Mr. Baird: Stop Slandering Richard Falk

Open letter to John Baird, Canadian Foreign Minister

Dec. 20, 2013
Open letter to John Baird, Canadian Foreign Minister
Mr. Baird:
Your latest call for the removal of Richard Falk, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, smacks of hypocrisy and racism; it also exposes your (and your government’s) blind support for Israeli war crimes and Apartheid.
While your government officially claims that “Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip)”, you are nonetheless supporting not only settlement building but also settlement products that are not exempt under the “Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA)”. You, your Prime Minister and your government also support unconditionally the discriminatory policies of the “Jewish National Fund” (JNF), which is financing illegal Israeli settlements and the infamous Canada Park that is built on the rubble of three Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank. By doing so, you are violating the Fourth Geneva Conventions to which Canada is a signatory.
Your comments not only “undermine the fundamental values of the United Nations”, they also deny the terrible suffering and the slow genocide of the Palestinian people since the Zionist ethnic cleansing started in 1947/48. Recently, your spokesperson Rick Roth dismissed the new mini-genocide, the “Prawer Plan” which the Israeli government is planning for the Bedouin Israelis, as an “internal Israeli matter”.
You called for Prof. Falk to be fired “for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements”. However, it is your statement that is outrageous and libellous considering that he is a Jewish international law scholar that fought all his life for the truth, justice, equality and peace (contrary to what your government stands for). Once again it is you Mr. Baird that is promoting anti-Semitism by claiming that everything Israel does falls on the shoulders of all Jews. We asked you previously, clearly to no avail: “Mr. Baird: Don’t Equate Zionism with Judaism”‏.
Stop taking your marching orders from Tel Aviv and start, if you care for your dignity and humanity, listening to the vast majority of Canadians who yearn for peace and justice.
Hanna Kawas,
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association

DON’T BUY SODASTREAM! Protest in front of London Drugs

SATURDAY DECEMBER 21, 2-3 P.M.
525 W Broadway, Vancouver
With Solidarity Notes Labour Choir
Join Facebook event

Sodastream Boycott Campaigns are growing around the world, an attempt to pressure Israel to obey international law and respect Palestinian human rights. Here in Vancouver we are asking London Drugs to remove these products from their shelves. Our next protest will be:

SATURDAY DECEMBER 21, 2-3 P.M.
In front of LONDON DRUGS, 525 W Broadway, Vancouver
BROADWAY JUST WEST OF CAMBIE

Solidarity Notes Labour Choir will be singing

Join Facebook event

SodaStream is an Israeli company whose main factory is situated in the West Bank near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, under conditions of military occupation, outside the internationally recognized borders of Israel. Israeli companies operating in the West Bank enjoy cheap land and water confiscated from the indigenous Palestinian owners; a captive Palestinian labour force under severe restrictions of movement and organization; vast tax incentives; and lax regulation of labour and environmental protection laws.

The International Court of Justice, the U.N. General Assembly, and the UN Security council all agree that Israel is occupying the West Bank in violation of international law that forbids the colonization of occupied land by citizens of the occupying power. Despite all the talk of peace negotiations, construction of new homes in these illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank jumped by 70% in the first half of 2013 over the same period in 2012. These homes are built for the exclusive use of Jews.

This demonstration is part of the Canada-wide SodaStream boycott campaign of the Canadian Boycott Coalition for Justice in Palestine and Israel. The primary strategy of the coalition is to support the member groups in their efforts to call for boycotts of goods produced in Israeli settlements (colonies) in the occupied West Bank. For more info, see: Canadian Boycott Coalition for Justice in Palestine/Israel. To join the coalition, contact Tyler@ijvcanada.org

The Vancouver event is endorsed by the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, the Canada Palestine Association, the Canada-Palestinian Support Network, Independent Jewish Voices (Vancouver), and the United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel.

Videos from previous picket in front of LONDON DRUGS Nov 3, 2013: Boycott SodaStream – Vancouver Protest Nov 3 and Solidarity Notes Serenade SodaStream Display – Boycott Now!

Interview with Tyler Levitan from the Canadian Boycott Coalition on the campaign against Sodastream.

