Jerusalem Post admits to printing false info about York University protest

Anatomy of a Zionist Smear Campaign

By Marion Kawas

On November 20, 2019, Israel advocacy club Herut Canada held a public meeting entitled “Reservists on Duty” at York University in Toronto. The meeting billed itself as a chance to hear from “real Israeli soldiers” about the “Arab-Israeli conflict, BDS and much more”.

Pro-Palestinian groups on campus and their supporters were concerned and outraged that the university administration was even allowing the meeting to go forward and called for a public rally to protest such an event. The Jewish Defense League JDL in Canada quickly announced that they would be on campus to “counter” the rally; despite an official warning from the university administration, the JDL were present, were provocative and violent, and sent one protestor to hospital.

The JDL head even posted a video of himself during their counter-demo saying “We’re getting the job done here at York University, the JDL is here in force, we’ll do what we have to do…”; screenshots of FB posts from JDL supporters or members bragged about how “one of my boys knocked one of their guys out”. Never Again Canada, a leading pro-Israel group, posted a video on their FB of this injured person with the Islamophobic intro: “Dirty screeching Islamist banseeshes unconscious on the floor…”

However, despite all of this open admission of violence and shocking racism, Canadian politicians including PM Justin Trudeau have leapt to the defense of the JDL provocateurs, not the students and their right to protest.

The Zionist lobby went into overdrive as soon as the event finished and tried to take hold of the narrative. The first reports tried to emphasize how “violent” the students and their supporters were (even though it was one of their numbers who suffered a concussion) and repeatedly misrepresented the chant of “Viva, viva, intifada”, claiming it was somehow a slogan calling for the destruction of Israel.

However, the campaign to rewrite what happened at York really took off after a Jerusalem Post story was posted on November 21, 2019 (then dated Nov. 23 and revised Nov. 26), that opened with the following in the original version:

“’Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens,’ 600 violent, pro-Palestinian protesters chanted at Jewish students on Wednesday during a pro-Israel event at York University.”

And note the parameters here: 600 violent protestors (a coordinated action by the whole rally) chanting at “Jewish students”.

Almost every story written by pro-Israel commentators after that referenced this Jerusalem Post report, flaunting it as evidence of the nasty type of “anti-Semitism” inherent in Palestinian events. And it is a serious and dangerous accusation, one that you would think would require fact-checking and proof before printing.

I double-checked with the Jerusalem Post regarding any verification for the claim in their story. The author of the article replied in an email: “One of the speakers who was there – Shar Leyb – told me that this was chanted by the group while they were setting up for their event. I have a recording of him telling me this from when we spoke on Thursday afternoon.”

So there you have it. No hard proof, nothing but anecdotal and second-hand evidence from one extremely biased source with a very specific agenda.

And then, mysteriously, a few hours after my first email to Jerusalem Post, there appeared an updated version of the article with an editors note at the bottom saying: “A mistake in editing accidentally attributed the chant “Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens” to all of the protestors at the event. This was not the case. The comment was made by a handful of protestors to some of the organizers.”

A mistake in editing!! So clearly the first claim was bogus, false and could not be verified. Are we to believe the new version, which again will be solely based on the word of the same speaker from the event? The damage has been done, the smear was repeated and repeated, and a half-hearted revision five days after the first story will not undue the harm that has been caused. This is journalism at its worst; it is dangerous and shows no regard for the consequences of such a smear campaign. It also cheapens and distracts from the real acts of anti-Semitism.

It is incumbent on the Jerusalem Post to release this audio recording they claim to have, because we need to clarify how this dangerous fabrication came about. Was it from the speaker, Shar Leyb, or was it from the newspaper staff itself?

Multiple groups and individuals from diverse backgrounds who were at the event, including the Palestinian students, a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, folks from Christian Peacemakers Team and CUPE 3903 to mention just a few, had already strongly disagreed with these reports of what took place. Furthermore no video evidence had been produced to back up the claim; lawyer Dimitri Lascaris wrote a comprehensive blog piece that carefully documented and refuted the accusations of the Israel lobby.

He said in a follow up email: “I was not there but I have spoken to numerous participants and have viewed over 50 distinct video clips of the event, including videos posted on Never Again Canada and by other promoters of Israel. I heard no such language in any of the videos. Moreover, if in fact the group chanted this and a pro-Israel person in the crowd heard it, it is inconceivable that there would not be a recording of it. Surely someone would have shot a video of this and shared it widely on social media and with the Jerusalem Post.”

The events at York University have already taken on an international dimension with coverage from media in Lebanon; there was also a joint statement of support issued by the South African Union of Students and BDS South Africa in which they condemned “the recent violence against human rights defenders at York University in Canada.”

Many activist and community groups in Canada are calling for PM Justin Trudeau to stop slandering the student protest as “anti-Semitic” and “violent”, and are also calling on the York university administration to better protect students. This behaviour from politicians and officials is dangerous and inflammatory; it can and most likely will lead to further anti-Palestinian racism and targeting of student activists. How sad that once again, as in Gaza, the Israel lobby succeeds in convincing others to blame the victim for the violence inflicted on them.

As noted by Canada Palestine Association in their statement to the Canadian PM:

“It is not racist to protest against the occupation army that daily humiliates and subjugates our people. It is not racist to protest against the Israeli military that earlier this month murdered 9 members of the same family in Gaza, and then claimed it was a “mistake”.

