Canadian church groups call on Canadian government to take a stand against proposed Israeli annexation of more territory in West Bank


Rt. Reverend Linda Nicholls (l), Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director of the Mennonite Central Committee, and Nora Sanders (r),  Secretary Gen of the United Church of Canada were among nine signatories of a joint letter to Foreign Affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne urging Canada to speak out in defense of international law as Israel threatens to annex more territory in the Occupied West Bank. Read the text of their strong letter…

Several of Canada’s largest and most influential Christian organizations, representing nearly two million members, have written a powerful letter to the Liberal government urging a stronger stand on the issue of Israel’s threat to take over even more of the territory Israel occupied in 1967.

The letter was addressed to Foreign Affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and copied to Prime Minister Trudeau. Copies were also sent to the leaders of all 4 other parties represented in the House of Commons.

The letter called on the Government of Canada to:

  • publicly condemn the plans of the government of Israel to annex any and all parts of occupied Palestinian territory;
  • publicly denounce the United States administration’s “Peace and Prosperity Plan”, which explicitly supports this illegal annexation plan;
  • work with the European Union and like-minded allies to take all diplomatic and political actions available to hold the government of Israel accountable for violations of international law, including annexation of any and all parts of the occupied Palestinian territories;
  • take all diplomatic and political actions available to enforce the rule of law without
    exception regarding violations of international law; and
  • protect the human rights of Palestinians, including their right to self-determination, and to resist occupation and annexation.

This most recent letter follows up to a previous letter sent more than two months ago by Kairos Canada, an ecumenical Christian organization. In that letter, Anne Mitchell, Chair of Kairos Canadian Ecumenical Christian Initiatives urged Prime Minister Trudeau to clearly reject Donald Trump’s Proposed Peace Plan. Unfortunately, Trudeau did not do so.

Several other organizations have also spoken up about the same matter, including Independent Jewish Voices Canada. Even Canadian Friends of Peace Now, a liberal Zionist organization, has expressed concern that further annexation might not be in Israel’s own interest. While Christian and some Jewish organizations have demanded the Canadian government speak up, CTIP is not aware of any Canadian Muslim organization having made representation on this issue to the Canadian government.

Those who share the concerns of the church leaders can write directly to Prime Minister Trudeau, Foreign Minister Champagne and copy opposition letters and their own MP. It is also a good idea to copy your friends so they will also be aware of your feelings on the issue.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers who have a different point of view are invited to make comment.

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  1. This is just the next step of the Nakba, another step in which Israel and its supporters claim that since the Palestinians are not indigenous (having occupied the land for only a minimum of 13 centuries) and that as a consequence there is no Palestinian territory, and therefor no “Occupied Palestinian Territory”. In the incredibly illogical words of former US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley”, it wasn’t Palestinian so it can’t be stolen”.

    The questions that the authors need to answer are (a) What do they think that Canada can do that would stop the annexation? and (b) What do they think that we can do to get Canada to take that action?. I cannot think of an answer to either question so I would really like to know their answer. To me, it feels like trying to stop a speeding train by shouting at the drivers .

    1. Dr. Parnas, thank you for your comment.
      I agree with you that Canada cannot “stop the annexation”. It will go ahead if Netanyahu thinks it is in Israel’s interest and if he has Trump’s backing. But that does not mean, in my view, that Canada should not speak up. Nor, that Canada should not attempt to join with like minded countries to apply pressure on Israel.
      Whether we WILL do so or not will depend on how much pressure Trudeau feels from pro- and con-forces in Canada, and, importantly, his sense of how any action or statement by Canada would affect our relation with Trump/USA.

      1. Peter,

        It is not if Netanyahu thinks it is in Israel’s interest, it is if the majority of the Israeli people think it is in Israel’s interest. That is how a liberal democracy, like Canada, works.

    2. The Palestinian Arabs, descended from the Arabs who invaded the Palestinian region 1300 years ago, are no more indigenous that the Mexicans living in Mexico city, who are the descendants of the Spanish invaders 500 years ago. Only the original tribes, of which there are very few, are considered indigenous in North and South America.

      Palestinian territory is that land, on both sides of the Jordan River, which contained the kingdoms of Israel and Judea. It is like Iberia. There is no state of Iberia.

      The disputed Palestinian territory, that was named “West Bank” in 1949, lost its status as sovereign territory (Ottoman, then British, never Palestinian) once the British abandoned the land. Jordan annexed the land, seemingly illegally, and established sovereignty. Incredibly illogically declaring war on Israel, they lost that war and were expelled from the “West Bank.” At that time, Israel took control. In 1988, Jordan abandoned its claim of sovereignty over that parcel of land, leaving Israel as the new sovereign power. This is disputed but as of yet there is no other sovereign power to actually challenge Israel’s claim.

