Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In Favour.

ENOUGH

by Matt Godwin and Sam Konig

You have no doubt been reading about recent comments made by the NDP’s Deputy Leader, Libby Davies, who stated very clearly at an anti-Israel rally that the occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1948, rather than in 1967. This kind of rhetoric is tantamount to declaring that Israel has no right to exist at all. As if this were not enough, she further declared her support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Many progressives and fellow New Democrats, including the NDP’s other Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair, have condemned her remarks.

We know that her comments do not reflect the NDP’s policy on the Middle East, the beliefs of progressive Canadians, or moderates around the world. For this reason, the time has never been more important to send a message to Jack Layton and other progressive Canadian leaders that comments such as Ms. Davies’ will not be tolerated. Comments like hers take us further away from peace in the Middle East and they alienate progressives who believe Israel has a right to exist, and live in peace and security.

We have been registering our extreme displeasure with the NDP’s leadership, and thanks to your support, we have the numbers to prove that progressive Canadians support a peaceful and secure Jewish state. I am writing to ask you to forward our petition, which reaffirms the NDP’s commitment to a two-state solution, to your friends and colleagues.

The NDP’s leadership has heard from the opposition parties, but we must do our part to make sure that they hear from progressive Canadians.

For more background on this story, please visit this.

For those of you in the Toronto-area, I encourage you to march with or support Kulanu at this year’s Pride Parade. Kulanu marches every year in Toronto and is a reminder for all Canadians, especially progressives, that Israel is not only legitimate, but is indeed the only state in the region that embraces the LGBTQ community.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Shalom,

Matt Godwin and Sam Konig

32 Comments:

Blogger Bernard von Schulmann said...

And here is what Judy Rebick has to say on it:

http://transformingpower.ca/en/blog/no-one-can-terrorize-whole-nation-unless-we-are-all-his-accomplices-edward-r-murrow

9:20 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Judy is being completely disingenuous about this. This is a pathetically transparent obfuscation: "Believing that the foundation of the state of Israel was unjust does not mean that you think the state of Israel should not continue to exist."

If you say "The occupation began in 1948" and "End the occupation," you're saying End Israel.

This is even more dishonest: "I am Jewish and have always opposed Zionism. It was a debate among Jews. It is a legitimate debate."

Whether Rebick was born of a Jewish mother or not is immaterial to the point. The "debate" may have been mainly among Jews 60 or 70 years ago (I would have been on Rebick's side back then, and I would have been wrong), but the right of Israel to persist as a Jewish state is not a matter of "legitimate debate" - no matter if it occurs among Jews or gentiles - unless it occurs free of this kind of cheap and dishonest rhetoric. If Rebick wants to admit that her purpose is to deligitimize the State of Israel and reopen a "debate" that ended with the holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel, then let her say so. Let her say End Israel and let whatever ridiculous "debate" that proceeds unfold on those grounds. She will have no trouble filling her side of the debate with Jew-haters of every description, and they can all echo Davies and cry "Oh but you're trying to shut down the debate by accusing me of antisemtism!" and any other lie they like. End Israel is the proposition here, Rebick should be honest about it.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Kurt Langmann said...

There is room for all of us on this planet, whether we're in Israel or Canada. Or elsewhere. It's time we learn to get along and respect each other.

1:15 AM  
Blogger ahmed said...

What you're saying is rather absurd. To over 700 000 Palestinians who lost their homes, and were exiled, turned into refugees in their own land in 1948- the creation of Israel was the beggining of an occupation which would not only dispossess them but begin a cultural and political process aimed at denying their rigths and identity in the first place. Perhaps in the political arena if we could get past the anti arab racism and denial of the Palestinian narrative then we could better work towards peace and reconciliation.

