November 20th, 2014

Stance on Gaza crisis isn’t Canada ‘at our very best’


By Letter to the Editor on August 3, 2014.

Current Israeli-Gaza violence is being utilized by the Conservative Party of Canada through circulating an email as “the only party that stands with Israel.” In it those calling Israel’s self-defence measures “blind and cruel,” criticizing Israeli actions, are termed “anti-Semitic terrorists and extremists.” It concludes with the request to “forward this email to your friends and ask them to add their support?” through http://www.conserv

ative.ca/?page_id=4808.

One group of Canadians, Independent Jewish Voices, “urges the Israeli government to change course and seek a diplomatic route to the current conflict – one based on the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties. As a starting point, Israel must end its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip and urges “that Canada should provide the means to give specialist medical assistance to Palestinian civilians caught up in the conflict, most of whom are UN-recognized refugees.”

The Conservative Party’s stand with Israel is unquestioning of a seven-year illegal blockade of Gaza, employment of extremely harmful illegal weapons in bombings and a totally disproportionate impact on civilian populations.

The statement made that the Conservative view of standing with Israel without criticism “is Canada at our very best” is erroneous.

Canada “at our very best” would be doing that which the Independent Jewish Voices argue for: providing medical assistance and negotiating the end of the blockade.

Joe Hueglin

Niagara Falls, Ont.

18 Responses to “Stance on Gaza crisis isn’t Canada ‘at our very best’”

  1. Christ Lover says:

    Excellent letter Joe.

    To accuse those of us of moral conscience who are appalled by Harper’s blind right-wing, hardline Zionism of anti-Semitism overlooks the fact that a large number of Jews, mostly outside of Israeli, are themselves disgusted by the atrocities being committed in their name by an ethnocentric, racist state.

    Here is a link to an eye-opening article published in the Independent about Gideon Levy, author of the “Punishment of Gaza.” Levy is a Jew, an Israeli citizen who has been exposing the inhuman, atrocious conditions of the Palestinians on the ground living under Israeli occupation. It as damning as it is shocking.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/is-gideon-levy-the-most-hated-man-in-israel-or-just-the-most-heroic-2087909.html

    Here is a short excerpt from the article:

    “In the summer of 2003, he was travelling in a clearly marked Israeli taxi on the West Bank. He explains: ‘At a certain stage the army stopped us and asked what we were doing there. We showed them our papers, which were all in order. They sent us up a road – and when we went onto this road, they shot us. They directed their fire to the centre of the front window. Straight at the head. No shooting in the air, no megaphone calling to stop, no shooting at the wheels. Shoot to kill immediately. If it hadn’t been bullet-proof, I wouldn’t be here now. I don’t think they knew who we were. They shot us like they would shoot anyone else. They were trigger-happy, as they always are. It was like having a cigarette. They didn’t shoot just one bullet. The whole car was full of bullets. Do they know who they are going to kill? No. They don’t know and don’t care.’

    “He shakes his head with a hardened bewilderment. ‘They shoot at the Palestinians like this on a daily basis. You have only heard about this because, for once, they shot at an Israeli.'”

    We should seriously consider the human cost — the death and destruction — that Harper’s myopic, ideologically and religiously motived stance has made us complicit to as Canadian citizens.

  2. zulu1 says:

    There are, of course, two sides to every story. Meanwhile , the leader of Hamas, reputedly, a billionaire, sits in Qatar, directing operations, using his own people as human shields, concrete destined for school construction, used instead, to build tunnels, for terrorist raids into Israel.

    When you vote for a terrorist government, you can expect to die by the sword.

    Harper is right to support Israel.

  3. Christ Lover says:

    A few points:

    (1) Israel itself strengthened Hamas to offset the growing power of the PLO in the 90s. This is a well known fact. The problem is that whoever is elected by the Palestinian will be likely accused of terrorism.

    (2) Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields is highly debatable. This was the argument used during the last Gaza invasion but Amnesty International found it to be to false. As for this time around, The New York Times declared that “There is no evidence that Hamas and other militants force civilians to stay in areas that are under attack.” And Jeremy Bowen of the The BBC’s Middle East editor confessed, “I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.”

    (3) Hamas itself has grown in power because of the desperation of the Palestinian people. To quote Levy from the article I referred to above,

    “Why do they [i.e. the so-called "friends of Israel"] have to give the fundamentalists more excuses, more fury, more opportunities, more recruits? Look at Gaza. Gaza was totally secular not long ago. Now you can hardly get alcohol today in Gaza, after all the brutality. Religious fundamentalism is always the language people turn to in despair, if everything else fails. If Gaza had been a free society it would not have become like this. We gave them recruits.”

    (4) As for the theocratic vision of Hamas and the Islamists in general, how different is that from the Christian Right? They are both enemies in the mirror. Stephen Harper’s ideological orientations are not so different from that of the Muslim fundamentalists he decries with such self-righteous indignation.

