Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: 1967 borders, amy goodman, democracynow, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, gaza, israel, israel apartheid, israel settlements, Middle East, netanyahu, Palestine, palestinian state, Palestinians, two-state solution, west bank
The future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remains in doubt after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address Tuesday before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Netanyahu insisted Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders are “indefensible.” He also said Israel must “maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River” and condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal. Netanyahu’s speech came five days after President Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps. We speak with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative. “Netanyahu yesterday blocked every possibility for negotiations for a two-state solution,” Barghouti says. “Practically, he took away any possibility for peaceful resolution, because he wanted to impose unilaterally the outcome on every issue… He wants us to live as slaves in a system of apartheid and segregation.”
AMY GOODMAN: The future of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians remain in doubt following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address on Tuesday before a joint session of Congress. Netanyahu insisted Jerusalem will not be divided and that Israel’s internationally recognized 1967 borders are “indefensible.”
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv. Now these areas are densely populated, but they’re geographically quite small. And under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical, strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu also said Israel must, quote, “maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River,” and he condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal. Netanyahu’s speech came five days after President Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps.
Joining us now in Washington, D.C., is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative. He’s the president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Your response to Prime Minister Netanyahu in this joint address before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Barghouti?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, First of all, let me say that what Mr. Netanyahu did yesterday was a presentation of—or actually, misrepresentation of the facts, a lot of lies. Obviously he believes that if he lies a lot and continues to lie, the lies become facts. He was falsifying history and falsifying facts and misleading people in the United States. When he said that Israel is too small, all he needed to say is to compare it with Palestine. I mean, what we are calling for here in two-state solution is a situation where Israel will be four times the size of Palestine, and still he speaks about it as if it’s a small country, but—and then comparing it with the United States.
In my opinion, Netanyahu yesterday blocked every possibility for negotiations for a two-state solution. Practically, he took away any possibility for peaceful resolution, because he wanted to impose unilaterally—he wanted to impose unilaterally the outcome on every issue—on the issue of Jerusalem, on the issue of borders, on the issue of settlements. And practically, his plan is clear: he wants us to live as slaves in a system of apartheid and segregation, he wants to continue the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, and he wants to block any possibility for a Palestinian statehood or Palestinian freedom.
More than that, I think some of what he said sounded totally delusional. When he spoke about the fact that the only place where Arabs can enjoy freedom and democracy is when they are ruled by Israel, I think this is something like saying that the place where women’s rights are most respected is Afghanistan. It’s totally delusional. He fails to see the fact that his country is practicing apartheid and segregation against the Palestinian population. He failed to see the fact that they have taken away the homes, the lands of the people who live under Israeli control and that Israel is practicing the worst form of violence against peaceful, nonviolent resistance that Palestinians are adopting today in trying to defend their rights for freedom and for dignity.
What is most shameful, in my opinion, really, was the response of the Congress to what Mr. Netanyahu said. In my opinion, the fact that he got 29 standing ovations and so many applause by the Congress people reflects an act of irresponsibility by the Congress, because by supporting such extremists, like Netanyahu, in this manner, by supporting such extreme positions by this Israeli government, which is nothing but a government of settlers that is falsifying history and reality, by doing so, they are practically supporting an act that is aiming at killing any possibility of peace. And that is irresponsible, not only towards Palestinians, not only towards peace; it’s an act of irresponsibility towards even the future of Israelis themselves, because the plan that Netanyahu proposed is nothing but a plan to assassinate and kill any opportunity for peace based on two-state solution. It’s a plan of enslavement of Palestinians. And we, as Palestinians, will never be accepting to be slaves of occupation or apartheid or the system of occupation that Mr. Netanyahu wants to consolidate on the ground.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, I wanted to ask you about the comments that President Obama made last Thursday when he became the first U.S. president to explicitly call for Israelis and Palestinians to seek a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. This is what he said.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous state.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, your response to President Obama?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, unfortunately, I think Mr. Obama, President Obama, retreated from any of his comments in his speech in front of the AIPAC. And because he got criticized for identifying ’67 borders as the borders between Palestinian state, future state, and Israel, because of that criticism, he went further to describe what swaps mean. And according to him, swaps should take into consideration demographic realities, new demographic realities. But these demographic realities that he speaks about are about settlers, and these settlers are violating international law. And any presence of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory is in violation of international law, in violation of the International Court of Justice resolutions, and as such, could not be considered as facts that should be accepted.