It is legitimate for Palestinians and their supporters to ask the Israeli military, press, and government: how many mistakes will Palestinians be forced to endure, how many mistakes will be allowed for the pro-Israel hasbara?

What happened at York University, both during and after the Nov. 20 meeting, is a microcosm of developments in the Palestinian solidarity movement: support is building, people are pushing back and challenging the Zionist lobby narrative, and pro-Israel groups and the Israeli government themselves are becoming increasingly desperate in their efforts to stop the cracks in their crumbling hegemony over public opinion.

Tell PM Justin Trudeau: Stop slandering Palestinian students!

Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver is outraged at the dangerous accusations that are being circulated after the events on November 20, 2019 at York University.

In the evening of November 20th, an Israel advocacy club at York University hosted an event featuring former IDF soldiers. The meeting billed itself as a chance to hear from “real Israeli soldiers” about the “Arab-Israeli conflict, BDS and much more”.

Pro-Palestinian groups on campus and their supporters were, not surprisingly, outraged and called for a rally to protest such an event. The Canadian Jewish Defense League JDL then publicly announced it was planning to be at the York campus to “counter” the planned protest. Even the university administration felt compelled to warn the JDL in an official letter “to not engage in inappropriate behaviour”. 

What transpired that night is already known – the protest went ahead, the JDL was on campus and insisted on being violent and disruptive, and one pro-Palestinian supporter was sent to hospital. However, the response after has been more shameful than what actually took place.

The Zionist lobby rushed to focus in on allegations that it was the pro-Palestinian protesters that were violent and “anti-Semitic”, and even claimed that the chant of “Intifada, intifada, go back to the ovens” was part of the protest (but offered no proof). Multiple witnesses at the scene have stated they observed no such behaviour and others who have viewed most of the videos that have been posted from the evening (and there are many) made the same observation. They also point out that if any evidence existed, it would surely have been made public by now.

And CUPE 3903 from York, whose member was the one sent to hospital, also issued an official and strongly-worded statement slamming the university administration for its failure to protect its students and employees.

But none of this seems to have stemmed the tide of once more blaming the victim for what befalls them. As in Gaza, where Palestinians are routinely blamed for “bringing Israeli violence on themselves”, so goes the narrative at York University. Never mind that the JDL head posted a video of himself during their counter-demo saying “We’re getting the job done here at York University, the JDL is here in force, we’ll do what we have to do…” or that screenshots of FB posts from JDL supporters or members bragged about how “one of my boys knocked one of their guys out”.

First the university administration took a one-sided position, right wing politicians like Ontario premier Doug Ford got in on the act, and finally PM Justin Trudeau joined in on November 22 tweeting his condemnation of the students.

We call on all Palestinian community and solidarity organizations to speak out about this threat to our right to protest, our right to our lived narrative and our right to bring the Palestinian story forward. We also call for an apology from PM Trudeau. It is not racist to protest against the occupation army that daily humiliates and subjugates our people. It is not racist to protest against the Israeli military that earlier this month murdered 9 members of the same family in Gaza, and then claimed it was a “mistake”.

What is RACIST is to side with Israeli war crimes, ethnic cleansing and terrorism. What is RACIST is to blame the Palestinians, the victims, and then tell them they have no right to raise their voices against their oppression.

Boycott HP, Mark Int’l Day of Solidarity with Palestinians

Boycott HP, Mark International Day of Solidarity
Saturday, December 7, 2 pm
Best Buy, 798 Granville (at Robson), Vancouver
Join the FB event

Nov. 29 marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This year, join with us and show our solidarity with the Palestinians to say #BoycottHP, Technology of Israeli Apartheid!

Hewlett Packard branded companies play a key role in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. They provide equipment and services to the Israeli military, prison system and government, including the ID card system that underpin Israel’s apartheid policies and its movement restrictions for Palestinians.
Along with providing technology to the Israeli military that maintains Israel’s illegal occupation and the aggression and siege on Gaza, HP provides Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority with the exclusive Itanium servers for its Aviv System. This system enables the government to control and enforce its system of racial segregation and apartheid against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and is directly involved in Israel’s settler colonialism through its “Yesha database”, which compiles information on Israeli citizens in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

There are over 5000 Palestinian political prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails, 460 of them held under administrative detention without charge or trial. Hewlett Packard Enterprise holds the current contract for maintenance of the Israel Prison Services data systems.
Boycott HP!
End the Siege on Gaza!
Free All Palestinian Political Prisoners!

Organized by Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver and BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish Territories

#RaptorsDontGo Campaign Declares Victory

Update from Canadian BDS Coalition

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Statement of Canadian BDS Coalition
October 22, 2019

The Canadian BDS Coalition is pleased to announce that the #RaptorsDontGo campaign has been successful. Our campaign was launched in June 2019, immediately following the Raptors victory in the NBA championship; and after team co-owner Larry Tanenbaum received extensive coverage in the Israeli media stating he would bring the team to visit Israel if they won the championship. The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa highlighted the issue, and tweeted the Raptors promising “we’ll call you…to help with the arrangements”.
However, the 2019-20 NBA new season has now begun and there has been no reported public team visit; and continued silence from all of the team owners on this issue.
The campaign from the onset seemed to strike a chord with many people, both in Canada and globally. Although the Israeli lobby has engaged in other sportswashing events, this particular attempt struck many as an incredibly blatant and crude exploitation of a popular victory for an overt political agenda.

