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Will the Palestinians Accept Their Own State?

Huffington Post

Avi Benlolo

Will the Palestinians Accept Their Own State?

Posted: 9/18/11 11:59 PM ET

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World leaders are bracing themselves this week for a storm at the United Nations to be unleashed by the Palestinian Authority in its demand for a Palestinian state.

Visiting with community leaders in Toronto, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Avigdor Lieberman stressed that Western nations need to understand that Israel is on the front lines defending Western democracy. “Our security problem is your security problem… if you want to survive, you must support us. The Jewish state is fighting for the entire western world” Lieberman said.

Surrounded by hostile Arab countries, Israel is indeed on the front lines of the fight to preserve fundamental Western values of democracy, freedom and human rights. Even with the Arab Spring now taking hold in parts of the Middle East, there are few emerging signs that rights and freedoms are taking hold — particularly as they relate to women and homosexuals.

Some hoped the Arab Spring would liberate the Muslim world from its incessant hatred of Israel and true peace would take hold in the Middle East. But the situation looks grim especially after the last couple of weeks that saw a diplomatic tussle — Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador; the Israeli embassy in Cairo was torched and its diplomats airlifted home; and as a ‘precautionary measure,’ Israel recalled its ambassador to Jordan.

The Palestinian’s ultimate vision, said Lieberman is to “destroy the Jewish state of Israel.” The Palestinians have given Israel little reason to think otherwise. Surely, if they wanted a peaceful resolution comprised of a two-state solution they would embrace Israel rather than unapologetically refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Palestinians, Lieberman said, have rebuffed every offer given to them for an independent state, including the Camp David Summit in 2000 (where over 91 per cent of the West Bank and 100 per cent of Gaza was offered to Arafat) and recently, a more extensive offer by the Olmert/Livni government was rejected by current Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Even Ariel Sharon tried a different approach in 2005 by painfully vacating Gaza and uprooting Israeli towns to help the Palestinians see their dream of a state.

Like many Israelis, Lieberman believes that everything has been tried and that Israel must “change its concept entirely.” What that concept might be will depend on what happens at the UN this week.

But it is unclear what the Palestinians will gain. They have already refused every overture made to them for a Palestinian state, including the 1947 UN partition plan for a Jewish and a Palestinian state. Ironically, unable to take Israel by force, they are running back to the same world body they rejected 64 years ago.

What is clear however is that they still want the whole enchilada. Maybe one day they will learn what every three-year-old already knows — how to share.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/avi-benlolo/palestine-israel_b_969052.html

Democratic protest defines ‘tent city’ revolution in Israel

Democratic protest defines ‘tent city’ revolution in Israel

 August 5, 2011

By Avi Benlolo

President and CEO, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

 

One hot Saturday night in July, I stood in Tel Aviv in the centre of a new revolution that was completely remarkable and yet, at the same time, utterly typical of Israeli society. Taking hold of the tiny country this summer is the ongoing “tent revolution,” comprised of middle class Israelis who are troubled by the cost of living and have been camping out in tents all over the country to protest their inability to afford the sky rocketing prices of homes.

 

What I witnessed was a new 30+ generation of women and men who want to pave a strong future for themselves in Israel. They want to be able to afford homes to raise their families and set down stronger roots in their home land.  The site of one hundred thousand young Israelis marching for a cause to strengthen their ties and improve their lives in Israel was exhilarating.

 

Representing a cross-section of the country, the protesters are educated, articulate, well dressed and employed - many in well-paying positions. They are, in other words, the heart and soul of middle class Israel today.

 

What is particularly unique about this protest is that it is apparently spontaneous, unplanned and apolitical; the protesters organized themselves on Facebook. And, though they are turning to the government for help, most do not seem to be blaming the government. While voices across the political spectrum in Israel are weighing in on the tent protests, the problem is far too complex and far reaching to punish any one person or entity.

 

Exercising their right to demonstrate, the protesters were peaceful, jovial and determined.  They called for “social justice” in an effort to bring attention to their plight and to improve their standard of living.  With most apartments in Israel starting at more than $350,000, most young Israeli families believe the dream of owning their own home is just impossible. 

