Sunday, March 15, 2009

Speak out for Israel by speaking out against censorship

People who wish to criticize Israel should not be told that they hate Israelis or Jews. Particularly, Jewish Canadians who wish to criticize the Israeli government should not be deemed as self-hating Jews.

When I write about speaking out for Israel, I refer to speaking out for an Israel where the government and citizens respect the equality and human rights of all people who live within Israel and treat Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza with respect that includes the hope of seeking a positive solution to the situation involving the Israelis and Palestinians.

When I write about speaking out against censorship, I write in favour of seeking dialogues among people who are interested in what is happening in the Middle East. I do not need to be told that I cannot use Israel and Apartheid in the same sentence. I do not need to be told that if I say something negative about Israel, I must also say something negative about the Palestinians or other Arabs. Indeed, I will criticize the Palestinians and other Arabs when I feel the need to do so. I do hope that Arabs seek some form of democracy in their countries and accept religious pluralism that includes Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other religious groups. I do hope that the Arab countries improve the human rights and seek equality for women. As for Israel, I don't need people telling me how to frame my "non"-criticism of Israel. I don't need people telling me that I must include how Jews were poorly treated in the Arab countries in 1947-48 and that Israeli-Arabs (or Arab-Israelis) are better treated that Jews are treated in the Arab countries. That might be true. However, I expect that Arab-Israelis will be treated equally to Jews in Israel.

If I wish to call Israel an Apartheid state, that is my choice. If I wish to call for a boycott of goods coming from Israel, that is also my choice. If people wish to call me anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, that is their problem--not mine.

Back in 1992, I voted against the Charlottetown Accord in a federal referendum. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney labelled those who opposed the accord as Enemies of Canada. When I casted my ballot, I was proud to be an enemy of Mulroney's Canada, but not my Canada.

People like myself who wish to criticize Israel do so because we are pro-Israeli and support our Jewish friends. We want to make Israel into a better place for all its citizens and for people living next to Israel. We don't need to be told to shut-up. We need to speak out to make Israel (and Palestine) a better place.

I hope that you will read the op-ed letter that the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star refused to publish. Let your friends know about this letter.

Posted in Rabble-Babble:

This statement was rejected by both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail (as an op-ed). Please help this important statement get into broad circulation - pass it on to your networks (faculty, community, MPs, university presidents, unions etc.). You may also wish to write to the Star and Globe editorials and express your dismay that they have chosen not to publish it.

Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel

James Deutsch, M.D., Ph.D.
Judith Deutsch, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Miriam Garfinkle, M.D.

Over 150 Jewish Canadians signed a statement expressing their concerns aboutthe campaign to suppress criticism of Israel that is being carried on withinCanada. The signatories include many prominent Canadians, including UrsulaFranklin O.C., Anton Kuerti O.C., Naomi Klein, Dr. Gabor Mate, andprofessors Meyer Brownstone (recipient of Pearson Peace Medal), NatalieZemon Davis, Michael Neumann, and Judy Rebick. *

The signatories are particularly concerned that unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism deflect attention from Israel's accountability for what manyhave called war crimes in Gaza. They state that B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have led campaigns to silence criticism of Israel on university campuses, in labor unions and in other groups. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff unquestioningly echo the views of these particular Jewish organizations.

They strongly state that they are against all expressions of racism. While firmly committed to resisting any form of prejudice against Jewish people,their statement explicitly states that these spurious allegations of anti-Semitism bring the anti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. The statement underlines the immeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people due to the severe poverty, daily humiliations, and military invasions inflicted by the State of Israel.

Statement: Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of Israel

We are Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaust legacy "Never again" means never again for all peoples. It is a tragic turn of history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracy and its dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causes immeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.

We are appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations and leading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State of Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges that those organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academic boycott of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring the anti-Communist terror of the1950s vividly to mind. We believe this serves to deflect attention from Israel's flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.

B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have pressured university presidents and administrations to silence debate and discussion specifically regarding Palestine/Israel. In a full-page ad in a national newspaper, B'nai Brith urged donors to withhold funds from universities because "anti-Semitic hate fests" were being allowed on campuses. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have echoed these arguments. While university administrators have resisted demands to shut down Israel Apartheid week, some Ontario university presidents have bowed to this disinformation campaign by suspending and fining students, confiscating posters, and infringing on free speech.

We do not believe that Israel acts in self-defense. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, receiving $3 million/day. It has the fourth strongest army in the world. Before the invasion of Gaza on 27 December 2008, Israel's siege had already created a humanitarian catastrophe there,with severe impoverishment, malnutrition, and destroyed infrastructure. It is crucial that forums for discussion of Israel's accountability to the international community for what many have called war crimes be allowed to proceed unrestricted by specious claims of anti-Semitism.

We recognize that anti-Semitism is a reality in Canada as elsewhere, and we are fully committed to resisting any act of hatred against Jews. At the same time, we condemn false charges of anti-Semitism against student organizations, unions, and other groups and people exercising their democratic right to freedom of speech and association regarding legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.