#RaptorsDontGo took off on social media and the Coalition would like to thank all of the individuals and groups who helped the campaign become so popular so quickly. Our petition gathered over 6500 signatures, a parallel petition in the U.S., started by CodePink, had over 2700 people sign on, and Jewish Voice for Peace also picked up the campaign on social media.
The Chair of BDS Vancouver, Aiyanas Ormond, stated in an open letter: “Around the world poor and oppressed people have embraced basketball as a sport of the people, and basketball players, many of whom come from poor and struggling backgrounds, have an important history of taking progressive positions and giving back to their communities. From Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russel’s stand with Mohammed Ali against the draft and the Vietnam War to public and collective statements against police brutality against Black people in America, NBA players have stood on the side of social and racial justice.”
Why exactly the Raptors team never went on the “promised trip” may have been the result of several factors, not the least of which was the quick and overwhelmingly negative response by so many basketball fans. This must surely have been noticed by the team’s owners – Bell 37.5%, Rogers 37.5% and Tanenbaum’s company Kilmer Sports 25%. Although Tanenbaum’s entity may not be impacted by public opinion on this issue, Bell and Rogers certainly are and have their broader business agenda to consider. Also, the protests that happened in Israel after the police shooting of an Ethiopian teenager on June 30, 2019, some referencing slogans of the Black Lives Matter movement, would have been a politically damaging backdrop for such a team visit.

The Canadian BDS Coalition is grateful that this visit did not materialize, as it would have given legitimacy to Israel’s war crimes. We feel the #RaptorsDontGo campaign also demonstrated the strength of popular grassroots campaigns that can mobilize to achieve justice for Palestinians. As with the Boycott Puma campaign, that calls out that company’s sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association which includes teams from the illegal settlements, the push-back on sportswashing of Israel’s dispossession of a whole nation and people is a critical part of the struggle for Palestinian rights.

Check out the new articles in Mondoweiss and Palestine Chronicle

Canada’s Anti-Palestinian Racism Evident at the UN

The Trudeau and Harper governments have not missed a chance to further marginalize and demonize the Palestinian people

Canada Palestine Association has compiled a comprehensive look at the U.N. voting pattern of Canada from 2013-2018. This pattern, which was identical under both the Harper and Trudeau governments, highlights the anti-Palestinian racism in Canadian foreign policy. The new analysis details 16 U.N. resolutions on Palestine and the Arab world, and the respective votes from Canada that are overwhelmingly against with a few abstentions. This complements our earlier study of Canada’s voting on 4 other resolutions regarding Palestinian refugees, which showed the same pattern of hypocrisy and disrespect, and also augments a previous 2014 review.
One of the resolutions in our new study that we would like to highlight is: “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories”. Official Canadian policy states: “Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories.” Despite this seemingly clear statement, which should be easy enough to interpret, every Canadian government in the study period voted against the resolution affirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention.
Additionally, Canada states it “recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination”. Again, with the resolution relevant to this issue, Canada for the last 6 years has joined with a small number of countries and voted against.
This disconnect between what is said by the Canadian government and what they do is so obvious and jarring that they have even been obliged to add a new section to their policy statement explaining their votes at the U.N. Not surprisingly, they justify their actions by claiming that support for Palestinian rights is “one-sided”. They state that, “Canada advocates a fair-minded approach and rejects one-sided resolutions and any politicization of the issues”.
And its not as if their votes at the U.N. don’t reflect the actual policies that are being implemented on the ground. They do. And they are profoundly anti-Palestinian. Be it institutional support for products from illegal Israeli settlements, be it expanding and entrenching the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, be it denouncing BDS at every turn, be it cementing Canada’s military ties with Israel – both the Trudeau and Harper governments have not missed a chance to further marginalize and demonize the Palestinian people and their narrative.
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1. Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/81 (2013) 169 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/69/91 (2014) 163 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/88 (2015) 163 votes in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/71/96 (2016) 168 votes in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions.
A/RES/72/85 (2017) 157 votes in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 10 abstentions.
A/RES/73/97 (2018) 158 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 14 abstentions.

2. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/154 (2013) 178 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions.
A/RES/69/165 (2014) 180 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/141 (2015) 177 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions.
A/RES/71/184 (2016) 177 in favour, to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions.
A/RES/72/160 (2017) 176 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions.
A/RES/73/158 (2018) 172 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 11 abstentions.

3. Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)

A/RES/68/80 (2013) 95 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, Panama, United States), with 75 abstentions.
A/RES/69/90 (2014) 88 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States), with 79 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)

A/RES/70/87 (2015) 92 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States), with 75 abstentions
A/RES/71/95 (2016) 91 in favour to 11 against including Canada, with 73 abstentions
A/RES/72/84 (2017) 83 in favour to 10 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 77 abstentions.
A/RES/73/96 (2018) 78 in favour to 10 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, United States), with 84 abstentions.

4. Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/235 (2013) 168 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions.
A/RES/69/241(2014) 165 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States) with 9 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/225 (2015) 164 in favour to 5 against, (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 10 abstentions.
A/RES/71/247 (2016) 168 in favour and 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 11 abstentions.
A/RES/72/240 (2017) 163 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 11 abstentions
A/RES/73/255 (2018) 159 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 13 abstentions

5. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/82 (2013) 167 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions.
A/RES/69/92 (2014) 159 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 12 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)

A/RES/70/89 (2015) 161 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/71/97 (2016) 165 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/72/86 (2017) 155 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 12 abstentions.
A/RES/73/98 (2018) 154 votes in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 15 abstentions.

6. Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/83 (2013) 165 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, Panama, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/69/93 (2014) 158 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 11 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/90 (2015) 158 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 10 abstentions.
A/RES/71/98 (2016) 162 votes in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/72/87 (2017) 153 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 10 abstentions.
A/RES/73/99 (2018) adopted it by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, United States), with 13 abstentions.

7. Jerusalem

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/16 (2013) 162 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/69/24 (2014) 144 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau and the United States), with 10 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/16 (2015) 153 votes in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/71/25 (2016) 149 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/72/15 (2017) 151 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 9 abstentions.
A/RES/73/22 (2018) 148 in favour to 11 against including Canada with 14 abstentions.

8. Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine


Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)

A/RES/68/15 (2013) 165 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions.
A/RES/69/23 (2014) 148 delegates in favour, 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau and United States) and 8 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)

A/RES/70/15 (2015) 155 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/71/23 (2016) 153 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/72/14 (2017) 157 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, United States) with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/73/19 (2018) 156 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States) with 12 abstentions.

9. Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/14 (2013) 163 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/69/22 (2014) 147 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 9 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/14 (2015) 155 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/71/22 (2016) 153 votes in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/72/12 (2017) 155 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, United States), with 8 abstentions.
A/RES/73/20 (2018) 152 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States) with 14 abstentions

10. Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/13 (2013) 108 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 59 abstentions
A/RES/69/21 (2014) 91 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 59 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)

A/RES/70/13 (2015) 99 votes in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 59 abstentions.
A/RES/71/21 (2016) 98 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Guatemala, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 57 abstentions.
A/RES/72/11 (2017) 100 in favour to 10 against including Canada, with 59 abstentions
A/RES/73/21 (2018) 96 in favour to 13 against including Canada with 64 abstentions

11. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/12 (2013) 110 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions
A/RES/69/20 (2014) 94 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)

A/RES/70/12 (2015) 102 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 57 abstentions
A/RES/71/20 (2016) 100 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Guatemala, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 55 abstentions
A/RES/72/13 (2017) 103 in favour to 10 against including Canada, with 57 abstentions.
A/RES/73/18 (2018) 100 in favour to 12 against including Canada with 62 abstentions.

12. The Syrian Golan

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/17 (2013) 112 in favour to 6 against ( Canada, Israel, Marshall Island, Palau, United States) with 58 abstentions.
A/RES/69/25 (2014) 99 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and the United States), with 57 abstaining.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/17 (2015) 105 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.
A/RES/71/24 (2016) 103 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions
A/RES/72/16 (2017) 105 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United Kingdom, United States) with 58 abstentions
A/RES/73/23 (2018) 99 in favour to 10 against including Canada with 66 abstentions.

13. Oil slick on Lebanese shores


Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)

A/RES/68/206 (2013) 169 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions.
A/RES/69/212 (2014) 170 in favour and 6 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), United States), and 3 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/194 (2015) 171 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 3 abstentions.
A/RES/71/218 (2016) 166 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 7 abstentions.
A/RES/72/209 (2017) 163 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 9 abstentions.
A/RES/73/224 (2018) 166 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 7 abstentions.

14. The occupied Syrian Golan

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)

A/RES/68/84 (2013) 169 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 12 abstentions including Canada.
A/RES/69/94 (2014) 162 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 15 abstentions including Canada.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)

A/RES/70/91 (2015) 160 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 16 abstentions including Canada.
A/RES/71/99 (2016) 163 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 15 abstentions including Canada.
A/RES/72/88 (2017) 151 in favour to 2 against, with 20 abstentions including Canada.
A/RES/73/100 (2018) 149 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 22 abstention including Canada.

15. The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)

A/RES/68/65 (2013) 169 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, Panama).
A/RES/69/78 (2014) 161 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 18 abstentions.

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/70 (2015) 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Panama, United States), with 20 abstentions.
A/RES/71/83 (2016) 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 22 abstentions
A/RES/72/67 (2017) 157 in favour to 5 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States), with 20 abstentions
A/RES/73/83 (2018) By a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 21 abstentions.

16. Comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East (new resolution introduced in 2018)

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/73/89 (2018) 156 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United States), with 12 abstentions including Canada

Canada’s Betrayal of the Palestinian Refugees

The Palestinian Right of Return is not for sale the same way Palestine is not for sale!

We will Regain our Rights
“We Will Regain Our Rights”

By: Hanna Kawas

Zionism is a settler colonialist movement that not only committed genocide against the indigenous people of Palestine, it also uprooted them from their homeland.

My experience as a Palestinian refugee started when I was in my mother’s womb, as Zionist terrorist groups chased my parents out of Yafa (Jaffa) in 1948 where my father was working and my mom was about to deliver their first child. They fled to go live in our hometown of Bethlehem. We were displaced again, a second time, after the Israeli aggression of June 5, 1967. Those pictures of young and old going across what was then called the “Allenby Bridge” was my lived experience.

