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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
B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have pressured university
presidents and administrations to silence debate and discussion
specifically regarding Palestine/Israel. In a full-page ad in a national
newspaper, B'nai Brith urged donors to withhold funds from universities
because "anti-Semitic hate fests" were being allowed on campuses.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff
have echoed these arguments. While university administrators have resisted
demands to shut down Israel Apartheid week, some Ontario university
presidents have bowed to this disinformation campaign by suspending and
fining students, confiscating posters, and infringing on free speech.
We do not believe that Israel acts in self-defense. Israel is the largest
recipient of US foreign aid, receiving $3 million/day. It has the fourth
strongest army in the world. Before the invasion of Gaza on 27 December
2008, Israel's siege had already created a humanitarian catastrophe there,
with severe impoverishment, malnutrition, and destroyed infrastructure. It
is crucial that forums for discussion of Israel's accountability to the
international community for what many have called war crimes be allowed to
proceed unrestricted by specious claims of anti-Semitism.
We recognize that anti-Semitism is a reality in Canada as elsewhere, and
we are fully committed to resisting any act of hatred against Jews. At the
same time, we condemn false charges of anti-Semitism against student
organizations, unions, and other groups and people exercising their
democratic right to freedom of speech and association regarding legitimate
criticism of the State of Israel.
Charles P. Cohen
Natalie Zemon Davis
Kevin A. Gould
Lisa Frances Greenspoon
Howard S. Kaplan
Bonnie Sher Klein
Richard Borshay Lee
Andre W. Payant
Edward H. Shaffer
Jon McPhedran Waitzer
Naomi Binder Wall
For more information contact:
James Deutsch, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone: 416-363-3751 Ext 2011
Judith Deutsch, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Phone: 416 929-8180
Miriam Garfinkle, M.D.
Dominion Weblogs compiles the weblogs of Dominion editors and writers. The topics discussed are wide-ranging, but Canadian Foreign Policy, grassroots politics, and independent media are chief among them.