The problem with the issue of swaps is that they could mean taking away any possibility for the viability of the Palestinian state, not only because of the size of these areas that would be swapped, but also because these areas include at least 85 percent of the water resources that Palestinians need in the West Bank. They take away water resources. These settlements blocs, if they are annexed to Israel, will definitely destroy the contiguity of territory in the Palestinian state, and they would destroy any possibility of the viability of the states. That’s why I think what President Obama said in his speech in the State Department is contradictive to what he said in front of the conference of AIPAC.
And when Mr. Netanyahu comes up with the plan he proposed, explaining that the Israeli army must remain on the borders, and then explaining that Jerusalem will never be divided again, and explaining that Israel will have to annex all these settlements, then practically we are not talking about a viable Palestinian contiguous state, but about a structure that would be nothing but clusters of bantustans, disconnected from each other and under a system of apartheid controlled by Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: The Israelis are calling it a state, but that means nothing because it has nothing that makes it a real state. It’s just clusters of bantustans. This is the plan that Netanyahu has, and the American president failed to pressure him to change this plan.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the significance of the Middle East peace envoy, George Mitchell, quitting?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I believe now, in retrospect, when we see what has happened after his resignation, I think he has resigned because he failed. And he realized that his opinion was not taken into consideration, obviously, especially on issues like settlements. And I feel sorry for him, because he had done a good job with Ireland. Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, he failed to pressure Israel. Maybe he did not have the support from his own administration to exercise any form of pressure on Israel. Especially that now, when we see this conflict growing, nobody is telling Israel at least stop the building of settlements on the ground, at least stop the facts on the ground. And that’s why I consider that Mr. Mitchell’s resignation is just a reflection of the fact that his mission failed, and probably that his views were not taken into consideration, and that the Israeli lobby is practically imposing the American policy in the Middle East. And that is something very dangerous. Again, I say this is something irresponsible, irresponsible in terms of the future of both Palestinians and Israelis, and irresponsible policy in terms of the future of stability in the Middle East.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Barghouti, you were in Cairo, with the coming together of Hamas and Fatah. The U.S. has criticized any group that would ally with Hamas. Your response to that, and the significance of this, how you see this fitting into the destiny of Palestine?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: It is totally un-understandable why they are criticizing the unity agreement between Palestinians. We’ve managed to convince Hamas to accept two-state solution, to accept the compromise of two-state solution. We’ve managed to convince Hamas to abstain from any form of violence and to abstain from any form of military actions and to stick totally with all of us to nonviolent form of resistance. We managed to convince Hamas to authorize President Abbas to represent all Palestinians. Isn’t that what they wanted? If we have managed to convince everybody to adopt nonviolence as a form of struggle for Palestinians, and if we managed to have a unified Palestinian camp that agrees and accepts two-state solution, then why this agreement is rejected?
Let me remind you that Mr. Netanyahu and his government has been saying that they cannot make a deal with President Abbas or move forward with negotiations, because President Abbas could not represent all Palestinians since he could not control Hamas or could not control Gaza. Now, President Abbas is allowed to represent all Palestinians, and Netanyahu is responding by saying, “You have to break up with Hamas, or we will not talk to you.” What does that mean? He’s playing games here. This man is an expert in lying. This man is an expert in falsification. This man, Netanyahu, is an expert in misrepresenting facts.
AMY GOODMAN: Prime Minister Netanyahu, he has—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: And I am so sorry that people don’t see that.
AMY GOODMAN: He has been interviewed repeatedly on the networks in the United States, and he has repeatedly said, “We accept a Palestinian state. They do not accept a Jewish state. That is the problem,” he said. “How do you negotiate with these people?” What is your response to that?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That’s another big lie, because the problem with the Oslo agreement has been that the Palestinians, represented by the PLO, recognized Israel as a state. They recognized Israel. Israel did not recognize Palestine as a state. Up ’til now, Israel is not recognizing Palestine as a state, because what does it mean to say, “I accept you as a state, but I don’t accept that you have borders, and I don’t accept that you have a capital, and I don’t accept that you have free trade, and I don’t accept that you have free economy”? This is just a false representation of reality. In reality, Palestinians have accepted Israel and have recognized Israel, and in exchange, all Israel did was to recognize PLO as a representative of Palestinians rather than recognizing the Palestinian state as such. If Mr. Netanyahu wants really to recognize the state, he should declare tomorrow that he agrees with what President Obama said, which is that we will have two-state solution on the basis of ’67 borders.
AMY GOODMAN: He said—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That, he negated.
AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu said—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: That, he is refusing.
AMY GOODMAN: Netanyahu said, “It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’”
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well, Mr. Abbas has said repeatedly that he is recognizing Israel. And if we—if Israel is recognized as a Jewish state, then what happens to the one-and-a-half million Palestinians that Netanyahu is claiming have equal rights in Israel? They are not Jewish. This state should be democratic. A democratic state should fulfill the needs of all its people. Do you think—what would happen if somebody comes out and says the United States should be declared as a Catholic state or as a Protestant state? What will happen to the Jewish community in the United States then? In my opinion, each country should be recognized as a democratic state, which means all its citizens have equal rights. And that does not negate the needs of the Jewish population. That does not negate the history of the Jewish people and their suffering. On the contrary. If you want them to last in a good state, that state should be democratic and not based on discrimination and racist differentiation between people, as is the situation today in Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re saying that you accept—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: In Israel today, you have apartheid discrimination against Arabs in Israel who are citizens of Israel. You have another level of discrimination against Palestinians living in Jerusalem, in East Jerusalem, where a Palestinian will not be allowed to marry a woman from a nearby city or village and live with her, because if he moves to live with her, he will lose his citizenship, and he would not be allowed to bring her into Jerusalem because he cannot give her citizenship. That’s a system of racial discrimination.
AMY GOODMAN: So—
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: And there is a third level of apartheid which exists in the West Bank and Gaza. Yes, please?
AMY GOODMAN: So, Dr. Barghouti, you’re saying you accept Israel as a state, but not as a Jewish state?
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I am saying that pushing the issue of Jewishness of the state of Israel today is one way of putting the Palestinians again on the defense, while their state is not recognized. What is missing today is not Israel as a state. Israel is already a state. It is already a member of the United Nations. Israel now is the third largest military exporter in the world. It has the fifth largest army in the world. It has 400 nuclear weapons. It is not threatened. The people who are threatened are the Palestinians who are under occupation for 44 years, who have been dispossessed from their land since 63 years, and who don’t have freedom, don’t have democracy, and don’t have self-determination. The country that needs to be recognized today is Palestine. And Netanyahu is doing everything he can to obstruct us from going to the United Nations to ask for implementation of the same resolution that was taken in 1947 that gave Israel its legitimacy and said there should be a Palestinian, which never materialized. He is trying to block that. So, practically, the country, the state that needs to be recognized today is Palestine, because Israel is already recognized.
AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, I want to thank you for being with us. Dr. Barghouti, speaking to us from Washington, D.C.
Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: aipac, allie bidwell, anti-defamation, asuc, berkeley, daily cal, desmond tutu, divestment, gaza, General Electric, israel, israel apartheid, israeli millitary, lebanon, naomi klein, Noam Chomsky, Palestinians, roger hollander, uc berkeley, united technologies, university california, west bank
International attention will descend on the ASUC Senate meeting tonight as senators consider upholding the passage of a controversial bill urging the student government and the University of California to divest from two companies that have provided war supplies to the Israeli military.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s. (Wikimedia)
The bill names two companies-United Technologies and General Electric-as supplying Israel with the technology necessary to attack civilian populations in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The bill originally passed the senate March 17 by a 16-4 vote following about six hours of discussion. A two-thirds majority, or 14 votes, is needed in order to override the veto.
Senators have received more than 13,000 e-mails, roughly split between both sides of the controversy.
Prominent figures including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, activist Naomi Klein and leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky have spoken in support of overriding ASUC President Will Smelko’s March 24 veto of the bill. Local and national pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-an influential Washington, D.C. lobby organization-Berkeley Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League have each stated the bill is divisive and unfairly targets Israel.
Supporters of the bill say divesting from the two companies would make a powerful statement against Israeli actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which supporters have compared to apartheid-era South Africa.
In a recent letter to the UC Berkeley community, Tutu, who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts opposing apartheid in South Africa-said he endorsed the bill and urged senators to uphold the original vote, which he compared to similar efforts at UC Berkeley to divest from South Africa in the 1980s.
He said in an e-mail Tuesday that he had a message for ASUC senators.
“I salute you for wanting to take a moral stand,” he said in the e-mail. “(Your predecessors) changed the moral climate in the U.S. and the consequence was the Anti-Apartheid legislation, which helped to dismantle apartheid non-violently. Today is your turn. Will you look back on this day with pride or with shame?”
Wayne Firestone, national president of Hillel-a Jewish campus organization-released a statement last month condemning the bill. The statement stated that the bill is “one-sided, divisive and undermines the pursuit of peace” and ignores human rights violations of other countries.