Since I was a young man, I always dreamed and hoped that I will return to live in my hometown where I was born and raised. In diaspora I still hold on to the deed to our family property in Bethlehem, passed down to me from my grandfather Elias. The simple reason I am not there is that Israel refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral land and properties, in violation of UN resolution 194. Further relating to my situation, Israel also refuses to allow “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities” to return, again according to a UN resolution that is passed annually with a large majority. Canada has also consistently voted against this specific resolution, even though Canada’s stated foreign policy hypocritically claims that “Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 … The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel’s obligations as an occupying power…”

Israel not only blocks Palestinian refugees from returning, but according to a recent report, studied how to push them out in the first place (otherwise known as planned ethnic cleansing):
“Newly-uncovered documents reveal how Israel established the ‘Professors Committee’ in the days following the occupation to devise policies to pacify the Palestinians and make them leave the West Bank and Gaza permanently.”

I expect such arrogant flaunting of UN resolutions from the supremacist regime Israel that uprooted my people and committed genocide against my nation. But far more upsetting and dehumanizing are the positions of Canada, that played and continues to play a pivotal role in Palestinian dispossession.

The Balfour declaration gave initial British support and the green light for Zionist colonization. Following are just two examples of Canada’s early support to this movement; accordingly, Canada carries direct and moral responsibly for the Palestinian refugee tragedy.

• The late Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King who “was effusive with praise for Zionism when he addressed the Ottawa convention of the Zionist Federation of Canada on 4 July 1922…he applauded Britain efforts (Balfour Declaration) in aid of the Zionist cause.” (Canada and the birth of Israel, David J. Bercuson, page13.

• Lester B. Pearson, Canada’s under secretary of state, was instrumental in ensuring the passage of the U.N. Partition Resolution in 1947 and Supreme Court of Canada Justice, Ivan C. Rand, was a central figure in drafting it… “The Zionists were so grateful to Canada and to Mr. Pearson for the part he played in the whole process that they called him ‘the Balfour of Canada’.” Report of the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs published June 1985, page 49.

On May 11/1949, Canada co-sponsored the U.N. General Assembly resolution 273(111) to admit Israel as a state to the U.N. That resolution stated: ” Recalling its resolution of 29 November 1947 (the Partition Plan) and 11 December 1948 (the Right of Return), and taking note of the declaration and explanation made by the representative of the government of Israel before the ad hoc Political committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions (my emphasis), the General Assembly … decides to admit Israel into the membership of the United Nations.”

Israel never implemented the Partition Plan nor the Right of Return. Clearly seventy years later, Canada never cared about the implementation of these resolutions, it only cared about admitting Israel to the UN and implementation of the Zionist agenda.

Since the Nakba of 1947/1948, Canada has not missed an opportunity to liquidate the Palestinian Right of Return. Its main objective has always been to “resettle” Palestinian refugees; its contributions to the UNRWA were and are politically motivated, and have always been in the service of western imperial designs. As early as March 25, 1955, before the House of Commons, Leader of the Conservative Opposition John Diefenbaker clearly stated:
“… certainly there is no sorer spot than these camps which, as one visits them and leaves them, cannot help but impress one with the awfulness of the situation in which these people find themselves. The minister mentioned Canada’s contribution, and I think that is one contribution that does leave an impression upon the people who receive it. In addition, it is building a bulwark against the spread of communism in these areas

Eventually realizing that Canada should “cover its tracks” on its policy of resettling Palestinian refugees, the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs’ “Report on Canada’s Relations with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa” (June 1985, under the heading “Refugees”, page 115) stated: “The committee would not like to see Canada introduce a ‘designated class’ program for Palestinians as this would be perceived as a political gesture, and Canada’s intentions might be misunderstood in that politically sensitive part of the world.”

This duplicitous policy has continued in the intervening years; here are two examples of the recurring theme of “resettling” Palestinians with a Canadian connection:

• On Jan. 18/ 2001, Agence France Presse(AFP) reported that Palestinian demonstrators in Balata refugee camp near Nablus denounced Canada and Australia for their offer to RESETTLE the Palestinian refugees, and that they burned an effigy of then Foreign Minister John Manley during this protest.

• And most recently, on Sep.4, 2019 the Lebanese paper Al Akbar reported that Canada “has reached an understanding with the United States that it will receive 100,000 Palestinians: 40,000 from Lebanon and another 60,000 from Syria.” Sources in Lebanon were quoted as saying that part of the Trump administration’s ‘Deal of the Century’ aims “to resettle between 75,000 and 100,000 Palestinians in Lebanon and displace the rest to more than one country.” Understandably, the Liberal Canadian government denied it.

Some voices in the Palestinian and Arab community are trying to white-wash the record of the governing Liberal party on Palestinian refugees by highlighting the example of their continued financial support to UNRWA.

This position was also advanced by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) when they issued a “2019 Elections Guide” which includes their evalution of major Canadian parties on 13 subjects including “Support for Palestinian Refugees”. They gave the Liberal party a “B+” on this subject, with this explanation:
“Harper had also cancelled its funding to UNRWA. Under the Trudeau government, however, this funding has been reinstated. While the Liberals have so far maintained their funding commitments to UNRWA, they have done little to work toward a permanent solution for Palestinian refugees. It is for this reason that the Liberals received a B+.”

Such a position woefully minimizes the dangers of the voting pattern of the Canadian government under the Liberal Party at the UN General Assembly, votes that accurately demonstrate their true position on Palestine. In fact, for the last four years, that pattern was remarkably similar to the Conservative Party “Shameful Record on Palestine”.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather even bragged about the Liberal record saying: “We have voted against 87% of the resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation at the General Assembly versus 61% for the Harper government…” (Details on the voting records of Harper and Trudeau governments here.)