 

Still, Israel’s unemployment rate at approximately 6 per cent is quite low in comparison to America’s at 9.2 per cent and Canada’s at 7.4 per cent.  With its economy booming, Israel hardly flinched during the 2008 world economic slow down. The real estate market simply cannot keep pace with demand.

 

Israeli frustration is not dissimilar to that experienced by middle class Americans confronted by the realities of an ever widening socioeconomic gap.  As Arianna Huffington writes in her new book “Third World America,” more Americans are feeling that no matter their level of education they cannot get ahead.

 

Demonstrations are a common occurrence in Israeli society.  On any given day, somewhere in the country, concerned voices are expressing their opinions, as they continue to do this year on hot summer nights in Tel Aviv.

 

 

- 30 -

Pride Toronto

Dear Friends:

Although we are still gathering and synthesizing information, our on the ground-reporter, feedback from gay-rights activists and distillation of media reports, photos, video and social networking sites indicates minimal anti-Israel activity at today’s Pride.  Some of our friends reported they did not see any anti-Israel banners or flyers being handed out from Friday to Sunday. If this distillation remains accurate, Pride organizers and the City of Toronto will be commended for making every effort to stem the tide of anti-Israel rhetoric at today’s event.

However, old habits die hard, and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QUAIA) found it difficult to stay out of the limelight today.  In the only known incident QUAIA dropped a 40 foot banner from the Wellesley Subway Station calling for gays to “support Palestinian queers” and boycott tourism to Israel. It is difficult to comprehend why it would risk a stunt that would aggravate the city and jeopardize Pride.  http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/QuAIA_drops_banner_from_Wellesley_subway_station-10428.aspx

In contrast, the Dyke March on Saturday, attended by thousands of people,  had strong anti-Israel sentiment. One marcher, for example, was wrapped in a poster that said, “Dyke Against Israeli Apartheid”.   Large banners were also seen with the words, “we stand with queers in Palestine” – funny enough, Israel is indeed the only country in the Middle East that does, but the marchers would lead you to believe the exact opposite is true! Our investigator recorded them in the Dyke March chanting, “We’re sexy, we’re hot, Israeli Apartheid’s not,” using a phrase that they were explicitly warned about by Toronto’s City Council. You can see the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgp4lrZsX1s

The Star is reporting that Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is calling to axe city funding of Pride Week after he says he captured an anti-Israeli group chanting the controversial phrase, “Israeli Apartheid”.  You can see a video of Mammoliti at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o9UPW7M8_g.  In the video, a group is shouting, “we are anti-occupation, we’re here, we’re queer”. 

 

Meanwhile, while everyone was watching Pride, an Islamic religious conference was held in Toronto this weekend at the Toronto Convention Center.  Xtra! Magazine (a gay and lesbian newspaper) said the conference hosts a series of controversial speakers who have called for the death of gays, Jews and Christians.  Perhaps the anger of QUAIA et al should have been directed toward the conference rather than Israel? 

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center will continue synthesizing information in the coming days.  The above information is based on what we have currently ascertained.  It may change should new information emerge. Pride is an important celebration for our city and our interest is for its continued success while ensuring it does not become another vehicle for hate and intolerance against Israel and the Jewish people.

Avi Benlolo: The Middle East’s hot September

National Post Jun 20, 2011 – 8:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 17, 2011 5:58 PM ET

By Avi Benlolo

President Kennedy, in his first meeting with Soviet premier Khrushchev during a period of high tension between the superpowers, remarked wryly that the countries faced a cold winter ahead. Between the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the UN-sponsored Durban III hate conference and the Palestinian Authority’s planned unilateral declaration of an independent state, this coming September is looking like the start of a very hot fall.

In that month, New York City will unwillingly play host to a convergence of assemblies and events that have not only soured the advancement of civilization over the last decade, but furthered the regression in humanity’s effort to promote tolerance, justice and human rights immediately following the Second World War.

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 will undoubtedly bring back many deep-seated emotions. Last month’s impromptu celebration at Ground Zero over Osama bin Laden’s death revealed the simmering and not-yet-absorbed animosity toward both the 9/11 mastermind and al-Qaeda, while last year’s controversy over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” left bitterly polarizing feelings between those who believe it is inappropriate to have a mosque near Ground Zero and others who argued that building it would showcase American values of freedom and tolerance.

