Media Complicity in Demonizing Palestinians

York University Update

“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 quote is from the article posted on the CPA website yesterday, entitled “Jerusalem Post admits to printing false info about York University protest”. That article detailed how false and dangerous accusations against pro-Palestinian supporters in a Jerusalem Post story had lacked any credible evidence and were eventually revised in updated versions.

But indeed, the smear becomes accepted fact. Just today, November 28, 2019, the Toronto Sun carried an inflammatory article by Joe Warmington, entitled “Did York University protestors commit a hate crime?” repeating the same false accusation, again referencing the Jerusalem Post and its quote from Shar Leyb. The original Sun article declared: “One person they may want to talk with is Calgary-born Shar Leyb, a Reservists on Duty speaker who — according to the Jerusalem Post — said “there were hundreds of posters that read ‘stop the IDF killers on campus,’ and ‘we do not let Zionists on York University campus” and we heard some outside chanting “Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens, you belong in Europe.’ I have never felt so much hate in my life.”

However, after we pointed out to them in an email exchange that even the Jerusalem Post had revised that quote and removed the second part of it, the Sun has now also revised their story. Mind you, they did not feel compelled to alter the misleading title.

Following the original exchange with the Jerusalem Post and a further query by Dimitri Lascaris, the paper is now on the 5th version of this particular article. FIVE versions in less than a week. Surely that points to the lack of any credibility of the one biased source for this information. Nonetheless, JPost still insists on repeating it in their introductory paragraph, although attributing it to only “several” protestors.

Even the right-wing FrontPage Mag has revised its story on who alleges to have heard this “chant” and the exact wording involved, but they also are still insisting on leading with this claim in their article and even in their title. Their source is also Shar Leyb, not surprisingly the same source as the Jerusalem Post.

This is how media works to demonize Palestinians and their struggle. First, its an angry mob of 600 who chanted this offensive slogan, then it was downgraded to a handful or several protestors. Then the actual quote from the one source is completely removed from the Jerusalem Post. But the seed has been planted and the tags of racist and anti-Semitic have been loosely thrown around, with even the spectre of “hate crimes” brought up. Will anyone, including PM Justin Trudeau, bother to review all of these developments and admit they were wrong to issue their dangerous accusations of anti-Semitism? And recognize the harm caused by their rush to embrace such fabrications and deceptions?

CBC Influenced by Zionist Lobby

CBC has “no comment” on Zionist lobby dictates for specific wording for reporters.

UPDATE June 22, 2018
CBC won’t answer how the Zionist lobby dictated specific wording for its reporters!

On April 6, 2018, we issued a statement regarding CBC’s biased coverage of the Land Day Massacre of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli snipers. Both CBC executives and the CBC Ombudsman Office were made aware of our concerns, especially the issue of specific word changes at the behest of a third party (see below).
And here we are, over 2 months later, and double the time suggested for CBC executives to answer, and still no response. The Ombudsman Office has even reminded CBC management 3 times that they are waiting for an official reply.
However, the Zionist lobby group that initiated all of this, “Honest Reporting”, has bragged on its website that they indeed succeeded in having CBC “implement our suggestions”.
We would suggest that CBC is “refusing comment” because there is no good answer to what transpired. Here are the facts. Specific wording was changed by a correspondent (Derek Stoffel) thousands of miles away, within the space of a few hours, after CBC received a complaint by “Honest Reporting”. And how did that happen? CBC won’t respond, nothing, no explanation!
Just to sum up, a pro-Israel advocacy group gets CBC’s attention within hours, even in regards to changing specific language used by reporters, and then flaunts their achievement publicly, whereas a pro-Palestinian group asking for a minimum of balanced coverage has been stonewalled for 11 weeks and counting.
The ridiculous façade of CBC representing and being accountable to all people in Canada is wearing extremely thin. This subservience to outside lobby groups is unacceptable. We demand an immediate review of this incident by both the CBC Ombudsman office and the Minister of Heritage, who is responsible for CBC.

Hanna Kawas, Canada Palestine Association.


The following letter was sent to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) regarding their biased coverage of the Land Day massacre and is just one example of the unbalanced reporting by the North American mainstream media on the Palestinian narrative. The letter was hand delivered on April 6 during a solidarity vigil for Palestine at the Vancouver offices of CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster.

