Category Archives: Palestinians rights

Action Alert: Palestinian Declaration


PLEASE SIGN THIS DECLARATION IF YOU AGREE WITH ITS CONTENTS:  (send Hahida Izzat  your name and country if you approve)

Palestinian Declaration

An invitation to ALL Palestinians and their supporters to unite under the banner of LIBERATION, affirming our alienable rights and clarifying our aims and aspirations to ourselves and to the world
For the sake of historical truth, and for defending, preserving and protecting the rights of future Palestinian children, we present this document:
  • Whereas, no foreign government, international institution or individual, has any form of legitimacy or jurisdiction to dispossess any other Nation by distributing their land and property,
  • Whereas, all colonial dealings regarding Palestine, whether by the “League of Nations” or the subsequent land confiscations by British colonial forces, as well as coerced transactions by early Zionists, did not invalidate the irrefutable fact that Palestine is the sole indigenous representative of all people of Palestine, settled and anchored culturally to the land since time immemorial,
  • Whereas, the religious component of Palestine’s cultural heritage is the central heritage for 31% of people who are Christians, 23 % who are Muslims, and  0.2 % who are Jews. Therefore, Jewish Zionists arguably attempted to usurp and destroy the heritage of almost 55% of humankind, namely Christians and Muslims, contrary to historical Palestinian society, known for its social cohesion, irrespective of religion, and for protecting all monuments and all worshipers of all faiths, prior to the Jewish-zionist invasion,
  • Whereas, we the Palestinian Nation, the sole indigenous people of historic Palestine, had neither been consulted with, nor did we agree to or undersign any partition of our homeland, Palestine, when the UN put partition to the vote in the General Assembly in 1948. The UN has never done so again,
  • Whereas, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution (181) recommending the adoption and implementation of the Partition Plan, allocating to “Israel” a defined area significantly smaller than the areas was overridden by Zionist Terror groups such as Irgun and Haganah, using ethnic cleansing, genocidal massacres, and massive destruction of over 530 Biblical villages and cities in the spring of 1948,
  • Whereas, the admission of “Israel” to the UN was conditional on its implementation of Resolutions 194, i.e., ceasing aggression and allowing the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as well as implementing Resolution 181 of the partition plan, (which Israel did not commit itself to any specific action or timeframe, and later rejected the resolutions all together),
  • Whereas, the decision to partition Palestine was never passed through the UN Security Council, which renders it non-binding, (serving only as advisory),
  • Whereas, Zionism, as materialised and manifested by the Jewish state of “Israel”, is a colonial settler ideology, advocating the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and confiscating their properties, abrogating their basic rights, and establishing an exclusive Jewish state in Historic Palestine,
  • Whereas, seven decades on, Jewish-Zionist terrorism, massacres, torture, imprisonment of civilian populations, torture of children, collective punishment, theft, land robbery, destruction of cultural heritage, ethnic cleansing, and slow-motion genocide, have only intensified,
  • Whereas, their offspring have had a full century (since the beginning of the first Jewish-Zionist invasion) to learn to coexist peacefully; yet they, along with the new-comers, choose to continue on the same path of aggression, oppression, exclusivity, and racism,
  • Whereas, the vast majority of Palestinians have been living in forced exile, forbidden to exercise their basic Human Right of Returning to their homes in their own homeland, and denied their basic human right of holding their National Identity,
  • Whereas, the entire humanity has the moral maturity which makes it unacceptable to acquire land and property by wars of conquest and aggression,
  • Whereas, we the Palestinian Nation have been victims of almost one century of insanely sadistic cruelty, assassinations of pregnant mothers, torture of children, psycho-terror, loss of land, loss of peace, security and independence, loss of health, destruction of our architectural and archeological cultural heritage, loss of collective and personal property, loss of economic means (i.e. loss of earning and sustenance), all at the hands and policies of a foreign and psychopathic body of Jewish Zionist terrorists and their international network of accomplices, for more than seven decades,
  • Whereas, myriads of Jewish-Zionist funds and foundations continue to raise and collect sums in the billions from international Jewish communities, to finance (either overtly or covertly) the destruction of our nation and our homeland, by means of a full spectrum destruction, be it genocide, be it destruction of landscape, be it destruction of architectural and cultural heritage, be it imprisonment and torture of children, be it systematic programs of assassination of social and political leader, be it use of toxic weapons,
  • Whereas, calling “Israel” a mere apartheid system which could be “fixed” with some cosmetic arrangements, such as granting Palestinians “Israeli” citizenship to “upgrade” their status from “occupied” to “slaves” in their own homeland, and demanding marginal improvement of the treatment of Palestinians, does not constitute in any form or shape a realistic approach enabling a viable project wherein even the most elementary basis of Justice could be established,
  • Whereas, participating in absolving individuals guilty of Crimes Against Humanity and other ongoing crimes since over seven decades, and whitewashing these crimes, is not only a betrayal to all things human and moral, but also is the fertile ground for justifying future repetition and amplification of such crimes,
For those reasons, we hereby, the undersigned Palestinians and our supporters affirm the following:
Palestine is located from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan and cannot be divided, leased, given away or sold.
Palestinians, whether living in any part of historic Palestine or in forced exile, are one people and shall not be divided.
The Palestinian Nation is the only one owning the land of Palestine, with the human right of full and unrestrained sovereignty over our historic land, Palestine.
That the “Nakba” with its massacres and daily atrocities, continues to this day, beginning with the forceful uprooting of our people by terror organizations such as Irgun and Haganah in 1948. The lapse of time since the beginning or this “Nakba” (the word means “catastrophe”) does not diminish our inalienable rights in Palestine, including the inalienable right to return to our homes and properties, and to participate in the re-building and development of our society and its institutions, and adopt any political, economic and Judicial system we Palestinians would chose.
Our people inside and outside of Palestine form one Nation, and yearn for their reunification in their ancestral homeland, Palestine. Contrary to the defamation we have been subjected to, we have always been an extremely tolerant nation, and we yearn to restore this quality to our land and country, for the benefit of all humankind, irrespective of religion or cultural origin.
We Palestinians, just as any other nation under attack and occupied, have the ultimate and unabridged right to define our aims, choose our strategy and tactics of resistance suitable for achieving our liberation from our oppressor, and the reinstatement of our rights, and establishing diplomatic and commercial relations with neighboring countries and beyond.
Palestinians have the moral and legal right to pursue the legal prosecution of the usurpers and destroyers of our land within the recognized international laws.
It is ominously dangerous for everyone’s security, to refuse to prosecute perpetrators of terrorism, crimes against humanity, atrocities, and the systematic fomenting of wars and racial and religious hatred. It is ominously dangerous to step back from such prosecution under the ludicrous grounds that the perpetrators would merit leniency on grounds of being Jewish.
Only the Palestinian people through our legitimate institutions and elected representatives can speak for our rights and aspirations.
No organization, party, group or individual is empowered to cede our rights to historic Palestine. In fact, we explicitly express here our intention, as soon as we recover our rights, to prosecute anyone who engaged or attempted to cede land and rights without having any mandate to do so.
Only the Palestinian people gathered in Palestine and in exile can determine their future and the future of the country.
We the signatories of this document, call for either the creation of a new Liberation Party, or the rejuvenation of the PLO, as the only recognized and accepted legitimate organization of the Palestinian people. Such an organization must be strengthened to unify the people and their capabilities, in order to be justified to speak on their behalf, and structure our fight for liberation.
This party, (whether the PLO or otherwise), must unambiguously stand for, and implement a program for liberation of all of Palestine. It must be democratic, accountable, transparent and truly representative of the entire spectrum of the Palestinian Nation.
The aims and aspirations of Palestinians are not confined to a symbolic change of “Zionist regime” or a declaration of abandonment of Zionism by the Jewish-Zionist occupiers, but rather to the FULL liberation of Palestine and the restoration of all our inalienable rights
We call for a just and peaceful solution; we acknowledge that the only real road to peace is the full and unconditional liberation of Palestine, (which also means liberation from the supremacist ideology that is imposing its cruel occupation) and liberation from the racist Jewish-Zionist experiment, Liberation from the violence of colonizers and liberation from the perpetrators. That will inevitably mean a return to the original, peaceful society Palestine was before the Zionist invasion, albeit embracing all technological and societal developments. Our true and sincere aspirations are long lasting peace, justice and freedom.
We believe that restoring Palestine for all its people will lay out the true foundations of Palestinian society, and inscribe us harmoniously in the international community, contrary to the present day occupation entity, “Israel,” which is the root cause of so many difficulties and excesses in the world community, whether in the UN or elsewhere, where “Israel” and its multinational lobby groups are fomenting wars and racial-religious friction, making international cooperation extremely difficult.
As Palestinians, we are grateful and appreciative of the hard work of all our supporters; however, we are under no obligation to hold back our march for freedom, to curtail our aims or to abandon our rights for the sake of accommodating and not offending some of the Jewish supporters who still believe that “Israel” has the right to exist as a Jewish state inside the 1948 borders.
Palestinians have the ultimate right to choose their vision for their future, of a free Palestine, including the type of government, writing of our constitution, constructing and implementing legal and systems, all of which stems from and corresponds to our ethics and reflects and protects our culture.
A Palestinian legal team of professionals and advisors must be established to prepare the legal framework and procedures, upon which laws of immigration and citizenship are defined, on the basis of which Palestinian citizenship are granted, including defining who has a Right to Remain in liberated Palestine, depending on the place of birth and providing s/he is able to respect Palestinian law, and adopt a conduct respective of the community around.
All Palestinian refugees and their descendants have the unconditional right to come back home; we, the rightful indigenous owners are also entitled to the reinstatement of ALL confiscated (stolen) land and property, compensation for all our losses over the many years of exile, and we are also entitled to Palestinian citizenship wherever we are.
We Palestinians have not given up before, and have no intention to give up now. We will continue to pursue the course of JUSTICE and LIBERATION by all means deemed necessary and appropriate, by upholding universal humanist ethics, within the frame of International Law.

