Jewish Canadians Concerned about Suppression of Criticism of Israel

Background:  IJAN Toronto members, working with other local Jewish activists in Toronto, put together and op-ed piece and collected 161 names of Jewish Canadians within a week, debunking the myth that criticism of the Israeli state is anti-Semitic, or that Israel acts out of self-defense. It also decries recent attacks on Israeli Apartheid week at several Canadian Universities. The statement, “Jewish Canadians Concerned About Suppression of Criticism of Israel.” speaks about the current climate as analogous to the Red Scare of the 1950s. Both the Toronto Star and the national Globe and Mail refused to publish it. The piece was then placed as an “advertisement” in one of the free weekly papers in Toronto, NOW Magazine. It is currently circulating on various lists and websites on the Internet, and may eventually be placed as an advertisement in either the Globe and Mail or the Ottawa Citizen, if more money can be raised. And names keep coming in.

 

Weare Jewish Canadians concerned about all expressions of racism,anti-Semitism, and social injustice. We believe that the Holocaustlegacy “Never again” means never again for all peoples. It is a tragicturn of history that the State of Israel, with its ideals of democracyand its dream of being a safe haven for Jewish people, causesimmeasurable suffering and injustice to the Palestinian people.

Weare appalled by recent attempts of prominent Jewish organizations andleading Canadian politicians to silence protest against the State ofIsrael. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics. Charges thatthose organizing Israel Apartheid Week or supporting an academicboycott of Israel are anti-Semites promoting hatred bring theanti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind. We believe thisserves to deflect attention from Israel’s flagrant violations ofinternational humanitarian law.

B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress have pressured university presidents and
administrationsto silence debate and discussion specifically regardingPalestine/Israel. In a full-page ad in a national newspaper, B’naiBrith urged donors to withhold funds from universities because“anti-Semitic hate fests” were being allowed on campuses. ImmigrationMinister Jason Kenney and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have echoedthese arguments. While university administrators have resisted demandsto shut down Israel Apartheid week, some Ontario university presidentshave bowed to this disinformation campaign by suspending and finingstudents, confiscating posters, and infringing on free speech.

Wedo not believe that Israel acts in self-defense. Israel is the largestrecipient of US foreign aid, receiving $3 million/day. It has thefourth strongest army in the world. Before the invasion of Gaza on 27December 2008, Israel’s siege had already created a humanitariancatastrophe there, with severe impoverishment, malnutrition, anddestroyed infrastructure. It is crucial that forums for discussion ofIsrael’s accountability to the international community for what manyhave called war crimes be allowed to proceed unrestricted by speciousclaims of anti-Semitism.

Werecognize that anti-Semitism is a reality in Canada as elsewhere, andwe are fully committed to resisting any act of hatred against Jews. Atthe same time, we condemn false charges of anti-Semitism againststudent organizations, unions, and other groups and people exercisingtheir democratic right to freedom of speech and association regardinglegitimate criticism of the State of Israel.

 

Signatories:

Abigail Bakan

Adam Balsam

Sharon Baltman

Julia Barnett

Lainie Basman

JodyBerland

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

CyGonick

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

AndyLehrer

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

JudyRebick

Ester Reiter

Jillian Rogin

Richard Roman

Joseph Rosen

Solomon Rosenbaum

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

George Sorger

Susan Starkman

Greg Starr

Jonathan Sterne

Jeremy Stolow

Rhonda Sussman

Vera Szoke

Joe Tannenbaum

Howard Tessler

Marion
Traub-Werner

Ceyda Turan

SandraTychsen

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

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