That same ideal of tolerance is not, however, afforded to Israel by the tyrants of the United Nations a few miles up the street from Ground Zero. The UN’s 66th Session will kick off just two days after New York holds its 9/11 commemoration. In the last few years, the General Assembly has been graced by the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose support for the stoning of women earned the country a spot on the UN Commission on the Status of Women and Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, now a wanted man by the International Criminal Court.

Worse is yet to come. On September 22, the UN has scheduled a “high-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration.” In other words, the UN will be commemorating a vile anti-Israel (and outright anti-Semitic) hatefest that Canada proudly refused to participate in.

Concluding only three days prior to 9/11, the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa provoked outrage beyond belief. The U.S. and Israel followed Canada out midway through the conference over a draft resolution that singled out Israel and accused it of racism, while ignoring the very real atrocities that led to the revolutions convulsing the Arab world today.

Durban ended on a sour note and in a 2009 follow up review conference, Canada, Israel, the U.S., New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and Australia refused to participate. Canada was the first to declare its non-participation in Durban III followed by a similar announcement from President Obama this month.

Of course, Durban III will probably know better than to use the same language in New York that they felt comfortable using in South Africa: “For the liberation of Quds, machine guns based on faith and Islam must be used” and “The martyr’s blood irrigates the tree of revolution in Palestine.”

The September rage in New York may continue with a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state voted on by the UN’s General Assembly (should such a resolution be introduced). In a New York Times column, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas argued “there is tremendous value for all Palestinians” in this recognition.

“Recognition would internationalize and change the legal status of the conflict. It would also allow the Palestinians to pursue claims against Israel at international bodies, including the International Court of Justice,” he said. In other words, a UN vote of approval would enhance and strengthen law-fare against Israel intended to bring about the demise of the Jewish state in the international community.

Such a resolution would do little to improve the lives of the Palestinians and Israelis living within range of each other’s weapons, but it would complicate Israel’s diplomacy and undermine the peace process. President Obama has thankfully pledged to veto any Security Council resolution, but Abbas clearly intends to ask the UN for what he has not been able to get at the bargaining table with Israel.

In the quiet months ahead, as most of us enjoy time off, the world’s diplomats will be busy indeed. The future of the Middle East hangs in the balance. And it appears that September will be the moment of decision.

National Post

Avi Benlolo is a human rights activist and president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.

Netanyahu Scores Home Run for Israel

Netanyahu Scores Home Run for Israel

Avi Benlolo, President & CEO, FSWC

May 24, 2011

 

Logic always wins the day. Speaking to Congress this morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave clear and concise arguments to reinforce Congress’ support for Israel. With about a dozen standing ovations throughout and a warm reception upon his arrival, anyone concerned about the strength of the US-Israel relationship should cast their doubts aside.

 

Netanyahu made strong and pivotal arguments stating that Israel has been and will be America’s best ally.  America, Netanyahu said, need not waste its energy and resources on building a democratic alliance in Israel – Israel, like America is already a democracy.

 

In fact, Netanyahu argued, with the ground shifting in the Middle East, only one country remains stable and secure - the State of Israel.  And, of the 300 million Arabs living in the Middle East, only one State has granted 1 million Arabs freedom and democracy for decades, the State of Israel. 

 

Referring to a protestor in the room who tried to shout him down, Netanyahu welcomed “the young lady”.  You can do that in Israel and America, Netanyahu said - but try protesting in Iran or Tunisia.

 

In Israel, Netanyahu said, you need not worry about being stoned to death or having acid thrown at your face.

 

On the issue of the peace process, Netanyahu reminded Congress that Israelis are not foreign occupiers.  This land has been the home land of the Jewish people for more than 4000 years.

 

"No distortion of history can deny the bond between the Jewish people and the land."

 

Netanyahu warned congress to take action on Iran.  He said Iran will soon be able to put a nuclear weapon on a warhead, in a subway or in a container.  In 2003, Iran stopped its Nuclear work when it thought the US would attack it. That was the only time said Netanyahu.

 

Netanyahu held to his steadfast belief that Jerusalem shall remain the undivided capital of the Jewish State.  That he is willing to make some generous compromises on the 1967 borders - but not retreat wholly to the borders since they do not reflect facts on the ground (land swaps)  A Palestinian state will come through a negotiated process and  not by other mean said Netanyahu.

