meeting with the mayor that the exhibit “does not reflect his values or the City of Ottawa,” he said the artworks “provide Canadians with a window into what lies at the root of terrorism and the obstacles in Israel’s quest for peace: the Palestinian glorification of terror, the incitement of violence and the refusal to accept the State of Israel.”

The embassy provided background information on seven Palestinian suicide bombers, hijackers and terrorism operatives presented in the exhibit as artists, writers and “leaders.”

The Jewish Federation of Ottawa and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on the mayor to remove the “inappropriate” exhibit, which is “hurtful to the Jewish community and offensive to any peace-loving person, including non-Jewish Canadian victims of terror,” the federation said in a statement last week.

But the city advised the federation that it was unable to remove the exhibit, “citing deficiencies in its own selection process,” said Jewish Federation of Ottawa president and CEO Andrea Freedman.

In a statement to JTA, Steve Kanellakos, Ottawa’s deputy city manager, said, “To exhibit a work of art is not to endorse the work or the vision, ideas, and opinions of the artist. It is to uphold the right of all to experience diverse visions and views.”

Kanellakos added that “the artist’s works and the artist herself benefit from [Canada’s] protection of freedom of expression.”

 

 

 

COMPARATIVE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS …. THEN AND NOW

See if you find the common denominator …

Poo Poo then, Poo Poo Now!

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Lyrics …

Can you remember the times
That you have held your head high
And told all your friends of your Indian claim
Proud good lady and proud good man
Your great-great grandfather from Indian blood sprang
And you feel in your heart for these ones

Oh it’s written in books and in song
That we’ve been mistreated and wronged
Well over and over I hear the same words
From you good lady and you good man
Well listen to me if you care where we stand
And you feel you’re a part of these ones

When a war between nations is lost
The loser, we know, pays the cost
But even when Germany fell to your hands
Consider dear lady, consider dear man
You left them their pride and you left them their land
And what have you done to these ones

Has a change come about Uncle Sam
Or are you still taking our lands
A treaty forever George Washington signed
He did dear lady, he did dear man
And the treaty’s being broken by Kinzua Dam
And what will you do for these ones

Oh, it’s all in the past you can say
But it’s still going on here today
The government now want the Iroquois land
That of the Senaca and the Cheyenne
It’s here and it’s now you can help us dear man
Now that the buffalo’s gone.

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Now, Look into MY Eyes

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Lyrics

Look into my eyes
Tell me what ya see
U don’t see a damn thing
Cuz u can’t relate to me

U blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to u
I’m the persecuted one
U the red, white and blue

Each day u wake in tranquility
No fears to cross your eyes
Each day I wake in gratitude
Thankin’ God He let me rise

Ya worry ’bout your education
And the bills u have to pay
I worry ’bout my vulnerable life
And if I’ll survive another day

Ya biggest fear is getting a ticket
As ya cruise your Cadillac
My fear is that the tank that’s just left
Will turn around and come back

Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Has our world gone all blind 
Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Some one tell me

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

See I’ve known terror for quite some times
57 years so cruel
Terror breathes the air I breathe
It’s the check point on my way to school

Terror is the robbery of my land
And the torture of my mother
The imprisonment of my innocent father
The bullet in my baby brother

The bulldozers and the tanks
The gasses and the guns
The bombs that fall outside my door
All due to your funds

You blame me for defending myself
Against the ways of my enemies
I’m terrorized in my own land
And I’m the terrorist

Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Has our world gone all blind 
Yet do u know the truth of where ya money goes
Do u let the media deceive your mind
Is this a truth that nobody knows
Some one tell me

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

American do ya realize
That the taxes that u pay
Feed the forces that traumatize
My every living day

So if I won’t be here tomorrow
It’s written in my fate
May the future bring a brighter day
The end of our wait

Oh let’s not cry tonight
I promise you one day it’s through
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

Oh shine a light for every soul
That ain’t with us no more
Ohohoh my brothers
Ohohoh my sisters

STEPHEN HARPER ~~ SINGING AND DANCING FOR APARTHEID

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As a Canadian citizen, this truly saddens and disgusts me  *

Harper Sings ‘Hey Jude’ At State Dinner In Jerusalem

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It’s fair to say Stephen Harper has received a “rock star” welcome on his first official visit to Israel.

And on Tuesday, he rocked out.

The prime minister took the stage at a state dinner in Jerusalem to perform some Beatles tunes on the keyboard, including “Hey Jude,” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on.

And judging by the videos posted online, it seems Harper’s musical stylings were warmly received by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

The Jerusalem Post described Harper’s performance as courageous.

Netanyahu posted a brief clip to his YouTube account.

Harper also dusted off an old classic, “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

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FROM

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Related Report

CANADA’S HARPER NEEDS A LESSON IN WHAT ZIONISM REALLY IS

AntiZionism (1)
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Despite the 30 Billion a year that the US taxpayers send to Israel, Netanyahu considers Harper his best, perhaps only, friend among today’s world leaders, and to be a wholehearted supporter of his government’s policy.
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Neither seem aware of the Canadian Government’s policy …
On the eve of Harper’s visit to Israel, the Foreign Ministry in Ottawa issued an updated policy paper on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although many on the right believe the Harper government to be a full-fledged supporter of Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue, the policy paper states that Canada believes the settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.
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Harper tells Knesset: Anti-Zionism is the new face of anti-Semitism

Stephen Harper is first Canadian PM to address the Knesset; ‘Canada won’t tolerate delegitimization of Israel’.

By Barak Ravid
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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the Knesset. Photo by AFP
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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday became the first leader of his country to address the Knesset, telling parliamentarians that Canada supported Israel’s right to statehood and would not tolerate efforts to delegitimize it within the international community.

Speaking in both French and English, Canada’s national languages, Harper opened his address by telling members of Knesset that “Canada and Israel are friends in a natural way.”

“To truly understand the ties between Canada and Israel one must go beyond the institutions and look at the ties between peoples,” Harper said. “Jews have been present in Canada for more than 250 years… 350,000 Canadians share with you their heritage. They are immensely proud of what was accomplished here.”

“Canada supports Israel fundamentally because it is right to do so,” he added. “We stand up for a free and democratic Jewish state.”

But, Harper said, Canada also supports the creation of a Palestinian state. “Just as we support Israel we support peace for the Palestinians,” Harper said, later adding: “I believe that a Palestinian state will come when the people will realize that peace is the way.”

Canada will not accept the delegitimization of Israel, Harper declared. “Canada finds it horrible that there are those in the international community who challenge Israel’s legitimate right to exist,” he said. “That with one solitary Jewish state among many others, it is all too easy to isolate Israel.”

The Canadian prime minister also told MKs that he believed expression of anti-Zionism to be on par with anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism still exists in its traditional form based on ignorance in some of the dark corners of the world,” he said. “In the Western world it takes on a more sophisticated form. With some intellectualized arguments on some campuses.This is the new face of anti-Semitism.”

Harper also turned his attention to the issue of Iran, which dominated headlines on Monday after the Islamic Republic began halting uranium enrichment and prompted the U.S. to suspend some its sanctions. “Canada’s sanctions against Iran will stay in place,” Harper vowed.

While Harper’s speech was welcomed by most parliamentarians, he was heckled by two Arab lawmakers: MK Ahmad Tibi screamed “settlements,” and MK Talab Abu Arar then shouted and stormed out of the hall. After the outburst, Harper received a standing ovation from other parliamentarians.

A royal welcome

Harper arrived in Israel for his first visit on Sunday night, greeted with a royal welcome by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu considers Harper his best, perhaps only, friend among today’s world leaders, and to be a wholehearted supporter of his government’s policy.

In introducing Harper to the Knesset, Netanyahu told his Canadian counterpart: “The people of Israel appreciate your steadfast support and sincere friendship. Welcome to Israel, dear friend.”

“There are those in the international community know the true facts, but you have the bravery to stick to the truth and to say the truth,” Netanyahu added. “Canada under your leadership is a moral compass and a lighthouse of honesty in the age of hypocrisy we live in.”

Throwing in some Canadian humor, Netanyahu told Harper: “There are streets in Toronto that are longer than the distance between Jerusalem and Ramallah,” referring to Yonge Street, which feeds into the TransCanada Highway. “This is why security is crucial.”

Netanyahu also praised Canada for standing with Israel against those who would delegitimize it, for backing it in the war on terror and against anti-Semitism, and for supporting a real peace with has “at its roots the Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish national state.”

Changing subject to Iran, Netanyahu said, “The international community must take the Iranian nuclear train off the tracks in a permanent agreement… it is about time the international community stop legitimizing Iran while it is still calling for the destruction of Israel,” he said.