      As Canadians believe in liberal democracy and eschew dictatorships, there is nothing that can be done to get Canada to take action other than foment an Islamic revolution and establish a Canadian Islamist dictatorship. Unfortunately for you, that is not likely to occur.

      1. In your opening remarks you repeat yourself almost word for word. You still have not given a definition of “indigenous” to support your assertions.

        Canada, like the US, is a constitutional democracy. Your talk of “Islamic Dictatorship, or any other kind of dictatorship is nonsense.

        Palestine was never british territory. Britain had a mandate to administer the area after the Ottoman empire fell apart. Up to now, Israel denied that the area abandoned by Jordan was part of Israel.

      2. My opening remarks, repeated word for word, was intentional. The truth cannot be repeated enough. Regardless, I do not see where you have asked for a definition of indigenuity. I can give you examples of generally accepted groups; Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula, Africans in sub-Saharan Africa, First nations in Canada. Aborigines in Australia. Certainly not the Arabs who are resident within the Palestinian region that consist of Israel and various disputed areas.

        While you may not consider the Palestinian Authority to be a dictatorship, it would seem that most would consider a President holding on to power for a decade past when elections should be held, a election seemingly forbidden by that same President, is a dictatorship.

        While Israel has not claimed the totality of the territory lost by Jordan when it so foolishly declared war on Israel, it does claim a portion, over and above Jerusalem, and will likely exercise sovereignty over that portion shortly, vastly improving the lives of the 100,000 Arab residents within that portion as Israeli civil and political rights are afforded them as the newest citizens of Israel, should they accept such.

        I wonder why our host so quickly approves your retorts while mine languish. It certainly has nothing to do with veracity.

      3. Mr. Sigman,

        Albert Einstein, one of my heroes, is widely credited with pointing out that it is insanity to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” I will not repeat what I pointed out about the concept “indigenous” in an earlier post but will add that a list of examples is not a definition. For example, the list “3,5,7” does not define “odd number”, “prime number” or “integer” although all 3 numbers have those properties. Of the examples of indigenous groups that you propose, all but one are clearly descendants of people who migrated to their present area. That’s why I asked what definition you are using.

        I do not consider the current PA government to be legitimate and wish that they would be allowed to hold an election in which all political parties and all Palestinian Arabs could take part. It is unfortunate that Israel and its allies refused to recognize the winner of the most recent election held by the PA.

        Has anyone asked the “100,000 Arab residents within that portion” whether they want what Israel might offer them? I know that many residents of East Jerusalem did not want to be annexed and rejected what Israel offered them. I also know that many Arabs who are citizens of Israel feel that they are second-class citizens and unjustly treated”.

        We are all aware of the time that passes between when we submit something and when it appears but unaware of how much passes between submission and appearance of other posts.

        I do not expect our volunteer host to respond instantaneously to every submission and very much appreciate his efforts keep this forum open, civilized, and interesting.

  2. Peter I know one of your objectives has been to turn down the heat.

    That is part of what has led us to this point.

    For decades we have been told to accept Zionists. Make them feel safe and secure. If only we did then they would behave differently and peace will follow.

    A fools errand, explicitly as a saying and I don’t think you are that.

    Zionism as it currently exists is racism. A vile murderous level of racism. Far beyond war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    It is time to drop appeasement and address the problem which is not the indigenous inhabitants of the region.

    1. Hey Anonymous, Thanks for your comment.

      Please allow me to clarify in case there is any confusion.

      My OBJECTIVE is to end Zionism. I think the consequences of Zionism have been disastrous for the Palestinians and have poisoned our relations with the whole of the Muslim world.
      I think you might be referring to the OFIP motto which is “Raise the issue, but lower the temperature”. That is not an objective, but an approach, designed to broaden the discussion in Canada about Zionism and its consequences to a much broader range of people.

      My observation is that, for most Canadians, the Israel/Palestine issue is far away from their preoccupations. In this context, RAISING THE TEMPERATURE, using loud language, strong words and aggressive actions, is more likely to turn them away, than draw them into a serious conversation.

      I think its important to remain firm on our objectives and maintain our principles while finding appropriate language and actions to draw more people into the issue.

      1. Peter, your objective seems quite delusional. Israel is not likely to disappear unless ruling theocratic dictator of Iran decides that genocide is in their best interests. As for the feelings of most Canadians; they support the Israeli side of the equation. The mindless bloodshed caused by radical Islamist groups in the Middle East makes it hard for the average Canadian to sympathize with the Palestinian Arabs and does not give them any reason to believe the Palestinian Arabs seek any kind of peace other than that of the grave.

