Open Letter to Surrey Mayor and Council re Ehud Barak’s Visit

Open letter to Mayor Dianne Watts and Council Members of the City of Surrey

Feb. 18, 2014
Open letter to Mayor Dianne Watts and Council Members of the City of Surrey

On Dec. 17, 2013, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) reported that the “Mayor of Surrey Leads Trade Mission to Israel”.

CIJA then reported on Dec. 19, 2013, under the title INNOVATION IN ACTION: Surrey Trade Mission to Israel a “Game Changer”, that “The City of Surrey looks forward to hosting former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak along with the former leaders of Greece and Australia as part of an international panel on global innovation (at) the city’s Surrey Regional Economic Summit on February 27th, 2014.”

We would like to draw your attention to the following facts:

1. To invite the Israeli war criminal Ehud Barak as a speaker to the “Surrey Regional Economic Summit” is outrageous and beyond belief. It is like inviting a bank thief and killer with blood on his hands to address the banking industry. We are not using the term war criminal frivolously; please refer to just a few documented examples of Barak’s terrorism and murderous past at the end of our open letter.

2. On July 9, 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for a broad and sustained Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel “until it complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights”. What the City of Surrey is now doing amounts to crossing the picket lines of the BDS Movement, a movement that represents and includes large numbers of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and Canadians of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds that reside and live in Surrey. Please do not participate in empowering Israeli war crimes, Apartheid and ethnic cleansing in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Humanitarian Law; otherwise your involvement will make the city complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It seems to us that the city of Surrey is following on the footsteps of the Canadian Conservative Government which is making Canada and now Surrey part of Israeli Occupied Territory. Complicity in Israeli war crimes is not MORAL, and should not be perceived as a way to advance personal careers – it will not and should never be treated as such.

We ask all the Surrey Councillors to come clean and disassociate themselves from what the Mayor is doing to Surrey, a city full of diverse and dynamic communities. We hope that payback time will come at the next municipal elections for those who are complicit in violating International Humanitarian Law and putting personal interests ahead of their constituent’s needs.

Signed by:
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Canadian Boat to Gaza
Critical Criminology Working Group at Kwantlen Polytechnic Univ.
Fraser Valley Peace Council
Independent Jewish Voices, Vancouver
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)
Siraat Collective, Vancouver
Voice of Palestine
Examples of Ehud Barak’s terrorism and War Crimes:

• In 1973 Ehud Barak participated in the targeted assassination of three leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization – Abu Youssef al-Najjar, Kamal Adwan and Kamal Nasser, a Palestinian poet and PLO spokesman. According to Wikipedia he was part of the “covert mission Operation Spring of Youth in Beirut, in which he was disguised as a woman”.
• On March 11, 1978, Barak murdered an 18 year old Palestinian female prisoner Dalal al-Mughrabi in cold blood. According to the British Guardian: “Mughrabi’s body was dragged off the tarmac and shot several times by Barak in images captured by the media.”
• Ehud Barak was one of the Israeli commanders who led the Israeli death squad on April 16, 1988 that killed the beloved Palestinian leader Khalil El Wazir (Abu Jihad) in Tunis. This international terrorist attack was carried out outside of Israel in Tunisia. David Yallop, the British investigative journalist, in his book “To the Ends of the Earth” stated “This, with other elements, confirmed that the killing squad were in continuous radio contact with the Boeing flying just outside Tunisian air space. In the plane were, among others, Major General Ehud Barak, deputy to the Commander-in-Chief; Dan Shomron, Chief of Staff; Air Force Commander Avihu Bin-Nun; and the Head of Military Intelligence, Amnon Shahak.” Page 226
• From December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, as the Israeli Defence Minister, Barak led the Gaza massacre that resulted in the murder of around 1400 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
• On 15 September 2009, a report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict was released. The report concluded that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. Following is just one example from the 574 page report, section 1732: “From the facts gathered, the Mission found that the following grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by Israeli forces in Gaza: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. As grave breaches these acts give rise to individual criminal responsibility. The Mission notes that the use of human shields also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Note (Feb 27, 2014): The Canadian corporate media, in its usual complicit and cowardly manner, did not run one single story about the “Open Letter”, although we emailed it to all relevant media outlets in Canada.
Curiously, in contrast to the Canadian media’s silence, many Jewish Zionist media outlets reported it. See:
“The Canadian jewish News” Groups protest Barak visit to Surrey, B.C.
“The Jewish” Canadian Pro-Palestinian Group Protesting Ehud Barak Visit
“JTA” Canadian pro-Palestinian group protesting Ehud Barak visit
“The Jewish Daily Forward” Canadian Pro-Palestinian Group Protests Ehud Barak Visit, Called Former Prime Minister an ‘Israeli War Criminal’
Arutz Sheva “Israel National News” Canada: Anti-Israel Groups Attempt to Prevent Ehud Barak Visit
“Solve Israel’s Problem” Canada: Anti-Israel Groups Attempt to Prevent Ehud Barak Visit