During a press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah earlier on Monday, Harper dodged a question about the Israeli settlements. “I will not single out Israel on this trip,” he said. “Our position on this is known.”

This is Harper’s first visit since his election in 2006, and he is the first Canadian prime minister to ever address the Knesset. He will also receive an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University.

On the eve of Harper’s visit to Israel, the Foreign Ministry in Ottawa issued an updated policy paper on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although many on the right believe the Harper government to be a full-fledged supporter of Israeli policy on the Palestinian issue, the policy paper states that Canada believes the settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.

The policy statement, published on January 13, six days before Harper’s arrival in Jerusalem, points out that Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories conquered in 1967 and says the settlements constitute a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. “Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” it reads.

The policy paper reveals that the Canadian government also does not support Israeli policy on Jerusalem, for Netanyahu’s demand for recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, nor Netanyahu’s position that not a single Palestinian refugee will return to Israel.

Canada’s stated support, however, for Israel touches on several issues – security arrangements, Israel’s right to self-defense, and opposition to anti-Israel discrimination at the UN.

The policy statement says that Canada recognizes Israel’s right to ensure its security: “Israel has a right under international law to take the necessary measures, in accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law, to protect the security of its citizens from attacks by terrorist groups.”

Written FOR

CANADIAN PM TO HONOUR ‘ARMY OF ISRAELI TREES’

harperandIsrael-4
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“In light of the fact that KKL is active in the Negev we see in JNF’s trees are soldiers in the Zionist army of occupation.”
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Palestinians to protest JNF event: Trees are soldiers in occupation

JNF-KKL event honoring Canadian prime minister expected to attract 1,000 strong Palestinian protest against Bedouin resettlement bill. ‘JNF’s trees are soldiers in Zionist army of occupation’

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Canadian police forces are currently preparing for a Palestinian protest against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who is expected to participate in a Jewish National Fund of Canada event.

The event is a dinner being held in the prime minister’s honor and the protest is expected to be attract at least 1,000 people. According to the protest’s organizers, the demonstration is being held in wake of the Praver Plan to resettle Bedouins.

“In light of the fact that KKL is active in the Negev we see in JNF’s trees are soldiers in the Zionist army of occupation,” a Palestinian told Ynet.

Harper is considered pro-Israeli and he is a staunch supporter of Israel, despite ongoing pressure from Muslim groups. Harper was one of the first world leaders to express his support of Israel’s campaign against the nuclear deal reached with Iran in Geneva.

“Canada’s foreign policy has embraced Israel during his Harper’s tenure,” Efi Stenzler head of KKL-JNF said, adding that “this is not something that can be taken for granted.”

More than 4,500 Jews and pro-Israeli Christians will take part in the event with some evening paying $100,000 for a place at the table – with all revenues to be donated to Israel.

Harper, it is worth noting, will not only participate in the event but has requested to make a private and personal donation of his own which will go to Hula Valley center. Efi Stenzler will represent the State of Israel at the event and plans to announce that the center will be named for Harper.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to congratulate the Canadian leader in a video message.

Source

WHEN IN DOUBT BLAME IT ON THE MUSLIMS

Finger Pointing is much easier than THINKING ….
finger-pointing
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For a number of years I lived in a small city in Northern Ontario. It was a haven for many former war criminals from the Ukraine and Latvia. It was not uncommon to hear comments in the street blaming the Jews for anything that was wrong with society. One time I was at the meatcounter of a supermarket with my son Peter. We noticed that there was a marked increase on the price of pork products …. minutes later one of the Latvians referred to above started mumbling something about the ‘god damned Jews’ raising prices …
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The price of pork was controlled by Jews? This confused my son who was about ten at the time. He asked the man what Jews had to do with the price of pork …. the man took off like a bat out of hell. The last thing these criminals wanted was uncovering their unsavory past.
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The war criminals of today haven’t had ‘their day in court’ yet so they are a bit bolder and don’t run off that quickly (but their day will come). It’s not the Jews they blame for the evils in the world today as most of them are Jews themselves, zionists to be specific. To them, it’s the Muslims ‘that did it’ ….
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Here is the latest incident of this ongoing Islamophobia …
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Australia, then and now

 Anti-Semitic incidents in land down under may stem from import of hundreds of thousands of Muslims since 1980s

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The incidents include shattering synagogue windows, physical assaults on Jewish students, derogatory exclamations against Jews on the streets and hurling different objects on synagogue goers. The leaders of the Jewish communities in Australia are not particularly enthusiastic about publishing the figures and putting them on the public agenda for their own reasons, as if one can combat this troubling phenomenon and make it disappear by keeping quiet 

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In 1938, Thomas White didn’t want to “import” Jews, allegedly so as not to give rise to anti-Semitism in his country. Many things seem to have changed since then in the land of kangaroos and koalas, and it’s quite possible that these changes stem, among other things, from the import of hundreds of thousands of Muslims since the 1980s, including thousands of Palestinians.

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The full report can be read HERE

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How times have changed …

‘DISAPPEARING PALESTINE’ AD DISAPPEARS IN TORONTO

The ads are both fair and accurate. Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories indeed does clearly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and UN Security Council Resolution 465 (1980). All of these laws forbid occupying powers, such as Israel, to transfer their civilians to the territories that they militarily occupy. Why are TTC staff denying that this is the case?
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poster_image_-_schoolgirl_and_rubble

“Disappearing Palestine” ad banned by Toronto Transit Commission.

 (CJPME)

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Toronto transit bans “Disappearing Palestine” ad claiming risk of anti-Jewish violence

 Ali Abunimah
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The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has rejected a group’s bus ad showing Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land over time, claiming the ad could incite anti-Jewish discrimination and violence.

The ad, sponsored by Canadians for a Just Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), is similar to others that have appeared in cities all over North America – including Vancouver.

CJPME has said it is ready to appeal the censorship of the ad all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court.

The centerpiece is a series of four maps that show the loss of control of Palestinian land to the Zionist movement and Israel between 1946 and the present.

The ad also states: “This is unfair. It is also illegal under international law.”

It includes an image of a Palestinian schoolgirl standing amid rubble resulting from an Israeli air attack in Gaza.

The copy of the ad shown above was provided to The Electronic Intifada by CJPME.

“Could advocate for violence.”

But TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that the transit body did not accept that Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land was either “unfair” or “illegal.”

“Making that statement may cause some … to then target Israelis and/or Jewish people. Some may view it as discriminatory, [and] could advocate for violence or hatred against Israel or the Jewish people,” Ross told The Toronto Star.

“There is no finding in our legal opinion of illegality around loss of land under international law … no court, no tribunal has ruled on loss of land being illegal,” Ross added.

Censors rejoice

B’Nai Brith, one of Canada’s most prominent anti-Palestinian organizations, issued a statement “congratulating” TTC for banning the ad.

Echoing the language used by the TTC itself, B’Nai Brith claimed that the ad was “misleading and inaccurate and could lead to hatred or violence against supporters of Israel and the Jewish community in particular.”

By conflating criticism of Israel and its policies with criticism of Jews, TTC seems perhaps unwittingly to be promoting anti-Semitic canards that Jews are collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.

B’Nai Brith has a history of censorship and supporting intolerance.

Last summer, Canada’s leading LGBTQ publication Daily Xtra revealed that B’Nai Brith had teamed up with Charles McVety, one of Canada’s most outspoken anti-LGBTQ campaigners, in an effort to persuade the city to defund Toronto Pride.

B’Nai Brith was incensed that Toronto Pride had not banned Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from marching in the parade.

CJPME responds

CJPME has issued an action alert saying that the group “is ready to appeal this decision to the highest levels – including the Supreme Court.”

It urged the public to contact the TTC and send a message protesting the ban of the “Disappearing Palestine” ad:

The ads are both fair and accurate. Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories indeed does clearly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and UN Security Council Resolution 465 (1980). All of these laws forbid occupying powers, such as Israel, to transfer their civilians to the territories that they militarily occupy. Why are TTC staff denying that this is the case?

Ads “lost”

CJPME also alleged that it has faced obstruction and discrmination in trying to place the ads.

According to its website, it sent proposed designs of the ads to two transit authorities in June.

“Sadly, through various strategies over the summer, the transit companies and ad agencies have tried to prevent the ads from being posted. Designs were ‘lost,’ employees told to ‘drop the ads,’ emails and calls ignored.” 

CJPME said that in September its lawyer “sent a letter to the TTC demanding that the transit authority respect CJPME’s constitutional rights to post the ads,” but instead it was notified on 21 October that the ad was rejected.