 

"The Middle East conflict, said Netanyahu, is not about the establishment of a Palestinian state, but about the existence of a Jewish state".  He urged Palestinian President Abbas to stand before his people (as Netanyahu did before Israel) and say, "I will accept a Jewish state".

Zionism is Freedom

May 10, 2011

Zionism is Freedom

By Avi Benlolo, President & CEO, FSWC

This week marks the 63rd anniversary of the birth of modern Israel, a country born of the Jewish longing for freedom based on a philosophy called Zionism. Zionism is a secular Jewish political movement conceived by an Austro-Hungarian journalist named Theodore Herzl in 1896 to liberate Jews from the tyranny of anti-Semitism through the establishment of a Jewish state.  It was the notorious French Dreyfus Affair in the late 1890’s, in which a French Jewish army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany, that inflamed Herzl to write The Jewish State and plan the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897.   

Despite his secular background and early indifference to his Jewish heritage, Herzl was a reporter and seemed to recognize the dangers that lay in store for the Jews of Europe.  Had his dream of a reborn Jewish homeland been realized by 1939, the targeted slaughter of six million European Jews might not have happened.  Herzl argued the Jews needed a haven, a protectorate where they could be free from the ravages of the timeless anti-Semitism that informed the Spanish Inquisition, eastern European pogroms and, later, the Holocaust; as history has shown, he was correct.

It was the Zionist ideal that returned the Jewish people from exile to the modern state of Israel sixty-three years ago.  Zionism reclaimed the ancient Jewish homeland and liberated millions of Jews from the shackles of hate and anti-Semitism.  And it was Zionism that established freedom and democracy for all people in the new State of Israel.

In fact, freedom was a central tenet in The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.  On May 14, 1948, its leaders declared: “it (the state) will be based on freedom, justice and peace…; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

Sixty-three years later, it is clear that Israel has lived up to those lofty values. Surrounded by enemies committed to its destruction, all Israeli citizens nevertheless share the same freedoms and participate in the same democratic political process. Zionism may be criticised by those who despise Israel, especially communists, fascists and other leftist anti-Semites.  But it is Zionism that established Israel as an island of human rights and democracy in the Middle East. Today, as Arabs across the Middle East rise up against tyranny in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Iran, the principles of Zionism have been vindicated; unlike elsewhere in the region, no matter your religion, political opinion, or sexual orientation, you will never be murdered by the government in cold blood on the streets in Israel.

And despite its existential challenges and naysayers, Israel, built by refugees fleeing persecution and immigrants yearning to live freely as Jews in the world’s only Jewish nation, is stronger than ever.  Over 3.4 million tourists visited Israel in 2010; its economy ranks 24th in the world; its military might and innovation continues to build and improve; its per capita income ($29,500) is among the best in the world and its unemployment rate is only 6.2% - far below most western nations and its regional block.  In fact, the recent global economic meltdown barely touched Israel at all. With over 90% internet usage, 7,500 patent application filings, the third most scientific papers per capita and ongoing technological and medical innovations, the future for Israel is bright and its strength underestimated by its enemies.

Theodore Herzl taught us that “if you will it, it is no dream”.  It is his inspiration and Zionism that made the desert bloom and released the Jewish people from the bondage of anti-Semitism.  On this 63rd anniversary of the State of Israel, we celebrate for Israel, for democracy and for freedom.

ONE ON ONE WITH AVI BENLOLO: MAY 4, 2011

 

 

1/

DO YOU THINK THE STUNNING RESULTS OF THIS WEEK’S FEDERAL ELECTION ARE A GOOD OMEN FOR THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY?

 

I think this country needs stability in Ottawa - as opposed to the constant political battles that have kept Ottawa and, as a result, communities across the country, very polarized. The government was not able to run the country or push effectively for legislation so I believe that no matter what your political position is, having a stable government that is already tried and true is a healthy thing for this country.

 

2/

DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR JACK LAYTON AS THE NDP ASSUMES THE ROLE OF OFFICIAL OPPOSITION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN CANADIAN HISTORY?

