OFIP open letter to hon. Jim Carr: “How does criticism of Israel pose a threat to public safety and national security in Canada? See his answer.

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

On June 8th, the Federal Government Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security issued a report on violent extremism in Canada. One of its 30 recommendations called for the government to “condemn” strong criticism of Israel on Canadian campuses. How criticism of Israel might be related to violent extremism was not clear. OFIP wrote an open letter to Mr. Carr asking for an explanation. His answer was less than satisfactory. Read more…

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Is “anti-Palestinian racism” a real thing? A report by the Arab Canadian Lawyers’ Association explores the issue

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

High school students in Ottawa protested last May against a school board policy which officially “supports multiculturalism”, but won’t allow expressions of Palestinian identity in schools as “too political”. The Arab Canadian Lawyers’ Association calls this anti-Palestinian racism,“a form of anti-Arab racism that silences, excludes, erases, stereotypes, defames or dehumanizes Palestinians or their narratives“. Watch my interview with ACLA Chair Dania Majid….

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A Canadian first: University of Waterloo launches a “Foundation for Palestinian Studies”

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

Flags of Canada, Palestine and the University of Waterloo grace the stage on the May 24 launch of the university’s new “Foundation for Palestinian Studies” at a gala event attended by over a hundred academics, university administrators, former diplomats and others. The foundation is the brainchild of Shawky Fahel, a Palestinian Canadian businessman with the support of private donors and the University itself. In a short video interview, Fahel explains the origin of his idea. Read more…

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Pressure mounts for Canada to endorse International Criminal Court investigation of murder of Palestinian journalist

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

Alberta's only non-Conservative MP in a 'difficult place' balancing  provincial and federal interests | The Star

Minister, I ask your government to support the request to refer this case to the ICC,” wrote NDP foreign affairs critic Heather Macpherson in a letter to Global Affairs minister Melanie Joly. “We can not and should not rely on the Israeli military to investigate itself.” Read more….

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Is it time to blow the whistle on the Israel lobby’s scare-mongering about anti-semitism in Canada?

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

A pamphlet (excerpted above) was used to warn Ontario voters about the rising danger of anti-Semitism in Ontario. Along with the text there is a photo showing angry demonstrators holding a sign saying “Holocaust = Great lie”. But the photo is of a demonstration that took place in Iran… 16 years ago. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is using the scare of a rebirth of anti-Semitism in Canada for another reason, to dampen the rising criticism of Israel. Read more…

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What’s behind the Trudeau government proposal to criminalize “Holocaust denial”?

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

Prime Minister Trudeau at the opening of the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa 2015.

The Trudeau government slipped a little-noticed line item into the budget which, if passed this month, will have the effect of criminalizing the act of “denying, or diminishing the impact of the Holocaust”. What is behind the idea? Is there a upsurge in Holocaust denial recently, or is there another reason? Read more….

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Significant win at Canadian Food Inspection Agency: “settlement wine” is not “product of Israel”

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

After a half decade long legal battle, David Kattenburg has won his case that wines produced by Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian Territory cannot be labelled as “product of Israel”. While the amount of wine at stake was rather small, he faced huge opposition from the Israeli government, the Israel lobby in Canada and the Canadian government itself. In a short video interview, Kattenburg explains what was behind the stiff opposition. Watch the interview and read more.

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Why is the Israel lobby in Canada conducting a scare-mongering political campaign against a Palestinian Canadian?

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

The Israel lobby has launched a full throated attack on a Palestinian Canadian, insinuating that he is an anti-semitic and dangerous terrorist. What is their evidence, and why are they doing this? And why now? OFIP Chair Peter Larson interviews Khalid Barakat in Vancouver about the attack. Read more and watch the interview.

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“The Israeli military now seems to feel it has carte blanche”: Tony Burman, former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC News

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

Al Jazeera reporter Shireen abu Akleh was killed on May 11th covering an Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp in the Occupied Palestinian territories. According to journalist Tony Burman, former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC News, her death fits into a pattern of “threats and intimidation’ by Israel against journalists trying to cover the Israel/Palestine conflict. Read more and see my interview with Burman…..

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On Anti-Zionist Jews and Anti-Zionist Judaism

Shalom Rav

As I’ve written previously, this past March my synagogue Tzedek Chicago, following a long process of membership deliberation,announcedour decision to articulate anti-Zionism as a congregational core value. As I/we fully anticipated, the response to our move has been powerful, ranging from deep appreciation to vicious denunciation – with very little in between.

Needless to say, the issue of anti-Zionism has become something of a third rail in the Jewish community over the past few years. There have been increasingly vociferous calls from the Israeli government, Israel advocates and Jewish institutions to label anti-Zionism as antisemitism; just this past week, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt devoted an entire speech to this issue at the ADL’s National Leader’s Summit. In truth, our congregation’s decision to affirm anti-Zionism was partly motivated by this phenomenon. As our board statement explained, the tenor of the current moment has made the need…

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