Illegal and ongoing land confiscation

TTC’s extraordinary finding runs wholly against international law, and even the nominal policies of Canada’s extremely pro-Israel Conservative government.

It also seems to go far beyond the organization’s remit of providing public transport to Toronto.

Numerous UN Security Council Resolutions, including, for example, Resolution 465, state clearly that Israel’s annexation and colonization of Palestinian land occupied since 1967 is illegal.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice in the Hague found that the wall Israel has built in the occupied West Bank and its associated regime of land confiscation, is illegal and must be removed.

Moreover, when Israel was established in 1948, it conquered about twice the amount of land allocated to a putative Jewish state under UN resolution 181, a resolution which was never lawfully implemented.

The property rights and right of return of Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled in 1948, and their descendants, have been reaffirmed by overwhelming majorities in the UN General Assembly annually.

The Canadian government states that “Canada does not recognize Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem.”

The government also reaffirms its support for Resolution 465, among others, confirming the illegality of Israeli colonization and settlement.

Forced displacement

Recently, more than ninety Canadian writers took a public position against Israel’s ongoing evictions of Bedouins from their lands in the south of present-day Israel.

In August, Human Rights Watch called on Israel to halt the forced displacement of Bedouins which is carried out “based on discriminatory laws and rules, and without respect for the Bedouins’ dignity or the country’s human rights obligations.”

Some 40,000 more Bedouins, nominally citizens of Israel, currently face expulsion under Israel’s Prawer Plan to ethnically cleanse and “Judaize” their traditional lands.

These are facts, but they are ones Toronto’s transit authorities do not want riders to know.

 

Written FOR

‘AD WAR’ ERUPTS IN VANCOUVER OVER PALESTINIAN LEGITIMACY

The ads in question
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This one cannot be disputed ….
transitad
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But this one can!
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zionism cannot exist without lies, the truth is its biggest enemy. This was proven in Vancouver, Canada this week when an ‘ad war’ erupted over loss of land ….. Palestinian or Jewish. The following report, direct from the ‘war zone’ deals with the situation. 
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In Vancouver ad war, Israel fights Palestine for legitimacy

StandWithUs advocacy group launches campaign in response to anti-Israel ads on buses and light rail stations.

By JTA
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An Israel advocacy group has launched a transit campaign in opposition to anti-Israel ads on Vancouver buses and light rail stations.

StandWithUs, a right-leaning Israel advocacy group, began running two advertisements on Monday meant to combat the ads put up by the Palestine Awareness Committee.

The pro-Israel ads include one series of three maps purporting to show “Jewish Loss of Land” and are dated from 1000 BCE until “Today.” Another depicts smiling Israeli and Canadian children with the statement “Shared Values & Freedom.”

The anti-Israel ads depict “Disappearing Palestine” on a series of four maps dated 1946-2012 that illustrate Palestine shrinking over the years.

“The anti-Israel ads distort facts,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement. “They presume there once was an Arab country called ‘Palestine’ when in fact no such country ever existed,” he added.

When the Palestine Awareness Committee ads originally went up earlier in the fall, the Jewish community in Vancouver threatened legal action and attempted, unsuccessfully, to have TransLink, the local transit agency, reject the ads.

While the Palestine Awareness Committee has announced plans to run its ads in other Canadian cities, Meryle Kates, executive director of StandWithUs-Canada, said StandWithUs has no plans to expand its campaign.

The StandWithUs ads will run through the middle of November. The organization has previously responded to ads it views as critical of Israel in other North American cities.

Source

Related

CANADIANS WALKING LIKE EGYPTIANS IN CAIRO PRISON

 John Greyson and Tarek Loubani supporters
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PRESS RELEASE
Impending Charges? Tarek and John in their own words

 

We have held on to this statement out of fear that the Egyptian authorities would harm Tarek and John if we released it. But given the announcement of impending charges in the Toronto Star today, we think that their own words can explain what the “evidence” the Egyptian authorities claim to have is. We believe that the impending charges have much more to do with what Tarek and John witnessed on August 16th, rather than what the Egyptian authorities claim they did.

Statement:

“We are on the 12th day of our hunger strike at Tora, Cairo’s main prison, located on the banks of the Nile. We’ve been held here since August 16 in ridiculous conditions: no phone calls, little to no exercise, sharing a 3m x 10m cell with 36 other political prisoners, sleeping like sardines on concrete with the cockroaches; sharing a single tap of earthy Nile water.

“We never planned to stay in Egypt longer than overnight. We arrived in Cairo on the 15th with transit visas and all the necessary paperwork to proceed to our destination: Gaza. Tarek volunteers at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and brings people with him each time. John intended to shoot a short film about Tarek’s work.

“Because of the coup, the official Rafah border was opening and closing randomly, and we were stuck in Cairo for the day. We were carrying portable camera gear (one light, one microphone, John’s HD Canon, two Go-Pros) and gear for the hospital (routers for a much-needed wifi network and two disassembled toy-sized helicopters for testing the transportation of medical samples).

“Because of the protests in Ramses Square and around the country on the 16th, our car couldn’t proceed to Gaza. We decided to check out the Square, five blocks from our hotel, carrying our passports and John’s HD camera. The protest was just starting – peaceful chanting, the faint odour of tear gas, a helicopter lazily circling overhead – when suddenly calls of “doctor”. A young man carried by others from God-knows-where, bleeding from a bullet wound. Tarek snapped into doctor mode…and started to work doing emergency response, trying to save lives, while John did video documentation, shooting a record of the carnage that was unfolding. The wounded and dying never stopped coming. Between us, we saw over fifty Egyptians die: students, workers, professionals, professors, all shapes, all ages, unarmed. We later learned the body count for the day was 102.

“We left in the evening when it was safe, trying to get back to our hotel on the Nile. We stopped for ice cream. We couldn’t find a way through the police cordon though, and finally asked for help at a check point.

“That’s when we were: arrested, searched, caged, questioned, interrogated, videotaped with a ‘Syrian terrorist’, slapped, beaten, ridiculed, hot-boxed, refused phone calls, stripped, shaved bald, accused of being foreign mercenaries. Was it our Canadian passports, or the footage of Tarek performing CPR, or our ice cream wrappers that set them off? They screamed ‘Canadian’ as they kicked and hit us. John had a precisely etched bootprint bruise on his back for a week.

“We were two of 602 arrested that night, all 602 potentially facing the same grab-bag of ludicrous charges: arson, conspiracy, terrorism, possession of weapons, firearms, explosives, attacking a police station. The arrest stories of our Egyptian cellmates are remarkably similar to ours: Egyptians who were picked up on dark streets after the protest, by thugs or cops, blocks or miles from the police station that is the alleged site of our alleged crimes.

“We’ve been here in Tora prison for six weeks, and are now in a new cell (3.5m x 5.5m) that we share with ‘only’ six others. We’re still sleeping on concrete with the cockroaches, and still share a single tap of Nile water, but now we get (almost) daily exercise and showers. Still no phone calls. The prosecutor won’t say if there’s some outstanding issue that’s holding things up. The routers, the film equipment, or the footage of Tarek treating bullet wounds through that long bloody afternoon? Indeed, we would welcome our day in a real court with the real evidence, because then this footage would provide us with our alibi and serve as a witness to the massacre.

“We deserve due process, not cockroaches on concrete. We demand to be released.

“Peace, John & Tarek”

CONTACT: Cecilia Greyson, cgreysonATgmail.com, Justin Podur, justinATpodur.org 

IMAGES OF THE DAY ~~ OCCUPY @ CANADA

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From FaceBook

THOSE INVISIBLE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN IN A DISAPPEARING LAND

What zion hides from the world ….. and what they get upset about …..
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Murder of innocent children
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Abir was ten years old, walking home from school, a block away from the Israeli soldiers who were angry at adolescent boys throwing stones at their armored vehicle. They were just outside East Jerusalem in the village of Anata in the West Bank. Abir had stopped at a store to buy candy to bring home to her sister.

The rubber bullet hit her at the base of her skull. The operations to save her were performed at an Israeli hospital in West Jerusalem. They were unsuccessful.

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Found in the rubble of the Gaza aftermath

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The above horrors went unnoticed in the Western press …

BUT …

The following is headline news in Vancouver, Canada, as zion gets upset with the truth;

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‘Disappearing Palestine’ Transit Ads Anger Jewish Federation in Vancouver

Show Palestinian Territories Gradually Shrinking Into Israel

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Bus Boycott: Ads paid for by the Palestine Awareness Coalition show the Palestinian territories shrinking into Israel over six decades.
COURTESY MITCHELL GROPPER
Bus Boycott: Ads paid for by the Palestine Awareness Coalition show the Palestinian territories shrinking into Israel over six decades.

