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This statement was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and
Mail (as an op-ed). It is reprinted here in full.
Statement: Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of
We are Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism,
anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaust legacy
"Never again" means never again for all peoples. It is a tragic turn of
history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracy and its
dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causes immeasurable
suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.
We are appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations and
leading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State of
Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges that
those organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academic boycott
of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring the anti-Communist
terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. We believe this serves to deflect
attention from Israel's flagrant violations of international humanitarian
With this letter I would like to officially withdraw as a member of the jury for the 2008 Prize of the Alex and Ruth Dworkin Foundation for the Promotion of Tolerance through Cinema (2008 Prix annuel de la Fondation Alex et Ruth Dworkin pour la promotion de la tolérance à travers le cinéma) at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois.
For those who may not be aware, this prize, which includes a grant of $5000, “goes to a producer representing the production team which has best demonstrated, in the winning work, a message of comprehension and tolerance”.
I accepted the invitation from the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois to join this year’s jury in good faith. But after examining in more detail the political and financial basis of the prize I must refuse to have my name associated with it. Behind this noble sounding “award for tolerance” hides a story of intolerance, division and discrimination.
Firstly, I quit the jury because the Prix annuel de la Fondation Alex and Ruth Dworkin is an initiative of the Congrès juif canadien, Région du Québec, an organization which I consider to be a vehicle for the Israeli propaganda machine and fundamentally intolerant of dissent and difference, particularly when it comes to Israeli government policies.
One case in point is the refusal of the national leadership of the Congrès juif canadian (CJC) to accept a recent membership application from the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians (ACJC).
ACJC members “joined together to create a cross-Canada alliance of Jewish anti-occupation forces… whose views are not represented by the government of Israel or by the uncritical positions taken by the leadership of the major Jewish organizations in Canada.”
Part of the 5th international week of action against the apartheid wall, initiated by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, to oppose Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing and to support the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Leading up to ‘Palestinian Perspectives’, an evening of film screenings at the Cinéma du Parc in Montreal on November 29th, to commemorate 60 years of occupation and to celebrate the Palestinian voice. Featuring cutting edge cultural projects from Montreal & internationally, uniting in expression against Israeli Apartheid.
* Lubo Alexandrov: A Bulgarian-born guitarist, composer and singer, Alexandrov has developed a unique musical style, merging Bulgarian, Turkish and Roma musical traditions. Recipient of the 2007 Juno Music Award for the ‘Best World Album’. http://www.luboalexandrov.com
* Valerie Khayat: Poet, singer songwriter, Khayat has been active in folk, poetry and spoken word circles since 2004. She released her first book of poetry, ”The Road to Vesper”, and her first full length album, ”Resonance in Blue”, in 2007. http://www.myspace.com/valeriekhayat
* Kalmunity Vibe Collective members:
Jason Selman: Performance poet & musician
Mohamed Mehdi: Singer songwriter, poet.
Phenix: Hip-hop artist, poet of the Haitian diaspora.
* Ehab Lotayef: Writer, photographer, poet, activist and engineer.
* DJ Kandis: Middle Eastern, international beats, music from DJ Kandis.
Screening two films from the ‘Beyond Blue & Gray’ documentary project of Eyes Infinite Films, with an introduction by series producer Nirah Shirazipour:
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17th, 6:30pm
Leacock Building, Room 232
McGill University, 688 Sherbrooke St.
A public event hosted by Tadamon! Montreal & the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at McGill University within the context of the campaign to challenging Hezbollah’s listing as a ‘Terrorist’ Group in Canada…
Bilal Elamine: Currently living in Beirut, originally from Southern Lebanon, the former editor of Left Turn Magazine, Elamine will outline the current and historical role of Hezbollah in Lebanon from a progressive perspective. Critical recent events in Middle East history will be addressed within the presentation, as Elamine will speak about the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon, the 2007 general strike and opposition protests within the context of Hezbollah’s role in Lebanese society.
Brian Aboud: Presenting on Tadamon!’s campaign to challenge the listing of Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist’ organization in Canada. Today, Canada is one of only three countries world-wide to designate Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist’ organization. The other two are Israel and the United States.
