Young Jewish fanatics paraded through East Jerusalem on April 23rd yelling “death to Arabs” in a demonstration that the liberal American Jewish group If Not Now labelled a Jewish “pogrom”. Over 100 Palestinians were hurt. The Israeli government stood by – even protecting the fanatics. In an open letter to Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau, a Canadian doctor asks why Trudeau keeps on repeating that we share “common values” with Israel. Read more…
John Menzies, Guest columnist
April 25, 2021
Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
In a recent speech you said that Canada and Israel shared “common values” and that Israel is an ally and a friend. I believe you should seriously reconsider which values we truly do share.
Recent events in Jerusalem (which some have compared to a “pogrom”) have revealed what many people and organizations have been saying for years; the basic rights of Palestinians have been repeatedly denied by a culture of anti-Arab racism within the Israeli society, government, legal system, military and police.
On Friday, April 23 a racist mob of extremist Jewish Israelis, many supporters of the openly racist Lehava movement, attacked Palestinians during Ramadan. The result was over 100 injuries and 22 hospitalized. “Death to Arabs,” “restore Jewish dignity,” “hang an Arab”, were all heard loud and clear after a week of promotion on extremist social media according to reports in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. (Ha’aretz April 26, 2021)
CBC chose to run 41 seconds of video showing Ramadan activities but nothing of the Israeli Kahanists’ violent activities and no commentary. CTV and Global News both ran a story about rocket fire from Gaza into Israel but no mention of the racially motivated attacks in Jerusalem.
As of April 26, 2021, there still is no Canadian government press release condemning the attacks on Palestinians, although you found time to wish the Queen a happy birthday.
Lest you believe that Israeli racism is confined to violent acts by errant youth gangs, you should also know that the forced displacement of Palestinians from the Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was undertaken by applying Israeli domestic law to territory that the whole international community, including Canada, holds to be occupied and not legally under Israeli control.
If the displacement goes ahead in Sheikh Jarrah, by August 1, 2021, up to 500 Palestinians will be expelled with nowhere to go and no compensation.
“Judaization” has long been a policy in Jerusalem in the belief that if enough Palestinians are expelled, annexation of East Jerusalem becomes irreversible. This is contrary to Canada’s official policy that the status of Jerusalem is part of Final Status Negotiations.
This situation is so grave that 190 organizations have written to the International Criminal Court asking for urgent intervention.
Racism against Arabs/Palestinians is present in a broad cross section of Israeli society, fostered by the attitudes and statements of officials at all levels of government and even including some prominent rabbis. For example, Israeli cabinet members have called for “killing terrorist snakes, and their mothers” (Ayalet Shaked), “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life and there is no problem with that”(Naftali Bennet), and in an election campaign ad Benny Gantz boasted of reducing parts of Gaza back to “the stone age”. No wonder the right-wing base feels free to carry out a race riot.
Canada has made great progress
Canada has spent a long time coming to grips with the racism of our past, particularly against first nations people and a long way in identifying the protection of human rights as a core value of our Canadian identity.
As a probation/parole officer and as a physician I have personally seen numerous examples of the deadliness of institutionalized racism.We have made great strides in law in how we treat young offenders, in gun control, in recognition and treatment of mental health and substance abuse. We have even disbanded an army regiment over its racist conduct and have held a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to begin healing the wounds of native dispossession and discrimination, acts which are now recognized as genocide.
In Canada, hate crimes and supremacist incitement to violence are investigated and prosecuted, hate speech is not allowed, and anti-Semitic acts and Islamophobia are grounds for prosecution.
This is why I’m confused about why you would say we share “common values” with Israel.
From a human rights perspective, Israel resembles the Canada of yesterday when we put a head tax on Chinese, blocked the Komagata Maru, starved native reserves and tried to impose ‘whiteness” in residential schools.
Canada has come a long way as a nation. We have values that make me proud to be a Canadian. But Israel does not share those values.
John Menzies, Md.
Cc. The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Cc. The Honourable Jagmeet Singh, Leader New Democratic Party of Canada
Cc. The Honourable Annamie Paul, Leader Green Party of Canada
Cc. The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Leader The Conservative Party of Canada
Cc. Mr.Bob Rae Canadian UN Ambassador
Dr John Menzies is a retired Armed Forces Physician. He has worked in Canada, Germany, Haiti and Tanzania. He has a lifelong interest in indigenous history and human rights.
If you agree with Dr. Menzies’ letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, please feel free to share it with as many of your friends as possible.
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 Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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