It is wrong to ignore the Canadian government’s political betrayal of Palestinian refugees as if our cause is simply a charity one. The Palestinian people rejected the Trump’s administration’s $50 billion because it was meant to liquidate national rights. Financial aid to Palestinians is a positive thing only when it is does not accompany the sabotage of their inalienable rights.

The Liberal government’s commitment of $110 million to the UNRWA over four years should not be allowed to buy loyalty to a government that does not miss an opportunity to support Israel and works at every turn to liquidate our legitimate rights and struggles. The Palestinian Right of Return is not for sale the same way Palestine is not for sale!

Finally, as the immortal Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish concluded in his masterpiece “Identity Card”: “Beware, beware of my hunger and anger”.

Published in Palestine Chronicle

Canada’s Shameful Record on Palestinian Refugees

Comparison of Voting Pattern on Palestinian Refugees by the Harper and Trudeau Governments at the UN 2013-2018

Canadian Voting Pattern on Palestinian Refugees by the Harper and Trudeau Governments at the UN 2013-2018
Organized by subject heading

Assistance to Palestine refugees

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/76 (2013), 173 in favour to 1 against ( Israel) with 8 abstentions including Canada
A/RES/69/86 (2014), 163 in favour to 1 against (Israel) with 10 abstentions including Canada

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/83 (2015), 167 in favour to 1 against (Israel) with 11 abstentions including Canada
A/RES/71/91 (2016), 167 in favour to 1 against (Israel) with 9 abstentions including Canada
A/RES/72/80 (2017), 162 in favour to 1 against (Israel) with 12 abstentions including Canada
A/RES/73/92 (2018), 163 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 13 abstentions including Canada

Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/77 (2013), 170 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 6 abstentions
A/RES/69/87 (2014), 165 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 6 abstention

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/84 (2015), 164 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 7 abstentions
A/RES/71/92 (2016), 166 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 6 abstentions
A/RES/72/81 (2017), 158 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 10 abstentions
A/RES/73/93 (2018), 155 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 13 abstentions

Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/78 (2013), 170 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 6 abstentions
A/RES/69/88 (2014), 166 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 6 abstentions

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/85 (2015), 169 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 5 abstentions
A/RES/71/93 (2016), 167 votes in favour to 6 against including Canada with 5 abstentions
A/RES/72/82 (2017), 162 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 7 abstentions
A/RES/73/94 (2018), 159 in favour to 5 against including Canada with 12 abstentions

Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues

Canadian vote at the UN (under Harper)
A/RES/68/79 (2013), 172 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 5 abstentions
A/RES/69/89 (2014), 165 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 6 abstentions

Canadian vote at the UN (under Trudeau)
A/RES/70/86 (2015), 167 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 4 abstentions
A/RES/71/94 (2016), 165 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 5 abstentions
A/RES/72/83 (2017), 159 in favour to 7 against including Canada with 9 abstentions
A/RES/73/95 (2018), 156 in favour to 6 against including Canada with 14 abstentions

I Vote Palestine #IVotePalestine

PLEDGE TO VOTE FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY #IVotePalestine
Facebook Event


PLEDGE TO VOTE FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY #IVotePalestine
Facebook Event

Original Statement
Canada Palestine Association encourages all parties, unions, churches and organizations that support the nine basic demands in our campaign to add your names as official endorsers.

If you are a Canadian voter and agree with the event objectives, please mark yourself on the Facebook event as “Going”. Other supporters please mark yourselves as “Interested”.

In the upcoming Canadian general election scheduled for October 21, 2019, we commit to vote for candidates and parties that:
• Support Palestinian human and national rights including the inalienable right to self-determination.
• Oppose Israeli ethnic cleansing, war crimes and apartheid.
• Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
• Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
• Support ending Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
• Oppose Canadian tax-deductible status for the Jewish National Fund JNF, HESEG Foundation and all Zionist organizations that are disguised as charities while supporting the Israeli military and settlements.
• Recognize the rights of Canadians to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions BDS movement as a non-violent strategy to force Israel to abide by UN resolutions and all international humanitarian laws.
• Oppose condemning or criminalizing people or organizations who support the BDS Movement, and
• Oppose the anti-Palestinian, anti-democratic and politically charged IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

A sample letter people can send to all candidates in their riding. Please keep us informed if you get any response and we will post it on the campaign’s Facebook event.

This event page will update voters on the positions of individual candidates and parties regarding these issues.
—————————————————————————–
Si vous êtes un électeur canadien et que vous êtes d’accord avec les objectifs de l’événement, veuillez indiquer «Aller/(Going)». Les autres supporteurs, veuillez vous identifier comme «intéressés».