Thus, our vision for a just and peaceful settlement entails:

REVOKING ISRAEL’S UN MEMBERSHIP:
The settler/colonial occupation is in breach of all foundational UN Charters, and has violated and defied more UN resolutions and charter principles than any other country. This illegitimate entity has none of the qualifications necessary, neither moral nor legal nor political, required to obtain and maintain UN membership. Its current membership represents a mockery of international law, and is a disgrace to humanity. Israel’s UN membership should have never been granted in the first place. The revocation of Israel’s UN membership is a necessity, as a step towards the rehabilitation of the already-battered framework of International Law. Concurrently, all of Israel’s institutions, laws, policies and practices must be abolished, since they discriminate against people based on religion and ethnicity.
FULL LIBERATION of HISTORIC PALESTINE:
Palestine, known as “The Holy Land”, must be free from racist atrocities. Contrary to all failed attempts, road-maps and fake negotiations which serve as dilatory measure enabling more land grabs and atrocities, the concept of full liberation and full sovereignty for Palestinians carries only advantages; including the ability to prosecute them for crimes against humanity. To bring reason to the Holy Land, it is necessary to first recognize the fact that the Jewish-Zionist occupation is the sole reason there is strife in this land in the first place, and secondly, it is necessary to look back at the status pro ante, to discover that a liberated Palestine whose institutions will inevitably reflect Palestinian culture and social fabric, will be endlessly more apt to be a good standing member of the UN, and a good neighbor and partner to the world.
FULL SOVEREIGNTY of the Palestinian Nation over their ancestral country:
The Palestinian Nation has like any other nation has the aspiration and the right to select a political system, to adopt a constitution and re-construct the country. For the sake of international peace and security, it is time to return Palestine to its peaceful owners.
PROSECUTION OF WAR CRIMINALS:
A Palestinian judiciary and immigration system, will respectively prosecute former Israeli criminals and their associates, and/or grant or decline (on an individual basis), a Right to Remain in Palestine, based on criteria solely to be defined by said Immigration and Integration Services. This system should be put into place immediately.
RETURN, RESTITUTION and COMPENSATIONS:
Palestinian refugees have the unconditional Right of Return. Palestine and the Palestinian Nation at large, are entitled to full and unconditional restitution of the land and property whenever possible, coupled with appropriate compensation for more than seven decades of deprivation and slow genocide, cultural destruction, and a whole array of atrocities and usurpation.
PALESTINIAN CITIZENSHIP and NATURALISATION:
In the future democratic state of Palestine situated from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan, Palestinians are the rightful citizens. Palestinians include those who live in the occupied homeland, and include all refugees living abroad and their descendants, all those have unrestricted right to Palestinian citizenship. For former Jewish Israelis, plans should be set on course to grant or decline on an individual basis a right to remain, based on criteria defined by an Immigration and Integration Service. Such criteria could take into consideration place of birth and the irrefutable proof of non-participation in the former Israeli occupation apparatus and its crimes, and the demonstration during a certain period, of the candidate’s ability and willingness to be law-abiding; respecting land, culture and his/her compatriots irrespective of religion or race. Subsequently the right to remain would be followed by unrestricted Palestinian citizenship, with equal rights. The whole procedure would be within the future framework of Palestinian Laws of Immigration and Naturalization. Undoubtedly, Palestinian immigration policies will adhere to international norms.
We hereby, call upon our friends and supporters -who hold the tragedy of Palestine, the dispossession of Palestinians of their own ancestral land dear at their heart-, to reflect upon the meaning of justice in the context of a history saturated with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We consider any negotiations that do not lead to implementing the above as null and void. Also, we consider any and all individuals and institutions that do not adhere to our call as illegitimate representatives of our people and rights.
Thus, we call upon our people and institutions to rally behind this APPEAL and to work diligently to implement it.
We, also call upon our friends and supporters to join us in our declaration and our endeavors.
Furthermore, we call upon Jewish organizations and individuals, to take their responsibility seriously, we invite them to actively participate in restoring justice, righting the wrong, and facilitating the peaceful resolve of this chronic injustice by engaging positively, effectively and wholeheartedly to bring real change of “facts on the ground”, thus offering a remedy for healing of the Holy Land and its people, once and for all.
Moreover, we suggest they create a new Jewish fund, with agreement of every donor, to support the full and unconditional liberation in an effort to begin the lengthy process for Restitution, Reparation and Compensation for the Palestinians. A long overdue process, that will inevitably erase the seven decades long and ongoing Jewish crimes against the land of Palestine and its indigenous people.
LET US UNITE TO STOP THE MACHINE
LET US UNITE TO STOP THE SELL OUT

Signatures:

1) Nahida Izzat (AKA Exiled Palestinian) ………    Al-Quds/ Palestine
2) Mariam George ………………….. Palestine
3) Nadia Gheith ………………….. Palestine
4) Ibsal Assi Assi ………………….. Palestine
5) Ibtisam  Harb (Ibti Smile)………………….. Palestine
6) Abed Nakhleh
7) Peter Alan Foley ……………………………UK
8) Daniel Dewulf
9) Tanya Mango
10) Robert Elias Abu Shanab
11) Steven Wertheim
12) Deema Ash
13) Shawn Ryan
14) Ivan Maffei
15) Marlene Newesri
16) Rahma Yassin
17) Roger Tucker     ……………………….. Mexico
18)  Jacqueline Conway
19) Gennifer Hope
20) Aliyah Rehman ……………………………UK
21) Daniel john Morgan ……………………………UK
22) Sofia Rehman ……………………………UK
23) Mazhar Rehman……………………………UK
24) Ian Ligertwood  ……………………………UK
25) Hassan Al Nimer ………………………….. Palestine
26) Mick Breen
27) Greta Berlin
28) Amaneh Margaret Brown
29) Raya Jaser ………………………Palestine
30) Aman Syr
31) Redaa Ameeroedien
32) Abdool Karrimbaccus Subratty
33) Lothar Jung
34) Brian Edouard Curdy
35) Sri Utami
36) Indo Alam
37)  Dean Sofić
38)  Reem Ghaith
39) Bader Yousef
40) Maria Rita Pirastu
41) Michel Iffrig
42) Maher Azzam  ………………….. Palestine
43) Wim Wimman
44) Sana Amawai……. Yaffa/ Palestine
45) Roohi Aamir Noor Khan
46) Greta Berlin
47) Samira Ahmad

New on Facebook from the Jewish Terror state "Ways to abuse Palestine Children"

Simple advice for how to deal with a Palestinian child:
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I’d break every one of his bones
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More violence is needed. Where are the clubs to break their legs?
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Put him on his knees and shoot a bullet into his mouth.
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Israeli corporal Ari Ben Reuven says: “break every bone” of crying Palestinian boy seized on way to school

by Ali Abunimah
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The Electronic Intifada has captured even more horrifyingly racist and violent statements by Israeli soldiers on Facebook targeting Palestinian children as part of our effort to document this widespread phenomenon.
On the day US President Barack Obama arrived for his Israel visit last week, Israeli occupation forces in Hebron violently seized and detained dozens of Palestinian children, some aged as young as eight, on their way to school.
The harrowing video, above, of the Israeli army attack on the children went viral on YouTube.
B’Tselem, the Israeli organization that documents and criticizes some of Israel’s human rights abuses and which posted the video, condemned the mass arrest of the children as “unlawful” and said that some of the children had been taken to interrogation centers wheresevere and systematic abuses, including holding children in solitary confinement and harsh interrogation without parents or lawyers present is the norm.
In previous cases, Palestinian children have testified that under such conditions they have been forced to confess by Israeli interrogators to false charges of throwing rocks or molotov cocktails and pressed to inform on friends and family.