April 5, 2018
Dear CBC
Re: Your coverage of the Land Day massacre in Gaza
You state that you “are independent of all lobbies and of all political and economic influence.” This might be true regarding the government that pays for your operations and wages but we regret to say it is definitely NOT true with the pro-Israeli lobby. Once again you were influenced by their lobbying and succumbed to their dictates, propaganda and falsehoods, even in regards to the use of specific language.
Let us start with how the CBC has tried to obscure Israel’s premeditated killing of unarmed protestors by instead talking about “clashes” and “confrontations” and “rock throwing”. The lack of accuracy in your CBC News March 30, 2018 report is but one example. The narrator says: “Israeli forces responded with force against rock throwing Palestinian protesters, at least seven Palestinians have been killed, hundreds more has been wounded.” And then your correspondent Derek Stoffel reported: “some of those men were throwing stones and Molotov cocktail at the Israeli forces on the other side and they responded with tear gas with rubber bullets and in some cases with live ammunition…”. (Notice the downplaying of the use of live ammunition, which contradicts hospital reports of the wounded). Also, your web article on March 30 from the AP ran with the subtitle:- “’Right of return’ mass sit-in organized by Hamas escalated into rock-slinging, tear gas firing” as if rocks and tear gas are more deadly than live ammunition! You would think that all this “rioting” “violence” and the “throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails” that you emphasized would have left some Israeli causalities as well, but no, we did not hear from your reporter or any other reporter about Israeli causalities because there were none.
Such reporting makes you complicit with Israeli war crimes and brutality, noting that your description of what happened is a carbon copy of the Israeli military briefings. The same logic of blaming the victim was also reported by Mr. Stoffel on the National later the same day.
How about the reports from the Israeli Human Rights group, B’tselem, who not only warned in advance that the Israeli military were about to conduct a massacre, but have launched a new public campaign calling on Israeli soldiers to refuse such orders to shoot at unarmed protestors? How about the IDF tweet, later deleted, that bragged they “knew where every bullet landed”? How about Gideon Levy, from Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who coined the term Israel Massacre Forces after last Friday?
For a contrast, from reporters live on the ground, you could have checked out Al Jazeera reporting which stated, “As unarmed protesters marched toward the border fence, Israeli soldiers opened fire.”
So much for your stated values of “Accuracy, Fairness, Balance, Impartiality and Integrity”.
And why is it in all your reporting you did not mention that Israel and its backer, the U.S., adamantly refused to accept any UN independent investigation? What are Israel and the US afraid of? Unearthing the TRUTH?
Now, lets move to language regarding the Palestinian refugees and how you followed the dictates of the Zionist lobby group “Honest Reporting”.
There was an initial Derek Stoffel report that we can no longer find on the internet anywhere, except on the “Honest Reporting” website post. They complained in regards to this report, that “it’s false to claim that in the 1948 war that ‘hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948…’”. They then dictated to you what is acceptable terminology by saying, “It’s accurate to say that they were ‘displaced,’ but conventional reportage dictates that journalists say that the Palestinians voluntarily fled … It’s unfair to say that all were “forced from their homes…”.
And sure enough, the same day, in a later report, Mr. Stoffel corrected himself and he stated after stumbling briefly, that the protesters were “demanding the right of return, that people head to their homes…where they had to flee when the state of Israel was created.”
For your information what happened in 1948 was not a “WAR”, it was an act of aggression and genocide. Check your facts with the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi and his book “All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948”, the story of the over 400 Palestinian villages that were destroyed or depopulated. You could also consult with the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe and his book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” before you jump to follow the dictates of a foreign interest group.

There was another criticism of Stoffel’s original report from “Honest Reporting”, which was using the term Palestinians when talking about the 6 victims of the original Land Day. His initial report stated: “on Land Day, that’s the day in which Palestinians commemorate the shootings and killings by Israel of six Palestinians back in 1976 as Israel was involved in a program of confiscating land.” While they curiously did not object to the stated facts of what happened on Land Day 1976, they dictated to you that other news agencies call them Arabs and you should too. Israel calls its Palestinians citizens Arabs to deny the existence of the indigenous population of Palestine. Their slogan always has been “A land without people”. And once again on cue, later in the day, your correspondent Mr. Stoffel dropped Land Day 1976 altogether from one report, while on the National he got in step and called the murdered Palestinians “Arab Israelis”: “The march began as Palestinians marked Land Day to commemorate the six Arab Israelis killed by Israel …”
While all Palestinians are culturally Arabs and are proud of it, most of the two million Palestinian Israelis consider themselves Palestinian. Has Mr. Stoffel seen what kind of flags the Palestinian Israelis carry when they commemorate Land Day and other Palestinian occasions??
Finally, Mr. Stoffel considers the “six weeks of sustained protests on Fridays” “a new security threat for Israel” and also thinks “the right of return … will be a security threat.” On May 11/1949, Canada co-sponsored the U.N. General Assembly resolution 273 to admit Israel as a state to the U.N. on condition that Israel implements two resolutions – UN resolution 194 (the Right of Return), and UN resolution 181 (the Partition Plan). Israel never implemented these two resolutions in addition to hundreds of UN Security and General Assembly resolutions that have stayed on the shelves collecting dust for the past seventy years. Wouldn’t a sane person conclude that Israel has been the true security threat not only to the Palestinians and Arabs but also to the peoples of the world?
CBC is unabashedly supporting Israeli ethnic cleansing, war crimes and Apartheid. We ask you to respect your stated values, especially accuracy and impartiality, and to not cave in to the pressure of a lobby group that is more concerned with serving a foreign government than in bringing the truth to the public in Canada.

Hanna Kawas
Chair, Canada Palestine Association Vancouver

Also published in the Palestine Chronicle under the title: A Letter to CBC: Your Biased Coverage of the Land Day Massacre

Why Israel Fears Ahed Tamimi!

Her words, her story, her harassment by the Israeli military are an indictment of everything that is wrong with what Israel represents.

Why Israel Fears Ahed Tamimi!
Published on Palestine Chronicle, Jan. 2, 2018
By Marion Kawas

The narrative of Ahed Tamimi, who has recently become the face of Palestinian child prisoners, reached a new low on the first day of 2018; Israel insisted that they will be charging the teenager and given the record of “Israeli justice”, that means she will almost certainly serve jail time. Ahed’s fate is the same as that of all the young Palestinian detainees, born into occupation and tyranny, having lived through a “butchered childhood”.
The story of Ahed reminds me of the young girl, perhaps 12 or 13, who narrated a lot of the movie “Jenin, Jenin” and faces the camera at the end of the movie to tell us in the most chilling terms, that she plans to fight for her people and will never forget nor surrender. She also adds: “I saw dead bodies, I saw houses destroyed, I saw sights which cannot be described…and now, after they ruined all my dreams and hopes-I have no life left!” That sequence of the movie has stayed with me since I first saw it in 2003.
And this really is the most crucial point surrounding Ahed Tamimi’s case and what it represents. These kids, forced to be mature beyond their years, never had a choice in being under Israeli occupation or colonization. They have had their childhood stolen, their lives brutalized since day one by Israeli soldiers, their families decimated and harassed by the Israeli state. So, the question of how and why a young girl would stand up to her Israeli oppressors is redundant, we might only marvel that she still has hope that communicating with the world is worthwhile. That she still has hope that the world has a conscience.
Because up to this point, the international community has been worse than negligent in calling Israel to account for any of its abuses against political prisoners, but especially child prisoners. And in Ahed’s case there is ample evidence that her jailors wish her harm, from the Israeli Minister of “Education” who wants her to serve a life sentence to thinly veiled suggestions of sexual assault from an Israeli journalist. With very few exceptions, the countries that could exert influence on Israel have either been openly complicit (like Canada and the U.S.) or engage in the worst form of hypocrisy like the EU nations, with nice-sounding platitudes while carrying on business as usual.