      2. Hey Mr. Sigman,
        Thanks for your answer. It allows me to clarify.

        Of course I cannot have the objective of eradicating Zionism. Zionism is an ideology, and some people will have it no matter what. It is a racist ideology (like white supremacy) that holds that Jews are somehow special and deserve to have special rights and privileges.

        But I can have the objective of eliminating the PRACTICE of Zionism, which is implemented at the expense of the Palestinians. In the same way, I can, and do have the objective of eliminating the practice of white supremacy which comes at the expense of other races/religions, (including Jews.)

      3. I would imagine anyone having the antisemitic idea that somehow Zionism, in all of it myriad forms, is a ‘racist ideology,” would have a goal of eradicating it. Just as someone thinking that the removal of a Catholic Queen is blasphemy and thus that state must be conquered, or that a people, whose elected leadership spouts such words as ‘The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem… We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah,” would ever be allowed to enter Israel. The first two, I am sure you will agree, are ridiculous notions. The third? I do not know what to make of it. What do you think about allowing such a people to enter a state where they believe the inhabitants are the enemy?

        The Jewish state did not come about at the expense of Palestinian Arabs. It came about because of the murderous activity of the Palestinian Arabs and their fellow Arabs. This is why, at least in Canada, the typical Canadian will support Israel, a liberal democratic state with guaranteed equal rights for all of its citizens, rather than the despotic Arab Islamist states that adhere to the principles of Arab Islamic superiority.

        Perhaps you can try in Germany? I hear there has been a resurgence in antisemitism. those people will listen to you.

      4. Mr. Sigman,
        There are racist individuals in every state and every society. That includes Canadian, Israeli and Palestinian society. For every racist Palestinian quote, it is not hard to find an equally racist Israeli one. However, I oppose racism and would hope you would, too. We have laws against racist actions, and even against racist words.

  3. While Albert Einstein may be credited with such a remark, he never stated such. Additionally, the statement is incorrect as any athlete will tell you. However, it certainly applies to the tactics used by the leadership of Palestinian Arabs s well as so many of their supporters. So you may be on to something.

    You have pointed out many things, but one you did not is where you requested that I provide you a definition of indigenous.

    Israel certainly recognizes that Hamas, a terrorist organization whose stated goal is genocide of the Jews. That is why there is a lawful blockade of Gaza. It is Fatah that refuses to recognize the results of the election.

    The 100,000 Arab residents of the territory that Israel is considering exercising sovereignty have not been asked their opinion. However, once the die is cast, they will be offered citizenship.
    Minorities in most western style liberal democracies complain that they are being treated as if they were second class citizens. that is because they do not have much political clout. That is how it is in all liberal democracies. There is no reason Israel should treat a minority as being better than the majority. that is what happened in South Africa.

    As for our host’s treatment of all here as equal – your posts are approved almost instantaneously. Mine have to wait a few days. I am being treated as a second class citizen and you are not. I do see that you have attempted to justify such action.

    1. Mr. Sigman,

      Thank you for correcting me about the “Einstein citation”. It is very widely attributed to Einstein (even on T-shirts) but there is no written source that I can find. This has happened with another Einstein “quote”that I liked but, in that case, I know someone who heard him say it at a breakfast meeting in Princeton. The statement attributed to him, is true and does apply to athletes but the incremental differences between repetitions may be imperceptible to those who are not experts.

      I have explained why, without your definition of “indigenous”, I cannot understand your claim that any group is or is not indigenous in a particular area.

      In 2006 both Israel and the US stated that they would not deal with any government that included the winners of the parliamentary election (Hamas). They encouraged the losers to try to govern without them. The result was a disaster for all.

      Hamas states that it wants to “liberate” Palestine from “Zionists” but denies genocidal intent. Its charter likens the situation to the period of the Crusaders. They were defeated but there was no genocide of Christians. There are many influential Christian palestinians.

      Under what law, other than Israeli, is the blockade of Gaza legal?

      While minorities, such as the Blacks in your country, often complain that they are second-class citizens, the law has evolved to give them full rights. In fact, because many members of majority groups have a strong sense of fairness, minorities do have “clout”. In contrast, in Israel, many laws and policies discriminate between Jews and non-Jews. The relatively recent “Jewish state law” was very clear.

      The negotiations trying to form an Israeli government after three elections made it clear that that sense of fairness is not visible in Israel. No group of parties was willing to be supported by the Arab “Joint List”. Those MKs did not ask to be treated better than the majority – just as the elected representatives of a sizeable group of citizens; Instead, they were treated as pariahs. That is not what happens in modern “liberal democracies”.

      1. Mr. Parnas,

        You will just have to go by my examples of those who are indigenous. The Arabs came into the Palestinian region as conquerors 1300 years ago. They are certainly not indigenous. That you fail to understand that as fact is your issue, not mine.