“A bullet in his mouth”

Givati Brigade’s Yoni Gordon thinks Palestinian child should be put on his knees and shot in the mouth (Source).

When the video of the children’s arrest was posted on the popular Israeli Facebook page “We are all in favor of death to terrorists,” a hotbed of racist incitement, it provided an opportunity for dozens of Israelis, once again, to express horrifyingly violent views (Screenshot of all the comments in context).
Some of those posting comments were Israeli soldiers. Here are a few that indicate the mindset of these soldiers:

Kfir Brigade’s Oren Degani, seen with a child, thinks Palestinian children are “little shits” (Source).

Oren Degani whose Facebook profile contains information suggesting he is a member of the “Black Scorpions” unit of the Israeli army’s Kfir Brigade, clearly believes the Palestinian children deserve such treatment and that they are all presumed guilty. He wrote under the video:

They pretend to be innocent saints who did nothing. I know this from my reserve duty. They throw a firebomb and when you catch them they cry and swear on Muhammad that they didn’t do anything … little shits.

Corporal Ari Ben Reuven’s profile image includes the motto “The road to peace is paved with telescopic gunsights” and “Let the army mow [them] down! (Source).

Ari Ben Reuven, whose Facebook profile indicates he is a corporal in the Israeli army was even more blunt:

I’d break every one of his bones

Ron Shwartz had a similar reaction and observed:

More violence is needed. Where are the clubs to break their legs?

Yoni Gordon, a member of the Givati Brigade had simple advice for how to deal with a Palestinian child:

Put him on his knees and shoot a bullet into his mouth.

Avisaf Hillel (center) misses his army days of abusing Palestinian children (Source).

Avisaf Hillel, whose Facebook profile says he attends “Ariel University,” a settler institution in the occupied West Bank, and is a die-hard supporter of Israel’s Beitar Jerusalemfootball club whose fans are notorious for their racist mob rampages, looked back fondly and with a touch of sarcasm on his time in the army when he was mistreating Palestinian children:

How I miss those days!!! But during my time in regular military service, they couldn’t get a peep out of their mouth!! We took care of them real well!!

Jewish Agency’s social media propagandist Avi Mayer also defends child abuse

Another of those defending and justifying the soldiers’ brutality seen in the video was the Jewish Agency’s social media propandist Avi Mayer – himself an American volunteer in the Israeli army.
In a series of tweets, Mayer, a former Israeli army spokesman, suggested that accusations leveled against the children by the Israeli occupation army should be taken as incontrovertible truth that the children were criminals who deserved such shocking treatment and that Palestinian children should be viewed as guilty until proven innocent of whatever the Israeli army accuses them.

Not surprisingly, Mayer has absolutely refused to criticize the Israeli army’s routine, documented abuses of children or the horrifying statements of his comrades in arms.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for additional research.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

The Undefined Purpose Of BDS

omar-barghouti[1]

Let’s read thoroughly the Arabic BDS text which is the original text as it was written in year 2005 . The text says literally that Israel should submit to the International Law and this in ::

1-Ending the occupation and colonization of ALL Arab land and dismantling the wall.
2-Recognizing the fundamental right of Arab Palestinian citizens to full equality
3-Respecting , protecting and promoting the right of the Palestinian Refugees to return home as stipulated in UN resolutions

This is the original version which is a confusing version because it gives the impression that Israel is to withdraw from all Arab land – and if it were to withdraw from all Arab land to where would it withdraw ? to the sea ? to Europe ? -while in fact what is meant is that it will withdraw from certain Arab territories probably those that will be decided upon by the world order or the peace talks .

 The territories to be evacuated turned out to be the lands occupied in 67 – but if withdrawing from all Arab land was meant in the first place then also the 2nd and 3rd amendment would be irrelevant .

This means that the BDS is not a serious movement with precise goals and objectives and the Recognition of Israel within its 1948 borders goes back to the foundation of the BDS movement in 2005 because the withdrawal from the 67 occupied land that showed up 8 years later in the English version was already implicit in the original version even if not clearly expressed . What remains to be known is why BDS has chosen to be explicit about this matter in the version addressed to its foreign audience at this time precisely, while the Arabic text retained its original confusing statement of ending occupation of all Arab land .
BDS had nothing precise in its mind , no position and no ideology which is quite surprising for a liberating movement that wants to retrieve Palestinians’ rights .BDS is waiting for others to determine their position and then take a stand accordingly . For this BDS cannot lead nor speak for the Palestinian Cause because it has no authority or independent position .
 


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Come Join The Apartheid Show My Friend !

By Daniel Mabsout,

AAA

Palestine has become an entertainment if you are not aware . The plight of the people , the suffering, the homelessness , the abuse , the violations , the massacres and the incarcerations, the shelling , the siege and the occupation have become source of entertainment funded by Soros and company . And this has acquired a new name and is no more Palestine . It has become Apartheid if you know what Apartheid is . So now when you think Palestine you ought to think Apartheid . Thus you have to remove yourself from the Arab and Palestinian Reality to the magic land of Apartheid , the fictitious place called Apartheid where you are no more yourself but a magic character in one of Soros’ fairy tales. Apartheid is the Disneyland Soros has especially designed for Palestinians with its full show of BDS (Boycott , Divest and Sanction) conducted by Palestinian NGO Omar Barghouthi who refuses to apply the rules of Boycott himself since he is a registered student at Tel Aviv University.
The circus is then running and the show designed for Palestine is the Apartheid Show .


And it is Soros who is funding the show so that, when you boycott, it is on behalf of Soros that you are boycotting, and when you divest or sanction it is on behalf of Master Soros that you are doing so. This is how Palestinians can -at last – make a living by handing their cause to Master NGO. From One city to another the Apartheid Show seems flourishing and is organizing a week in Beirut, and Soros will be speaking and performing and exhibiting through many people , artists and poets and speakers some of them notorious fighters for the cause like Leila Khaled herself. Bravo Apartheid !
And it sounds so well “Apartheid” especially when one has grown tired of repeating uselessly the same old words of occupation and violation and massacres and extermination . Apartheid comes in handy ; one can figure oneself in some Hollywood production, in an altogether different story and setting that will appeal to many people. And the foreigners can now join in and jump in the Apartheid boat as they jumped previously – in great numbers- in the Flotilla boats without succeeding in lifting the siege from Gaza . Now, in the Apartheid boat, they can show their solidarity to the Palestinian Cause which they could never show to the successful armed Resistance or to the victorious Hizbullah of Lebanon who defeated Israel and liberated the land without concession . But it is too costly to salute the Armed Resistance and to embark on a strange trip to a strange land , a Muslim land. And who knows if one will not end up in Iran – for example- in “ theocracy” land with hateful Mullahs all over the place or in HAMAS land . This Apartheid thing is much safer and not too costly for Israel . With Apartheid one can identify, and see in it the continuation of the premises of peace as introduced by Gandhi and his likes and embraced by most westerners worried more about Israel’s safety than about Palestinians’ rights..
 

Apartheid is the Model and the parallel that the World Order has projected on the Palestinian Cause not in order to solve it according to the South African model, but in order to leave it pending with no solution because Israel is not an Apartheid .All this turbulence of boycotting dancers and singers and musicians and boycotting companies and academicians and students is but a maze that will lead to nowhere and definitely not to the liberation of Palestine or to the restitution of any of the Palestinian rights . This is nothing but blurring the vision and giving Israel more time to continue its scheme of occupation and domination. By the time Palestinians finish their performance in the West Bank streets and finish coloring and dancing in front of the wall of separation, Israel would have finished carrying on its evil schemes of hegemony and expansion.
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This is the Apartheid show nourished by the World Order after the Arafat show nourished by oil money and it will bear the same bitter fruits in terms of recognition and normalization with the enemy and liquidating the cause itself .

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Is the Anti-Occupation Movement Driven by Defenders of Genocide?

by Dr. PAUL LARUDEE
http://www.counterpunch.org/

If there is one message that unifies critics of Israel and advocates for Palestinian rights, it is “End the Occupation.” As with many unifying messages, however, it is successful partly because of its ambiguity. What land and which people are occupied? And what are the terms under which the “occupation” will be ended.

The ambiguity allows groups as disparate as Hamas and J Street to chant the phrase with very different images in mind. Hamas and other anti-Zionists argue that all of the land defined by the British Mandate of Palestine is occupied territory, while J Streeters and other “soft” Zionists commonly refer only to Israel’s 1967 territorial conquests as “occupied.”

