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.
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association