The same people who are out to get Libby Davies are silent when it comes to apllying international to Israel. Whether it be the wall, ruled illegal by the ICJ, torture, the rapidly growing settlements in the West Bank or the gross and inhuman collective punishment of Gazans. This isnt to say that Palestinians have been pristine although thise who object to violent resistance do little in the way of supportign actual non violent mass struggles such as the weekly protests against land confiscations in Bi'lin. Organizers have routinely been jailed and threatened. What we are dwlaing with when it comes to the Palestinians arw a people were denied self determination by the British only then to be ruled by an occupation now dependent on outside imperial power. This is an issue of power relations and the inability for the world to hold Israel accountable for its growing lists of crimes. Libby has been a rare sane voice. She deserves our support

1:24 AM  
Blogger Stephen K said...

I have a personal rule, and that is to stay out of the Israeli/Palestine debate, because of how polarized this debate tends to become.

I will stand up for my MP though, who is arguably the best constituency MP on the House of Commons. It was not politically wise for her to say what she said. That said, we all say things that we shouldn't have said at one time or other. She has already apologized for the comment. I think it is outrageous that Stephen Harper is playing political games by calling for her resignation.

8:03 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Let's parse ahmed, shall we:

1-The creation of Israel was the beggining of an occupation which would not only dispossess them but begin a cultural and political process aimed at denying their rigths and identity in the first place.

The Palestinians and the Arab states rejected partition and the Palestinian state that would have followed from it. Such a state would have protected their rights and identity "in the first place." Convenient to start at 1948 not 1947 (or 1945 or 1929-hebron).

2-anti arab racism and denial of the Palestinian narrative then we could better work towards peace and reconciliation.

If only the majority of the Palestinian leadership, not to mention the surrounding Arab culture, ended their absolute rejectionism vis a vis Israel, peace and reconciliation would be here already and the Israeli right would be neutered.

3-The same people who are out to get Libby Davies are silent when it comes to apllying international to Israel.

The same people out to get Israel irrespective of circumstances are silent when Arabs/Muslims murder other Arabs/Muslims in far greater numbers, defend the most outrageous statements ("go back to Germany and Poland") and actions (Egypt's court stripping Egyptian men who marry Israeli women of citizenship, countless terrorist acts, rockets aimed at civilians, etc etc ad nauseam).

4-people were denied self determination by the British

But given it by the UN only to reject it. And then given it by the Israelis only to turn to Infitada II and Hamas.

5-An occupation now dependent on outside imperial power.

$3 billion in aid a year is a drop in the bucket for a modern, first-world economy like Israel's. The notion that without U.S. financial support Israel would simply fold its tents is the same wishful thinking that continues to maintain that Hezb "won the war" and that israel is a "failed state." Name on Arab country that doesn't WISH it could fail like that.

6-inability for the world to hold Israel accountable for its growing lists of crimes.

What a laugher. The world continually holds Israel accountable for acts that other states carry on without mention, let alone sanction. The UNHRC has more resolutions against Israel than all other countries combined. The reason states don't act against Israel is because their leaders are well aware that under similar circumstances (i.e. existential threat) they would behave the same or worse.

Bye Ahmed.

PS: Great interview re: Afghanistan on CTV terry.

9:14 AM  
Blogger DGH said...

Ahmed..."only then to be ruled by an occupation now dependent on outside imperial power"

Correct: Hamas, the occupier. Iran, the outside imperial power. Alter your placards accordingly.

9:23 AM  
Blogger ahmed said...

That's so much deception embedded in vildechaye's reply that its difficult to know where to start. It's true that perceiving the Zionist movement to be an expansionist one, and reacting to the unfairness what Palestinians regarded as a mostly European settler movement being given a greater share of the land by the UN-the partition was, in some ways understandibly rejected. But it should be noted that Israeli leaders at the time were quite open in saying that they viewed those borders as temporary and were hopeful for a time to expand greater Israel's borders. I'm always struck at how much more honest and self aware Israel's early Zionistr leaders were compared to their lacklustre apologists today. Here's Ben Guirion

"Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves ... politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country. ... Behind the terrorism [by the Arabs] is a movement, which though primitive is not devoid of idealism and self sacrifice."