 

My advice to Jack Layton is to reach out to various religious and ethnic communities and in particular to the Canadian Jewish community, in order to strengthen his relationships with it.

 

3/

OTTAWA’S CITY COUNCIL DECIDED TO NAME A NEW CITY BUILDING AFTER FORMER MAYOR CHARLOTTE WHITTON, DESPITE ACCUSATIONS FROM JEWISH GROUPS THAT HER ACTIONS IN LOBBYING AGAINST ACCEPTING 500 JEWISH ORPHANS TO CANADA DURING WWII MEANS THE CITY’S FIRST FEMALE MAYOR WAS ALSO ANTI-SEMITIC. ONE CITY COUNCILLOR CALLED HER A ROLE MODEL AND A PRODUCT OF HER TIME. DO YOU THINK OTTAWA SHOULD HONOUR WHITTON?

 

It is exactly because times have changed that Charlotte Whitton should not be recognized for her racism and anti-Semitism, which have no place in modern society.  If, as a “product of her time” she had been against the abolition of slavery, would she have a building named after her today? I doubt it.  As far as her position as a role model is concerned, a role model is someone who is looked upon positively by others and emulated. Is her bigotry to be emulated? I believe the City of Ottawa can, and must, do better.

 

 

4/

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE KILLING OF OSAMA BIN LADEN FOR SECURITY AND PEACE IN THE WORLD?

 

I think that the killing of Osama was mainly symbolic in nature. Extremist groups were largely functioning on their own and some say that al Qaeda was a much smaller organization than it used to be. At the same time it must be recognized that Osama was a mass murderer and his killing serves as a lesson for others who are planning similar attacks on the free world and on innocent people that justice will find them.

 

5/

DO YOU THINK THE RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN HAMAS AND THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WILL LAST?

I think it can only last if the Palestinian Authority takes on the values of Hamas and the Hamas charter, which means following the course of religious fundamentalism and committing to the destruction of the state of Israel. The Palestinian Authority has of course renounced both of those ideas and this ‘unification’ brings its rejection of Hamas principles into question. Is the Palestinian Authority moving closer to this form of extremism? If it is then the peace process is lost forever.

 

6/

AS WE LOOK FORWARD TO ISRAEL’S 63RD BIRTHDAY, WHAT POSITIVE SIGNS ON THE HORIZON DO YOU SEE FOR THE COUNTRY AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE?

 

Israel is stronger than ever. Israel’s economy is booming and tourists continue to visit Israel from all walks of life and from all over the world in exponential numbers. The Israeli system of democracy is the one true success in the Middle East and Israel continues to develop its defense forces and the associated technology to sustain any attacks from its neighbours. The so-called boycotts and delegitimization movements, while they need to be dealt with continuously, do not threaten the existence of the state of Israel and Israel today is the most stable and quiet country in the Middle East.

Richard Goldstone – Unforgiveable

Richard Goldstone – Unforgiveable

By Avi Benlolo, President and CEO, Canada

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

April 2, 2011

So the infamous Richard Goldstone is “reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes.”  In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on April Fools Day[i], the retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former Chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda and Chair of the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza war, finally admitted that maybe he was not entirely right.

Of course, he does not readily admit he was wrong or that the anti-Israel report is his fault.  He states, “we know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission….If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document”.

Really?  An alien landing in Gaza on a fact-finding mission about the war could have ascertained that Israel was justly responding to a death cult (Hamas) with a stated objective of destroying the Jewish state and killing its citizens.  Having no background about Israel, its democratic nature of tolerance, justice and human rights, the alien would have surmised within minutes that Israel had every right to defend itself against thousands of rockets landing on its cities and townships. 

And Goldstone should know better than to blame the victim – Israel – for not cooperating with his fact-finding mission.  How could Israel cooperate with the notorious U.N. Human Rights Council and its predecessor (Human Rights Commission) when 80% of its country censures are against Israel[ii]? How could Israel trust the HRC?  Again, Goldstone pretends the outcome would have been different, even while he writes, “I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel”.

But what I find most gulling about Goldstone’s charge of Israel’s non-cooperation is that in an age of youtube, social networking, media reports, on-line eye-witness accounts, and the (ancient!) telephone, Goldstone could have collected all the information he needed, with or without the government of Israel.  Needless to say, I doubt the substance of the report would have changed -  accusing Israel (and Hamas) of “potential war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity” was a foregone conclusion.

