Under Justin Trudeau, "Canada is back" to isolating itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights. On Monday, Canada joined the U.S., Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in opposing a UN Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee resolution in support of Palestinian self-determination.
Canadians might find it disquieting to have members of parliament cry, "Shame!" when the government announces $20 million in aid for education and health. Yet this is exactly what happened when the Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced the restoration of Canadian humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.
This is a bit like commenting on a married couple who have severe marital problems, complete with shouting matches and physical abuse. While all their friends may agree that the marriage is in trouble and that the couple should get counselling, no true friend would allow the husband to repeatedly beat his wife as they wait for counselling. But Canadian political leaders seem perfectly willing to allow the "beating" to continue as they await the ever elusive negotiated solution ("counselling") between Israel and Palestine.
In 1997 I went to the West Bank to study Arabic. Once there, I found that many of the students in the program were, like me, half Palestinian, and were there as part of an attempt to discover their roots. Before I left, I hadn't thought much about how language defines who we are, or what happens when the languages we use to build our identities are rendered useless.
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.