10:18 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

More parsing required, I see:

1-hat's so much deception embedded in vildechaye's reply that its difficult to know where to start.

Apparently so, since you only address one point (and that, rather pooly, see below) and don't bother with the others (a blessing in disguise, no doubt).

2-It's true that perceiving the Zionist movement to be an expansionist one, and reacting to the unfairness what Palestinians regarded as a mostly European settler movement being given a greater share of the land by the UN-the partition was, in some ways understandibly rejected.

In short, they rejected self-determination in their own state, which in turn led to the war, which in turn led to the expansionism and dispossession Ahmed continually harps on. Of course, he prefers to reject that responsibility.

3-Israeli leaders at the time were quite open in saying that they viewed those borders as temporary and were hopeful for a time to expand greater Israel's borders.

No doubt. However, they also agreed -- instatement after statement, which, for some curious reason, ahmad doesn't quote -- to settle for the portion allotted to them by the UN, whereas the Palestinians didnt. Israel's expansion had nothing to do with these statements, and everything to do with the 1948 invasion by 5 Arab states, which backfired rather badly and resulted in Israel's pre-1967 borders.

4-Ben Gurion's quote: Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves ... politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country. ... Behind the terrorism [by the Arabs] is a movement, which though primitive is not devoid of idealism and self sacrifice.

Ben Gurion was a sharp-eyed realist and what he said was and continues to be correct. Again, it's a pity Ahmad et al continue to cherry-pick the Zionist quotes they like and ignore the rest. Basically, the quote recognizes, as do most Israelis today, that Palestinians do have a claim to the land. Nowhere does BG or anybody else say that claim negates the Jewish claim. Partition then, or a 2-state solution now, is the only answer. Ahmed's dreams of getting rid of the state of Israel merely prolongs the agony of the Palestinians, but hey, who cares when you're living the good life in Canada, eh?

10:35 AM  
Blogger ahmed said...

And I imagine that vildechaye writes his apologetic for the occupation from foxholes. He aptly demonstrates all that is wrong with contemporary discourse on this issue-namely that simply having a vague notion that maybe a two-state solution is desirable (for the good of his vision of an ethno-nationalist state in Israel) is different from actively working for it and being willing to criticize publicly those leaders attempting to forestall it. Does he support putting some real pressure on Israel to cease colonizing the West Bank and cease blockading Gaza. Does he write about the decades long occupation with any real sense of urgency of understanding for the suffering by those who must live under such a regime. Does he parse through the findings of Amnesty International or B'tselem which routinely documents collective punishment, imprisonment, home demolitions and torture under an illegally occupying army And about a "two state solution" does he have a plan B? The problem is, it is almost certainly past the point where any such thing is possible, given the size and extent of Israeli colonies in the Palestinian West Bank. Dig deeper

3:27 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Nonsense, Terry. It's obvious Rebick was not calling for the end of Israel, and it is pretty clear that this whole incident is a prime example of the tendency of the "Israel can do no wrong" crowd to jump on the slightest excuse to work themselves into a hysteria. Give me a break.

4:41 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

There is no "israel can do no wrong" crowd. There is, however, a huge, dysfunctional, "israel can do no right let's blame israel facts be damned" crowd, and you are clearly a charter member.

6:04 PM  
Blogger David Fried said...

A question--I'm not a Canadian and I never heard of Libby Davies until this moment. But watching the interview I had a strong impression of "deer in the headlights" when she was asked about the starting date of the occupation. In other words, I thought that she did not understand the question, and the further idea that she could not state, if put to it, when Israel was formed and when it began to occupy the West Bank. She certainly could not say anything about the circumstances of its formation.