No one expects more from Hamas[iii].  Yet, Goldstone sounds surprised that unlike Israel, Hamas is not conducting an internal review regarding accusations of war crimes[iv]. But the damage to Israel’s reputation is done.  Goldstone gets the blame for aiding and abetting the assault on Israel by the United Nations and its agencies like the Human Rights Council. 

Perhaps Goldstone had little choice but to come clean given the atrocities in Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and the like.  Will the UN retract the Goldstone Report? Its highly doubtful.  Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded, “the fact that Goldstone changed his mind must lead to the shelving of the report once and for all”.

David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post sums it up appropriately: “Unfortunately, Goldstone’s “reconsideration” will not garner a thousandth of the publicity or have a thousandth of the impact that his original, baseless accusations against Israel drew. Governments – including, to what should be their abiding shame, self-styled friends of Israel in Europe and beyond who failed to vote against this report – will not rush to deliver the apology they owe our government and our soldiers. They will not rush to recalibrate their policies”[v].

Since the Gaza war, the Goldstone Report provided further ammunition to those who foment boycott, sanction and divestment campaigns against Israel; promote campus insurgencies like “Israeli Apartheid Week”; and march against the democracy on city streets on labour day and gay-pride parades.

And, here we are in Canada and everywhere else in the Diaspora.  We have been left to counter the offensive and mitigate the damage caused by Goldstone et al. 

Richard Goldstone’s “reconsideration” is too little too late.  Speaking for myself, I will always remember him as someone who could have stood up against a genocidal group of thugs, bigots and terrorists. Instead, he stood up against his very own people, who by the way, while imperfect; fight daily to maintain the only free nation in the Middle East.  In the end, the only one discredited on April Fools Day is Goldstone himself.  History will remember.

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 



[i] http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

[ii] http://www.unwatch.org/site/c.bdKKISNqEmG/b.1518297/k.7483/Human_Rights_Council.htm

[iii] Goldstone writes, “That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets”.

[iv] Goldstone: “In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise”.

[v] http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=214866

Update - March 25 2011

NON –CONFIDENCE VOTE IN OTTAWA; ELECTION CALL EXPECTED SOON

 

Earlier today the House of Commons passed a non-confidence motion which means a federal election will soon be called. FSWC urges all our donors and supporters to get involved in this election to ensure the voice of our community is heard and that the most important Canadian values of tolerance and human rights remain top of mind with all candidates. As the election campaign heats up FSWC will continue to work to educate the candidates on issues of hatred and anti-semitism, and to ensure that issues such as the most recent anti-Israel “third intifada” Facebook site are raised with and addressed by those running for office.

 

FSWC PARENTS CONCERNED ABOUT SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO MCGILL

 

Further to FastForward’s headline article last week about the death threats against Jewish students at McGill University posted via Twitter, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) supporters wrote numerous letters to the McGill administration outlining their concerns for their children’s safety, and questioning the wisdom of sending their children to the university. The following statement is typical:

 

“I have a son attending McGill…..I have another son who is now deciding which University to attend next year. Unless I’m mistaken McGill has chosen to allow Israel Apartheid Week to flourish in it’s halls of education and last week, chose not to take action against a McGill student that appears to have been making death threats on his twitter account. Please advise if the foregoing is true and what you would recommend that I tell my youngest son in relation to McGill’s position on these issues.”

 

This week the university Principal, Heather Munroe-Blum, addressed the issue in The McGill Reporter. In her statement she reiterated the need for tolerance and civil discourse on campus, and commented on the investigation into the student who issued the threats, stating, “Quebec’s privacy law prevents me from describing the University’s actions with an individual student, but the procedures followed by McGill authorities in this circumstance, as they would under any such circumstance, reflected a practiced protocol that involves informing Montreal police the instant a threat is perceived, and assisting police with their investigation in every way possible.”

The student who made the threats, Haaris Khan, also wrote an apology in the McGill Tribune in which he states that he is an “anti-Zionist” and that his actions

“… had little to do with the movie itself and more to do with the negative attitude I had going into the event, my pre-existing ideological differences with those at the event, and the fact that I wasn’t in the right state of mind at the time.”