The dividing line between these two views has been articulated By Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi of JBIG (Jews Boycotting Israeli Goods):

…there are many people within the movement who share the opinion – which is general throughout the West – that Israel needs to exist as a Jewish state, should exist as a Jewish state. And there are many Jews and others in the movement who don’t want to criticize that fundamental fact.[i]

Wimborne-Idrissi is undoubtedly correct in her assessment: public opinion in the West generally supports what is called “Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.”[ii] However, most Palestinians fail to understand why this “right” should trump their rights and why Palestinians should be made to pay for its exercise with expulsion from their homes.

Indeed, they may be forgiven for doubting the sincerity of people that claim to advocate for justice on their behalf but fail to defend their right to return to their homes. On the one hand, these “defenders” of Palestinian human rights claim to oppose Israel’s expulsion of Palestinians, both inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel and in other areas under Israeli control. On the other hand, these same champions of Palestinians will not lift a finger to correct and defend against the more massive ethnic cleansing that occurred in 1948. It is as if 1967 is the dividing line between which criminal activity must be accepted and which must be resisted.

Do such persons really oppose ethnic cleansing as a matter of principle or merely as it suits their whim? The passage of time does not appear to be an issue. If 1948 seems like a long time ago, let us remember that there is no statute of limitations on such matters, as the prosecution of Nazi war criminals from an even earlier era illustrates.

J Streeters and other “soft” Zionists may appear to be allies of Palestinians, but they are not. Their overwhelming consideration is to create and maintain a Jewish state, and to mould it into their image of a liberal democracy that they can feel proud of. Palestinian rights and welfare are entirely subsidiary to that objective.

This explains why J Streeters defend Israel’s “right to exist,” i.e. the ethnic cleansing of 1948. They may not like ethnic cleansing, but it was necessary for the creation of a Jewish state, which has a higher order of priority. On the other hand, they see the current ethnic cleansing policies of the state of Israel as corrosive to the kind of state they would like to have. This is why they want to “end the occupation.” Look what it is doing to Israeli youth! Look at how it is driving Israel into the hands of “extremists.”

Let us therefore be clear. We are dealing with people whose opposition to ethnic cleansing is not very firm and whose primary interest in “ending the occupation” is to do what is good for Israel, not for humanity and least of all for Palestinians.[iii]

Indeed, one wonders why these advocates for Israel oppose a massive expulsion of the remaining Palestinians in all of the land held by Israel. Expulsion is clearly not a “red line” for them, and it is an expedient method of “ending the occupation.” I suspect that they harbor a nagging guilt for the theft and massacres of 1948, but not enough to want to give up the stolen property. Rather, they hope to expiate their guilt by returning a portion of the territories seized in 1967 for the purpose of creating Palestinian Bantustans. (The South African Bantustans served a similar purpose of assuaging the guilt of white supremacists.)

Regardless of the hypocritical games that Jewish supremacists in the movement play amongst themselves, Palestinians and human rights advocates must not be lured into false partnerships with them just because we share some of the same immediate tactics and objectives, such as stopping the growth of Jewish settlements, boycott of (some) Israeli products and institutions, an end to land confiscations, etc. Rather, we must expose the racist foundations and objectives of these ethically inconsistent elements within “the movement,” and avoid alliances with them.
Currently, I fear that we may be doing the opposite, i.e. allowing the “end the occupation” movement to be driven by the interests of people whose agenda requires Palestinians to give up inalienable rights and which rewards those who take those rights away from them.[iv] It is not in the interest of Palestinians and principled human rights advocates to make common cause with such morally compromised persons.

Dr. Paul Larudee is a human rights advocate and one of the co-founders of the movement to break the siege of Gaza by sea. He was deported from India on 31st December, 2012.


[ii] International law does not provide for the right of states to exist. Rather, states come and go as a matter of historical and social forces. International law describes the rights and obligations of states, but does not require that any given state must exist.
 
[iii] Gilad Atzmon (The Wandering Who, Winchester: Zero Books, 2011, p. 102) makes a similar argument with respect to Jewish anti-Zionists, i.e. that they are motivated by what is good for Jews and that they believe that a Jewish state is bad for the Jews. Atzmon contends that this is just another instance of Jewish exceptionalism, which will be the cause of injustice even if the form of the injustice is not Zionism per se. Even if this is the case, social justice groups are notorious for pursuing justice while failing to practice it, and this may be an instance of such. I do not discount the possibility that cliquishness, tribalism and exceptionalism are causes of injustice in many cases, but ridding human nature of this tendency is beyond the scope of most advocacy efforts, even if it deserves a place in all of them.
 
[iv] An instance of this is the Palestinian BNC (BDS National Committee). Although nominally Palestinian, its main website is in English, with the Arabic translation largely unfinished. An unauthorized amendment to its original mission statement, inserted at an unknown time, appears to remove the property seizures of 1948 from consideration as occupied Palestinian Arab land. This appears to be a concession to “soft” Zionist elements within the BNC-led BDS movement. The amended statement does not appear in any authorized Arabic version of the mission statement.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

BDS Ambivalence

amb

By Daniel Mabsout,

People following BDS activities and functions should be informed about the latest innovation of the BDS movement (BOYCOTT DIVEST SANCTION) whereby the BDS has adopted two different versions of its amendment: one in English and one in Arabic; and the funny thing is that they say two different things : the one in English calls for ending occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, and the one in Arabic calls for ending occupation of the Palestinian territories full stop.

It is important to say that BDS boasts about grouping 170 organizations and Palestinian movements and is supposed to be accountable before them . Instead, it has adopted a different English version from the original one , in which it recognizes the legitimacy of Israel within the 67 borders and asks Israel to withdraw only from the land occupied in 1967 and this without informing the organizations that work with it about this change. The original text in Arabic though that asks for ending the occupation of all Palestinian territories remained unchanged for some mysterious reason .

.BDS is required on the spot to explain this duplicity and why it has adopted two versions of the same thing in two different languages and two radically different stands ? Why is it addressing the Arab public in one way and foreigners in another recognizing Israel in one instance and calling for ending occupation in the other? What is the goal behind this misleading policy of adopting two antagonistic stands and whom is this supposed to serve ? Or are they both fake and meant to mislead people ? Either BDS is betting on the ignorance and the stupidity of people which is stupid and ignorant or it is working on a separate agenda that does not give importance to these “Palestinian” details?

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Canada’s Israel Lobby by Peyton Vaughn Lyon

CanadaIsraelLobby photo CanadasIsraelLobby_zpscd09799c.png

Canada’s Israel Lobby
By
Peyton Vaughan Lyon
Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Carleton University
D. Phil., Oxford

This article is an update of a study of the Canada Israel Committee (CIC) published in the Journal of Canadian Studies, 1992-3. It benefited by extensive comments from Professors John Sigler, Joseph Debanné, David Farr and Diana Ralph, and Rt. Hon Robert Stanfield, Ian Watson, and Bahija Reghai. I have discussed the Israel Lobby with about 20 foreign affairs officials, 2 former Prime Ministers, 3 former Secretaries of State for External Affairs, 8 Members of Parliament, 6 Senators, and 3 officials of the Canada-Israel Committee.
March 2010
Dr. Lyon is Professor Emeritus Political Science, Carleton University. He was a Rhodes Scholar, and obtained his D.Phil. from Oxford University. He served in the RCAF from 1940 to 1945.
He held posts as Foreign Service Officer, Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, Canada and in Bonn, Germany. He is the author of five books on Canadian foreign policy, trade and defence.

Canada’s relations with the Arab/Muslim world are second in importance and difficulty only to its relationship with the United States. The one serious threat to Canadian citizens now stems from the mounting anger of Arabs and other Muslims, fomented largely by Israel’s long-standing occupation of Palestine. The Mid-East conflict has for sixty years been the principal issue on the agenda of the UN General Assembly, a body in which Canadians like to shine. Trade with the Middle East, while modest, is largely in manufactured goods, the sort favoured by Canadian exporters.
Canada’s foreign policy, however, fails to reflect these concerns. Its votes in the UN General Assembly and other international bodies are closer in support of Israel than those of any other nation apart from the United States and its five Pacific satellites. Prime Minister Harper’s personal statements are more biased towards Israel than those of any other leader(1) This imbalance does not accord with the advice of the men and women employed by Canada to determine and implement its interests in the Middle East. It is also opposed by an increasing number of churches, unions, and other bodies concerned with peace and justice in Palestine.
Who makes Canada’s Mid-East policy? A ranking of influence by a panel of foreign affairs officials placed the Canadian Jewish Community first at

  • compared to 5.40 for each of the Prime Minister and the Department of External Affairs. The Canadian/Arab Community at 1.80 was ranked sixteenth out of the eighteen estimated influence inputs. (2) Although the Arab Community has become better organized in recent years, interviews with senior officials and case studies suggest that there has been little change in this ranking.

