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March 10, 2010

Zionists attacking Israeli Apartheid Week

The Canadian Charger

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You've got to hand it to whoever is orchestrating the campaign against Israeli Apartheid Week.

The name of the game is simple yet clever: ignore the substance of what the week addresses and turn the issue into one of Israel’s right to exist and of the threat of anti-Semitism. 

The real substance of the week is, of course, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Let’s take, as an example of this campaign, the “unanimous” resolution in the Ontario legislature condemning Israeli Apartheid Week.  Here it is:

“That, in the opinion of this House, the term Israel Apartheid Week is condemned as it serves to incite hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word ‘apartheid’ in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Note that the resolution does not even contain the word “Palestinians.”

The omission is not an accident. 

Paul Shurman, the Tory MPP who introduced the motion, expanded on what he has in mind.  “The use of the phrase ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ is about as close to hate speech as one can get without being arrested, and I’m not certain that it doesn’t actually cross over that line.” 

Very clever and, intentionally, potentially chilling.

Then there is the matter of Shurman’s crocodile tears for the South Africans, certain to be offended by the comparison implied by the term apartheid. 

But that falls flat in the face of the use of the “a” word by Bishop Desmond Tutu and by South African politicians and trade union leaders in their comments about the situation in Palestine.  Who in South Africa is offended?  No matter, the sympathetic nod to real victims of apartheid oozes with “sincerity.”

The timing of the introduction of Shurman’s introduction of his resolution was brilliant. 

He got “unanimous” House approval—with only 30 members of the legislature present at the time, a fact that much of the subsequent hoop-la ignored. 

And the “unanimous” approval met a sharp dissent from NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who condemned Shurman’s “singling out activists. . .shutting down debate.” 

She also committed the ultimate sin of actually talking about the real issue: two ‘viable, independent states” with “no settlements remaining in the Palestinian state; an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.”  That stuff was not on the agenda of the “hate speech” fear mongers. 

Our conspirators have a similar resolution on tap for the House of Commons.  Tory MP Tim Uppal promises to introduce the following, “after consultations with all political parties”:

“That this House considers itself to be a friend of the State of Israel; that this House is concerned about expressions of anti-Semitism under the guise of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week,’ and that this House explicitly condemns any action in Canada as well as internationally that would equate the State of Israel with the rejected and racist policy of apartheid.” 

Again, no mention of Palestinians.

Apartheid apologists have also made inroads to the offices of the Leader of the Opposition. 

Michael Ignatieff declares that “Israeli Apartheid Week is a deliberate attempt to portray the Jewish state as criminal.”  It’s “very premise . . . runs counter to our shared values of mutual respect and tolerance, regardless of nationality, race or creed.”  His statement manages to use the term “anti-Semitism” but you would look in vain for “Palestine” or “Palestinian.”

Ignatieff’s current indignant brush-off of Israeli Apartheid Week is quite a switch from his previous incarnation as an independent thinker.  Here he is in the Guardian in 2002:

‘Two years ago, an American friend took me on a helicopter ride from Jerusalem to the Golan Heights over the Palestinian West Bank.  He wanted to show me how vulnerable Israel was, how the Arabs only had to cross 11 km of land to reach the sea and throw the Israelis into it.  I got this message but I also came away with another one.  When I looked down at the West Bank, at the settlements like Crusader forts occupying the high ground, at the Israeli security cordon along the Jordan river closing off the Palestinian lands from Jordan, I knew I was not looking down at a state or the beginnings of one, but at a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control.”

One of David Lloyd George’s put-downs comes to mind: “He has sat on the fence for so long that the iron has entered his soul.”  Truly Michael Ignatieff is the Hamlet of Canadian politics.

It is not just the politicians who are into this game.  Take the words of journalist Leonard Stern. 

His wisdom was so noteworthy that both the Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette gave it prominence.  It appears that Israel is a fine, tolerant country where gay rights are respected, quite unlike what happens in Arab countries.  Yet, in Canada there is gay activism for Israeli Apartheid Week.  What ingrates! 

And by the way, the word Palestinians is missing from his screed. 

It becomes clear that there is a well-orchestrated campaign of disinformation to confuse people as to what Israeli Apartheid Week is about. 

The essence of the campaign is to try to deflect attention away from the issue of Israeli treatment of Palestinians by dragging out the red herring of anti-Semitism.  Politicians are jumping on this bandwagon, journalists as well.  The conspirators must be pleased and proud.

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M. Elmasry

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