Certainly one of my most fun-damental frustrations with the debate is the fact that absolute and invincible ignorance does not seem to deter anyone from taking a politically-correct stand against Israel. And I've heard plenty of comments from people who state in one breath that the founding of Israel was a "crime against humanity"(literally), and in the next that they support Israel's right to exist within the 1967 borders, and a two-state solution.

So--those who know Libby Davis: Am I correct in guessing that she doesn't know the first thing about the Middle East conflict, except what all ignoramuses know--that the Palestinians are right? I always hesitate to call people this stupid "Anti-Semites." They usually are convinced that Judaism is a high ethical religion with much to teach the world, and that Zionism is base racism firmly rooted in the odious idea of the Chosen People, and a literal belief in Genesis as the history of a divine promise. They never see that both propositions cannot be true at the same time.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Saying Rebick called for the end of Israel makes as much sense as characterizing a first nations protester chanting "No olympics on stolen ground" as calling for the end of Canada. First nations have a point that Canada started with the occupation of their lands; but you can recognise a historic injustice without "delegitimizing Canada" or calling for it to be "erased from the pages of history", as Ahmadijenut would say.

8:12 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

I had composed another (rather lengthy) dissection of ahmed's latest whine/response but somehow when I tried to post it, it vanished and I couldn't get it back. (That'll teach me to write long-winded answers and not copy them elsewhere first.) Rather than try and write the same thing twice, I'll keep things simple:

Given that Ahmed seems to reject the existence of Israel itself as an illegitimate creation (evidenced through remarks like "for the good of his vision of an ethno-nationalist state in Israel"), like most Palestinians, one has to wonder what it would take for Israel to become a legitimate state in his (and their) eyes, short of folding up their tents and "going back to Poland and Germany." The Palestinians have been unable to answer that to date (with their insistence on "right of return" -- lifted from the Jews of course). An end to the occupation? It's been offered and rejected (Camp DAvid 2000, Olmert's offer more recently, etc. etc.) We keep hearing what Israel has to do (though it's never enough). I am wondering what, if anything, people like Ahmed think the Palestinians have to do to end the conflict? Or does Ahmed believe they needn't do anything, it's all up to the Israelis. That position, is, of course, absurd, and denies the Palestinians the ability to act. let alone modify their actions. If that's your position, good luck with that. It seems to be the position of a major portion of the reactionary left.

8:49 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

JC: Your analogy is false. There is no parallel between
"end the occupation" (especially if you maintain it began in 1948), and "no Olympics on stolen ground." If a first nation protester said "end the occupation of our stolen lands," that would be the same thing (and they have every bit -- no, even more --- right to say that as the Palestinians do, given that Canada was colonized by a country with no roots in N.A., whereas Palestine was resettled by Jews -- not a country -- returning to their ancestral home).

In other words, it's not the "stolen land" part, it's the "end the occupation" part, when it refers to 1948. Surely even you can manage to see the difference now that it's been carefully explained.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Kurt Langmann said...

To Stephen K: intelligent discourse is the only way to dissemble the myths and outrageous canards about Israel. That's the way the Irish found resolution; by talking about it and coming to common ground. It took too long.
So, contribute to the discussion and educate yourself by investigating the reality without being tainted by the prolix.
If one were to follow Ms Davies' rantings on Israel we would all go back to to our European homelands and sign over all we had to the first nations. Well, that is not going to happen. Ms Davies and all the rest of us are better to direct our energies to making this a fairer world for all of our minorities in Canada and elsewhere,
And we need to educate ourselves about the rest of the world. Despots, in Israel and the Arab world, thrive on ignorance, bigotry and fear. Canada, like Israel, is far from perfect, but we share an ideal that respects gender and ethnic diversity that transcends many other nations.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Vilde: actually, they often do say "end the occupation of our stolen land"; and no, they are not calling for the "end of Canada" or ejecting all non-natives back to where they came from. Perhaps if you give it a little more thought you will be able to see the parallels.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Vilde: everyone with 1/2 a brain already knows what needs to be done. Israel needs to adhere to UN security council resolutions and stop building settlements, go back to its 1967 borders (or equivalent) and give up East Jerusalem. The Palestinians need to accept this and give up on an unrestricted right of return. Most Palestinians seem ready for this. As Israel keeps on building settlements, insists it will never return an inch of Jerusalem, etc, it is clear where the resistance to this solution is. The question then becomes, how do you force Israel to come to terms? With the Serbia/Kosovo conflict, some bombing by NATO and seemed to do the trick. This doesn't seem a realistic option. International pressure using sanctions and boycotts worked on South Africa, but you don't seem to like that solution either. What's your suggestion then?