There is of course nothing illegal or immoral about lobbies, even those operating in the interest of foreign entities. A significant number of ethnic groups do in fact lobby for their countries of origin. (3) Canada’s Israel lobby is simply by far the most powerful and effective. It has become customary to refer to it as “the Lobby”, and I shall follow that practice. The Lobby claims to act on all Canada-Israel matters on behalf of an estimated two- thirds of the three hundred and fifteen thousand Canadians of Jewish origin.(4)
For obvious reasons, the American-Israel lobby is far larger, more powerful, and better known than its Canadian counterpart. (5) There are further significant differences and I shall begin with them. American Jews number about three percent of the population whereas the Canadian equivalent is a more modest one percent. American Jews, having arrived earlier in North America, are more integrated into the general population and less united in support of their government’s Mid-East policy. Canadian Jews, in the words of Professors Taras and Weinfeld, “are more Jewish.” Other authorities have said they are more conservative. (6) “Is there,” asked Gerald Caplan, another prominent Jew, “any act of Israel that will shame the leaders of Canadian Jewry into saying enough is enough?” (7)
The biggest difference in the tactics followed by the two lobbies lies in their degrees of openness and use of threats. Because the role of Congress in making foreign policy is much greater than that of Parliament, and party discipline is weaker, the American lobby focuses on individual members of Congress, none of whom can take refuge behind a party line. Because cabinet solidarity matters more in Ottawa, the Canadian Lobby makes a greater effort to focus on every minister. Lobbying, moreover, is more acceptable in the American political culture and can be more open and hard hitting. A reputation for wealth, ruthlessness and success is in fact an asset whereas in Canada lobbies operate more discreetly and soft- pedal their influence. American elections are more frequent than in Canada; this makes raising funds more difficult, thus increasing the vulnerability of candidates to lobby pressure. Lobbying in the United States, however, is subject to greater legal restriction than in Canada. One authority goes so far as to say that, because of tighter organization, it is more effective in Canada. (6)
All in all, lobbying in each country is probably about equal in effectiveness. Elections afford each Lobby the greatest opportunity to exercise influence. Although most Jewish Americans have voted Democratic, and Canadian Jews Liberal, neither are formally aligned and votes can be swung if a party adopts what might appear to many Jews to be an anti-Israel approach. Jimmy Carter, in making an exceptional effort to bring peace to the Middle East, angered Israel and its American Lobby. As a result, Carter lost almost half his Jewish vote between 1976 and 1980, a loss which contributed to his defeat in the 1980 election. Sydney Spivak, chairman of the Canadian Lobby’s 1998 policy conference, threatened a similar outcome when Joe Clark, then Secretary of State for External Affairs, criticized Israel’s suppression of Palestinian rights.
A particular triumph for the American lobby was the defeat in 1984 of Charles Percy, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As Tom Dine, executive director of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs committee) — the predominant US-Israel lobby — boasted to a Toronto audience, “All the Jews in America … gathered to defeat Percy. And the American politicians got the message.” (8)
A comparable Canadian case was that of Dr. Frank Epp, an outstanding scholar and President of Waterloo University. In 1979, Epp ran as a Liberal in what was considered the safe Liberal seat in Waterloo. However, his desire for a more balanced approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict was falsely depicted by the Lobby as “anti-Semitic” – a charge the Lobby frequently uses to discredit critics of Israeli government policies. In Epp’s case, the attack culminated in a full-page advertisement on election eve. In a constituency containing several thousand Jews, Epp was defeated by a mere 155 votes.
In the Toronto riding of Saint-Paul’s, with about 20,000 Jewish voters, the 1979 election featured a Conservative promise to move the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Conservative candidate, Ron Atkey, won. In the election the following year –after Prime Minister Clark had abandoned his promise to move the embassy– the seat swung back to John Roberts of the Liberals.
In 1984 a Manitoba court ruled that unfair lobbying could have caused the defeat of Conservative candidate Luba Fedorkiw in Winnipeg North. Fedorkiw accused the Jewish advocacy group, B’nai Brith, of having defeated her by suggesting she was anti-Semitic and levelling the false charge of “Jew-baiting” against her. She was awarded $400,000 in damages.
The Lobby concentrates on the ten constituencies where most of the Jewish and Arab/Muslim populations are located. Proportionally more Jews, however, go to the polls and are more likely to make a difference. It should also be noted that a substantial minority of the Arabs are Maronite Christians who are indifferent to the fate of the majority of Arabs.

