Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We Need to Listen to Jewish Voices Before we Lose Our Own

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in New Orleans yesterday to give speech to a prominent American Jewish group. This was on the same day that his government said it would move ahead with hundreds of new housing units in disputed east Jerusalem.

Greeting the Israeli PM was a group of protesters from Young Leadership Institute of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Rae Abileah, a 28-year-old protester from San Francisco, shouted "the settlements betray Jewish values". A man sitting in front of her attempted to ram a seat cushion into her mouth, just before she was hauled off by police.

Other protesters were pushed, sworn at and taken away.

It would appear that Netanyahu is attempting to use the protests over the planned expansions as proof that Palestine is not serious about wanting to talk peace, despite the fact that the new apartments are being deliberately constructed on land where the Palestinians hoped to place their future capital.

And as unfair as that seems, we are not allowed to suggest that Israel is being unfair, without the risk of being called anti-Semitic.

How did we get to this point?

A group calling themselves the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism, is trying to define a "new anti-Semitism" as being any criticism of the country of Israel or it's actions.

What they are essentially doing, as you'll hear on the video, is allowing a foreign country to dictate the rights of Canadian citizens.

We need an open and honest debate on this issue. We cannot allow our government to simply state that we cannot demand sanctions, for instance, against any foreign country engaged in human rights abuses. And this includes Israel. The country.

Sure we should be upset with comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the past, and we should be diligent about Iran and the possibility that they could develop nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad is a populist right-wing Conservative. And his people appear to love him. Who are we to tell them they can't have the leader they want? Funny business during the election? Gee. Where have we heard that before?
Mr Ahmadinejad reportedly spent no money on his first presidential campaign in 2005 - but he was backed by powerful conservatives who used their network of mosques to mobilise support for him. He also had the support of a group of younger, second-generation revolutionaries known as the Abadgaran, or Developers, who are strong in the Iranian parliament, the Majlis. The campaign focused on poverty, social justice and the distribution of wealth inside Iran. He also repeatedly defended his country's nuclear programme, which worried the US and European Union.
But Israel actually has nuclear weapons. Lots of them. We should be worried about them too.

Canadians are a pretty smart bunch. We can make up our own minds. This kind of silencing, may only drive people to sympathize with those our government prefers we not sympathize with.

It's not just a new anti-Semitism but a new McCarthyism. And it is wrong. And we need to tell our government that it is wrong.

The following video was made by a group called Independent Jewish Voices, and I'm pretty sure they're NOT anti-Semitic. We should listen to them.


  1. Iran-Israel are two sides of the same coin. The government in Iran is administratively under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for whom Ahmedinajad acts as a front. They are no better than the US-Israel attempt at regional control and may well be worse - just ask the millions who demonstrated peacefully in Iran's streets after the IRG electoral coup of the June 2009 election. The IRG and Basij beat, shot, stabbed, raped and murdered at will. If you can imagine a Toronto G20 experience repeatedly played out for months in which the police and militia shoot, knife, rape and imprison whomever they choose with impunity you have some idea of how the brave Iranian people were and are being persecuted for peacefully demanding their rights under the Iranian constitution and international law.
    "And his people appear to love him"???? Joe Stalin had his admirers too as does Herr Harper.

  2. Very clear in exposing this nonsense of a "new anti-Semitism".

  3. Thank you nexttrain. I don't support Iran, but don't feel that we have the right to remove him from power. We have to ask what conditions allowed him to gain power in the first place.

    Iran has been a volatile nation for many years. I know because my uncle was the victim of a bombing in that country. He lost both of his legs.

    Instead of our undying support for Israel, we need to undestand why other nations in the Middle East are electing these kinds of leaders. I suspect it's because they want someone who will stand up to the West.

    Canadian treatment of First Nations is inexcusable and living conditions for many deplorable. Would we feel that a another nation has the right to come in to "rescue" them?

    Diplomacy, not interference. Remember WMDs?