I remember the infamous quote by former Israeli PM Golda Meir, where she stated: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
What a profound level of arrogance, and racism! Its almost impossible to comprehend the implied level of supremacy in this sentiment. And now of course, with the full backing of the U.S. government, this arrogance is matched with impunity.
We could more correctly ask: When will Israeli parents stop sending their children to be cannon fodder for a militaristic state gone berserk, forcing them to commit war crimes against other children even younger? And when will Israel value their children more than they fear the supposed demographic and existential threat of the Palestinian people and nation?
The words of the young girl in the movie Jenin, Jenin were said to “damn the continued occupation and its inhumanity” more than the devastating physical damage to the Jenin refugee camp. And this is the real impact of Ahed Tamimi as well. Her words, her story, her harassment by the Israeli military are an indictment of everything that is wrong with what Israel represents. The world did not listen well in 2002 to the young girl from Jenin; will they pay attention this time to the teenager from Nabi Saleh?

PAJU (Palestiniens et Juifs Unis) no.883 le 12 janvier 2018
Pourquoi Israël craint Ahed Tamimi!
Par Marion Kawas
Le récit d’Ahed Tamimi, qui est récemment devenu le visage des enfants prisonniers palestiniens, a atteint un nouveau creux le premier jour de 2018. Israël a insisté sur le fait qu’ils accuseraient l’adolescente et vu le record de la « justice israélienne », cela veut dire qu’Ahed va presque certainement purger une peine d’emprisonnement. Le destin d’Ahed est le même que celui de tous les jeunes détenus palestiniens, nés dans l’occupation et la tyrannie, ayant vécu une « enfance massacrée ».
L’histoire d’Ahed me rappelle la jeune fille, ayant peut-être 12 ou 13 ans, qui a animé une grande partie du film « Jénine, Jénine » et fait face à la caméra à la fin du film pour nous dire dans les termes les plus froids qu’elle planifie se battre pour son peuple et qu’elle n’oubliera jamais et n’abandonnera jamais. Elle ajoute aussi : « J’ai vu des cadavres, j’ai vu des maisons détruites, j’ai vu des scènes qui ne peuvent être décrites… et maintenant, après qu’ils ont ruiné tous mes rêves et mes espoirs, il ne me reste plus de vie! » Cette séquence du film est restée avec moi depuis que je l’ai vue pour la première fois en 2003.
Et c’est vraiment le point le plus crucial entourant le cas d’Ahed Tamimi et ce que le cas représente. Ces enfants, forcés d’être matures au-delà de leurs années, n’ont jamais eu autre choix que celui d’être sous occupation et colonisation israélienne. Ils ont eu leur enfance volée, leurs vies brutalisées depuis le premier jour par des soldats israéliens, leurs familles décimées et harcelées par l’État israélien. Donc, la question de comment et pourquoi une jeune fille résisterait à ses oppresseurs israéliens est redondante, nous pourrions seulement nous émerveiller qu’elle a toujours l’espoir que la communication avec le monde en vaut la peine. Qu’elle a encore l’espoir que le monde ait une conscience!
Parce que jusqu’à présent, la communauté internationale a été pire que négligente en appelant Israël à rendre compte de ses abus contre les prisonniers politiques, mais surtout contre les enfants prisonniers. Et dans le cas d’Ahed, il y a de nombreuses preuves que ses geôliers lui souhaitent du mal, de la part du ministre israélien de l’« Éducation » qui lui demande de purger une peine à perpétuité, par rapport à des suggestions voilées d’agressions sexuelles d’un journaliste israélien. À quelques exceptions près, les pays qui pourraient exercer une influence sur Israël ont été ouvertement complices (comme le Canada et les États-Unis) ou se sont livrés à la pire forme d’hypocrisie comme les nations européennes, avec des platitudes qui sonnent bien.
Je me souviens de la citation infâme de l’ancienne Première ministre israélienne, Golda Meir, qui a déclaré : « Nous pouvons pardonner aux Arabes d’avoir tué nos enfants. Nous ne pouvons pas leur pardonner de nous forcer à tuer leurs enfants. Nous n’aurons la paix avec les Arabes que quand ils aimeront leurs enfants plus qu’ils ne nous haïssent ».
Quel niveau profond d’arrogance, et de racisme! Il est presque impossible de comprendre le niveau implicite de suprématie dans ce sentiment. Et maintenant, bien sûr, avec le soutien total du gouvernement américain, cette arrogance est associée à l’impunité.
Nous pourrions demander plus correctement : Quand les parents israéliens cesseront-ils d’envoyer leurs enfants à la chair à canon pour un état militariste devenu fou furieux, les forçant à commettre des crimes de guerre contre d’autres enfants encore plus jeunes? Et quand Israël accordera-t-il plus d’importance à ses enfants qu’à la menace démographique et existentielle supposée du peuple et de la nation palestiniens?
Les paroles de la jeune fille dans le film Jénine, Jénine voulaient « damner la poursuite de l’occupation et son inhumanité » plus que les dégâts physiques dévastateurs au camp de réfugiés de Jénine. Et c’est aussi l’impact réel d’Ahed Tamimi. Ses mots, son histoire, son harcèlement par l’armée israélienne sont une mise en accusation de tout ce qui ne va pas avec ce qu’Israël représente. Le monde n’a pas bien écouté en 2002 la jeune fille de Jénine; vont-ils faire attention cette fois à l’adolescente de Nabi Saleh?
— Marion Kawas est membre de l’Association Canada Palestine et co-animatrice de Voice of Palestine. Elle a publié cet article à Visitez :
Première publication de cet article a paru dans Palestine Chronicle.
Adapté de :

Vancouver Mayor Bows to Zionist Pressure

Criticizing the burning of the Israeli cardboard flag, he also crudely compared it to the attack on a Muslim woman on the Skytrain. Send your own letter to the Mayor