A trickle of Jews had begun to enter Canada early in the 18th century but was still insignificant in 1897 when the founding of the Zionist Movement augmented the political significance of the Jews in both Europe and North America. A few influential Jews made individual approaches to government leaders to gain permission for more Jews to enter Canada. They achieved little success. In the 1930s, Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s government began shutting the door to Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. King’s deputy minister for immigration even opined that “None is too many” and on the eve of the Second World War, a boatload of the refugees was denied permission to land. (9) This outrageously racist attitude appears to have been widely shared by the public as well as the prime minister.
The war, however, and the revelation of the slaughter of six million Jews[sic], transformed the situation. Sympathy for the Jews became nearly universal. Any criticism of the newly-created state of Israel came to be branded “anti- Semitic”, one of the ugliest terms in our political vocabulary. Canada’s prominent role in the creation of Israel was accepted with little room for protest (10)
The Israel Lobby took formal shape in 1967 when the three major Canadian Jewish organizations, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian Zionist Organization and B’nai Brith, established the Canada- Israel Committee (CIC) to act on behalf of Israel. This is an umbrella organization with no individual members. It was intended to monopolize public statements on Canada-Israel matters but officials of B’nai Brith, notably Frank Dimant, frequently disregard this rule. CIC policy is determined by a 35-person council representing the founding organizations and several smaller bodies based in the large cities. It meets about once a year, its executive much more often.
The CIC reported in 2000 that it had a seven-person office in Ottawa to deal with the federal government and another seven persons in Toronto to conduct media relations and research; one person was stationed in Montreal to handle regional lobbying; and a further two in Jerusalem. The CIC did not reveal its budget but it was estimated to be at least $11,000,000. The Lobby certainly commands far greater wealth than opposing entities, and far easier access through its extensive business connections to members of the cabinet and other senior decision-makers. Representatives of Arab/Muslim groups are rarely able to secure senior- level appointments in government while these are more attainable for the Lobby. Changes in Canada’s Middle East policy go to Cabinet, while other foreign policy changes do not necessarily need to meet this requirement, one that clearly favours the Lobby.
The Lobby adopted a more effective if heavy-handed approach in 2002 when a group of exceptionally wealthy Canadian Jews reached the conclusion that the CIC was failing to give Israel adequate support. Led by Israel (Izzy) Asper, Gerald Schwartz, Heather Reisman, and Brent Belzberg, the group established the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA). This council raises substantially greater funds than other Jewish lobby groups and employs professional lobbyists. Although professing to collaborate with the CIC, B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress, the new body was not welcomed by them. One senior CIC official complained that the CIJA is “a group of self- appointed persons who have very little linkage with the Jewish (grass roots), and who have their own private agendas.” (11) When the councils differ over policy, it is the CIJA — the one with the “big bucks”– that generally prevails.
In its first year, the CIJA sponsored several conferences and more than doubled the number of sponsored “study” visits to Israel. They included, among others, 23 federal politicians with spouses and seven university presidents. The CIJA claimed to have won the ear of those who make decisions, and thus gets credit for a sharp shift towards Israel in Canada’s international posture.
The Lobby’s tactics are not unlike those of other lobbies. It supports Canadians who support Israel and criticizes those who don’t. It caters to decision-makers who seem open to persuasion. It addresses articles and letters to the media. It supplies information to journalists, provides speakers, and sponsors seminars and conferences as well as subsidizing tours of Israel. The Lobby’s primary attention, of course, is paid to the officials and politicians who make or influence the decisions of interest to Israel. They are entertained and briefed frequently. As one deputy minister put it, they are “all over us, from minister to desk officer.” The Arab- Canadians, he explained, do much the same, but the Lobby “does it better”.(12) He could have added that Jewish-Canadians have easier access to high places. The Lobby does not employ explicit threats but knows that MPs and others can count, and the fate of Frank Epp has intimidated many others. Libby Davies, the NDP member for Vancouver-East, says MP’s live in what she calls “a climate of fear” on issues dealing with Israel-Palestine.(13)
The Lobby also seeks to shape the future by extensive activity in the universities. Officials are placed in all the major institutions to foster Hillel clubs that promote communal sentiment among Jews and beyond by means of talks and debates. A separate body,”StandWithUs”, provides students with financial assistance to gain training in how to fight what the Lobby considers “anti-Israel” actions. Its activity has contributed to serious strife and extensive publicity in two universities. In 2002, at Concordia, the administration blocked Arab and Muslim students from attending a planned speech by Benjamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli leader. This resulted in anger over perceived discrimination that led to a riot of 2,000 protesters. The speech was subsequently cancelled. At York university, in February 2009, the administration itself fostered turbulence by excessive measures to halt peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstrations.(14) In other universities, notably Toronto, McMaster, Ottawa, and Carleton, the Lobby has backed the administrations in their attempts to ban pro-Palestine activities such as the annual Israeli Apartheid Week.
Professors are prominent among the Canadians treated in whole or in part to “study” visits to Israel. About a dozen such visits have been partially sponsored each year by the “Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East” (CPPME), an organization professing to be neutral and sponsored in large part by the Social Science Research Council, a body financed from the federal government treasury. The Israel portion of the CPPME “study” visits, however, is sponsored by the World Zionist Organization, and members are likely to be expelled if they fail to accept the party line. (15)
The Lobby professes independence but has solicited and obtained advice from Israeli officials. Former Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker, who finished his four-year posting in 2008, was exceptionally bold in his public statements of Israeli policy.(16) That is in line with an ordinary ambassadorial function. However, Baker went a step further and told Jewish Canadians how they should manage their affairs. For example, he urged the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) in public to pass a by-law that would make its relationship to Israel advocacy “professional, serious and practical” and, implicitly, less democratic.
The overall success of the Lobby is best illustrated by Canada’s votes in the annual UN General Assembly’s assessment of the 60-year long Mid- East crisis. The Canadian delegates have often been embarrassed when the lights on the score panel reveal their country to be one of a minority of eight, along with Israel, the United States and its five Pacific satellites, voting against any resolutions deemed critical of Israel and its policies. Even Britain displays stronger criticism of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories despite the fact that the U.K. generally tries to stay in line with American policy. After his retirement, William Barton, Canadian ambassador to the United Nations from 1976 to 1979, expressed the dismay characteristic of Canadian representatives: “We were generally identified along with the United States as the most pro-Israel delegation in the UN … most of our delegates felt that this was not in the best Canadian interest.” (17) Barton elaborated that Canada had voted not on the merits of the case but for political considerations determined in Ottawa.(18) Under Prime Minister Harper, Canada has further hardened its opposition to the majority of UN members’ criticism of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Canada has also stood out in the two UN conferences on racism held in Durban. At the first, it denounced and then cast a solitary negative vote against the majority resolution in the Durban conference. At the second, its opposition was made even more emphatic by refusing to attend. Canada’s bias is further demonstrated by its solitary negative position in the Human Rights Council, and by refusing to accept the International Court of Justice’s ruling by a 14-1 vote that the wall being constructed by Israel, partly on Palestinian land, is illegal. The wall effectively cuts off one part of the West Bank from the other, dividing families, villages and farms. Earlier, Canada had been the first to suspend aid to Palestine after its democratic election resulted in victory for Hamas, the radical party most critical of Israel. Canada’s tilt towards Israel is also evident in conferences of La Francophonie where it has been the single participant to vote against a resolution favouring Palestine’s right to declare independence without waiting for negotiations with Israel.
Canada was even slower than the US to recognize the right of the PLO to speak for the Palestinians. When it did, it did so with a minimum of cordiality. Canada continued to show marked favouritism towards Israel. The president of Israel, for example, was accorded the rare honour of an invitation to address a joint session of both Houses of Parliament, whereas it was only after a struggle that a PLO official was invited to speak to a Senate committee. Canada’s official rhetoric fails to recognize that the Palestinians and Jews are equal in humanity. Its formal statements of objectives in the Arab-Israel dispute regularly lead off with “the security, well-being and rights” of Israel, but not of the Arab countries. Israeli casualties are presented in more tragic terms than those of Arabs. Palestinian suicide bombings are characterized as cowardly and despicable while Israeli war crimes, such as the massacre of over one hundred Lebanese civilians in Qana in 1996 and the killing of many hundreds of civilians during Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2008-2009, are passed over lightly or ignored. Prime Minister Harper and other ministers habitually refer to Israel as an “ally” which it is not formally, and which implies that another is an “enemy”.
Arab-Muslim governments and the PLO do heed Canada’s UN voting pattern and official statements. Even before Canada recognized the PLO at the ambassadorial level, lesser officials had engaged in informal chats with PLO observers, helping them understand US statements and how best to respond to them. In the view of Palestinians, however, such behaviour did not excuse Canada’s habitual pro-Israel posture, as its then foreign minister, Peter Mackay, discovered during his first ministerial-level conversations in Palestine in 2007. Arab extremists, moreover, increased their threats against Canadian lives, and Canada was specifically cited as a prime target in Al-Qaeda communiqués. Although Canada has not suffered the loss of life to terrorism inflicted on the US, Britain and Spain, the RCMP have laid charges against four young Arab Canadians believed to have been plotting attacks on Canadian buildings.
The clearest success of Canada’s Israel lobby was the cancellation in 1970 of Canada’s invitation to the UN to hold in Toronto a major conference on combating crime. All three levels of government had favoured the invitation until it was realized that, according to UN rules, the PLO would be entitled to attend as an observer. The Ontario and Toronto governments then reversed their acceptance and the issue became heated in Ottawa. Jewish-Canadians were not alone in thinking that it would be abhorrent to receive “terrorists” at a conference on the prevention of crime. Threats of violence against PLO observers, even one of assassination, were heard in Lobby circles and the police worried about the measures required to guarantee conference security. The Department of External Affairs (DEA) continued its battle in order to honour Canada’s commitment to the international community but lost. The conference was held in Geneva with little ado. At one stage the cabinet had decided to proceed with the conference but it then reversed its position. One of Trudeau’s senior cabinet ministers at the time has speculated that this resulted from a call from “Montreal” threatening to cut the substantial Jewish contribution to the Liberal’s national fund. The minister added that he had never seen Trudeau so agitated. (19)
A similar reversal came under a Conservative government in 1988 when Joe Clark was Secretary of State for External Affairs. In an address to a Canada-Israel Committee banquet, Clark joined most other governments in condemning Israel’s breaches of international law in its suppression of the first Intifada in the West Bank and Gaza. Especially provocative was his complaint that Israel had manipulated food supplies to exert pressure, and his tribute to the peaceful disposition of the three Arab countries he had just visited. This was taken to imply that they were more interested in peace than Israel. The conference was outraged and responded with booing, a partial walkout and the singing of the Israeli national anthem. Loud applause greeted the suggestion from the chair that revenge would come at the next elections.
Prime Minister Mulroney, who had not read the text in advance, hastened to inform Jewish leaders that Clark had spoken only for himself. Clark hurried to address a Jewish-Canadian audience to assure the “community” that Canadian policy had not changed and that Canada would “protect, defend, and endorse the State of Israel for ever.” Such an extraordinary assurance, combined with a lack of progress towards a more even-handed treatment of the Palestinians, did little to appease the Lobby in its attitude towards the Department of External Affairs and its minister. Even though the public response to Clark’s address was favourable, his successors were cautious when they recalled the anger that had swept through much of Canadian Jewry.
A questionable Lobby victory came in the general election of 2008. The Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, ordered a duly nominated candidate in Winnipeg, Lesley Hughes, to step down, claiming that she had expressed anti-Semitic views in an article written a decade earlier. Dion explained, along with a spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress, that he was acting under pressure from B’nai Brith. Hughes, however, had no difficulty demonstrating that the article in question was in no sense anti-Semitic and that her record over the years had shown consistent support for valid Jewish interests. The public overwhelmingly endorsed Hughes. (20)