    • jill0122 says:

      In multiple news reports from Gaza mosques, and even news reports, Imams and Hamas officials encourage human shields; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWQQFJXMrg4 . Reporters have admitted that they lie about what they see because the truth will get them killed and/or banned from Gaza. I’ve seen several clips from authorities on human shields I’d be glad to send the BBC! Hamas has grabbed power by brainwashing then uniting the populace in hatred of Jews and Israel. And Gaza was never secular! The vast majority are Muslim with a small Christian group that is also confused about truth as they also have been raised on lies through the schools. Islam is so far removed from the Christian right that this comment is both offensive and ludicrous. Islam plans on taking over the world and anyone who refuses to embrace Islam will be decapitated or forced to pay a jizya tax. In Iraq right now thousands of Christians are fleeing from Cities like Mosul where they have a 2000 year history, and churches up to 1800 years old have been bombed. Across the middle East thousands of Christians are raped and killed, Across Europe, Country after Country is being destroyed as soon as the Muslim population is large enough to wreak havoc. Sweden is now the 2nd highest nation for rape; almost 100% attributed to the Muslim immigrants. As Muslims gain strength, they demand Sharia law be imposed. In London there is Sharia in several wards now! Women are treated like possessions, and the Koran even encourages that wives be regularly be beat. Girls as young as 5 are married to older men, following Mohammed’s lead when he married 6 yr old Aisha, culminating the marriage when she turned 9 (he was 54). In many areas female circumcision is forced, forever altering the women’s lives. I could write books on the brutality of Islam. I have the utmost respect for Harper.

  4. Lethrez says:

    I completely agree with zulu1. Here is a link to the “main points” of the Hamas Charter (Covenant), the party Palestine elected. It includes such gems as:

    ‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’

    ‘[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.’

    ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’

    http://fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/880818a.htm

    Seems to be an updated version of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and the genocide he committed. How can one be considered wrong and the other not?

    Thank you, Harper, for speaking out in support of Israel.

  5. Christ Lover says:

    You are basically saying that religious bigotry and fascism in its Judeo-Christian guise — Christian Zionism and Likkud Fascism (what Harper and his accolades religiously subscribe to) – is acceptable, while that of our Islamist interlocutors is not, that we are too decry their fundamentalist theocrats while propping up and supporting milder versions of our own is okay.

    Besides, the argument is a convenient way to ignore the fact that innocent people, women and children who have and had nothing to do with bringing Hamas into power, just paid an unbelievable price. That is the crux of the problem. Israel was just responsible for a massacre, a genocide which some voices within Israel went so far as to acknowledge and even support *as a genocide.*

    The question is why such an ethnic cleansing of innocents is not only tolerated but endorsed by Mr. Harper and the Conservatives, the representatives of what is supposed to be a secular Canadian democracy made up of a beautiful mosaic of different cultures and religions. 80% of the casualties in the Israeli attack – almost 1600 people so far – were innocents, not Hamas officials, some of whom were even Christian, yes Arab Christians.

    Hamas comprises religious extremists, yes, and I am not one to defend them, but to turn this into an issue about Islamic fundamentalism also completely overlooks the fact that even the most secular, non-religious expressions of Palestinian self-governance over the last 60 years have been met with brutal Israeli violence and repression. And it also is to overlook, incidentally, that the Israeli state is far from a benign and liberal democracy for all. It is instead a Jewish state meant for Jews and which privileges Jews over gentiles. Is that what Canada should be supporting? Perhaps if you endorse religious bigotry of the Judeo-Christian persuasion, but decry it in very other religious form. Let us try to be a little more consistent in our values.

    This is what Gideon Levy, a brave soul, says in the article which I cite above about Israeli democracy:

    “How can you say it [Israel] is a democracy when, in 62 years, there was not one single Arab village established? I don’t have to tell you how many Jewish towns and villages were established. Not one Arab village. How can you say it’s a democracy when research has shown repeatedly that Jews and Arabs get different punishments for the same crime? How can you say it’s a democracy when a Palestinian student can hardly rent an apartment in Tel Aviv, because when they hear his accent or his name almost nobody will rent to him? How can you say Israel is a democracy when… Jerusalem invests 577 shekels a year in a pupil in [Palestinian] East Jerusalem and 2372 shekels a year in a pupil from [Jewish] West Jerusalem. Four times less, only because of the child’s ethnicity! Every part of our society is racist.”

    • jill0122 says:

      You spout lies, and I guess you think that if the terminology sounds educated enough you should be believed. You’ve repeated every outrageous claim the PA has put out! There has NEVER been ethnic cleansing; another lie promoted by Hamas, and picked up by media or nut jobs like Gideon; who has a warped personalty and mental problems as most of what he has said are lies. There aren’t any supporters of the genocide lie, except those who believe the Palestinian propaganda machine. I have connections in many areas of Israel and most of what he has said is a lie. Israeli Arabs have the same rights and education as any Jew does. And the only time cars are shot at, is if they refuse to stop or speed through a checkpoint. btw, Jews will rent to Muslim Arabs. Arabs won’t rent/sell to a Jew. THAT is the truth. If a Muslim does and is caught, they could be “honor killed”.

