This is an interview I conducted with Professor Yakov M. Rabkin of the Université de Montréal, author of the recently published What Is Modern Israel. Professor Rabkin's earlier book on the subject of Israel was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award and for the Hecht Prize for Studies of Zionism.
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."
The term apartheid in reference to Israel is by no means uncommon within Israeli society itself. In Canada, however, the term has been the subject of enormous controversy, where Israel's advocates have expressed outrage towards use of the label, and have made consistent efforts to disparage both the phrase "Israeli apartheid" and those who dare to utter it.
The coordinated killings that rocked Paris over the weekend are an unspeakable horror. But we must not allow the horrific nature of this atrocity to drag Canada back into the racism, Islamophobia and war-mongering that characterized our last government. The burden to hold firm on the change that we demanded in the October election is jointly shared between Canadians and our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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.
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?
The human rights-interfaith dialogue rhetoric employed by President Obama on May 22, 2015 at the Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington DC was wonderful and made people feel warm inside. But this type of rhetoric is, in fact, messianic -- it is for tomorrow, for a time when there is no more war. That day has not yet come, I am afraid. And to speak as if it has is very dangerous.
The PA's diplomatic stunt is a zero-sum game that will only obstruct the peace process and assault Israel's legitimacy. In no way does the Palestinian attempt to join the International Criminal Court advance the prospects for peace with Israel, instead, Palestinian intransigence only impedes its own path to procuring statehood.
As a Jew, I feel sorry for Palestinians. Their plight is awful. They're at the mercy of a government who would see them dead if it would further their cause. You can be PRO Palestine without being ANTI Israel. You can be against this war and not be Anti-Semitic. Try to remember that when you ask Israel to lay down their weapons you're asking them to walk right into a gas chamber.
Historical precedent shows Israel's need to enforce a maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip to ensure that rockets, thousands of which are being fired at Israeli cities presently, do not end up in the hands of terrorists bent on maiming and murdering civilians. And yet, Lotayeff is of the mindset that Hamas should control the territorial waters for commercial purposes and peaceful sailing.
Palestinian solidarity activists are using Zionism isn't Judaism on social media to say that Jews aren't the problem, the Zionist state of Israel is the problem, but will this tactic work? Despite good intentions, the answer is no. One problem with Zionism isn't Judaism is that its primary assertion is inaccurate.
Those who are mired in bigotry have and will continue to derail efforts towards peace by resorting to fear mongering and smear tactics. Yet, the Persian mystic Rumi taught us to not be afraid of sullying our reputation. This is especially true when the lives of our children, both Jewish and Muslim alike are at stake.