Christmas Card sent to the Mayor.
Mayor Gregor Robertson:
I would like to make you aware that by equating Israel and its flag with the Jewish people, you are actually promoting anti-semitism and racism, something you claim to be against.
Also, with your insistence on labelling the burning of a homemade cardboard Israeli flag as an act of “hate, racism and discrimination”, you have now ensured that acts of anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab harassment will continue.
Here is my “Christmas Card” to you.
Hanna Kawas, Chair, Canada Palestine Association
Note: I am still waiting for a response from you to my previous two letters!
Following are two emails I have sent to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson regarding the incident at one of the pro-Palestinian rallies over the weekend, which Bnai Brith has tried to characterize as “anti-Semitic”. Not only has Gregor Robertson now publicly bowed to Zionist pressure in criticizing the burning of the Israeli cardboard flag, he also crudely compared it to the heart-breaking and very personal attack on a Muslim woman on the Skytrain. Furthermore, he did not even have the courtesy to respond to our first email, let alone engage with our concerns about the harassment the rally participants faced.
Send your own letter to the Mayor to express your outrage.
Sent: December 14, 2017 5:58 PM
Cc: CPA Vancouver
Subject: Your statement on Bnai Brith Canada website

On December 10, 2017, I sent the email below to your office. To date, I have received no reply. Rather, I just found out from other people that you had sent a statement to Bnai Brith Canada on Dec. 12th, which is on their website, and quotes you as noted below:

“Recently,” the mayor stated, “we have seen a number of incidents take place in Vancouver that threaten the inclusivity and safety of our city. From the burning of an image of the Israeli flag in protest to the Jerusalem debate this weekend, to the violent and unprovoked attack of a Muslim woman riding the SkyTrain last week… The City of Vancouver has a zero tolerance policy on hate, racism and discrimination and we will remain very vigilant against acts that threaten the diversity, safety and inclusivity of our city.”

Frankly, I am disappointed that you did not even feel we were worthy of a response or of being notified of your official statement that Bnai Brith is quoting. As we said before, we do not feel the burning of the cardboard flag was an anti-Semitic gesture. While we realize some people might find the action upsetting, to label it as “hate, racism and discrimination” is both inaccurate and inflammatory. You should know that a contingent of pro-Israel young men deliberately harassed people at both the rally on Friday night and the smaller demo on Saturday, and they were the ones who provoked any incidents that occurred. Although I was not personally at the Saturday event, I seriously doubt that the cardboard flag would even have been burnt at all if the taunting and harassment from these provocateurs had not occurred. If your office had bothered to consult with us in any way, you would know that it was their behaviour that was threatening to the rally participants and should be denounced.
It is chilling to know that our concerns and our public safety are of such low importance to your office.
We will be posting this letter on our website and will also post your response if one is forthcoming.

Hanna Kawas
Canada Palestine Association

From: Hanna Kawas
Sent: December 10, 2017 11:17 PM
Subject: Trumped Up Accusations of Anti-Semitism against Pro-Palestinian Rallies

Dear Mayor Robertson:

You may have received a statement from Bnai Brith Canada about Pro-Palestinian protests over the weekend. Here is a statement from the Canada Palestine Association directed to the media after inquiries about the Bnai Brith complaint.
Following is the text of our statement.

Vancouver media ignore large Palestinian protest, focus on video of reported Israeli flag burning

We were not the organizers of a Saturday rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and we are not aware of what happened or may not have happened there as we did not attend.
We did have a large rally outside the U.S. Embassy on Friday night that none of the media, including yourselves, reported on or chose to cover. That rally was organized by Canada Palestine Association, Stop War, and Independent Jewish Voices.
As for the general issue of burning the Israeli flag, we in the Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver would not consider this an anti-Semitic gesture. We do not equate Judaism with Zionism, nor do we equate all Jews with Israel. The Israeli flag represents the Israeli government, not all the Jewish people, and is being burned in many places around the world along with the U.S. flag. Is burning the U.S. flag anti-Christian or burning the Saudi or Iranian flag anti-Muslim? In fact, there is an Orthodox Jewish group, the Neturei Karta, that regularly burns the Israeli flag as a form of protest. Here they are in New York, Canada and Jerusalem. Is this also anti-Semitic?
Additionally, it should be noted that for Palestinian youth in the occupied West Bank, for example, the Israeli flag on the military jeeps that come screeching into their villages and homes represents only one thing – brutal oppression.
We feel the complaint you received is without basis, and is simply being used to obscure this latest infamy by both the U.S. and Israel against the legitimate and national rights of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, we find it distressing and ironic that your media only decides to pay attention to local Palestinian or pro-Palestinian protests when Israel advocacy groups or individuals make these unfounded complaints.

Hanna Kawas
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association

Vancouver media ignore large Palestinian protest, focus on video of reported Israeli flag burning

Canada Palestine Association responds to two inquiries from Vancouver media.

Dec. 10, 2017

Canada Palestine Association received two inquiries from Vancouver media today (CTV Vancouver, CKNW) about a video sent to them by a “Jewish advocacy group” claiming a likeness of an Israeli flag was burnt at a Saturday protest and that group considers the gesture anti-Semitic. Here is the written response we sent to them.

We were not the organizers of a Saturday rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and we are not aware of what happened or may not have happened there as we did not attend.
We did have a large rally outside the U.S. Consulate on Friday night that none of the media, including yourselves, reported on or chose to cover. That rally was organized by Canada Palestine Association, Stop War, and Independent Jewish Voices.

As for the general issue of burning the Israeli flag, we in the Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver would not consider this an anti-Semitic gesture. We do not equate Judaism with Zionism, nor do we equate all Jews with Israel. The Israeli flag represents the Israeli government, not all the Jewish people, and is being burned in many places around the world along with the U.S. flag. Is burning the U.S. flag anti-Christian or burning the Saudi or Iranian flag anti-Muslim? In fact, there is an Orthodox Jewish group, the Neturei Karta, that regularly burns the Israeli flag as a form of protest. Here they are in New York, Canada and Jerusalem. Is this also anti-Semitic?
Additionally, it should be noted that for Palestinian youth in the occupied West Bank, for example, the Israeli flag on the military jeeps that come screeching into their villages and homes represents only one thing – brutal oppression.