  6. Incal says:

    Here’s the posted text of Stephen Harper’s statement July 13:

    “The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.

    “Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.

    “Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

    “Canada reiterates its call for the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the Iranian proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
    (http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/07/13/statement-prime-minister-canada-response-situation-israel)

    You’ll observe a statement and stand of principle. What evidence, C-L, makes this the fruit of (ahem):

    “religious bigotry and fascism in its Judeo-Christian guise — Christian Zionism and Likkud Fascism (what Harper and his accolades religiously subscribe to).”

    Why would you assert that’s true?

    • Truth Seeker says:

      I cannot speak for Christ Lover here, but Mr. Harper’s beliefs are well known. No one would disagree with the claim that he is a Conservative Christian Zionist, our own Canadian version of the likes of G. Bush Jr., Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, etc.

      The “fascism” part … granted that is a bit strong.

      • jill0122 says:

        Harper has merely supported the only democratic nation of the Middle East. Hamas has stolen the bulk of the aid money and used it to buy weapons and rockets; 19,000 that have been sent into Israel since 2005. There is NO Country that would tolerate this! Bravo Harper!

  7. Comments2 says:

    I am glad to see Israel getting support from the Canadian Government, it’s one of the first things I think Mr. Harper has done right…

  8. Truth Seeker says:

    It is too bad you cannot be proud of Mr. Harper for all his other great accomplishments. Let me give you a list of everything we should give him trophy for at the end of his term…

    1) Anti-Environmentalism
    3) Helping Canadian Mining Companies Destroy the Earth
    4) Lying About the War in Afghanistan
    5) Supporting Illegal Settlements in Israel
    6) Lobbying for Dirty Oil
    7) Indifference to Haitian Suffering
    8) Blocking Arms Controls
    9) Backing Latin American Coups

    I am of course being sarcastic here. His views of the Palestinian-Israeli problems are just a part of his larger Conservative base philosophy.

    • jill0122 says:

      I’m impressed with most of what Harper has done. I will only address one issue on a list where I’d like to refute all! The term “Illegal Settlements in Israel” is wrong as International law clearly states that land won defending your Country; becomes yours. Nevermind that it was illegally seized by war when attacking Israel in 1948! Judea and Samaria were Jewish, yet Israel was willing to give up most of this for peace! Instead, Abbas and Hamas refuse to acknowledge Israels right to exist, making sure there is no peace. Israel has every right to build.

  9. petie150513 says:

    But what will the Harper do about this? The recently released news item that doctors and hospitals in Ontario have opened their arms and are willing to treat the most severely wounded and ill children from this “conflict”? It rests on the Harper Government of Canada (TM), to give the children visas to receive the medical care they need here.

    The true test of the Harper Government of Canada (TM) is “their” decision on this point. Canada used to be known as a peace-keeping nation and that spirit is surely evidenced in the actions of the medical personnel in Ontario who are among the best in the world to treat children. What will PM Harper do about this? Will he turn away those children because he supports the state of Israel at all costs? Will he invoke his evangelical perspective on our country and the world?

    Murdering children because they are the next generation of your enemy is a tactic older than biblical times. One would think that Israeli citizens would be aware of that fact.

  10. George McCrea says:

    Well, where does one start with this one. Maybe Hamas could stop using their children as human shields, building underground tunnels, whacking Israel teenagers and get on with building a viable country. Hey can start with the 47 million Obama just gave them. Health care is a provincial jurisdiction so the Doctors et al can pretty much promise anything they want without fear of reprisal as they will probably be told to get stuffed by the recently elected Liberal majority government. However it is a possibility that Wynns government will continue it’s propensity of borrowing itself into oblivion. As for the immigration part well anyone can apply.This is how we secure borders unlike the free for all on the Rio Grand. Ever wonder why at the northern border you get the third degree and at the southern border they are entering unquestioned. I would suggest that 99% of us canucks pose no threat. A recipe for disaster we don’t need here becauseof tthe Harper derengement syndrom.

  11. Truth Seeker says:

    What seems to be lost in so many of these debates, as much as we want to blame Hamas, is that the founding fathers of the Zionist nation had no intention of ever sharing the land with the Arab residents of the land.

    To quote David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, from a 1937 letter he wrote to his son,

    “A partial Jewish state is not the end, but only the beginning. The establishment of such a Jewish state will serve as a means in our historical efforts to redeem the country in its entirety. . . . We shall organize a modern defense force . . .and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. . . . We will expel the Arabs and take their places . . . with the force at our disposal.”

    And in 1938, Ben-Gurion told a Zionist meeting, and I quote once again,

    “I favor partition of the country because when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine.”

    Palestine, as understood by these Zionists, included not only the West Bank and Jerusalem, but also Syria’s Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, and most of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

    So basically peace with the Arabs of the land was never a goal, as long as they wanted a share of their own territory.


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