The Bankruptcy of the US Empire…and the PA

The Bankruptcy of the US Empire Displayed in a Keynote Address by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Saban Forum

The Bankruptcy of the US Empire Displayed in a Keynote Address by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Saban Forum.
In the speech Dec. 7, 2013, Kerry described the US as “the honest broker”. However, in explaining his own record as just such an “honest broker”, he stated: “I have spent almost 30 years in the United States Senate, and I’m proud of my 100 percent voting record for Israel”.
He talked about Mandela’s legacy: “The world is mourning the loss of a great leader right now, Nelson Mandela. Mandela was a stranger to hate” but then went on to say that, “The only way to secure Israel’s long-term future and security will be achieved through direct negotiations that separate Palestinians and Israelis” (this is APARTHEID, Mr. Kerry). He also described Palestinian Israelis as a “demographic time bomb” and an “existential threat to Israel”.
And the Palestinian collaborators in Ramallah continue their futile journey to the abyss! In fact, their leader Mahmoud Abbas chose to declare in South Africa this week his opposition to the general boycott of Israel, even though it is similar to the boycott that brought down S. African Apartheid.
Hanna Kawas
Chair, Canada Palestine Association

We Remember Nelson Mandela

Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver and the Voice of Palestine, Canada received the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing with great sadness

December 7, 2013
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver and the Voice of Palestine, Canada received the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing with great sadness and extend our deepest condolences to his family, the South African people and all of humanity. We have lost a unique and selfless leader who never wavered from his principles and never bowed to expediency in the most critical moments of the anti-Apartheid and anti-Colonialist struggles.
The Palestinian people have lost a solid supporter and outspoken advocate for Palestinian human rights and self-determination. He once said “The temptation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine … yet we would be less than human if we did so.” And surely Madiba never spoke “in muffled tones” about human rights and freedom for oppressed peoples all over the world. We will be forever grateful for his solidarity and unequivocal stand in support of liberation movements all over the world.
Madiba lives forever!
Hanna Kawas, Chair, Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver
Cohost, Voice of Palestine

——————————————————————————
Some of Madiba’s words that you will not find quoted by international officials in their hypocritical rush to exploit his historic and profound legacy, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
1. “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” (Address by President Nelson Mandela at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, December 4, 1997, Pretoria)
2. At a news conference, Mandela said “We expect everybody who is exploring the possibility of lasting solutions to be able to face the truth squarely. I believe that there are many similarities between our struggle and that of the PLO. We live under a unique form of colonialism in South Africa, as well as in Israel, and a lot flows from that.” (From an article in JTA, March 2, 1990 South African and U.S. Leaders Dismayed over Mandela’s Remarks)
3. “We identify with the PLO because, just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self determination.”…”Arafat is a comrade in arms.” (Mandela answers criticism on ABC by Ted Koppel and American Zionists in attendance regarding his support for the Palestinian cause.)
4. “He told the Australian news media, ‘We agree with the United Nations that international disputes should be settled by peaceful means. The belligerent attitude which is adopted by the Israeli government is to us unacceptable’. Mandela said the ANC does not consider the PLO a terrorist group, adding: ‘If one has to refer to any of the parties as a terrorist state, one might refer to the Israeli government, because they are the people who are slaughtering defenseless and innocent Arabs in the occupied territories, and we don’t regard that as acceptable’.” (JTA article October 25, 1990 Mandela Angers Australian Jews with Fresh Anti-Israel Rhetoric)
5. And see also: 12 Mandela Quotes That Won’t Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries (December 6, 2013 by Common Dreams)

“Thomas Mulcair showed he gets it”!!!

The following email was sent on Dec.4, 2013 to NDP MPs and Party Officials:

Please stop pandering to the pro-Israel lobby, you will never win their vote. Instead, you are losing the progressive vote, your pride and your humanity.