The head of the Jewish federation in Vancouver and the Canadian city’s transit agency are at odds over the legality of an anti-Israel ad campaign on buses there.

The ads, which went up Tuesday, purport to show the “disappearance of Palestine due to Israeli occupation over the past 65 years.” The ads — 15 bus posters and one large “mural” in a station — consist of four maps spanning from 1946 to 2012 and illustrate “Palestine” shrinking over the years.

“This is of grave concern to our community at large because the ads make the use of the buses unwelcome and unsafe,” Mitchell Gropper, chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, told The Province newspaper.

TransLink, the transit agency, said in a written statement that it was advised by its lawyers that it was legally obligated to run the ads. But Gropper, an attorney, disagrees with TransLink’s legal determination and said the federation has retained a lawyer to consider its options.

“TransLink has said the law required them to publish these ads,” he said, “but that is certainly not the case.”

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto said it was “disturbed to learn about TransLink’s agreement to run historically distorted anti-Israel advertisements,” and said the ads were “provocative and incite hatred and contempt.”

Marty Roth, a member of the Palestine Awareness Coalition that is behind the $15,000, four-month campaign, told The Province that the battle over the ads had already been won.

“This will be controversial with a number of traditional Jewish organizations that have tried to suppress the ads,” Roth said. “But TransLink has refused to agree with them.”

Source

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And from MONDOWEISS

CANADA PICKS AND CHOOSES WHICH ‘TERRORISTS’ TO SUPPORT

The Harper government is plowing full steam ahead with its support for Israel. Double standards and morality be damned.
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Canada’s double standards on Middle East sink to new low

Yves Engler* 
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Canada helped encourage the EU to ban Hizballah’s military wing.

 (Wagdi Eshtayah / APA images)

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The extremism of Canada’s support for Israel just keeps growing.

The latest example is the Conservative government in Ottawa helping convince the European Union to list Hizballah’s military wing as a “terrorist” organization. After that decision was taken, Foreign Minister John Baird declared, “We are thrilled that the European Union unanimously has agreed to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization. We’ve been pushing for this.”

The National Post detailed Canada’s behind-the-scenes effort to get the EU to list Hizballah as a “terrorist” organization. Despite opposition from the Lebanese government, a foreign ministry official told the paper that this was “a clear priority that was set out by the minister.”

Canadian diplomats held bilateral talks with various European countries and also pushed for Hizballah to be listed at numerous multilateral meetings. At both a recent United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime meeting and a UN conference on radicalization in Europe, Canadian officials pressed key EU officials to define Hizballah as a “terrorist” group (“Canada pushed EU to add Hezbollah to list of banned terrorist organizations, official says,” 24 July 2013).

Canadian law enforcement and security officials were also part of the lobbying effort. Reportedly, they’ve been feeding their European counterparts information about the supposed threat Hizballah poses to both Canada and Europe.

Jumped at opportunity

The Conservatives push to get the EU to list Hizballah was given a boost when six Israelis were killed in Bulgaria in July last year. Within hours of the bus bombing, Israel claimed Hizballah was responsible, yet more than a year later it’s still unclear exactly who committed this crime.

With a Canadian passport holder allegedly implicated in the bombing, Ottawa jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the investigation. Presumably, Canadian investigators shared information with their Bulgarian counterparts designed to steer them towards the conclusion that Hizballah was responsible.

In response to the EU listing its military wing as a terrorist group the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said: “Why don’t you classify the state of Israel as a terror state? Why don’t you classify Israel’s military wing … as a terror organization if you recognize Israel is occupying Arab lands and refuses to implement international decisions for decades now? The entire world bares witness to the massacres perpetrated by Israel” (“Nasrallah to EU: Why not brand IDF as terror group?,” Ynet, 24 July).

Nasrallah raises an important point that Canadian foreign affairs professionals must be familiar with. It’s a simple fact that Israeli forces have killed far more civilians than the military wing of Hizballah.

The Israeli military and its allies in Lebanon have killed thousands of civilians. In fact, Hizballah was created in large part to fight the Israeli occupation of that country. Israel has conducted scores of targeted assassinations in many countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Certainly, Canadian foreign affairs officials must remember Gerald Bull. This Canadian engineer and designer of the Iraqi “supergun” was, according to CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre, shot dead by Israel’s secret service Mossad outside his residence in Belgium in 1990 (“Murdered by the Mossad?”, CBC The Fifth Estate, 12 February 1991).

And what about members of the current Israeli government who support illegal settlers and the killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians?

Relishing hypocrisy

But apparently none of this “terrorism” bothers Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. The Conservatives are either ignorant or relish their hypocrisy.

Though they are allowed to support the Israeli military, Canadians can go to jail for sending money to a group operating a school or medical clinic in Lebanon “directly or indirectly” associated with Hizballah, which comprises an important part of the Lebanese governmental and social service structure.

Dozens of Canadian companies sell to the Israeli army and many groups with charitable status promote the Israeli military. The Canadian Jewish News is full of advertisements for such groups: “Express your Zionism by serving as a civilian volunteer on an Israeli army supply base,” reads one ad. Another advertiser, the Libi Fund, runs educational projects for the Israeli military.

Established in 1971 the Association for the Soldiers of Israel in Canada also provides financial and moral support to the Israeli military. A June 2009 Canadian Jewish News ad promoting the group invited readers to “show your support for the brave youth of the IDF at our gala dinner.”

Prominent Toronto couple Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, who own or control more than two thirds of Chapters/Indigo/Coles bookstores, created the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers. Reisman and Schwartz provide up to $3 million per year for post-military scholarships to individuals without family in Israel who join the Israeli army. After completing their military service these non-Israeli “lone soldiers” gain access to this scholarship money.

For the Israeli high command (Heseg’s board has included a number of generals and a former head of Mossad) “lone soldiers” are of value beyond their military capacities. Foreigners volunteering to fight for Israel are a powerful symbol to reassure Israelis weary of Israel’s behavior. Schwartz and Reisman’s support for Heseg has spurred a campaign to boycott Chapters/Indigo/Coles, which controls 70 percent of Canada’s retail book trade.

The Harper government is plowing full steam ahead with its support for Israel. Double standards and morality be damned.

*Yves Engler’ is the author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy andCanada and Israel: Building Apartheid.

Written FOR

TAX DEDUCTIBLE APARTHEID

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Support the Israeli Occupation; It’s Tax Deductible!
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Friends of Israel Defense Forces Raises $27 Million Under NY Media’s Radar
by JEFF BLANKFORT

It isn’t every day or night that a tax-exempt non-profit American charity rakes in $27 million in the space of a few hours. When it happens in New York at such a well known landmark as the Waldorf-Astoria, arguably the city’s most famous hotel, it should be news, right?

Wrong, apparently, since not a single TV station nor any New York newspaper, all of which are known for their attention to events in the city’s Jewish community as well as their devotion to Israel, saw fit to cover the annual dinner of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) this past March 12 which raised that enormous sum.

Nor, it turns out, did they cover last year’s FIDF fundraiser at the Waldorf which took in almost as much, $26 million, nor the one in 2011, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the organization that featured the presence of six former Israel Defense Forces Chiefs of Staff and collected $23 million.

More than five weeks after latest dinner, the only paper trails that can be found to the event were in the Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz (a week later), the New York Jewish Week, and the Forward, the city’s national Jewish weekly which is known for printing articles that the mainstream press and other Jewish publications find too hot to handle. The Jewish Week’s reporter, Tim Boxer, in fact, did not mention the amount raised at the black tie, $1000 a plate affair, until the very last paragraph of the story.

“The dinner raised $27 million for FIDF which, since 1981, has been supporting educational and recreational facilities for soldiers and their families,” wrote Boxer. “Among the heavy hitters was Marc Belzberg who announced, ‘I am donating one million dollars and my first-born son to the IDF in August’.”

The FIDF is an organization that most Americans, including Jews not affiliated with the Jewish establishment, have probably never heard of and that is obviously the intent of those who run what has, in the last few years, become one of the brightest star in the pro-Israel fundraising firmament with a $60 million annual budget, all of which, it cannot be overemphasized, is tax-exempt.

“[E]stablished … by Holocaust survivors to provide for the well-being of Israeli soldiers,” according to its website, and headquartered in New York City, the FIDF is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation that operates 16 regional offices in the United States and Panama. Its mission, in brief, is visible at the top of its website: “Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.”

True to that motto, the money this “charity” raises benefits exclusively the soldiers of a foreign country that has not fought a war longer than 33 days in 40 years and whose primary duties have been to protect Israel’s illegal settlements, demolish Palestinian homes, make the lives of ordinary Palestinians miserable, and suppress Palestinian resistance to its ongoing ethnic cleansing by whatever means necessary.