We feel the complaint you received is without basis, and is simply being used to obscure this latest infamy by both the U.S. and Israel against the legitimate and national rights of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, we find it distressing and ironic that your media only decides to pay attention to local Palestinian or pro-Palestinian protests when Israel advocacy groups or individuals make these unfounded complaints.

Hanna Kawas
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association

Article in Palestine Chronicle

Exposing Real Friends and Enemies of Israel in the Arab World

The Israeli Institute for National Security Studies has just issued its 275 page report entitled “Strategic Survey for Israel 2016-2017”.
Article was first published by

The Israeli Institute for National Security Studies has just issued its 275 page report entitled “Strategic Survey for Israel 2016-2017”. This Israeli research institute and think tank is headed by former IDF Military Intelligence Chief, General (ret.) Amos Yadlin. Its analysis offers a valuable insight into the how the Israeli intelligence and security community view and prioritize developments regionally and globally, and in the process, also exposes who are the real friends and enemies of Israel in the Arab world.

Following are a small sampling of the findings and the recommendations (labelled “challenges and responses”) contained in the report’s summarized conclusion:

* “Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan have withstood the tumult in the Arab world. The Cairo and Amman embassies in Tel Aviv are an expression of a stable element in the regional system, and constitute an important part of Israel’s strategic position.” Page 252

* “The change in Saudi policy has expanded Riyadh’s base of shared interests with Israel, thereby facilitating closer ties between the two countries and possibly encouraging Saudi Arabia to make those ties public.” Page 252

* “From Israel’s standpoint, the non-state actors in the region are deeply involved in fighting for their existence, making them less able to concentrate on the struggle against Israel mandated by their ideology. The Islamic State branch that controls territory bordering Israel in the Golan Heights is for the most part inactive against Israel.” Page 249

* “Although Hezbollah continues its military buildup and poses a significant strategic threat to Israel, and despite the substantial resources invested by Hamas in rebuilding its military force, Israel’s overall strategic position gives it unprecedented freedom of action to initiate military operations aimed at preserving its security interests and restricting the increase in quality of its enemies’ military buildup.” page 250

* “The complete standstill in the political process and the deterioration of security in the Palestinian arena continued in 2016, and Israel continues to pay a price in lives, and in its economy, international standing, and internal political arena.” Page 253

* “Israel’s image in Western countries continues to decline, a trend that enhances the ability of hostile groups to engage in actions aimed at depriving Israel of moral and political legitimacy and launch boycotts in various areas. Indeed, the international campaign to delegitimize Israel continues, as reflected in the BDS movement. Israel’s current right wing government has contributed to this deterioration.” page 254

* “… the worst scenario is a conflict with Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon. Conflicts in the Gaza Strip will probably be limited, and Israel is well equipped to deal with them.” Page 255

The Recommendations:

– “Even if there does not appear to be a partner on the Palestinian side for reaching or implementing an agreement, Israel has an important interest in halting the gradual drift toward an irreversible one-state situation, and instead, progressing toward a two-state situation that ends Israel’s rule over Palestinians, while carefully maintaining and even improving Israel’s security.” Page 257

– “Israel must prepare measures against Lebanon’s national infrastructure without distinguishing it from Hezbollah, and develop capabilities for a ground campaign…” Page 259

– “Against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, military preparation should aim to shorten the duration of the next campaign and anticipate the tactical and systemic surprises that will be encountered.” Page 259

– “Both arenas, against Hamas and Hezbollah, should be discussed with the Trump administration, with understandings reached about Israel’s red lines, and about what will be considered a legitimate policy on the use of force against these groups in the event of another military conflict.” Page 259

– “The dialogue between Israel and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states indicates that an effective process with the Palestinians, even if it does not include negotiations for a permanent settlement ending in a full agreement, will make a breakthrough in relations with the Gulf states possible, including making these relations public.” page 260

– “Israel can expect conflicts in both the military sphere and in soft power areas – economics, diplomacy, communications, the social networks, and the courts (lawfare)…It is therefore necessary for Israel to devise organizational frameworks, strategies, and multidimensional, coordinated methods to handle the challenges facing it.” Page 260

This article was first published by

Is Tunisian Security Complicit in the Murder of Palestinian Leaders?

What are the connections and similarities between the assassinations of Mohammed Zawahri and Abu Jihad?
Article published by the

On Dec. 15, 2016, Tunisian Mohammad al-Zawahri, a Hamas leader and flight engineer specializing in unmanned aerial vehicles, was assassinated in the Tunisian city of Sfax. This operation bore eerie similarities to another assassination 28 years earlier of prominent Palestinian leader and high-ranking Fateh official Khalil Al Wazir (popularly known as Abu Jihad).

According to Gideon Levy in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Dec. 22, “Back in 1988, not far from the place where Zawahri was murdered, Israel murdered Abu Jihad in front of his wife and children in an operation given the poetic name ‘Show of Force’. Its perpetrators, from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, boasted of it for years afterward.

Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, a recognized expert on the Israeli Mossad, wrote in an opinion article in the Ynetnews on Dec. 19, 2016:

If the Mossad is indeed behind the assassination of Hamas aviation engineer Mohammad al-Zawahri in Tunisia, as reported by the foreign press, this is the first assassination attributed to the Israeli intelligence organization under Cohen’s leadership (or perhaps the second: Omar Zayed of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine died under mysterious circumstances in Bulgaria).

Bergman also acknowledged in that same article that:

“Tunisia is what the Mossad calls a ‘soft target’ state…not an actual enemy state” and also noted that “The people arrested in Tunisia were likely not involved and will be released soon.