Another revealing incident occurred in 1991 when Norman Spector was appointed Ambassador to Israel to replace Michael Bell, an experienced diplomat who had barely completed half his term. The reason for Spector’s posting, offered by both Prime Minister Mulroney and Spector, was that there had been a policy against posting Jews as ambassador to Israel. The appointment was said to be “affirmative action” to remedy this discrimination. In fact, there had never been any such policy(21) but the appointment certainly pleased the Lobby. In Tel Aviv, Spector explained to a delegation from the Canadian Jewish Congress that his function was to repair the damage created by his minister, Joe Clark, because of the latter’s criticism of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Spector pushed through a free trade agreement with Israel that had been strongly opposed by DEA and the Department of Trade and Commerce. Since it was the only such agreement in the area at the time, and had only modest trade implications, it was regarded by Israel’s Arab neighbours as a strictly political measure and was resented by them. Back in Ottawa, Spector falsely accused his DEA colleagues of having lied in order to frustrate the negotiation of the agreement.
Another trade issue had a different outcome. In 1978, Ontario had passed legislation to block the Arab-Muslim boycott of firms trading with Israel, and all three federal parties promised to introduce similar legislation. Trade and Commerce Minister Herb Gray was an enthusiastic supporter of the Lobby. However, he yielded to business pressure to ignore the demand for the anti-boycott legislation. Firms wanted to continue to trade not only with Israel but with all other countries in the region, even though some individual firms, both Jewish and non- Jewish, contribute substantially to the Lobby.
Although it has no formal links with the Lobby, the Evangelical branch of the Christian church — about three million strong in Canada– lends great strength to the Lobby by its interpretation of the Bible. In its view the second coming of Christ will take place in a Jewish Palestine where, according to many Evangelicals, Jews must at that time control all of the “Holy Land.” As a result, Evangelicals tend to zealously support Israel and its occupation of the West Bank. They are exceptionally strong in Alberta, where they may have influenced Prime Minister Harper, who himself is an Evangelical.
Several bodies oppose the Lobby. One of the most obvious is the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR) that speaks for most of the Arab-Canadian population. Although now approximately as strong numerically as the Jewish Canadian community, Arab/Muslim-Canadians are generally far less wealthy and much less cohesive. NCCAR maintains two representatives in Montreal and several volunteers in Ottawa. It works to promote Canada-Middle East relations, and lobbies for peace with justice in the region.
Other significant groups are the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF, which represents over forty organizations), and the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC). Both command articulate leadership and are gaining in influence as Arab/Muslim-Canadians advance in numbers, political sophistication and resolve. A newer group, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), comprises Canadians of all backgrounds. However, all these organizations remain far less influential than the Israel lobby.
The most serious challenge to the Lobby comes from within the Jewish- Canadian community itself. A rapidly increasing number — perhaps one- third of the community– is now critical of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. For understandable reasons it is not easy for Jews to criticize Israel, which many see as their biblical home and their promised refuge. Survivors of the Holocaust cannot be expected to take communal bonds lightly. The charge “anti-Semite”, or “self-hating Jew”, is especially hard to face. The Jews who do speak out against Israel’s occupation include some of the most talented members of the Jewish community. They are now led by an umbrella organization named Independent Jewish Voices, which is seen as a growing threat by the Lobby.
Less influential but still significant are voluntary organizations in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere that are dedicated to challenging Israel’s military occupation. One is the Ottawa-based Middle East Discussion Group (MEDG). Despite its disarming name, it was established thirty years ago by a group led by the Rt. Hon. Robert Stanfield, Professor John Sigler and others, with the purpose of correcting the pro-Israel bias in Canada’s Middle East policy. Its membership now includes several dozen of Canada’s most distinguished academics, journalists and a number of ex- Ambassadors who have served in the region or in the UN. The MEDG keeps abreast of events in the Middle East and has presented briefs to the government. A growing number of other groups are now voicing opposition to Canada’s policy and have considered sanctions against Israel. These include churches (notably United, Unitarian, Anglican and Roman Catholic) and unions of which the largest and most vocal is the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE ).
At least one authority contends that Canada lacks sufficient influence to render the ME peace process a significant element in its foreign policy(22). This overlooks the fact that Canada has substantial influence in Washington, and Washington is the one capital that could impose a Mid- East settlement. Acting alone Canada might well accomplish little, but in concert with like-minded nations such as the Scandinavians and American supporters of a just ME peace, it could make a difference. However, there is little evidence that Canada has tried to influence Israeli or American policy(23). Norway, with but a sixth of Canada’s population, initiated the negotiation of the Oslo Pact, the most serious attempt thus far to resolve the long-standing ME crisis.
Canada’s influence was demonstrated at the very beginning of Israeli nationhood when Supreme Court Justice Ivan Rand dominated the UN commission that recommended the partition of Palestine, leading to the legal creation of Israel. Lester Pearson, then the most influential diplomat in the UN, was instrumental in steering the relevant UN resolution through the General Assembly without adequate provision for the displaced Palestinians. Samuel Bronfman, at the time president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, stated that “Canada has played the most important role in partitioning Palestine.” (24) David Horowitz, the representative of the Jewish Agency in the UN negotiations, concurred that ” Canada more than any other country played a decisive part in all stages of the discussion of Palestine.” (25) Leading Canadian historians agreed, and prominent Zionists called Pearson the “Balfour of Canada.” Pearson attained even greater recognition in 1967 when he earned the Nobel Prize for initiating UNEF, the peacekeeping force that helped to end the Suez Crisis. Canada also led in establishing UNRWA, the relief and works agency that helps refugees in the Middle East, and subsequently took over the chair of the relevant multi-national working group.
Canada’s extraordinarily strong support of Israel is partially explained by the editorial bias of its media, which face intense pressure to conform. Almost half of Canadian newspapers and the popular television network, Global, were owned by the Asper family. The late Israel (Izzy) Asper, billionaire founder of the CanWest media empire, was a prominent leader of the Lobby. Although not a practising Jew, he travelled frequently to Israel, became a friend of its leaders and supported its policies. Israel, Asper once told a Toronto audience, “was an isolated island of democracy… in a sea of terrorism, corruption, dictatorship and human enslavement. Palestinian leaders … in their deadly campaign to destroy Israel … are aiming their bombs at innocent civilians or blowing up planes over Lockerbie…” (26) Given such views, it is not surprising that the Asper employed his media to urge Canadians to treat Arab leaders as “gangster terrorists”, and disciplined the editors and journalists of his papers who strayed far from his beliefs. (26)
Leonard Asper, who took command of CanWest on Izzy’s death in 2003, shares his father’s beliefs but expresses them more moderately. In a prepared text he attributed what he sees as the pro-Muslim bias of most journalists to left-wing views, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and failure to recognize Israel as a bulwark to protect Jews. He complains that most reporters writing about the Middle East are ignorant, lazy and prone to accept “Arab coddling.” (27) The Asper bias shows not only in CanWest reports and editorials, but also in the near-exclusion of columns and letters critical of Israel. In 2002, Montreal Gazette reporter Bill Marsden stated “we do not run in our newspaper op-ed pieces that express criticism of Israel and what it is doing in the Middle East.” (28)
In 2004, the Reuters news agency complained that CanWest altered its reports on the Middle East, substituting the word “terrorist” for different words used by the wire service(29) to describe Arabs. In another example, a 2006 study concluded that an Israeli child killed by Arabs was 83.3 times more likely to be reported than a Palestinian child killed by Israelis in the headlines or lead paragraphs of Canwest’s National Post.(30)
There appears to have been no systematic survey of media coverage of the Middle East. The Jerusalem-based correspondents of the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, as well as French-language Quebec newspapers, generally offer a more balanced approach to Israel-Palestine issues. The CBC has usually been objective, much to the dismay of the Lobby. But under relentless pressure in recent years, CBC television has tended to steer clear of reporting that might offend the Lobby. Many Canadians obtain their information from American media, much of which reflect the pro-Israel slant best characterized by Fox News. While the Lobby generally can take comfort from the editorial slant of the Canadian media on Middle East issues, it is often less pleased by the more objective analysis passed on to the government by Canada’s ten embassies in the area. Prime Minister Harper and his associates tend to take the same line as the Lobby, regarding foreign affairs officials as “Arabists” who can largely be ignored.(31)
Since prime ministers play a decisive role in determining Middle East policy, it may be in order to consider some of their quite different attitudes. Mackenzie King disliked Jews and even expressed some admiration for Hitler. (32). He was uneasy about Lester Pearson’s exceptional activity in the new-born United Nations but did not block his promotion of the partition resolution that gave birth to Israel. Pearson enjoyed full support from Prime Minister St. Laurent. Pearson attributed his sympathy for Israel to his Sunday school teaching and also found most Arab spokesmen brash. In later years he conceded that Canada had been unfair to the Palestinians (33)
Pierre Trudeau strongly resented the pressure of the Lobby and of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.(35) Trudeau recounts in his Memoirs how Begin, during a visit to Canada in 1978, threatened to turn Jewish voters against the Liberals unless Trudeau supported Conservative Leader Joe Clark’s promise to transfer the Canadian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trudeau refused, noting that Jerusalem was “defined by the United Nations as one of the occupied territories.” (36) Later, in an interview when he was opposition leader in 1979, Trudeau said “Zionist” pressure groups in the U.S. and Canada were undermining the prospects for Middle East peace. He added that Canadian Jewish leaders who had pressured the Conservatives to transfer the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem, and who urged much tougher legislation against an Arab economic boycott of Israel, had hurt Canada economically. Moreover, he said, “they have opened the way to a growing anti-semitism.” (37)
In his brief tenure as prime minister, Joe Clark came to realize the political and legal impropriety of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. He abandoned the policy, adopting the views of Robert Stanfield, his predecessor as Tory leader whom he had appointed to study and report on Canada’s Middle East policy. Stanfield became a strong supporter of Palestinian rights, insisting that “when the Israelis do something wrong, we should be prepared to say so.” (38)
Prime Minister Mulroney was much more pro-Israel and much more susceptible to Lobby influence. He stirred up a storm of protest in the Arab world when he praised the Israelis for “showing restraint” after they had killed twenty Palestinians and wounded dozens of others in the suppression of the first Intifada. IrvingAbella of the Canadian Jewish Congress praised him for his “visceral attachment to Israel.”(39)
However, no previous Canadian prime minister has matched the near total support for Israel offered by Stephen Harper who has adopted the “Israel-right-or-wrong” approach of the Israel Lobby and shown minimal concern for Palestinians. He described Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon as ”measured” despite the fact that over a thousand civilians were killed by Israeli bombs and shell-fire. In his effort to win over Jewish voters, Harper approved the distribution of political pamphlets suggesting Liberals are anti-Semitic because of their lack of unconditional support for Israel. He has also moved aggressively to cut funding for aid and human rights organizations considered too sympathetic towards Palestinians.
In Israel itself the strength of the Canadian lsrael lobby is widely known and appreciated. Canadians are among the most popular foreigners in Israel. In part this is due to our pro-Israel votes and statements in international bodies. Yet it probably owes more to the fact that Canadians, per capita, have been the most generous towards Israel, notably in building legal university structures and subsidizing illegal settlement activities. “Canada Park” is the name of a prominent recreation area situated between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. (Mention is seldom made of the three Palestinian villages ploughed under to make way for the park after the Six-Day War). Trade with Canada has been enhanced by our free trade agreement. Israelis with knowledge of the history of their country recall Canada’s role in its creation and also its lead in peacekeeping. Pressure from Canada for a just (and legal) peace settlement would probably be more acceptable than from almost any other country apart from the United States.
A clear indication of the price Canada has paid in the international arena for its pro-Israel stance was its failure in 2007 to be elected to the UN Security Council. It had previously been elected every ten years to fill the two-year seat reserved for a western member, and cherished this influential position. Canada is currently running again for a council seat but its pro-Israel stance is considered to be jeopardising its chances. As one UN official said, “If Canada is to play a constructive role, it has to re- establish its credentials as a fair and balanced interpreter of the developments that affect both sides.” (40)
A Senate committee report issued on June 19, 2007, warned that Canada’s uncritical support for Israel in the United Nations Human Rights Council had led to the isolation of Canada. Prime Minister Harper vowed that Canada would not be “bullied” into changing its position “ whatever the diplomatic or political cost.” However, the obvious decline in our influence was regretted by many of the architects of Canada’s foreign policy who believe we should be pushing harder for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Palestine in return for a binding guarantee of Israel’s security.
Canada can hardly be said to lack influence or interest in the Middle East, but in what matters most to the Palestinians — their freedom and independence — we lag far behind every other western country. Our extremely pro-Israel posture may please the Lobby but it is contrary to Canada’s interests, those of the United States, those of the United Nations, those of Palestine, and those of Israel itself.