“The ASUC bill will not contribute a whit to the advancement of peace in the Middle East and will only serve to divide the Berkeley community,” Firestone said in the statement.
Pro-Israel activist organization J Street U, joined 18 other organizations-including Berkeley Hillel, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, the Jewish National Fund and StandWithUs/SF Voice for Israel-in crafting an April 5 letter to UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer stating that they felt the bill was dishonest and misleading.
Among concerns listed in the letter was that the bill “unfairly targets” Israel while marginalizing Jewish students on campus who support Israel.
“Though it states that the ‘ASUC resolution should not be considered taking sides in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict,’ the exclusive focus on Israel suggests otherwise,” the letter states.
Critics of the bill have said senators cannot make a proper judgement of an issue as complicated as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Student Action Senator Parth Bhatt, who voted against the bill, said he felt the ASUC should not take a stance on such an issue because it marginalizes one community on campus.
“I don’t think the ASUC should put any student in that position,” Bhatt said. “The conflict is very complex and something I don’t think our senators know enough about to vote on.”
But CalSERVE Senator Ariel Boone said she supported the bill because she felt compelled to defend human rights.
“I went to Israel and had a really interesting time with Berkeley Hillel in January, and I have Holocaust survivors among my family,” Boone said in an e-mail. “I have never felt so uniquely qualified to speak on an issue.”
AIPAC has recently stated the need for a strategy to combat anti-Israel sentiments on U.S. university campuses.
“How are we going to beat back the anti-Israel divestment resolution at Berkeley?” said Jonathan Kessler, leadership development director for AIPAC, at a recent conference of the lobbying group. “We’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote. This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.”
But according to spokesperson Josh Block, the group did not take a position in the recent ASUC election.
“We don’t rate or endorse candidates,” Block said in an e-mail. “Of course we would always, publicly and consistently encourage pro-Israel students to be active in civic and political life.”
Read statements in opposition and in support of the divestment bill:
Letter to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of UC Berkeley George Breslauer
© 2010 The Daily Californian
Posted by rogerhollander in War.
Tags: bds, boycott israel, cosatu, derek summerfield, doctors interrogation, doctors torture, gaza, geneva conventions, human rights, israel apartheid, Israeli Medical Association, israeli occupation, israeli settlements, israeli torture, Maritime Union of Australia, Palestine, roger hollander, separation wall, Steven and Hilary Rose, west bank, Yoram Blachar
by Derek Summerfield – England
“People First,” International Health Workers for People Over Profit (IHWPOP)
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel has been gathering steam on several continents over the past few years. The campaign seeks to apply the same principled methods of direct action that were so successful against apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
One part of this broad front is the academic boycott campaign that was launched in Britain following a call in 2002 from two well-known Jewish professors, Steven and Hilary Rose. This led to the setting up of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP).
The academic boycott campaign was recently taken up in the United States in response to Israel’s barbaric war against Gaza’s besieged population.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) announced a week of action against apartheid Israel to begin on February 6. In one action, dock workers belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) refused to offload a ship bringing Israeli goods to South Africa.
The Western Australian branch of the Maritime Union of Australia have endorsed the BDS campaign and have called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel.
It’s not easy to estimate what impact to date the boycott campaign has had in concrete terms. What is clear is that the campaign is educating people who were unaware of the brutal reality of the Israeli occupation: the relentless settlement-building on Palestinian land, the Separation Wall, and the ruthless disregard for human rights and basic needs.
The university and college lecturers’ union in Britain (UCU) has been so successful in promoting the academic boycott that it has provoked an anti-boycott backlash.
A well-funded pro-Israel lobby is trying to discredit and stigmatise individual boycott activists, as was done in the United States (albeit much more blatantly there, with loss of university tenure in some cases).
The growth of the boycott campaign has so rattled the Israeli establishment, that the Israeli Premier has addressed the matter with Britain’s Prime Minister.
The Corruption of Medicine
As a physician, my role has been to press for an academic boycott of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) for their longstanding collusion with the practice of torture as state policy in
Israel and the institutionalised involvement of doctors serving in interrogation units where torture is commonplace. These facts have been confirmed repeatedly by international and regional human rights’ organisations.
The IMA has also been silent, over many years, about the systematic violations by Israeli military forces of the Fourth Geneva Convention protocols that guarantee civilians unhindered access to services vital to life, including medical services, and confer immunity from military action on health professionals, clinics, ambulances, etc.