The FIDF has a different take:  “The Israeli government is responsible for training IDF soldiers and providing them with the necessary tools for their service. FIDF is committed to providing these soldiers with love, support, and care in an effort to ease the burden they carry.” FIDF also brings Israeli soldiers to the states to visit synagogues and lecture at schools and universities. “These events,” according to its website, “offer a great opportunity to meet IDF soldiers and hear the stories of these brave young men and women.”

In 2011, the last year reported, it raised just over $62 million and had $80 million in assets at the end of the year, $546,000 of which goes in salary to its national director, Retired Israeli General Jerry Gershon, plus an additional $10 thousand a month for his New York apartment, according to the Forward.

Given that every year, irrespective of the ups and downs of the US economy,  Washington awards Israel’s military establishment with more than $3.5 billion (when it’s all added up) of the taxpayers money,  the FIDF’s desire to keep its fundraising activities under wraps and invisible to the larger American public is readily understandable.  That they are able to do so with apparent impunity is but further evidence, if such is needed, of the degree to which supporters of Israel dominate our national media.

Considering that an estimated 870,000 US veterans are suffering the after effects, physically and mentally, of multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and comprise a significant segment of the nation’s homeless, the very existence of the FIDF and the nature of its primary concern—the welfare of Israeli soldiers—might be viewed as an insult not only to US servicemen and women,  but to ordinary Americans who are forced to confront the increasing costs of medicines and medical care, higher gas and food prices, and underfunded schools, not to mention the more than 300,000 who lose their jobs and forced to file for unemployment benefits every week for the past several decades.

There are some other things about New York’s FIDF dinners that are unusual. With the exception of Monica Crowley, the right-wing Fox News commentator who is routinely brought in to preside over the post-dinner programs, it is largely an inside job. Unlike at other pro-Israel events, there was an absence at the dinner, at least in the reports in the Israeli and Jewish press, of key New York Jewish political figures known for their loyalty to Israel, such as Sen. Charles Schumer and Representatives Elliot Engel, Gary Ackerman, and Nita Lowy, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

There was one prominent attendee, however, whose substantial donations to the FIDF should raise some eyebrows were it not apparently at the service of Israel. His name is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, another tax-exempt non-profit that raises money for Israel from American evangelicals while paying him a handsome $491,000 for his services.

The rabbi apparently has collected quite a bit from the evangelicals—the friendship often being a one way street–so when he attends an FIDF dinner he is in a generous mood. On March 12th Eckstein’s $5 million dollar pledge topped all the others as did his $8.5 million commitment at the 2011 FIDF dinner and his $9.25 million bequest in 2012.

Those kind of numbers would certainly draw the public’s critical attention, particularly when all of this money that is headed towards Israel is tax-exempt and more than that, thanks to IRS rules enacted in 2008, once it leaves America’s shores it’s not traceable.

Even though the rule was changed, essentially favoring pro-Israel non-profits, five years ago, it went unnoticed by the media until theForward’s Josh Nathan-Kazis reported on it in the paper’s April 12th edition:

“Want to know how an American charity is spending your donated dollars overseas?,” he wrote.

“Tough luck.

“That’s the effect of an Internal Revenue Service rule change that is making it increasingly difficult for donors and watchdogs to track American not-for-profit dollars after they leave the United States.

“Former IRS officials,” he noted, “have criticized the little-noticed 2008 change, which lifted the requirement that charities in the United States report to the IRS and the public the identities of overseas charities to which they have sent money.

“Charities still have to tell the IRS and the public the names and amounts they donate to other American charities. When American charities send money out of the country, however, they need to say only the region of the world where they sent it and the amount they gave.”

Nathan-Kazis  cites, as an example, the  One Israel Fund, which in 2003 reported sending tens of thousands of dollars to settlements in the West Bank, and now needs only to note  that it sent grants to the “Middle East” for “Security,” among other purposes, as it did in its 2010 disclosure.

The One Israel Fund makes it quite clear on its site where its money is going:

“One Israel Fund is dedicated to supporting the welfare and safety of the men, women and children of Judea and Samaria as well as rebuilding the lives of the Jewish people impacted by the Gaza evacuation. These 300,000+ people are the vanguard of Israel’s security and sovereignty as a Jewish State.”

In other words, One Israel Fund has no qualms about openly raising funds for projects that are in direct conflict with long standing US policy and yet the government not only has not penalized it but made it easier to cover its trail. In 2010, on the last available 990, One Israel Fund reported that it had sent $2, 340,000 to meet its goals, a $600,000 increase from the previous year. It is not hard to speculate that its donations have grown considerably since then.

In its 990 form for 2011, Rabbi Eckstein’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews made no mention of his donations to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces nor did he so in its annual report which was filled with pictures of children, women and the aged in Israel which the Fellowship claims to support out of the slightly more than $100 million  it raises annually.

The largest Jewish organization to take advantage of the IRS’s tax-exempt status is the United Israel Appeal, founded in 1953, which is the funding arm of the Jewish Federations of North America. It funnels its donations through the Jewish Agency of Israel, a quasi-governmental organization that predates the founding of the state and was in charge of Jewish settlement in Palestine.

In 1963 it was revealed in US Senate hearings that between 1955 and 1962, the Jewish Agency had recycled over $5 million ($40 million in today’s dollars) donated by American Jews to Israel back to the American Zionist Council, (AIPAC, before its name change) to pay for pro-Israel lobbying and propaganda in the US. This led to an unsuccessful attempt by the President Kennedy’s Justice Dept. to force the AZC to register as a foreign agent, an effort that would evaporate following his assassination. Private efforts to follow-up on Kennedy’s efforts have been blocked by subsequent administrations.

According to Guide Star, a website that monitors non-profits, the United Israel Appeal took in just under $197 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, the last year it reported its financials. Curiously, according to Guide Star, the United Israel Appeal at this point in time “is not required to file an annual return with the IRS” and no audited financial statements are available.

What a difference 57 years makes. In 1956, when Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion was reluctant to obey President Eisenhower’s order to withdraw Israeli troops from the Sinai which they occupied after joining Britain and France in an attack on Egypt, in the “Suez War,”  Ike threatened to end the United Israel Appeal’s tax exemption status and that brought Ben-Gurion to heel.

One can imagine what Eisenhower would think today of an organization of Americans established to help Israeli soldiers, not American troops, and receiving an exemption from paying US taxes at the same time.

The New York and East Coast media have not been alone in protecting the FIDF from possible public wrath. In Beverly Hills, the local chapter has raised sums that while not approaching the amounts raised by its New York counterparts, has not done badly. Its fundraising events, as well, have also been blacked out by the mainstream media, despite the presence of such well known Hollywood stars as Barbra Streisand and Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, an ardent supporter of Israel who acts as master of cermonies.

Last December 17th, at the Century-Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills, its annual dinner pulled in a record $14 million in pledges which some viewed as the Jewish establishment’s defiant response to entertainer Stevie Wonder who had agreed to be the night’s headliner, but pulled out as a result of a petition by from pro-Palestinian activists and a personal plea by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.

There should have been two stories there for the LA media. First, that Stevie Wonder had withdrawn from the event, bowing to public pressure and second, that the FIDF dinner, hosted as it is every year by Israeli-American communications billionaire, Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, had raised a record sum for the local chapter. It was not to be. Only the local Jewish Journal reported on the event and Wonder’s cancellation.

Back in New York, in what was headlined, “A LETTER FROM THE WALDORF-ASTORIA  the Forward’s Josh Nathan-Kazis poked fun at the heavy handed security at March’s FIDF dinner.

“For defenders of Israel, danger is everywhere, — even in New York City, even on Park Avenue,” he wrote, “even once they’ve passed a metal detector on the second story of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

“Such was the conceit of the organizers of the Friends of the IDF gala, who posted two additional layers of security between the cocktail room and the ballroom at their March 12 event.”

Nathan-Kazis  noted that guests had been warned not to take photos and that MC Monica Crowley had told them, “Do not even think about uploading anything, anywhere, at any time,” as a live satellite feed from what was said to be a secure Israeli intelligence facility in Jerusalem appeared on screens throughout the ballroom on which  “a bald, bespectacled soldier described how his unit eavesdrops on Palestinian phone calls, though this practice was hardly a state secret.”

The FIDF had flown a number of Israel soldiers to New York for the event and, as  Nathan-Kazis tells it,

“In the ballroom, Crowley, in her role as MC, talked with a young drone operator identified as Major Yair, who stood in a spotlight on an upper balcony. ‘Flying these kind of remote vehicles sounds really fun,’ Crowley told Major Yair, referring to the rocket-equipped unmanned warplanes.