Abigail Bakan
Adam Balsam
Sharon Baltman
Julia Barnett
Lainie Basman
Jody Berland
Sam Blatt

Geri Blinik
Anita Block
Elizabeth Block
Sheila Block
Hannah Briemberg
Mark Brill
Stephen Brot
Meyer Brownstone
Eliza Burroughs
Smadar Carmon
Gyda Chud
Charles P. Cohen
Nathalie Cohen
David Copeland
Natalie Zemon Davis
Eliza Deutsch
James Deutsch
Judith Deutsch
Abbe Edelson
Jack Etkin
Elle Flanders
Danielle Frank
Ursula Franklin
Dan Freeman-Maloy
Miriam Garfinkle
Alisa Gayle
Jack Gegenberg
Mark Golden
Brenda Goldstein
Sue Goldstein
Cy Gonick
Marnina Gonick
Rachel Gotthilf
Amy Gottleib
Kevin A. Gould
Daina Green
Lisa Frances Greenspoon
Ricardo Grinspun
Cathy Gulkin
Rachel Gurofsky
Deboran Guterman
Yesse Gutman
Freda Guttman
Judy Haiven
Michael Hanna-Fein
Jean Hanson
Jan Heynen
Maria Heynen
Adam Hofmann
Jake Javanshir
Jeannie Kamins
Marylin Kanee
Howard S. Kaplan
Gilda Katz
Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta
Mira Khazzam
Bonnie Sher Klein
Mark Klein
Martin Klein
Naomi Klein
Joshua Katz-Rosene
Ryan Katz-Rosene
Judy Koch
Anton Kuerti
Jason Kunin
Aaron Lakoff
Michael Lambek
Natalie LaRoche
Richard Borshay Lee
Andy Lehrer
Gabriel Levin
Gabriel Levine
Joel Lexchin
Kim Linekin
Abby Lippman
Lee Lorch
Martin Lukacs
Audrey Macklin
Elise Maltin
Richard Marcuse
Wayne Mark
Gabor Mate
Arthur Milner
Anna Miransky
Dorit Naaman
Joanne Naiman
Neil Naiman
Michael Neumann
David-Marc Newman
David Noble
Clare O'Connor
Robin Ostow
Andre W. Payant
Jenny Peto
Simone Powell
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Fabienne Presentey
Yacov Rabkin
Diana Ralph
Naomi Rankin
Judy Rebick
Ester Reiter
Jillian Rogin
Richard Roman
Joseph Rosen
Herman Rosenfeld
Martha Roth
Marty Roth
Ruben Roth
E.Natalie Rothman
B. Sack
Ben Saifer
Miriam Sampaio
Jacob Scheir
Fred Schloessinger
Alan Sears
Shlomit Segal
Edward H. Shaffer
Noa Shaindlinger
Ray Shankman
Eva Sharell
Elliot Shek
Sid Shniad
Max Silverman
Samuel Singer
Elizabeth Solloway
Susan Starkman
Greg Starr
Jonathan Sterne
Jeremy Stolow
Rhonda Sussman
Vera Szoke
Joe Tannenbaum
Howard Tessler
Marion Traub-Werner
Ceyda Turan
Sandra Tychsen
Cheryl Wagner
Jon McPhedran Waitzer
David Wall
Naomi Binder Wall
Kathy Wazana
Karen Weisberg
Barry Weisleder
Paul Weinberg
Judith Weisman
Suzanne Weiss
Abraham Weizfeld
Ernie Yacub
B.H. Yael
Yedida Zalik
Melvin Zimmerman

h/t: Babble, Challenging the Commonplace, and Dawg's Blawg


Rebecca said...


Marc Bernstein said...

So what?
You're still a bigot,a hater of Jews,a hater of Israel,utterly insensitive,biased in the extreme against Jewish people and Israel,and lastly an anti-semite.
You are a typical ignorant ultra left wing radical,with an uncontrolled hatred for Israel and Jews. If you claim to support or supposedly care about Israel,then perhaps you need to educate yourself about the European,Canadian,US and Palestinian / Arab history of racial hatred against Jews.
I have never read any blog by you that speaks out for supportive liberal/reformist\ or progressive Canadian and US Jews such as Dr Arnold Noyek,who has been leading the battle to help those patients in all of the Mid East with severe hearing loss-he has been active,as a true healer-working with doctors in Israel,Egypt,Jordan help those who are so painfully isolated due to tragic hearing loss,or deafness-in fact,Dr Noyek has been honoured by the late King of Jordan for his pioneering work. By the way,I am neither right wing nor left wing,but a humanitarian-like Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine,or Rabbi Naomi Levy. That old cliche: "I am not an anti-semite, I hate Zionists"-typical lies from bigots like you,or Pilgrim,Skip,or Rowan Kelly.
As for my previous rather "poison pen" comments about you Skinny Dipper,I am sorry for the comments but I too have been a victim of anti semitism in the past. I am proud of my religion,of the Jewish culture,of the great titans and progressive humane Jewish great men and women who fought so hard to make the world a better place for humanity: I would include extraordinary people: Paul Muni,Edward G Robinson,David O Selznick,Irving Layton,Leonard Cohen,George Gershwin,The 4 Marx Brothers,the Three Stooges,Felix Mendelssohn,Mahler,Horowitz,Isaac Stern,Yehudi Menuhin,Einstein,Bronislaw Hubermann,Daniel Barenboim,(oh,in passing Skinny Dipper-my opinion frankly is that even if Daniel Barenboim were to become the Prime Minister of Israel and Israel and the Palestians were living together in peace and harmony,with the Palestinians with a state of their own,anti semites like you and this asshole Skip would still rant and rave against Israel.
Finally,the Holocaust must be taught in all schools,Colleges and Universities.
"The Looney Left and their anti-semitic hatred against Israel"-NOT MY words,Skinny Dipper,but Rabbi Michael Lerner's own words.
Knowing that you are indeed an insensitive,biased anti-semite Skinny Dipper,I would suggest that you only read Ezra Pound,listen to Wagner's music,listen to the recordings by notorious anti-semite and Nazi Elly Ney,German pianist,and watch films made by that hater of Jews,Mel Gibson.

Skinny Dipper said...

My apologies for not moderating earlier. I only moderate comments on posts that are about one month old. This is to stop spam.