 

“The statements by this student, who made some very violent threats against Jewish university students, demonstrates how Israel Apartheid Week activities destroys the culture of civil discourse that should prevail at our universities, and replaces it with hatred and destructive feelings,” said Avi Benlolo, Human Rights activist and President and CEO of FSWC. “If you read Khan’s statement, this link is crystal clear.”

 

Zach Paikin, one of the students targeted by Khan’s threats, remains unimpressed by his apology. “Khan’s attempt to justify his actions by stating that he is anti-Zionist and not antisemitic is too little too late. The comments that were made are impossible to take back. I still expect the McGill administration to take serious and severe action in order to both protect the safety of McGill students as well as establish a clear policy that antisemitic death threats will not ever be tolerated.”

CLICK HERE to read the full text of Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s statement in the McGill Reporter

CLICK HERE to read the full text of Haaris Khan’s apology in the McGill Tribune

 

 

FSWC CONDEMNS TERRORIST BOMBING AT JERUSALEM BUS STATION

 

In a Press Release distributed to media across the country, FSWC condemned the terrorist bombing at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, linking the incident to the wider instability in the Arab world.

 

“As unrest and revolution continues to spread across the Arab world, Hamas terrorists are trying to deflect protests against its leadership in Gaza by launching renewed attacks against Israel with over 50 rockets landing in Israel over recent days,” said Avi Benlolo, human rights activist and President and CEO of FSWC. “These attacks cannot be ignored by Israel, whose very existence is threatened by a terrorist organization supported by Iran and dedicated to its destruction. It is time for world leaders to support Israel and take a firm stand against the terror Israel is faced with every single day,” he added.

The bombing- the first in Jerusalem in six years, killed 55 year old Mary Jean Gardner, a Scottish Bible translator learning Hebrew in order to translate the Old Testament into Ife, a language spoken in Togo, West Africa.

 

CLICK HERE to read the full release

 

 

ONTARIO MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP & CULTURE HIGHLIGHTS COMMON GROUND WITH FSWC

 

Ontario Minister of Citizenship & Culture, Dr. Eric Hoskins, highlighted the common ground between FSWC and his Ministry when FSWC thanked the MPP for statements he made in the Ontario Legislature against the anti-semitic Peto thesis in December. In a statement to the National Post this past winter Dr. Hoskins said, "I rose in the House to condemn all anti-Semitism, a particularly vile and pernicious form of discrimination… The lessons to be learned from the Holocaust are pivotal, not just for the Jewish community, but for all Ontarians." At a meeting with FSWC earlier this week Dr. Hoskins reaffirmed this stance, noting, “It was a rebuttal that was required. It’s a garbage thesis.”


Further discussion with the Minister centered on the common goals of FSWC and the Ministry, including the promotion of a tolerant and hate-free society. According to Avi Benlolo, “The Minister was familiar with our work and our community, and he expressed strong interest in many of our programs. We look forward to working more closely with Dr. Hoskins on many of our tolerance and education-based initiatives in the future.”

 

Commenting on the tragic bombing in Jerusalem earlier that day the Minister said, “I’ve got the greatest respect for the work you do… there is a lot of work we have to do to fight hate, racism and anti-semitism and it’s a big responsibility we all bear.”

CLICK HERE to read Dr. Hoskins’ statement on the Jerusalem bombing

 

FSWC PETITIONS TORONTO CITY COUNCILLORS AS BATTLE OVER GAY PRIDE PARADE RESUMES

 

As the annual battle to remove hate from the Toronto Gay Pride parade begins in advance of the July 3 event, FSWC has written to all City Councillors asking their support to ensure that the parade is free of anti-semitic and anti-Israeli vitriol.

 

“It is the position of FSWC and an overwhelming majority of provincial and federal politicians, community groups and members of the general public that this type of politicized, polarizing and discriminatory activity be disallowed. It should certainly not be subsidized by the City of Toronto… Interestingly, despite the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and the desperate attempts by millions of Arabs in countries from Bahrain and  Libya to Syria and Tunis to gain the rights and freedoms both Jews and Arabs enjoy in Israel, Quaia persists in demonizing Israel while ignoring the very real terror and brutality faced by Arab citizens on a daily basis; through its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement it continues to call for the destruction of the only democracy in the Middle East. It is difficult for Jews in Toronto and beyond to see this as anything but pure anti-semitism, and we believe Quaia’s continuing attacks on our community must end.”

