In overwhelmingly condemning BDS in the House of Commons recently, Canadian parliamentarians have greatly advanced the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The BDS movement singles out Israel for exclusive censure encouraging boycotts of Israeli goods, which produces an outcome that also harms Palestinians, as their economy is closely intertwined with Israel's.
We ask you to resist the false alarm that your Zionist friends sound when they cry "anti-Semitism!" as the proverbial boy might cry "wolf!" For those who do so are robbing a horrendous historic episode of its gravity, confusing legitimate dissent with genocide. Criticism is not Kristallnacht; challenges to the occupation are not the gas chambers. The distinction is crucial.
In a disingenuous ploy to gain acceptance and support in the West, many proponents of BDS typically claim that their movement is simply about promoting the "fundamental rights" of Palestinians in accordance with "international law." This means, foremost, pressuring Israel to end "its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands" and allowing "the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties [in Israel] as stipulated in UN resolution 194."
In July 1944, some 430,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to Auschwitz in the space of 10 weeks -- the fastest, cruelest and most efficient mass murder of the Nazi genocide. Yet Wallenberg rescued some 100,000 Jews in six months in Hungary in 1944, demonstrating that one person with the courage to care, and the commitment to act, can confront evil and transform history.
Twenty years ago, an Israeli extremist assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. The assassin intended to quash the Oslo Accords Rabin signed with the hope of leading Israelis and Palestinians to peace. Rabin's historic bid was a watershed moment that continues to have an indelible impact on Israelis -- and shed much-needed light on the obstacles to peace today.
In the past two weeks, Israel has borne the brunt of hundreds of terror attacks. Terror doesn't occur in a vacuum and terrorists are born from nurture, not nature. Fanning the flames and provoking this recent terror war is a sustained campaign of incitement to violence, indoctrination of hate and justification of terror.
Despite the vitriol stemming from both capitals, the extremist threat is the appropriate issue to spark a strategic recalculation in Tehran and Tel Aviv, even if temporary. Although the idea of Iranian-Israeli engagement may seem to be rooted in fantasy, the same factors that prompted the United States and Iran to try something new can and should drive Iran and Israel to follow suit.
My first conflict zone gave me reoccurring nightmares that I can't seem to forget. In 2002, I planned my documentary thesis for my Master's in Journalism -- I wanted to show the sacrifice of war correspondents who put their lives in peril in the name of communicating news during conflict. It was the height of the second intifada -- The same week I smelled bomb for the first time.
I made the huge-ass mistake of packing a valuable item -- Luckily, theft was covered by my travel insurance. Or so I thought. The insurance representative regretfully informed me that although stolen baggage was covered, my claim wasn't eligible. It was a baffling and maddening situation, but one that got me thinking: what other insurance loopholes are lingering out there?
Anti-Semitism is what many Canadian Jews experienced who faced quotas when applying for professional degrees, or who were barred from joining certain golf clubs. Anti-Semitism is what my ancestors experienced in Eastern Europe with pogroms, frequent assaults and massacres in Jewish communities. Anti-Semitism is the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. How can it be in any way appropriate to use this term to describe individuals who criticize a modern political entity -- the state of Israel -- which systematically violates the rights of Palestinians?
In a Canada in which our current government has expressed undying loyalty to Netanyahu's regime, and where the opposition parties appear unwilling to publicly shame the government for its appalling disregard for the human rights of Palestinians, we cannot realistically expect the enactment of state sanctions against Israel any time soon. If the NDP wants to prove to Canadians that it is indeed the government in waiting, and that it's visibly different from the Conservatives, then we should all expect it to commit to taking action on this issue. Will the NDP, at the very least, commit to reforming CIFTA to exclude tariff-free imports of illegal Israeli settlement products