JE VOTE POUR LA LIBERTÉ, LA JUSTICE ET L’ÉGALITÉ
REJOIGNEZ CETTE PAGE D’ÉVÉNEMENT FB ET PRENEZ UN ENGAGEMENT #IVotePalestine
Lors des prochaines élections générales au Canada, prévues pour le 21 octobre 2019, nous nous engageons à voter pour les candidats et les partis qui:
• Soutiennent les droits de l’homme et les droits nationaux des Palestiniens, y compris le droit inaliénable à l’autodétermination.
• S’opposent au nettoyage ethnique israélien, aux crimes de guerre et à l’apartheid.
• Reconnaissent les droits fondamentaux des citoyens et citoyennes arabo-palestiniens d’Israël à la pleine égalité.
• Respectent, protègent et promeuvent le droit de retour des réfugiés palestiniens et la repossession de leurs propriétés, conformément à la résolution 194 des Nations Unies.
• Supportent la fin de l’occupation israélienne et de la colonisation de toutes les terres arabes ainsi que le démantèlement du mur.
• S’opposent au statut d’organisme de bienfaisance, déductible d’ impôts au Canada, pour le Fonds national juif ( FNJ), la Fondation HESEG, et toutes les organisations sionistes déguisées en œuvres de charité qui soutiennent l’armée israélienne et les colonies de peuplement.
• Reconnaissent le droit des Canadiens d’appuyer le mouvement BDS (Boycott Désinvestissement et Sanctions) en tant que stratégie non violente pour forcer Israël à se conformer aux résolutions de l’ONU et à l’ensemble du droit international humanitaire, et
• S’opposent à la condamnation ou à la criminalisation des personnes ou des organisations qui soutiennent le mouvement BDS.
• Opposez-vous à la définition de l’antisémitisme anti-palestinienne, anti-démocratique et politiquement chargée par l’IHRA

Cette page de l’événement informera les électeurs des positions des candidates et candidats, et des partis sur ces questions.

List of hosts and more endorsers of the event and the campaign (Plus de supporteurs de l’événement et de la campagne):

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Canada Palestine Association
Canadian BDS Coalition
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Coalition against Israeli Apartheid, Victoria
Independent Jewish Voices
Independent Jewish Voices – Winnipeg
Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
Justice for Palestinians, Calgary
Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Oakville Palestinian Rights Association OPRA
OPIRG Guelph
Palestine Just Trade
Palestine Solidarity Working Group (Sudbury)
Palestinian and Jewish Unity (Montreal)
Palestinian Canadian Congress
Peace Alliance Winnipeg
Regina Peace Council
Socialist Action
St. John’s Solidarity with Palestine
United for Palestine – Toronto/GTA

Update #1
The NDP responds to I Vote Palestine questions.

Update #2
Liberal Party Position on Palestine

IHRA Definition is an Assault on the Palestinian Community

Tell City Council to oppose the motion, ‘Combatting Antisemitism in Vancouver’.
Update: the Council did not adopt the motion

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Update:
In a vote of 6-5 (the dissenting 5 were all NPA councillors), the Vancouver City Council did not adopt the motion and referred it to committee for recommendations on how to combat all forms of racism. Councillor Michael Wiebe was quoted as saying that “we need a policy that tackles all forms of racism, including white supremacy. It’s too important to get this wrong.”
For detailed background on the campaign and the vote, check the Mondoweiss article:
In victory for activists, Vancouver city council votes against adopting IHRA antisemitism definition
By Marion Kawas.
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The following letter was sent today to Vancouver City Councillors and Mayor, regarding an upcoming and dangerous motion to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. We have been moved and encouraged by the grassroots opposition to this motion from a broad cross-section of people in Vancouver, and encourage everyone to send an email to Council or sign up to be a speaker (instructions here). A special thanks to COPE, who have endorsed the campaign against the motion and asked everyone to help in defeating it. Join us to tell Vancouver City Council to not set “…a precedent as being the first municipal council in Canada to be openly complicit in chilling free speech, eviscerating the Palestinian people’s narrative and promoting anti-Palestinian racism.”

Dear Councillor:

I am writing to you as a Canadian Palestinian and the chairperson of Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver. I have lived much of my adult life in Greater Vancouver after first immigrating here in 1974, and like the rest of my community, have struggled to live in dignity while navigating and going beyond the difficulties of immigrant life. My daughter and granddaughter were both raised here, and currently reside in East Vancouver.
I’m asking you to oppose the motion, ‘Combatting Antisemitism in Vancouver’, by councillor Kirby-Yung, coming before council on July 23. This motion if passed will make us feel unwelcome in this city and tell us our voices are not valued.
As Palestinians, most of us are not here by choice; we have been dispossessed from our ancestral homeland and forced to find refuge wherever we could. We have been cast to the four corners of the world; my own extended family has members in multiple countries. I hold the deed to our family’s property in Bethlehem, my birthplace; but due to Israeli policies that are supported by Canada, in flagrant violation of the UN resolution reaffirmed annually, I am not allowed to live there. Why? Because I am a Palestinian Christian and a 1967 war refugee. This motion if passed will tell me that I am not allowed to criticize the very ideology, Zionism, that resulted in the dispossession of my family and my nation; that is both unfair and equally racist in itself.
You may have been led to believe that this motion will aid in the struggle against anti-Semitism. What you may not have heard is that this motion will also end up contributing to another form of racism, anti-Palestinian racism. It is flawed to claim that you are fighting against one form of racism by reinforcing another one; we must unite to fight against all forms of racism.
You may have also been told that this is just a “non-legally” binding motion but it has been made clear that passing this motion is just the beginning of a process. Bnai Brith has already put on record that the Canadian government’s initial adoption was a good first step, but must be followed by enforcement protocols. “We will be looking for concrete actions, however, to give its implementation substance and meaning. B’nai Brith will be writing to (Pablo) Rodriguez and his colleagues to reiterate our specific ideas on how that can be done.”
This is the same B’nai Brith that slandered me, along with my Jewish friend Sid Shniad, in its 2016 yearly report on Antisemitic Incidents (Academic Antisemitism section), and completely misrepresented what was said at a joint workshop we presented in October 2016. The workshop was part of a broader Genocide Conference at SFU Vancouver Campus and was delivered to a full house, despite pressure to have it cancelled. This is just one local example of erroneous judgement on what constitutes anti-Semitism and demonstrates how legitimate political discourse about Israel is targeted.
As the BC Civil Liberties Association noted in their opposition to the IHRA definition: “We fear that if adopted, the IHRA definition will serve to severely chill political expressions of criticism of Israel as well as support for Palestinian rights.”
Most of our community is already terrorized by anti-immigrant, anti-Palestinian or anti-Muslim rhetoric. Some are even hesitant to admit their heritage to others, afraid that it may hinder their job prospects or relationships. Passing this dangerous and unnecessary motion will only further that alienation; what a crime that a child has to see their parent hide from the world who they are and where they came from. Not from shame, but from fear.
If this IHRA definition is passed by Council, and Palestinians in the future are told to limit or dismiss their lived history, then our worst fears have been realized. Vancouver City Council will then go down in history as setting a precedent as being the first municipal council in Canada to be openly complicit in chilling free speech, eviscerating the Palestinian people’s narrative and promoting anti-Palestinian racism.