A Summer Not to Forget: A film by Lebanese film maker, Carol Mansour. Using powerful and disturbing images, the film tells a story of yet another war on Lebanon: 1,200 killed, 4,000 injured, one million displaced, 78 bridges destroyed, 15,000 homes damaged, 15,000 tonnes of oil spilled on 80km of the Mediterranean coastline, 57 collective massacres and much more. Director Mansour takes you into the harsh realities of a nation devastated by war and a people caught under siege.
from the Montreal Mirror.
by Christopher Hazou
Twenty-five years ago this week, the Israeli army surrounded the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut and sent in their Christian Phalangist allies. Over the next two days, between 800 and 2,000 Palestinian civilians were butchered in a scene of carnage that shocked much of the world.
This Saturday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m., the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine commemorates this sombre anniversary by protesting outside of the Indigo bookstore downtown (corner Ste-Catherine and McGill College), where they will call on Chapters/Indigo majority shareholder Heather Reisman and her husband Gerry Schwartz to end their support of so-called “lone sol-diers”—young Jews who emigrate to Israel alone to join the military.
“This is about direct support to the Israeli army,” says Ehab Lotayef, a member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, another participating group. “The history of the Israeli army and what it represents is not consistent with the educational message that their bookstores should be advocating.”
It will be the 25th such protest against Chapters/Indigo in Montreal since they began in December, with similar demonstrations taking place in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg. For more info, visit www.cjpp.org
An excellent article from THIS magazine concerning the growing national campaign to boycott Chapters/Indigo bookstore due to the support for the Israeli military from the company majority shareholders Heather Reisman & Gerry Schwartz...
Full Article at: This Magazine.
Imagination. Creativity. Inspiration. Three words to stir the soul crown the towering windows of Toronto’s flagship Indigo bookstore. At ground level, shoppers pass in and out of wood-framed glass doors, navigating planters and benches intended to create a friendly, front-porch sort of welcome. They take little notice as, on the sidewalk beyond, two women unfurl an off-white canvas banner. Printed on one side are another three words, less poetic perhaps than the store’s motto, but the intended effect is just as moving: Boycott Chapters/ Indigo.
No, the protest is not a last-ditch attempt by independent booksellers to draw the literate back into their fold. Rather, the activists—11 have turned up on this Friday in April, the first truly warm day of spring—are taking a page from a much larger book. They are members of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), a network of Palestinian rights, Jewish peace and socialist groups doing their part to promote an international boycott campaign against Israel. They compare themselves to the early voices against South African apartheid, and history, they believe, can repeat itself: If international pressure could help rescue South Africa from apartheid, the same can be true for Israel.
Picket and Remembrance in Downtown Montreal...
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd, 1pm
Corner of St. Catherine & McGill College
Between September 16th and 18th, 1982, Israeli military forces in Lebanon, under the direct command Ariel Sharon, former ‘Defense Minister’ of Israel, provided military logistics for the massacre of thousands of Palestinian civilians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila by the right-wing Phalangists militia of Lebanon...
Full Information at Tadamon!
An excellent analysis article on the siege of Nahr el-Bared by the Lebanese Army throughout the summer of 2007...
Excerpt below, however read the full version on-line at: Tadamon!
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion celebrates the anniversary of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians (the UN says 711,000) from their homes, cities and villages that marked the founding of the state of Israel. And he dances the Hora, which would be more amusing in a different context.
Jerusalem Post: "The Canadian government is establishing an 'Israel Allies Caucus' this week meant to mobilize support for the State of Israel and promote Judeo-Christian values amid a groundswell of Christian support for Israel around the world."
Judeo-Christian values? Somehow, I don't think that "love thy neighbour as thyself" is what they have in mind.
A former Israeli Justice Minister, now the chair of a national holocaust memorial, had some fairly harsh words for the West Bank settlers. He compared the situation of the Palestinians to that of the Jewish diaspora in Europe before WWII:
"It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn," he said. "I was afraid to go to school, because of the little anti-Semites who used to lay in ambush on the way and beat us up. How is that different from a Palestinian child in Hebron?"
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.