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Durban Review Conference

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June 17, 2008 Weblog:

From an Israeli to Jack Layton

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Dear Jack Layton,

I would like to commend you on your decision to participate in the Durban Review Conference in April 2009. Canada's boycott of this Geneva conference goes to demonstrate the government's recent change in foreign relations to Israel. It goes hand in hand with the recently signed Canada-Israel Free Trade agreement, and the Security Agreement between our two countries.

I am a Canadian Israeli and have previously lived in the West Bank in an illegal settlement (on Palestinian land). In spite of the fact that the entire world has again and again agreed the occupation of the West Bank, the building of Settlements, and the construction of the Wall are contradictory to international law, Israel has proceeded to ignore them. In spite of the International Court of Justice decision, and the annual voting by the United Nations on the Palestinian Refugee's right of return, Israel has been implementing racist, apartheid laws and enforcing them year after year.

As a former refugee from the Soviet Union, I remember not belonging anywhere, I remember the complete dire poverty, and the deafening fear of persecution. We have been faced with centuries of anti-Semitism in the former USSR and have lived through immense discriminatory violence within our lifetimes. That is why when we escaped to Israel we were at first blind to the political significance of our presence there and what our new nation was doing to its indigenous population. It took living in the West Bank as economic settlers to see the system of apartheid for what it really is.

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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.

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