Four years ago, the Times of Israel reported on Nov. 1, 2012 that:
Yedioth Ahronoth investigative reporter Ronen Bergman’s interview with Nahum Lev, the commander of the operation and the officer who killed Abu Jihad, was cleared for publication…after being blocked by the military censor for more than a decade. The interview was conducted prior to Lev’s death from a car accident in August 2000. In allowing its publication, Israel essentially confirmed the open secret that it carried out the operation.

Was the Tunisian Security establishment complicit in both these assassination operations?

Following is some of the most relevant background information:

* Zine El Abidine Ben Ali came to power in Tunisia on November 7, 1987 in a bloodless coup d’état against then President Habib Bourguiba in questionable and suspicious circumstances.

* In his early days, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was awarded training at the “Senior Intelligence School in Maryland and the School for Anti-Aircraft Field Artillery in Texas.”

* In 1987, the new Tunisian security chief Abderrahmane Balhaj Ali, “accompanied Ben Ali to Carthage at the time of his assumption of power as general director of the presidential security”, a position he continued to hold for 14 years.

* On April 16, 1988, just a few months after Ben Ali became President, Abu Jihad was assassinated by the Mossad. In 1993, David Yallop, the British investigative journalist, in his book “To the Ends of the Earth”, exposed the complicity of the U.S. and Tunisian governments in the murder of Abu Jihad. He noted: “The ‘High Backing’ also included the President of Tunis, Ben Ali, and the United States government, specifically the State Department.” (Page 224)

* On February 7, 2011, after the Tunisian popular revolution that ousted Ben Ali and his cohorts, Canada Palestine Association sent a letter to the Tunisian Ambassador to Canada, regarding the murder of Palestinian Leader Abu Jihad entitled “Bring Ben Ali and his Police and Intelligence Officers to Justice“. To this date, we have NOT received any response, not even an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter.

* Times of Israel reported on Nov. 5, 2012 that the Tunisian “Wafa movement announced…that it intended to sue Israel in a Tunis court over its involvement in the killing of Fatah official Khalil Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad)…Fadira Najjar, an attorney and member of Wafa, told Tunisian television that the assassination was perpetrated on Tunisian soil and is considered a war crime under international law. Najjar claimed that deposed Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Bin Ali colluded with Israel in the killing, along with security officials.” It is worth noting that a Ynetnews story on this same subject did not refer to Tunisian “security officials” that were involved in the murder of Abu Jihad.

* A year ago, Balhaj Ali was resurrected to again head the Tunisian security apparatus and on Dec. 2, 2015, Jeune Afrique reported that he is “the new strong man of the services of the Tunisian police. His appointment is accompanied by a series of changes in the security apparatus…

* On Dec. 16, 2016 Ynetnews reported his sudden resignation this way: “Five hours after the assassination (of al-Zawahri), the Tunisian National Security Commissioner, Abed al-Rahman Balhaj Ali, announced his resignation without specifying why. Political sources in Tunisia have not ruled out the possibility that the resignation came against the backdrop of the assassination.

* Haaretz also reported on Dec. 18, 2016 that “Foreign elements were behind the assassination of a Hamas drone expert last Thursday, Tunisia announced on Sunday evening, following allegations that the engineer’s death was orchestrated by Israel’s Mossad.

All of these facts raise many serious and troubling questions:

* What is the “Senior Intelligence School in Maryland”? Is it similar to the “School of the Americas
“? Is it tied to the CIA? Does it train and recruit foreign nationals as CIA agents? Was Ben Ali recruited to the CIA? Did the Tunisian government knew of Ben Ali’s activities?

* What does Abderrahmane Balhaj Ali know about the 1987 Tunisian coup d’état? Was he ever questioned by the Tunisian governments that followed Ben Ali’s Government and did he have any role in the Abu Jihad assassination? Was he ever questioned about what he did know “as general director of the presidential security” about the murder of Abu Jihad?

* Why did Balhaj Ali resign five hours after the assassination of al-Zawahri? You would think that the “Tunisian National Security Commissioner” would want to investigate and expose the assassins!

* What are the connections and similarities between the assassinations of Mohammed Zawahri and Abu Jihad? And, more importantly, would exposing and convicting the Tunisian security and police officials who were complicit in Abu Jihad’s murder have prevented the murder of al-Zawahri?

* Why did the Tunisian government blame Zawahri’s assassination only on “foreign elements”? Was Israeli journalist Bergman right when he stated “The people arrested in Tunisia were likely not involved”? And were those people scapegoats, to protect higher ranking Tunisian officials that were involved?

* Why does the Mossad consider Tunisia a “soft target” state? And why does the current Tunisian government insist on ignoring popular and parliamentary demands to penalize any normalization with Israel?

* And the most crucial point: Is the current Tunisian government willing or capable of appointing a National Security Commissioner that serves the Tunisian and Arab peoples and has no ties or allegiance to the CIA, Mossad, Italian or French security services?

* Why does Saudi Arabia harbor and protect the deposed Tunisian leader Ben Ali, who has been convicted in absentia on multiple counts by Tunisian courts, thereby thwarting justice? Why is Saudi Arabia giving refuge to this murderer with Tunisian and Arab blood on his hands?

* And finally, why are the Fateh leadership and its Palestinian Authority security forces not actively investigating and bringing to justice the murderers of Abu Jihad and Yasser Arafat, rather than chasing after those who oppose and resist the Israeli enemy?

To have genuine justice for the many Palestinians and Arabs who have been murdered in cold blood by the Israeli Mossad, we need to also “clean house” and expose and prosecute all those complicit in such crimes, especially those still in power.

The ‘Arab spring’ that was started in Tunisia in December 2010, will surely continue until it accomplishes its objectives in bringing freedom, democracy and independence to the Arab nation and peoples.

This article was first published by the

In Canada, BDS loses in the House of Commons but wins on university campuses

The following article was published by Mondoweiss on February 25.

The following article by CPA member Marion Kawas was published by Mondoweiss on February 25, 2016.