“’Yeah, it is,’” Yair affirmed.

“Yair grew up in a town near Israel’s southern border. His own home was hit with a rocket launched from Gaza while he was away serving in the IDF, he told the rapt audience. Yair spoke about how he identifies targets while piloting his drone, showing side-by-side infrared images of a man in a stretcher and a man preparing to launch a rocket. The blobs in the middle of the images looked similar, but Yair showed how he could carefully distinguish between them.

“’If someone dropped a rocket on my family I wouldn’t spend so much time deciding which one was which,’” Crowley said. The crowd applauded.”

Written FOR

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While in Canada …..

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Internal documents show Canadian tax agency protected Jewish National Fund from scrutiny

Yves Engler
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The Jewish National Fund enjoys tax-exempt status in Canada.

 (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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In 2010 the Canada Revenue Agency was asked whether it would “investigate or revoke” the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status, internal documents seen by The Electronic Intifada show. But this request seems to have been ignored in deference to a “charity” that has long participated in the erasure of Palestinians’ presence from their historic homeland.

Through an access to information request, Montreal-based activist Ron Saba received dozens of Canada Revenue Agency documents concerning the Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Canada in March (documents may be viewed at the end of this article).

In probably the most explosive revelation, the Canada Revenue Agency was questioned if it would revoke the charitable status of the JNF: “If a registered charity undertakes illegal activities abroad, what action will the CRA take? Will the CRA investigate or revoke the registered status of the Jewish National Fund?”

While the document does not make clear who authored it, context suggests it came from Canada’s Auditor General.

Released by the Canada Revenue Agency after Saba’s freedom of information request, the document takes the form of questions and answers based on Chapter 7 of the 2010 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada. The JNF is the only specific charity to be challenged in the 30 questions, most of which address issues of performance and targets.

The CRA did not return emails or phone messages from Saba seeking to clarify whether the Office of the Attorney General authored the document.

JNF violates Canadian law

Shutting out Palestinian citizens of Israel, JNF lands can only be leased by Jews. A 1998 United Nations Human Rights Council report finds that the JNF systematically discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population. According to the UN report, JNF lands are “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively,” which has led to an “institutionalized form of discrimination” (UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Consideration of Report Submitted by States Parties Under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant,” 14 December 1998, E/C.12/1/Add.27).

In 2005, Israel’s high court came to similar conclusions. It found that the JNF, which owns 13 percent of the country’s land and has significant influence over most of the rest, systematically excluded Palestinian citizens of Israel from leasing its property (“A racist Jewish state,” Haaretz, 20 July 2007).

There is a strong case to be made that the Jewish National Fund’s bylaws and operations violate Canadian policy and law. Discrimination in the provision of housing is illegal under the Canadian Human Rights Act. And a September 2003 Canada Revenue Agency public policy statement titled “Registering Charities that Promote Racial Equality” makes clear that racial equality is a stated aim of Canadian charitable policy.

Registered charities that operate abroad are supposed to adhere to domestic policy or else lose their ability to provide donors with tax subsidies. “An organization is not charitable at law if its activities are contrary to Canadian public policy,” explains the Canada Revenue Agency.

But the CRA and politicians in Ottawa have shown little interest in applying the rules in the Jewish National Fund’s case. They seem to have ignored the call to investigate whether the JNF’s practices contravene Canadian law. In particular, the CRA has not properly addressed the question of whether the JNF is a racist organization.

The internal documents suggest the CRA has spent hundreds of hours devising strategies to respond to complaints about the JNF and covering up what Ron Saba has dubbed “the Racist JNF Tax Fraud.”

Protecting the JNF

This public relations strategy is spelled out explicitly in a document of “Media Lines” on the JNF prepared for use by the Canada Revenue Agency’s media handlers — another of the documents released to Ron Saba.

It notes that Saba has been “questioning the legitimacy of the charitable status of the JNF” through a “wide distribution list, including members of Parliament, senators, Canadian and international media and human rights and social justice groups.” The document also expresses concerns that while “the JNF has not generated any mainstream media coverage” so far, “because of Mr. Saba’s wide distribution list, the potential for media interest remains.”

The document then specifies some general lines about information access requests and charities, along with several specific lines on the JNF. The latter do not address the reality of the JNF’s racist policies that exclude non-Jews. Instead they claim that the “Federal Court of Appeal has ruled, in the [2002] case of Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel v Canada, that there is no clear public policy prohibiting charitable activities in the Occupied Territories” — avoiding the point.

In what seems to be part of this effort to protect the JNF from scrutiny, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Caitlin Workman emailed Canada Revenue Agency media spokespersons in 2011, suggesting they “monitor” an Independent Jewish Voices sponsored talk in Ottawa.

Under the headline “Event you may want to monitor,” Workman sent a 13 May 2011 communication stating “author of the Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, will give a talk on Canada and the Jewish National Fund.”

The tax agency’s protection should not be surprising. Conservative officials have strongly backed the JNF — even though the internal documents show that since 2007, six different Conservative ministers have received documentation detailing the racist nature of JNF policies (at least two of the ministers circulated the information).

Challenges and successes

Over the past nine months, immigration minister Jason Kenney and foreign minister John Baird have spoken at Jewish National Fund galas, while environment minister Peter Kent toured southern Israel with officials from the organization in December. At the end of the year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to be honored at the JNF Negev Dinner in Toronto, which will be the first time a sitting Canadian prime minister has spoken to a JNF gala in the organization’s 100-year history.

Hopefully, Harper will be greeted by protesters. While getting the prime minister to speak is obviously a boon for the JNF, it also provides a unique opportunity to draw attention to an institution that most people are unfamiliar with.

It’s time to turn Independent Jewish Voices’ nascent campaign to revoke the JNF’s charitable status into a major element of pro-Palestinian activism in Canada. Groups elsewhere have had successes on this front recently.

In 2011, Stop the JNF in England sucessfully pushed Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw his patron status from the JNF. Additionally, 68 members of parliament have endorsed a call to revoke the organization’s charitable status because “the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews.”

In Scotland, the Green Party and Friends of the Earth have endorsed the Stop the JNF campaign and the Green Party of England and Wales have also called for JNF to lose its charitable status. In 2011, legendary US folksinger Pete Seeger distanced himself from a previous event with the JNF, and a board member of the US organization quit in protest over the JNF’s role in the eviction of a Palestinian family from East Jerusalem. And at the start of this year, Stop The JNF prompted the new owners of a major South African toy retailer, Reggies, to sever ties with the organization.

While the political climate is more difficult in Canada, there’s no reason that a major campaign can’t bring successes. If made aware, most Canadians would be uncomfortable with the idea that public money is supporting an openly racist institution. They would also be appalled by the JNF Canada’s direct (and documented) role in displacing Palestinianssince the late 1920s.

While it’s hard to imagine the Canada Revenue Agency (under Stephen Harper) revoking the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status — at least without a lengthy and expensive legal battle — the campaign can play an important educational role. The organization is at the heart of Israeli apartheid and drawing attention to this institution is a way to discuss the racism intrinsic to Zionism.

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BIG BOOST FOR BDS FROM CANADIAN STUDENTS

The largest student association in Canada passed a resolution endorsing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.
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Canadian Students Back Boycott Israel Movement

Largest Campus Group Passes Pro-BDS Measure

North of Border: Boycott Israel protests have been a staple of campus activities in California. Now, Canadian students have passed a pro-BDS resolution.
MILESGEHM/VIA FLICKR
North of Border: Boycott Israel protests have been a staple of campus activities in California. Now, Canadian students have passed a pro-BDS resolution.

By JTA

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The largest student association in Canada passed a resolution endorsing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

With the passage late last week of the resolution, York University’s student association joins two others in Canada – the University of Toronto and Concordia University graduate student associations – in endorsing the BDS campaign, according to the York University Excalibur

The campaign calls for universities to divest from holdings in companies that do business with Israel and to cut ties with Israeli academics.

The vote by the council of the York Federation of Students was 18-2 in favor and was advocated for by the Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York.

Jewish student groups at York complained that they were not given advance notice of the vote and had little time to prepare an argument against the resolution.

In comments to the Excalibur, Safiyah Husein, a vice president of the York Federation of Students, portrayed the resolution as uncontroversial. “Indeed, not everyone supports reduced tuition fees, equity campaigns, or sustainability work, but we know the majority of our members believe this work is vital and important,” Husein said.

Chaim Lax, president of Hasbara@York, said his group was disappointed and called the resolution “fundamentally racist, and a possible violation of [York’s] anti-discrimination codes.”