Notes

  • It does not appear that any other leader, apart from Israel’s, described as “measured” Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon in which over a thousand civilians were killed. Harper’s branding of all criticism of Israel as “anti- Semitic” appears to be unique.
  • “Ranking of DEA Officials of Weight of Inputs (influence) in the Making of Canadian Foreign Policy” (scale of 1 to 7) from a study by John Kirton and Peyton Lyon in the Journal of Canadian Studies, winter, 1992-3.

Group Influence Ranking
Canadian Jewish Community
5.85
Prime Minister
5.04
DEA
5.04
Israel
4.92
Cabinet
4.68
United States
4.68
Media
4.24
Public opinion
3.58
Business
2.92
United Nations
2.84
Arab States
2.76
Dept. of National Defence
2.58
Other allies
2.50
Dept. of Finance
1.88
Arab/Canadian community
1.80
PLO
1.52
Provinces
1.20

  • Other ethnic groups that lobby include Haitian, Sikh, Armenian, Cambodian, Tamil and Lebanese.

4. The latest census shows a drop in the number of Canadians claiming to be Jewish from 348,605 in 2001 to 315,120 in 2007. No explanation was offered for this10% drop. During this time, the size of the Jewish community dropped to 25th among ethnic communities in terms of numbers, down from 17 in 2001.

  • John J. Mearsheimer and Steven M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” Viking, Canada, 2007
  • John Sigler “Canada and the Arab Conflict” in The Domestic Battleground”. David Taras and David Goldberg, McGill-Queens University Press, Kingston, 1989. John Sigler “Canada and the Arab Conflict” in The Domestic Battleground”. David Taras and David Goldberg, McGill- Queens University Press, Kingston, 1989
  • “Mindless Cheerleaders for Israel?”, Toronto Star, May 13, 1960.
  • In a talk to a meeting in Toronto of the Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East.
  • Irving Abella and Harold Troper, “None is too Many”, Key Porter Books, Toronto, 2000
  • Elizabeth MacCallum, the government’s sole Mid-East expert at the time, was a strenuous objector. She told Pearson that “We have created 40 years of chaos.”
  • Cited by Professor David Noble in “The New Israel Lobby in Action,” The Dimension, Nov.1, 2005.
  • Letter from Dr. Gordon Smith, University of Victoria, former deputy minister of foreign affairs, 1994 -1997. Letter dated Aug. 4, 2008.
  • Libby Davies, MP, “Conference of Hon. Libby Davies, MP & Hon. Richard Nadeau on their visit to the Gaza Strip and Occupied Territories,” Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Nov. 5, 2009
  • Daniel Freeman-Moloy, a Jewish-Canadian York student, was suspended for 3 years by the university’s president, Lorna Marsden, for having organized a peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstration. The suspension was soon lifted and a court awarded Freeman-Moloy damages.
  • The author was expelled for having questioned the propriety of money being spent from the national treasury for an organization dedicated to a foreign entity.
  • “Israel Ambassadors Comments Unjustified: Critics.” CTV, May. 8 2008 10:00 PM ET
  • William Barton in testimony to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
  • Ibid
  • In conversation with Geoffrey Pearson.
  • The CBC received 604 calls in the first hour of the announcement, almost all of which were in support of Hughes and were angry in tone.
  • Spector and Prime Minister Mulroney each claimed that it had been customary to post as ambassador individuals of the ethnic origin of the country to which they were posted and, since there had never been a Jewish-Canadian ambassador in Israel, Spector’s posting was presentedas an act of fairness. But they were wrong. Apart from a French-Canadian in Paris, ambassadors are almost never posted to a country of their ethnic origin.
  • Denis Stairs, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Dalhousie.
  • Allan Gotlieb’s 656 page memoir of his six years as Ambassador in Washington contains scarcely a mention of the Middle East. Washington Diaries 1986-1989. A member of his staff reported on American policy but did not, it appears, attempt to influence it.
  • See Peyton Lyon, “Canada’s Responsibility for Palestine”, in Behind the Headlines, autumn, 1998, pp 4-9.
  • Ibid
  • For an indication how the Aspers treat independent minded editors see Marc Edge, “Asper Nation: Canada’s most dangerous media company.” New Star Books. Vancouver, 152-169.
  • Leonard Asper, “Media Bias and the Middle East.” National Post, October 1, 2003
  • Robert Fisk, “Journalists are under fire for telling the truth.” The Independent, December 18, 2002
  • Ian Austen, “Reuters Asks a Chain to Remove Its Bylines,” New York Times, September 20, 2004

• Annual Report, 2006. The Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada.

  • “Arabist” is properly a scholar of the Arab language or civilization but has become a term for Arab sympathizer. Students in the first sense do tend to become Arabists in the second sense. “Lobbyists” often claim that diplomats who serve in a Mid-East post become Arab sympathizers and unreliable guides to Canadian policy. There is some slight truth in this, but a study revealed that officers who served in Israel become the most critical of Israel.”
  • ” Irving Abella and Harold Troper, “None is too many,” Key Porter Books, Toronto 2000
  • Pearson in his seminar in the School of International Affairs, Carleton University.
  • Trudeau’s constituency contained the largest number of Jewish Canadians in Canada and he deemed it unwise to criticize Israel in public. He engaged, however, in an angry exchange with Prime Minister Begin of Israel over its 1992 invasion of Lebanon, and was outspokenly critical in conversation with friends
  • Pierre Trudeau, “Memoirs,” McClelland and Stewart, Toronto 1993. pp 215-216
  • Claude Henault, ““Zionists Block Peace, Trudeau Says”, the Toronto Star, October 24 ,1979. Page A6
  • Robert Stanfield, Address to the Canadian-Arab Relations Conference, Calgary 1981
  • John Dirlik, “Mulroney Resignation Saddens Mainstream Jewish Leaders,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April/May 1993, p.38
  • Richard Falk, quoted in Laura Payton, “Tory’s Israel Policy Damaging: UN Rapporteur” Embassy Magazine, September 30, 2009.

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