 

The letter commends the Mayor for his strong stand in support of the Jewish community, and looks to City Council to fund the parade only if it is welcoming, inclusive and free of all discrimination.

 

CLICK HERE to read the full text of the letter to Toronto City Councillors

Jihad on Campus Showing Cracks

Jihad on Campus Showing Cracks

By Avi Benlolo
Human Rights Activist and President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

The turmoil in the Arab world over the last few weeks is straining the public perception of “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW) activists.  The mass shootings from helicopter gunships in Libya and the public outcry from Tunisia to Egypt and from Yemen to Jordan has unmasked the hypocritical (what I call), “Islamic Anti-Semitism Week” (IAW) featured yearly at your local university campus.

The IAW Jihad’s strategic aim is to delegitimize, isolate and ultimately destroy the State of Israel through a massive Joseph Goebbels like propaganda campaign that labels it an apartheid state and its citizens, modern day Nazis.  It matters not that gender apartheid is regularly practiced in the Arab world, or that Arab rulers (sometimes referred to as kings) are dictators who rule by the sword to curtail rights and freedoms. 

For the campus Jihadis, Israel is a Jewish state and that fact alone makes everything else pale by comparison.  What makes them anti-semitic is the fact that they are obsessively focused on Israel as opposed to real human rights abusers in the Arab world.

Josee Chiasson, a fourth year student at York University and campus President of Christians United for Israel, says that during IAW at York, “Jewish students have become the target of hostility and hatred.  As a Christian who believes it is my obligation to stand with the Jewish students and with Israel, I also become the target - often being aggressively confronted by students for my stance, getting ignored when I am trying to engage in conversation with students from Student’s Against Israeli Apartheid or being told that Christians should hate Jews for various reasons.” It is not simply that Jews are collectively targeted because of Israel, but that Israel is targeted because of its Jewish nature. This is anti-semitism at its most pure.

The fact that Israel stands as a beacon of pluralism and democracy in the Middle East must trouble them even more so these days.  How can Islamic Antisemitism Week prove that Israel practices apartheid when it just won an Oscar for Strangers No More, a documentary that exemplifies how Israel has absorbed, accommodated and integrated students from over 48 countries – including Muslims?  I wonder how Hamas might integrate other nationalities under Sharia law.

All this must be sowing confusion for some of the more rational, intellectual campus Jihadists. The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid – the organization that coordinates IAW - issued an out of character statement “in solidarity with the people of Egypt, Tunisia and Palestine.”  They wrote:

“During this historic moment as a wave of change sweeps the Middle East, promising democracy and freedom, CAIA is alarmed by the opposite trend in Palestine where the Palestinian Authority (PA)  suppresses and cracks down on rallies, including the rally that was shut down this week in Ramallah”.

Campus Jihadists may have yet to realize that the Arab uprisings have dealt a decisive blow to their cause. At the same time, leading universities have taken decisive action to curtail their disturbance on campus.  Eleven Muslim Student Association students were criminally charged and suspended from the University of California over causing a disturbance when Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke there last year.

There is clearly more attention to radicalization on universities.  In the United Kingdom, Lord Carlile, the government’s counterterrorism watchdog argued recently that universities have a responsibility to deal with radicalism on campus and identify and report potential terrorists.  Carlile rejected a conclusion of 133 universities that rejected surveillance of students and promoted engagement.

As if mechanically, the campuses Jihadists have recommitted themselves to another week of terror on campuses.  Pro-Israel students and professors alike have written to me over the last few days about the intimidating and often unpleasant environment within which they must function at their university. Not many students are as courageous as Ms. Chiasson, who believes it is her obligation to “challenge the radical beliefs that are rampant on our campuses.”  And so the Islamic Antisemitism Week continues, despite the hypocrisy, the human rights abuses in Arab countries, and against all justice and sensibility, the outright lies about the State of Israel.

Then again, who ever said anti-semitism was sensible?