The York Federation of Students resolution will have no actual bearing on the university’s investment portfolio.

“York University uses best practices in developing its policy on investments, and this is built on advice from major investment consulting firms,” York spokeswoman Janice Walls told the Canadian Jewish News.

The student federation represents over 52,000 undergraduate students at York, Canada’s third-largest university.

Source

ISRAELIS ON TOUR IN DEFENSE OF APARTHEID

The trip, organized by WordSwap, a nonpartisan public diplomacy project run by Orit Tepper and former Jerusalem Post staffer Talia Dekel, brought the students specifically to Canada because, Dekel noted, it is a “country [that] although known on a political level for its unabashed support of Israel, is home to a network of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) activists and is the birthplace of so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week.’” “Orit and I both experienced vicious anti-Israel activity on campuses and other areas abroad. We were involved in a similar project to universities elsewhere, and decided it was time to take action,” Dekel told the Post on Wednesday. “As a result, we founded WordSwap, in the hopes of promoting an accurate image of Israel and to serve as first-hand sources for others by way of engaging in student-to student dialogue on campus.”
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Israelis tour Canada ahead of ‘Apartheid Week’

By SAM SOKOL

Jewish, Arab and Druse student delegation visits Canadian universities as part of public diplomacy project organized by WordSwap.

A GROUP of Israeli students pose for a photo at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada
A GROUP of Israeli students pose for a photo at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada Photo: Scott Goldstein
A delegation of university students, comprised of members of the Jewish, Arab and Druse communities, has just returned to Israel after a week-long outreach tour of Canadian universities, timed to conclude just before the start of Israel Apartheid Week on North American campuses.

The trip, organized by WordSwap, a nonpartisan public diplomacy project run by Orit Tepper and former Jerusalem Post staffer Talia Dekel, brought the students specifically to Canada because, Dekel noted, it is a “country [that] although known on a political level for its unabashed support of Israel, is home to a network of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) activists and is the birthplace of so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week.’” “Orit and I both experienced vicious anti-Israel activity on campuses and other areas abroad. We were involved in a similar project to universities elsewhere, and decided it was time to take action,” Dekel told the Post on Wednesday. “As a result, we founded WordSwap, in the hopes of promoting an accurate image of Israel and to serve as first-hand sources for others by way of engaging in student-to student dialogue on campus.”

The 10-day trip was sponsored in part by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

“Not only did we speak in front of and converse with hundreds of future leaders across Canadian campuses, we created what we believe will be lasting relationships with them through continued contact,” she said. “They were especially intrigued (and shocked) by the Druse and Muslim students participating in our delegation to represent Israel.”

One of the campuses visited on the trip, Dekel recalled, was that of Carleton University in Ottawa, “a university that is actually known for its anti- Israel activity and where a Jewish student was stabbed last year.”

Ruthie Berber, 21, was one of the participants. Born in New York to Israeli parents, she made aliya from London in 2006 and joined the IDF. An important part of the trip, she said, was setting up tables on campuses and correcting what participants in the program believe to be misconceptions about Israel.

Another one of the participants in the trip was Muhammad Heeb, 26, who is studying political science at the University of Haifa. A former armored vehicle driver in the Israeli army, Muhammad is originally from the Beduin village of Tuba-Zanghariya in the Upper Galilee.

Heeb told the Post that people were shocked to see him, as an Israeli-Arab, stand up for the Jewish state. He said that as a member of Israeli society, he felt obligated to go and give college students a different take on the country.

While manning a table on one campus, he noted, a Palestinian student set up an information booth behind him to disseminate information about Israeli “apartheid.”

He said that when he told her that he was an Israeli-Arab and that he did not believe Israel to be an apartheid state, she replied that she had nothing to say to him.

However, he said, many students were very happy to discuss Israel with him.

“Engaging in dialogue with people who are usually offered a very narrow perception of events is challenging,” Dekel noted. “While success is something that can (and should) only be measured after some time has passed, I believe our group was able to spark an interest in acquiring balanced information about Israel for those less familiar with current events, and even raised doubts in the minds of many of those who had been closed to misconceptions. Not only did we speak in front of and converse with hundreds of future leaders across Canadian campuses, we created what we believe will be lasting relationships with them through continued contact.

“I think our biggest delight was being able to hold constructive dialogue with dozens of students from Arab and Muslim countries who had come to study in Canada.

Many of them were intrigued by the fact that people who shared their mother-tongue, from Druse and Beduin areas in Israel, were willing to speak on behalf of the Jewish state with pride. It was great to see,” Dekel said.

PALESTINIANS; A MAJORITY OF ONE

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They are not a minority because they were not a minority before their families’ members were expelled in 1948 and because their families’ members and their people in exile are still attached to the land some with personal memories and others with memories they inherited along with photographs and land ownership documents. They are not a minority because they have the potential to grow in numbers, and though distinct in culture and history are attached to other peoples in the region especially by bonds of language and religion.
 
Israel’s Palestinians are not a minority
Like Canada’s First Peoples, the Palestinians’ nationhood cannot be measured in   numbers
By Amira Hass 
               
One should not use the phrase “extinct nations” within earshot of indigenous people in Canada. I learned this about a year and a half ago from a French-speaking friend from Quebec with whom I visited the Mohawk village of Kanesatake. In 1990, the village embarked on a struggle to prevent the nearby town of Oka from taking over its lands, including a burial site, to expand the town’s golf course. Apparently thanks to the presence of that friend, who had participated in the village’s land struggle about 20 years ago, I was not asked to leave after uttering that hurtful phrase. 
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This is not a question of political correctness or the reading of history but rather of political understanding and choosing a side: for the repressive regime or against it. Three regrettably short weeks of conversations with members of native communities in Canada have reminded me that the reciprocal relations between a group of people and its surroundings is an essence that goes beyond the head count, the number of groups, the level of education, the level of income and the other measurable data the ruling bureaucracy relies on when it imposes its machinations. 
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In recent months, the First Nations in Canada have been fomenting a popular uprising that dwarfs the measurable data even further. Rights, justice, belonging, caring and historical memory are not arithmetic-dependent. This realization nullifies the traditional definitions of “minority” and “majority.” This is especially so since the First Nations’ demands are connected to the struggle to save the environment (soil, water and air) from the unrestrained aspirations of capital and the mining industry. 
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Likewise the Palestinian citizens of Israel, whose memory of being robbed is far fresher, are not a minority. And this is a truth that is above any election campaign. In the entire land, from the sea to the river, they are one people (no more and no less invented and real than other peoples) despite their erasure from public opinion polls and despite the walls and the prohibitions on movement and the categorizations and sub-categorizations the Israeli bureaucracy invents for them. 
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They are not a minority because they were not a minority before their families’ members were expelled in 1948 and because their families’ members and their people in exile are still attached to the land some with personal memories and others with memories they inherited along with photographs and land ownership documents. They are not a minority because they have the potential to grow in numbers, and though distinct in culture and history are attached to other peoples in the region especially by bonds of language and religion. 
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They are not a minority because “minority” is not a neutral term but one that aims at perpetuating inferiority and unequal rights. By arithmetic logic, if the Palestinian citizens of Israel are not a minority, we Jews are not a majority. It is this fear that engenders all the government manipulations: not recognizing Bedouin communities or connecting them to the water grid, blatant discrimination against all Palestinian citizens in the allocation of resources, letting them descend into poverty, passing racist laws and proposals for laws that are even more racist, cutting them off from the rest of the Palestinians who live in the land beyond the 1967 borders and running brainwashing Birthright campaigns for youngsters visiting Israel from the United States. 
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By non-arithmetic logic, the minority that isn’t a minority should understand the majority that isn’t a majority and respect its rights, since rights and the connection to a place are not measurable data. It is natural that we, the non-majority, expect our rights to be respected. It is natural that we object to being a tolerated religious non-minority living here by conditional grace and that we expect it to be taken into account that it wasn’t just a colonialist ideology but also the Third Reich that brought us here. 
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But our wishes are meaningless as long as we, the non-majority, are maliciously exploiting our numerical and military superiority. The vision is distant. And in the meantime we must prepare ourselves for more governmental manipulations that will make the tyranny of the non-majority even more sophisticated in the only Jewish democracy in the Middle East. 
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VIVE le QUEBEC // VIVE le PALESTINE LIBRE

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“The National Assembly’s motion clearly confirms the ever-growing support for the Palestinians’ fundamental right to live as full citizens in their own state, as do Israelis.”
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Canada’s Vote Opposing UN Recognition of Palestine. Quebec’s Motion to Recognize Palestine Statehood

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) hails the motion to recognize Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to establish a state, adopted without opposition yesterday by Quebec’s National Assembly. Presented jointly by Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-François Lizée (Parti Quebecois) and MNA Amir Khadir (Quebec Solidaire), the National Assembly motion is significant, the result of fruitful negotiations between the political parties that generated a unanimous decision on the question.