        Just as African Americans have full rights in the US, Israeli Arabs have full rights in Israel. However, they both complain of being second class citizens and no one is disputing institutional racism when the system is run by humans and not automatons.

        The recent “Jewish State law” is not clear as to being discriminatory in any measure other than Hebrew being the official language of the state.

        As the “Arab joint list” has many elements that call for the destruction of Israel, it would be a foolish majority decision to include them in the ruling faction. They are likely treated as “Pariahs” in that they appear to represent the Arabs living within the disputed territories, an enemy people. If Ilhan Omar was representing Somalians in Somalia, she would be treated as a pariah. However, that status applies to her for her overt antisemitic remarks.

        Just as neo-Nazi political groups are treated as pariahs in Germany, so are parties in Israel that represent the Palestinian Arabs rather than Israeli Arabs. As in all liberal democracies, they take their seat and are afforded their privileges, but the right to be a part of the governing party is not a right until they become the majority. Demanding that they be a part of the governing party would be affording them special rights.

      2. I do not have to rely on your ” examples of those who are indigenous”. I have dictionaries and scientific studies. Those studies show that all people in the area, Jews and Arabs, are descendants of people who came from elsewhere in many “waves”. Further, recent studies by an international team of scientists said that, according to their DNA, both Jews and other Palestinians are descended, in part, from the ancient Canaanites. An excellent article discussing their results appeared in an Israeli Newspaper earlier this month. All of the studies make it clear that the notion of “indigenous” is not a precise one. Any date that is used to distinguish descendants of early immigrants from descendants of later immigrants is arbitrary and chosen for political purposes not scientific ones.

        None of this really matters as those who were living in Palestine but were driven out (and their descendants) should be allowed to return as “first-class citizens”. It doesn’t matter whether their ancestors immigrated to Palestine in the last century, 13 centuries ago, or 30 centuries ago.

        The equality of African Americans under the law in the US is relatively recent. It was not the case in my childhood. I was there. The law in the US has been improved but, in Israel, many laws discriminate in favour of Jews. If you look, you can find lists of laws that discriminated on the basis of what Israel calls “nationality” even before the recent changes. I’ve been there too. The new “Jewish State Law” gives rights to Jewish people that it denies to other “nationalities”. In both countries, the spirit of the law is often violated.

        Nobody ever asked that the Joint List be a member of the governing party. Israel, in case you hadn’t noticed, uses proportional representation and has to form coalition governments that include many parties. They are so badly divided that that is not always easy.

        The Joint List Members of the Knesset represent Israeli Arabs. Other Arabs cannot vote and are not represented in the Knesset. Under the law, they are not to be treated as Pariahs.

      3. Mr. parnas,

        You wrote: “I have explained why, without your definition of “indigenous”, I cannot understand your claim…” I wrote: “You will just have to go by my examples of those who are indigenous.” That was your statement and that was my response. You are now changing your stance. That is your problem, not mine.

        Those who were driven out were done so because they were the proven enemies of the Jews living in British Mandate Palestine. The murderous riots of 1921, 1929, and 1936-39 was proof enough but the Arab-instigated Palestinian Civil War put it over the top. A peaceful people, such as the Jews of Poland, should have been allowed back into the state, their goods restored, and allowed to live in peace. After all, they had done absolutely nothing to the Poles, or anyone else in Europe. But the Poles murdered the Jews who tried to return. The Arabs, many whom murdered Jews in the name of Islamistism, had no peaceful intentions. And they have no right to return. And neither do their great grandchildren, many who support Hamas’ goal of genocide. While the Palestinian Arabs have it as their red-line, that you have it is unwarranted.

        The “Jewish State law” as you refer to it, is a law specific to ensure Jews have a place of refuge, denied it by so many states, should conditions that occurred in Nazi Germany occur again. It is a law, not an enshrined constitutional right.

        No one will ever ask the “Arab” parties to join the ruling coalition as long as they cannot be considered “the loyal opposition.’ Too many members of what is now “The Joint List” have stated the goal of the destruction of Israel, that in that few number of words. Just as no ruling coalition in Israel would ask a neo-Nazi party to join, they will not ask a party whose goal is Israel’s suicide. It is disingenuous to question why that is so.

        by the way, why should any Arab who is not a citizen of Israel be allowed to vote in Israeli elections? Jews who are not citizens of Israel do not have the right to vote. Arabs who are not citizens of Syria cannot vote in Syrian elections.

        As for other laws, if you wish to discuss them, name them and the actual law verbatim. Your paraphrases of such are too inaccurate.

    2. Mr. Sigman,

      You wrote “The 100,000 Arab residents of the territory that Israel is considering exercising sovereignty have not been asked their opinion. However, once the die is cast, they will be offered citizenship.”

      Today (28 May) Mr.Netanyahu stated that they would not be offered citizenship.

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