By Letter to the Editor on May 18, 2017.
I was surprised and disappointed to see the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) hosted a speaker – Mohammed Abushaban – who, according to The Herald, veered into conspiracy theories and mused about the end of Israel and its replacement with a single, Muslim country dominating the Middle East.
For an organization that prides itself on fostering constructive debate, it is beneath the dignity of the SACPA to host a speaker with such bizarre and extreme views. Perhaps those who fantasize about Israel being wiped from the map are reflective of the very reason why peace remains elusive. While this may be the prevailing view in much of the Middle East, it is appalling to hear it in Canada under the guise of intelligent discourse.
The Jewish community of Calgary and southern Alberta cherishes meaningful dialogue and looks forward to the day when Israelis and Palestinians will know peace, reconciliation, and mutual acceptance. This is why we urge the SACPA to select speakers in future who embody these principles – rather than those who recycle a distorted, blame-oriented narrative that clouds the path to peace.
Jeffrey L. Smith
Chair, Community Relations, Calgary Jewish Federation
Local Partner, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
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