Hanna Kawas
Chair, Canada Palestine Association

Is Cuba normalizing settler colonialism in Palestine?

CPA letter sent to Cuban officials on January 31, 2018 under the title “Expanding Cuba-Israel Relations”.

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New articles in Mondoweiss and Palestine Chronicle
“Cuba Should Not Normalize with Israeli Settler Colonialism”
By Hanna Kawas & Marion Kawas

With sadness and outrage, we recently learnt from the Israeli press about the visit of the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) delegation to Cuba.
At the beginning of 2018, we became aware of some incidents indicating that Cuba might be on the road of normalizing relations with Israeli apartheid. Out of respect for Cuba’s image, and the rift this might cause with the progressive Palestinian struggle for liberation and its supporters, we pursued our concerns privately with a letter addressed to Cuban officials. Although we did not receive even an acknowledgment of our letter, we were not aware of any further normalization actions since that time. Until now.
With this latest news about Cuba normalizing with the most racist Zionist institution, the JNF, that was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, the theft of their land and destruction of their habitat and environment, we feel compelled to release the letter we sent on January 31, 2018 under the title “Expanding Cuba-Israel Relations”.

——————————-
Dear Friends:

As long-time supporters of Cuban-Palestinian relations and admirers of the example and spirit of the Cuban people and their revolution, it is with a heavy heart that we are forced to write this letter. We are approaching you privately about this issue, rather than publicly, out of concern for the wellbeing of the progressive movement and our common struggles. In October, 2017 Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev (who is a documented neofascist) was reported as travelling to Cuba, the first Israeli cabinet minister to do so since 1973. This strange news forced us to do more research which revealed a distressing and disturbing trend in the last few months of new expanding Cuban-Israeli cultural and business relations. Along with Regev’s trip, most of these fall into the category of being “the first of its kind” in four decades or longer.

For example on the cultural front:
In early November, Cuba’s famed Lizt Alfonso Dance Company gave four sellout performances at the Tel Aviv Opera House, followed by concerts in Ashdod, Jerusalem, and Haifa. It was the first cultural visit of its kind to Israel in four decades. Cuba’s famous Buena Vista Social Club also made a tour of Israel in late December, 2017.

And on the business front:
On Nov. 9, the Israel-Latin America Chamber of Commerce held a “Doing Business in Cuba” seminar in Tel Aviv. Attended by 40 or so Israeli business executives, the three-hour briefing, presented in Hebrew, was a prelude to the planned visit to Cuba of an Israeli trade delegation this December. And indeed the Israeli trade delegation made their trip to Cuba Dec. 5-7, 2017 where according to CamaraIsrael:
“The Israel-Latin America Chamber of Commerce, for the first time in its history, sent a delegation of businessmen to Cuba. The delegation was received by the Cuban official bureau at a festive ceremony and a business seminar with the government officials at the National Hotel.”
We are also aware that former Israeli general and war criminal Rafael Eitan, who has had private business interests in Cuba for over 20 years, has been credited with helping to facilitate this new state-to-state Cuban-Israeli exchange.

We are sure you know about the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement that calls for both a cultural and business boycott of Israel. We know that the Oslo accords and the behaviour of the current “Palestinian Authority”, that dropped the anti-colonialist struggle from its agenda, has set the bar low, very low, regarding what kind of support is needed. And we realize that the impact of the economic blockade on Cuba, as well as the recent damage from Hurricane Irma, has been devastating. But we also know that Cuba and its people have a long history of principled positions even when such decisions are difficult or carry a pricetag.
The picture at the top of this letter is from the December 2017 trade delegation visit and is a chilling visual for all progressives. We are aware that Cuba’s position on the political front is always supportive of the Palestinian cause, but as the beacon of progressive action in Latin America, we urge you to ensure that Cuba’s deeds on all fronts line up with your political support as it did with the anti colonialist struggles in Southern Africa. We beseech you, in the name of the Palestinian struggle, in the name of the unity of two steadfast peoples, to investigate these recent actions and take steps to ensure that such exchanges are not repeated and go no further. Please do not develop any ties with what the late and beloved Fidel Castro in 2014, when referencing Israel, called a “new, repugnant form of fascism”.

In Solidarity,
Hanna Kawas, Chairperson
Canada Palestine Association