Hanna Kawas

———————————-

Nov. 22, 2013
NDP solidly supports Israel
Editorial by: (“Jewish Independent”)
We call it the “kishkes” question. Any politician can mouth platitudes that sound good to Jewish voters. But most of us can differentiate between a politician who knows the right things to say versus one who truly understands the Jewish experience and why Israel is central to the Canadian Jewish identity. At a Montreal conference recently, New Democratic party leader Thomas Mulcair showed he gets it.
Canadian Jewish News reported on Mulcair’s comments at an event sponsored by the Montreal Friends of Peace Now and the Labor Zionist History Circle. Mulcair said he is “a friend of Israel under all circumstances,” and said that “singling out Israel as a pariah” is wrong. He said the movement to apply boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel is “exactly the wrong direction we should be going in” and said the accusation of apartheid against Israel “serves no purpose.”
Most significantly, Mulcair showed that he understands the bottom line when it comes to Israel’s survival. “Anyone who proposes a one-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians has been asleep for 60 years,” CJN reported Mulcair as saying. “It’s not a realistic solution, it’s not going to happen. It would mean invariably the death of the state of Israel…. It’s just another way of saying Israel does not have the right to exist.”
These comments are significant because they are unambiguous – and the NDP has equivocated in the past. The policy of the NDP and, before it, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, was strongly Zionist until 1967, when the party began to move to a position that took into consideration the Palestinian position as well. By the time of the Second Intifada, which coincided with a steep decline in the federal NDP’s success, the party was heavily influenced by anti-Israel activists, such as B.C. member of Parliament Svend Robinson. While the party may have had a balanced policy approach on the books, the loudest voices in the party were often stridently critical of Israel. The late former leader Jack Layton had to patch over a few such incidents, including forcing Vancouver MP Libby Davies to backtrack on a statement that effectively denied Israel’s right to exist.
In the race to succeed Layton, Mulcair was seen as the most pro-Israel candidate, but the issue hardly came up. Mulcair’s victory had to do with other things, mostly the potential he had to preserve the party’s historic inroads in Quebec. His recent comments are among the most extensive and clear Mulcair has yet made on the topic.
Of course, Mulcair has some strong words for the Conservative approach to the issue. The Stephen Harper government’s robust and vocal support for Israel, Mulcair suggested, has diminished Canada’s role on the international stage.
“Canada is absolutely nowhere, we are not players. Our voice could count for a lot,” he said, according to CJN. “Stephen Harper says he is a steadfast ally [of Israel], but what do allies do, if not take part in the process?… Working for peace means working with countries that don’t necessarily agree with us. That’s the essence of diplomacy. We [an NDP government] are going to be at the table … and not just harp on the sidelines.” He added: “You can’t get change if you criticize from the outside.”
This assertion has been made before by New Democrats, Liberals and others. At the risk of saying that Canada should not overestimate our self-importance, it is hard to discern Canada as having had a great impact on the last round of Mideast peace talks (or the one before that, or before that, back until maybe 1956), so we should not rend our garments over the loss of an influence we may never have had in the first place. There is something to be said for a lonely voice for Israel on the international stage adding a tiny bit of balance to a global dog-piling that even a UN interpreter dubbed over a hot mic “a bit much” recently.
We might also take mild exception to Mulcair’s well-intentioned statement that “[c]reating a homeland for the Jews is one of the noblest things the world community was able to accomplish since the war.” The UN may have voted for the Partition Plan, but when it came to the battle for survival in 1948-49, the Jews of the Yishuv were joined by very few but Diaspora Jews and a small number of idealistic non-Jewish volunteers. Israel is a noble accomplishment, we concur, but let’s not give credit where it is not due.
That aside, Mulcair’s position is laudable. He even went so far as to declare that “100 percent” of his caucus and “everyone in the NDP” supports a two-state solution arrived at through mutual negotiation and resulting in borders that allow each of the peoples to live in peace. According to CJN, Mulcair acknowledged that there have been “attempts within the party to chip away [at that position], but they have gotten nowhere.”
This assertion of unanimity is extraordinary. It is a sign of a leader almost daring dissidents to speak up, but also of a leader secure enough in his position to draw a line in the sand. A quick peruse of blogs, online comments and trade union convention resolutions suggests that not all of the people who might be expected to support the NDP are quite so enthusiastic about an Israel living in peace and security. But Mulcair is effectively telling them that they have no place in his party.
This is deeply significant. It affirms a Canadian consensus among all mainstream parties that Israel has a right to exist and suggests that anyone who disagrees is a fringe element. Let us give credit where it is due and acknowledge that Mulcair has staked out an honorable and fair-mind.