In Canada, BDS loses in the House of Commons but wins on university campuses

So the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions BDS movement had a big day on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 in Canada, both in the House of Commons and on university campuses.

Within a few hours of each other, Canadian politicians voted 229-51 to condemn BDS and even individuals who promote it; then the Students Society at McGill, a leading university in Montreal, voted to support BDS. An interesting irony here is that the new Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau is an alum of McGill and even personally condemned the efforts to support BDS at McGill when it was first introduced a year ago.

Lets deal with the motion in the House of Commons first (not yet a bill but it was made clear that’s where some MPs would like to see it go). It was introduced (not surprisingly) by the opposition Conservative party, the same party that governed Canada for the previous 10 years and were incredibly staunch supporters of Israel. It stated:

“That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad”.

Note particularly the inclusion of “individuals” in the condemnation phrase. So of course the Conservative Party supported the motion overwhelmingly. And those who had voted in the new Liberal government hoping for change were immensely disappointed as it was announced (and followed through with) that the government would also support the motion. Three brave Liberal MPs did actually vote against it and others abstained. But the logic of the Liberal Party as to why they were supporting it was a real lesson in political double-speak and illogic.

The new Foreign Minister, Stephan Dion, when commenting on the wording of the motion in the debate in the Parliament, which happened several days before the actual vote, stated that … “this rhetoric elicits mistrust and it comes from the Conservatives, who in recent years have constantly tried to transform support for Israel into a partisan issue in Canada.” But then also said “We must oppose anything that stands in the way of stronger ties between Canada and Israel”.

As Neil McDonald, a veteran CBC journalist, noted in a wry commentary about the debate and Minister Dion’s comments:

“There is also, added the minister, the small matter of freedom of speech and debate. Dion denounced the Conservatives’ opposition day motion…as just more “politics of division.”

The Tories, he said, are just “bullies” who want to turn the defence of Israel into a partisan issue. They’ll portray anyone who votes against their motion as “dissidents.”

‘It’s not us who wrote this motion,’ Dion complained, ‘but we have to vote yes or no.’
So, um, yes. Reluctantly, yes.”

The take-away message from the official Liberal position was something like this: yes, this motion infringes on freedom of expression, we are against that, but we’re going to support it anyway to show our support for Israel. Really?! So support for a foreign country or government is more important than the right of free speech in Canada and upholding the Charter of Rights? Would this approach apply in all cases, or just when it comes to Israel?

Now, the position of the New Democratic Party, who did vote against the motion along with the Bloc Quebecois, was summarized like this during the debate by one of their MPs, Charlie Angus:

“Mr. Speaker, To be clear, we are not debating issues of racism and anti-Semitism.
That is not what this is about. This is about a political tactic and whether we agree with that political tactic or not.
The House, supported by the Liberal government of the day, is supporting actions for the government to condemn any attempts made by individuals or organizations.”

Right on, and words we could get behind and cheer for if this wasn’t the same party that purged some of their own candidates for speaking out on this issue back in August 2015 during a heated election campaign. It would seem that the issue of Palestinians rights and lives is a political football in Canada (the Greens being the one exception). We must content ourselves with accepting whatever limited crumbs are thrown our way whenever it suits the prevailing winds and are criticized if we’re not grateful.

Lets go back to the Student Society at McGill. The McGill BDS Action Network had submitted a resolution calling on the Student Society to:

“stand in support of BDS campaigns and to recommend to the Board that McGill divest entirely of all its holdings in companies that profit from the occupation, as well as implement a screening mechanism that would prevent future investments in similar companies. The motion will specifically support the campaign for McGill to divest from corporations that profit from the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. These corporations include Re/Max Holdings Inc., whose Israeli subsidiary sells real estate in settlements throughout the West Bank, and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank, which has financed settlement construction projects and provides mortgages to homebuyers in settlements. A third company, L-3 Communications Inc., has supplied equipment to Israeli checkpoints, signed contracts with the Israeli Ministry of Defense for the production and remanufacture of tank engines, and developed the Hermes 900 drone with Elbit systems, used for the first time in Operation Protective Edge in 2014.”

The motion passed with 512 in favour, 357 opposed and 14 abstentions. This represents the future and embodies all our hopes for justice for the Palestinians. The Canadian House of Commons, alternately, reminds of the opposite.

The main lesson here for activists is that only effective grassroots organizing will really help the Palestinian people in their struggle and intensifying BDS work is part of that effort. The efforts and ultimate success by the McGill BDS Action Network is just one positive example of that, although the pushback from the Zionist lobby has already begun and surely will continue. But the hard work of networking and maintaining BDS campaigns have proven to be the best strategy for international supporters who want to see the Palestinians be able to live in freedom and dignity.

“Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!

Our response to local Zionist apologist paper “Jewish Independent” editorial “Co-opting history”, full of the Israeli Hasbara 3 D’s – Distort, Divert and Defame.
Published by Mondoweiss Dec. 9

Debunking Zionist Hasbara

On November 27, 2015, a meeting was held in downtown Vancouver, Canada under the title “First Nations & Palestinians at the Frontline of Resistance” organized by the Seriously Free Speech Committee and supported by another 10 community groups (of which Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver was one). On the day of the meeting, the local Zionist apologist paper “Jewish Independent” ran an editorial “Co-opting history”, full of the Israeli Hasbara 3 D’s – Distort, Divert and Defame.

Their editorial stated: “The obvious intention is to equate the history of colonial settlement in North America, Canada in particular, with the actions of Israel toward Palestinians.”
Wrong. The editorial conveniently refuses to recognize the Zionist project as settler colonialism, and therefore will not acknowledge that the intention was to draw parallels between settler colonialism in North America and Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine, in addition to exposing “the actions of Israel toward Palestinians”.