10:40 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: The Palestinians need to accept this and give up on an unrestricted right of return. Most Palestinians seem ready for this.

The first sentence is absolutely true and correct. There is no evidence whatsoever for the second sentence. It's wishful thinking on your part. The election of Hamas alone makes that crystal clear. That a few sensible Palestinians and clear-sighted Palestinian officials agree hardly means "most palestinians are ready," and I do note you used the word "seem." If the Israeli public were convinced a pullout would not result in the same disaster as the Lebanese and Gaza pullouts, it probably would have happened already. The settlements are an obstacle to peace, no doubt about it, but they aren't the main obstacle, as you mistkenly allege. Palestinian/Arab/Muslim rejectionism is, abetted by reactionary leftists prepared to fight Israel to the last Palestinian. Also, your solution, that the Israelis must be "forced", doesn't seem to include any coercion for Palestinians. Are they totally without agency here? Do they have to do absolutely nothing other than call for Israel to leave occupied territory? Your idea of what it takes to make peace is lopsided, poorly thought out and unrealistic.

Finally, if a first nations individual in fact does say "end the occupation of our stolen land," he is implicitly calling for what you say he isn't calling for. What on earth could end the occupation mean other than that? How else do you end an occupation other than by vacating the land? Do tell.

11:46 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Apropos my discussion with JC, here's Ami Isseroff:
"The two state solution is supported by a majority of Palestinians, but only provided that it includes all of east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, allows for return of all Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants to Israel, and provides for an armed state. A significant portion of Palestinian opinion sees the two state solution either as a pragmatic compromise, but not "justice" and many see it as a way-station on the road to "liberating" all of Palestine. PLO ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki stated:

“In light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the PLO proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology. will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine.”

The PLO "phased plan" for destruction of Israel is not a propaganda device of "right wing Zionists." It is stated openly by PLO representatives. It might be the opinion of only a faction, or a device to "sell" a peace agreement to the Palestinian public, but a significant proportion of Palestinians believe it.

Any agreement that does not create the conditions for destruction of Israel, namely abandonment of Jewish claims to the ancient areas of Jerusalem and acceptance of "right" of return, and any agreement that recognizes the right to self-determination of the Jewish people, will be certainly be attacked viciously. It will be attacked not only by the Hamas, but by the radical Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, by radical factions such as the DFLP and PFLP, and by European-supported NGOs like Badil. Organizations like Badil and Al-Awda have made it clear that anyone who abandons "right" of return will be considered a traitor. The attacks will not be confined to democratic discourse. The fate of traitors is considerably worse than being voted out of office.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Vilde:

You are pretty selective with your rationalizations. The election of Hamas is proof the Palestinians don't want peace, but the election of Likud doesn't say the same thing about the Israelis?

No evidence the Palestinians won't accept a two state solution? http://blog.onevoicemovement.org/one_voice/2009/04/ov-poll-popular-mandate-for-negotiated-two-state-solution.html

"Do they have to do absolutely nothing other than call for Israel to leave occupied territory?"

Read what I wrote. The Palestinians must give up on an unrestricted right of return. What else should they do? And duh...of *course* the solution is lopsided, because Israel is occupying Palestinian land taken in 1967, not the other way round. You say the settlements are an obstacle to peace. So I take it then that you agree Israel should give up the land it occupied in 1967, or give back an equivalent amount? If so, come on out and say so. We already know what happens to Israeli leaders ready to make peace...they get assassinated by Israelis.