The Boycott the IMA campaign is currently circulating a draft petition, to be signed by doctors worldwide, to the World Medical Association (WMA), the official body overseeing medical ethics worldwide. We are protesting the appointment of Yoram Blachar, longstanding President of the IMA, as WMA President. This is like appointing ex-Bush Attorney General Gonzales (“the Geneva Convention is quaint”) to be the new head of Amnesty International!
We have been driven to take direct action by the manifest failure of so-called normal channels (direct appeals to the IMA, WMA etc, providing a mountain of evidence) to address these issues in any way.
World-wide, Israel’s medical friends play a considerable role in corrupting the medical profession. This morally tainted status quo will prevail if we don’t support and build the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
More information about the boycott can be found at Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, or email Derek Summerfield
Derek Summerfield is a London-based Consultant Psychiatrist. View his address, “Medical Ethics in Conflict Zones.”
Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Human Rights, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, War.
Tags: anton kuerti, Canada, gaza, gaza massacres, george ignatieff, hamas, haroon siddiqui, holocaust, idf, israel, israel apartheid, jewish, jewish-canadians, judy rebick, lebanon, Michael Ignatieff, Middle East, never again, Palestine, palistinians, roger hollander, science for peace, siege, Stephen Harper, tories, War Crimes, zionist
Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star, January 11, 2009
Judith Weisman, 78, is a Toronto psychotherapist. She grew up in “a very Zionist family” in Baltimore but “began to change when Israel supported the Vietnam War.”
She and her husband came to Canada in 1969. She worked at the Jewish Family and Children’s Services.
Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon estranged her from the Jewish state. “It took me a while to grasp what was being done to the Palestinians.” She was critical of Israel through the two intifadas and the 2006 invasion of Lebanon.
She helped found Jews for a Just Peace; Jewish Women to End the Occupation (since renamed Women in Solidarity with Palestine); Not in Our Name; and an umbrella group, Independent Jewish Voices.
She helped host a stream of visiting Israeli scholars and human rights activists. She’s awaiting the arrival of Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (7.30 p.m., Jan. 23, Trinity St. Paul’s United Church).
Hers has been a long struggle, ignored by the media and shunned by “the organized Jewish community” that is solidly pro-Israel.
But in recent years, she and other dissidents have been garnering support. In recent days, they’ve had much company.
On Wednesday, a dozen Jewish women “occupied” the Israeli consulate on Bloor St., demanding an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza.
The group included Judy Rebick and Judith Deutsch, president of Science for Peace (whose former presidents include George Ignatieff, the late father of Liberal leader, Michael, who has just joined the Stephen Harper Tories in giving blanket immunity to Israel).
The women expressed “outrage at Ottawa’s refusal to condemn the massacres,” said spokesperson Miriam Garfinkle. They urged the media to report that “many Jewish-Canadians do not support Israel’s violence and apartheid policies.”
On Thursday, four prominent Jewish Canadians held a news conference.
Anton Kuerti, internationally acclaimed concert pianist, said:
“I am not an expert on what is a war crime but I can recognize one when I see one …
“What if almost a thousand Israelis had been killed by F-16s and helicopters and 1,000-pound bombs? There’d be immense outrage throughout the world …
“Israel’s behaviour makes me ashamed of being a Jew, and Canada’s servile support of the United States position – `it’s all Hamas’ fault‘ – makes me ashamed of being a Canadian.”
Deutsch read from a prepared statement: “The words `never again,’ so fraught with memories of the Holocaust, means `never again’ for all peoples.”
Others who spoke were Weisman; Michael Mandel, professor of international law at Osgoode Hall, once a visiting professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and the venerable Ursula Franklin, retired U of T research physicist, Companion of the Order of Canada and a Pearson Medal of Peace recipient.
Later that evening, two dozen dissenting Jews turned up at a pro-Israel rally at Beth Tzedec Synagogue.
Smadar Carmon, a dual Israeli-Canadian citizen, said the group was harassed by another – “a mob of thugs, full of hate, shouting `IDF,’ `We love Israel,’ and `Terrorist supporters,’ `Traitors,’ `You are not real Jews.’”
On the other side of town, there was a candlelight vigil for Gaza at the Mississauga Civic Square, organized by Palestine House.
And yesterday, there was a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate, organized by an array of groups, including the Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Peace Alliance, Coalition to Stop the War, Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario), Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and all the groups that Weisman is associated with.
She had planned to be there, as she had been the Saturday before.