The editorial went on to claim: “The concept is flawed at its core, of course, because, as the Palestinian narrative often does, it portrays the Jews as colonial occupiers of Arab land, while denying the legitimacy of ancient and modern claims to the Jewish homeland.
Wrong again, and on more than one account.
First, the Palestinian narrative doesn’t “portray the Jews as colonial occupiers of Arab land“, it portrays the Zionists (not THE Jews) as settler colonial occupiers of Arab land. For a paper that claims to be opposed to anti-Semitism, conflating all Jews with Zionism and putting the ills of Zionism on the shoulders of all Jews is a dangerous slide into anti-Semitism.
Second, there is no legitimacy (not ancient nor modern) for Zionist claims to a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Period.
• As Israeli historian Ilan Pappe simply puts it: “The secular Jews who founded the Zionist movement wanted paradoxically both to secularize Jewish life and to use the Bible as a justification for colonizing Palestine; in other words, they did not believe in God but He nonetheless promised them Palestine.”
• The first Zionist Congress held in Basle, Switzerland (in Europe) in 1897 listed as some of the aims of the movement: “Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine secured by public law. The congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end – The promotion on suitable lines of the COLONIZATION (my emphasis) of Palestine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers.”
• Theodor Hertzl and most European Zionists were willing to accept any other country for their settler colonialist project:- “Herzl turned to Great Britain and met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary and others high ranking officials who agreed in principle to Jewish settlement in East Africa.” The Sixth Zionist Congress then adopted the Uganda Proposal .
• Most European Jews who founded the idea of political Zionism have no relation to the original Jews (Hebrews) of the Holy Land. A recent report about a new DNA study, carried in leading newspapers like the NY Times and Haaretz, and highlighted in the prominent Jewish American journal Forward, found that “The maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews comes mainly from Europe…”.
• Conversely, large numbers of Arab Muslims and Christians were originally part of the Hebrew tribe; many Palestinian Christians (the first believers) were, like Christ himself, from the Hebrews. And, many of those first Christians, in addition to many Jews, converted to Islam. Where do these people fit in the Zionist supremacist ideology? Or are (Ashkenazi) Jews, who have no roots in Palestine, considered from the “Chosen people” simply because they are white and “CIVILISED” in colonialist terms? Theodor Herzl, considered the founder of political Zionism, wrote in his book The Jewish State in 1896: “We should there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.”

The “Jewish Independent” editorial then goes on to divert from the issue of settler colonialism to say:
The anti-Israel movement insists on appropriating the historical experience of other people and using it in an attempt to fortify their narrative. The most obvious example is the apartheid libel, which tries to paint Israel as the ideological descendant of South African racism. This is offensive not only to Israelis. It debases the experience of black South Africans who suffered from genuine apartheid.
Apartheid libel? Really!! Israel is the one who builds apartheid towns, roads and walls. Israel is the one who practices the brutal apartheid system against the occupied Palestinian territories and finally, Israel is the one that has enacted over 50 laws to discriminate against its Christian and Muslim Israeli citizens.
As for debasing “the experience of black South Africans”, it is the “Jewish Independent” who is debasing and ignoring “the experience of black South Africans” who have visited Palestine and stated unequivocally that the apartheid Palestinians are experiencing is similar or worse than what happened in South Africa. As former South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils noted, “Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid South Africa at its zenith — even surpassing its brutality…” (see “Israel and apartheid: A fair comparison?” by Edward C. Corrigan)

And the editorial is not yet finished with its outrageous claims and defamation, alleging: “Even more egregiously, the anti-Israel movement routinely uses the imagery of Nazism and the Holocaust against Israel, attempting to equate the victims of the Third Reich with its perpetrators. This deliberate rubbing of salt in Jewish historical wounds is common and…the objective is clearly to inflict pain rather than to resolve grievances.
And again the editorial treats Israel, Zionists and the Jews as one and the same; the victims of the Third Reich were the Jews and not the Zionists, some of whom collaborated with the Nazis to fulfill the aims of Zionist immigration to Palestine. We in the support movement will never “equate the victims (the Jews) of the Third Reich with its perpetrators.”
For the record, the first one who coined the phrase Judeo-Nazis was the late Israeli philosopher professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz. And Avraham Shalom, former head of the Shin Bet has even stated in the documentary The Gatekeepers: “On the other hand, it’s a brutal occupation force, similar to the Germans in World War II. Similar, but not identical.”
Listen to what 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants stated in a letter that was published in New York Times:
“We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. ‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

The editorial, from beginning to end, sought desperately to discredit, slander and defame the Palestinian people and the Palestinian solidarity movement (and all the groups involved in the meeting). One might be forgiven for thinking the article was a template borrowed from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
For the Zionist apologists in the “Jewish Independent”, genuine support and solidarity are foreign concepts. They do not and cannot understand the true meaning of support amongst the oppressed peoples of the world, because their main concern is the bottom line in pleasing their Zionist readership. Regrettably, in the process, they have become complicit in Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against the Palestinian people.
The fact is that Israel and its apologists are only in solidarity with imperial forces and despotic regimes, forces that Israel continuously supplies with crowd control weapons and assorted military hardware. One recent example is Israel’s sale of mass surveillance technology to Colombia.
An interesting footnote is that the Zionist editorial completely (perhaps intentionally) failed to mention the main organizer of the meeting, the Seriously Free Speech Committee.
Our final question is: Exactly who is co-opting history?

Hanna Kawas
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association.
This article was published by Mondoweiss Dec. 9, 2015

CBC: False and pro Israeli narrative

The following message was sent to CBC ombudsman on August 11, 2014:

Dear CBC ombudsman
I sent the following web-mail to CBC News.
Please review it and make sure that future stories are accurate, balanced and reflect the reality on the ground.
Your report “Gaza conflict: Israel, Hamas accept ceasefire proposal” smacks of pro-Israeli bias. It is inaccurate and negates the existence of Palestinians who are not Hamas. The Palestinian delegation (including all the resistance organizations), headed by a Fateh member, is the one that accepted the ceasefire. Please stop spreading misleading Israeli propaganda. I will bring this complaint to the attention of CBC ombudsman.

Thanks for your attention
Hanna Kawas,
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association