And I asked for *your* proposed solution to the issue, let's hear it. Terry also seems curiously silent on exactly what he believes a final settlement should look like. Curiously.

And finally, no, the first nations activist is not calling for the destruction of Canada and for non-natives to be sent back to England, or Poland, or Germany. They are calling for self-determination on a portion of their ancestral homeland.

1:01 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Since you asked, my solution is pretty much the Geneva Accords solution. I've always opposed settlements, i just don't believe for a moment they are the core problem.

As for Israelis being assassinated by other Israelis for making peace, one murder, however vile, does not a trend make.

What else should the Palestinians do? They should do what the first Israeli govt did. Take control, and rein in the terrorists in their own ranks. No private armies or militias. That would be nice.

Likud is a right-wing Israeli party that I am not fond of. But they are not in any way equivalent to Hamas, irrespective of what you think.

RE: Pals for peace: Did you even read what Isseroff had to say, and the quote from the PLO ambassador? apparently not.

Re: The hypothetical first nations guy. I never heard him say anything about "portion". Stolen land is stolen land. Some first nations say Vancouver is stolen land. From their perspective, they're right. The only difference is that they cannot even hope to expel the Europeans. If there were more of them (say, 1 in 6) the meaning would be abundantly clear, even to you. As it is, a portion is the most they can hope for. Anyway, it was your analogy, not mine, and it's false.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Vildechaye:

I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Ami Isseroff. I hope like hell he is wrong.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Well, seems we are in agreement on what a final settlement should look like. I guess that's something.

One PLO ambassador does not an official foreign policy make. Unlike, say, the Israeli foreign minister Lieberman, a Jorg Haider-like, unabashed racist, fascist, past member of the terrorist group Kach, etc etc. I don't see much difference between Hamas and the present Israeli govt. Both require regime change.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

"What else should the Palestinians do? They should do what the first Israeli govt did. Take control, and rein in the terrorists in their own ranks. No private armies or militias. That would be nice."

The IRA disarmed (well, put their weapons "beyond use"), as part of the final peace accords. Insisting the Palestinians disarm before any agreement is merely an excuse to do nothing.

4:08 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Terry: I hope he is wrong too. Unfortunately, his lays out his position so logically, it's difficult to take issue with it.

JC: Who said anything about Palestinian forces disarming? Certainly not me. I said that the ruling Palestinian party should disarm the independent militias who will undoubtedly try and undermine any attempt at reaching a peace treaty. In other words, they should speak with only one voice, like the Israelis and all national governments do.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Vilde: There's always some excuse for Israel to do nothing. In 2003 Ami Isserof said that the roadmap could go nowhere unless suicide bombings ceased. It is now seven years laters, and Hamas has renounced suicide bombings and terrorism since 2004. It seems there will always be something else that the Palestinians must do before Israel will get serious; kick out Hamas; disarm militias; renounce violence in general; learn to play the ukulele; prove the Goldbach conjecture. Consider the possibility that the stumbling block is no longer the Palestinians, but the Likud govt (which no more represents all Israelis than Harper represents all Canadians). If Mitchell and Obama can't get Nettanyahoo to cease his settlement building and come to peace talks, what pressure is appropriate? Why not sanctions and divestment?

6:23 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: Hamas has renounced suicide bombings and terrorism since 2004.

This should be filed under "loadofnonsense.com". You should be a fiction writer. None of it is true and you're passing it off as unarguable fact. Almost as much of a howler as your "hamas wants to talk peace, israel doesn't" shtick. Here's a fact: Every incident you decry, lebanon, gaza war, flotilla begins with a provocation. Why not just stop the provocation? or is that too difficult a concept to grasp?

6:35 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Gotcha.

8:37 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: gotcha!

?????

10:42 PM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:40 PM  

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