Such a unanimous stance has not been seen for 25 years in the National Assembly. The Assembly opted to send a clear message to Ottawa, urging it “to take note of the United Nations’ decision recognizing Palestine’s status as an observer state, and to continue the much-needed Canadian aid for the construction of a state of law in the Palestinian territories.” The motion also reaffirmed “Quebec’s unwavering support for a negotiated solution that meets Israel’s need to live in peace within secure and recognized borders and also recognises Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to establish a state.”

“The National Assembly’s motion clearly confirms the ever-growing support for the Palestinians’ fundamental right to live as full citizens in their own state, as do Israelis,” explains CJPME President Thomas Woodley. “It also demonstrates the desire of Quebec’s elected representatives, as an assembly, for Canada to provide generous aid to the Palestinians,” he adds. CJPME notes that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians depend on foreign aid-especially that of the UN agency UNWRA-to survive. The Harper government should confirm that it intends to at least maintain the current level of aid provided to the Palestinians.

CJPME has denounced Canada’s vote opposing UN recognition of Palestine. CJPME also criticizes the near-silence of the Harper government on the hostile and unilateral measures taken by Israel following the UN decision. CJPME encourages the opposition parties to critically assess the Harper government’s counterproductive stances. All of the parties should be more attentive to the need to denounce Israel’s violations of international law, especially its illegal confiscation of land in the occupied Palestinian territories with the intention of expanding its colonies.

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STATUTE OF LAMENTATIONS

WrongSide-Carousel
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There are many times where the term “wrong side of history” is used, but it is still a valid term, it is not an overused term, particularly when it comes to important events in history.
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Palestinian Shame

By Peter Amsel
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There are many times where the term “wrong side of history” is used, but it is still a valid term, it is not an overused term, particularly when it comes to important events in history. A recent event that qualifies to have the term applied to it is the vote that took place in the United Nations to grant the embattled Palestinian Authority the status of “non-member observer state” in the United Nations. This would not give them the full status of a “member nation” like the United States, or Canada, but it would allow them to join other UN agencies, and more importantly, eventually bring cases to the International Criminal Court.The vote in the United Nations took place sixty-five years after the historic partition of the British ruled territory that became Israel, but which was also supposed to become an Arab controlled nation; the nation of Palestine. The treaty has been broken from the first, and it is time for Palestine to be born. One hundred and thirty-eight nations decided that giving Palestine the stylus of a “non-member observer state” was the least that they could do at this time, while perhaps being a token, it was also the right thing; they recognised that the Palestinian people have been living under an apartheid rule, living under the threat of Israeli aggression at the slightest provocation. Guns answering rocks, bombs being dropped on unarmed civilians, and refugees languishing in camps for generations hardly seems like the fair observation of a treaty.
 
Instead of having the ambassador to the United Nations from Canada speak, the Foreign Minister himself, John Baird, decided to take it upon himself to travel to New York and personally address the UN on this matter. Rather than supporting the idea that Palestine deserved to have a greater voice in the international community, Canada’s Foreign Minister chose to be a vocal opponent to the vote. Canada’s Foreign Minister chose to stand on the wrong side of history.

“This resolution will not advance the cause of peace or spur a return to negotiations. Will the Palestinian people be better off as a result? No, on the contrary, this unilateral step will harden positions and raised unrealistic expectations.” (Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird; Delivered at the UN, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2012)

If by “unrealistic expectations” Mr Baird is referring to the idea that the Palestinians might call on the international criminal court at some point, perhaps he is correct; the ICC tends to be slow to judgement, but that is no reason to deny the Palestinians admission to the United Nations, even if it is not a full member status. The fact that Canada, particularly under the leadership of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has reiterated its staunch support of Israel and its policies regarding the Palestinians does not mean that the government must deny the Palestinian people representation in the United Nations. In fact, equality for the Palestinians would benefit both them and the Israelis. People who are equal, people who have the dignity of knowing that neither is being discriminated against, are less likely to take up irrational, violent acts, in order to make the point that could better be made politically. 

How many violent acts have the Irish Republican Army committed since the issues in Ireland were dealt with politically? If you ignore the problems they do not go away on their own; they will not go away unless they are dealt with one way or the other. Some people believe that they can be dealt with through violence, something many people abhor, but it is used nonetheless. If Palestine were recognised as a state, and the rights of the people were recognised and respected, is it not conceivable that many of the problems being experienced in that part of the world would no longer be an issue? What are the causes of the problems today? People building houses, settlements, on land that is supposed to belong to the Palestinians; unlawful arrests and attainments; blockades of medicine; people being prevented to go to work because they cannot cross checkpoints; and other things that degrade and humiliate the population living within the Palestinian Authority. 

Human dignity is being denied these people, and nine nations voted against giving them “non-member observer state” status in the United Nations. Those nine nations are on the wrong side of history. Canada, the United States, Israel, Panama, Palau, the Marshal Islands, Nauru, the Czech Republic, and Micronesia: these nine nations are not only on the wrong side of history, they are cowardly, insensitive, and ignorant of the historic importance of this vote. 

Forty-one nations decided not to vote for, or against the proposal to upgrade the Palestinian status. The motive for the abstention is curious, but neither here nor there: these nations chose to ignore the opportunity to grant another nation more rights. For some of the nations this might not seem like a difficult choice, especially when you consider a nation like Romania, or Albania, both of which have histories where suppressing their citizens is not uncommon. However, the United Kingdom also abstained, as did the Netherlands, which is quite confounding when you consider that both nations received tremendous damage during the Second World War, and are intimately familiar with the suffering associated with persecution. One would have thought that this knowledge would have made them more sensitive, more empathetic to the cause of the Palestinians. 

In the words of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority:

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimatize a state established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine. We did not come here to add further complications to the peace process, which Israel’s policies have thrown into the intensive care unit; rather we came to launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace. Our endeavour is not aimed at terminating what remains of the negotiations process, which has lost its objective and credibility, but rather aimed at trying to breathe new life into the negotiations and at setting a solid foundation for it based on the terms of reference of the relevant international resolutions in order for the negotiations to succeed.

“Every voice supporting our endeavour today is a most valuable voice of courage, and every state that grants support today to Palestine’s request for non-member observer state status is affirming its principled and moral support for freedom and the rights of peoples and international law and peace.” (Delivered at the UN, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2012)

In light of these words, and the recent peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it only seems fair that diplomacy should be given the chance that it deserves, rather than pushing a military agenda against a mostly un-armed civilian population. The reply to the words by President Abbas was nothing less than scathing, dripping with hatred and menace, and they came from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“The world watched a defamatory and venomous speech that was full of mendacious propaganda against the IDF and the citizens of Israel. Someone who wants peace does not talk in such a manner. … The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is in direct negotiations, with out preconditions, and not in one sided UN decisions. By going to the UN, the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel, and Israel will act accordingly.” (Delivered at the UN, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2012)

One must ask, what does the Prime Minister mean by “acting accordingly”? After all, this was an act of peace, not an act of aggression; no one was killed, no missiles were launched, and no bombs were exploded. The United Nations is a diplomatic body, it is where peace is negotiated, it is where people go to negotiate treaties, it is where people go to have “peace talks” with their neighbours, and other nations. For the Prime Minister of Israel to assert that seeking “non-member observer state status” is some sort of precondition to the way the Palestinians will be addressing Israel in future negotiations is, in a word, delusional. One might want to remind Mr Netanyahu that even should the Palestinians become signatories of the Rome Statute, and therefore the International Criminal Court, Israel is not a signatory of the statute and does not fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction. 

Perhaps Prime Minister Netanyahu is feeling a pang of conscience knowing that charges could well be brought against Israel in the ICC, but unless Israel decides to sign the Rome Statute, there is nothing to fear, just as the Goldstone Report had no binding powers against Israel when it indicated that war crimes had been committed against the Palestinian people during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

Advancing the rights of Palestinians has nothing to do with religion, nor does it have anything to do with whether or not you support Israel as a nation. Israel will continue to exist, just as Palestine has a right to exist as well. This vote by 138 nations is an acknowledgement that a majority of the members of the United Nations agree that the status of Palestine should be increased. It is a recognition that the fact that there is something wrong in the “Holy Land” is obvious; the only question that remains is which side of history will you be on when the final lines are drawn.

 

Written FOR
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See also THIS related essay

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