Discrimination

Tuesday, June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples’ day

A special CTIP editorial

This blog – Canada Talks Israel/Palestine sticks pretty well to the issue of human rights for Palestinians and Canada’s poor track record of supporting them. We rarely stray off this issue.

However, the similarities between our history of colonisation of Canada’s indigenous peoples and their lands, and that of Israel’s toward the Palestinians is remarkable.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, languages, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First NationsInuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. These have been ignored or suppressed, a practice which a former Chief Justice called “cultural genocide.”

Our understanding of Canada’s history with respect to indigenous peoples is increasingly seen in the framework of “settler colonialism” described by Wikipedia as “a structure that perpetuates the elimination of indigenous people and cultures to replace them with a settler society

This is also the frame that is being used to understand the relation between the Palestinians, indigenous to that area, and the State of Israel.

There are not only similarities, but according to Azeeka Kanji of the Yellowhead Institute, an indigenous think tank, Canada and Israel are “Partners in the settler colonial contract”.

June 21, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is a good time to reflect on Canada’s history and current policies at home and abroad.


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.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org

Is it time to blow the whistle on the Israel lobby’s scare-mongering about anti-semitism in Canada?

A pamphlet (excerpted above) was used to warn Ontario voters about the rising danger of anti-Semitism in Ontario. Along with the text there is a photo showing angry demonstrators holding a sign saying “Holocaust = Great lie”. But the photo is of a demonstration that took place in Iran… 16 years ago. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is using the scare of a rebirth of anti-Semitism in Canada for another reason, to dampen the rising criticism of Israel. Read more…

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What’s behind the Trudeau government proposal to criminalize “Holocaust denial”?

Prime Minister Trudeau at the opening of the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa 2015.

The Trudeau government slipped a little-noticed line item into the budget which, if passed this month, will have the effect of criminalizing the act of “denying, or diminishing the impact of the Holocaust”. What is behind the idea? Is there a upsurge in Holocaust denial recently, or is there another reason? Read more….

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Is it fair to call Israel an “apartheid” state?

On February 2nd, Amnesty International released a report alleging that Israel operates an “apartheid regime” against Palestinians – not just in the West Bank, but inside Israel itself. Is this charge justified? OFIP asked British Israeli journalist Jonathan Cook to discuss the situation of Palestinians living inside the state of Israel. Watch the webinar….

Compared to the Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank or Gaza, the Palestinian citizens of Israel undoubtedly are better off economically, and have more rights.

IJV Canada has launched a “Together against apartheid” campaign which includes a “pledge” to not shy away from using the word “apartheid” when appropriate.

It is frequently asserted that while those other Palestinians may suffer from Israeli oppression, at least in Israel, Palestinian citizens enjoy equal rights.

Israel does have many of the institutions which are characteristic of “liberal democratic” countries. All citizens of Israel, including its Palestinian citizens, benefit from universal suffrage, free education, free healthcare and the right to travel anywhere they want inside Israel and even to travel outside of the country among other things.

On the other hand, even Israel’s admirers recognize that there are many examples of how the Palestinian citizens of Israel face economic and social discrimination. But does this really amount to “apartheid”? Or is Israel just “liberal democratic” state with some failings, like….. well like Canada, which also has its own failings?

Watch our interview with Jonathan Cook here:

Cook’s description of Israel will challenge those who believe Israel is a “liberal democracy” like Canada and that ending the occupation of ’67 would resolve the main issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

For this reason, I am especially interested in receving comments from those who feel that the portrayal of Israel in the webinar is unfair or untrue. This blog exists to promote an honest and open discussion about Israel/Palestine. I am happy to receive serious objections and counter arguments and encourage respectful debate and disagreements in the “comments” section. NOTE: Ad hominem attacks are not tolerated and will not be published.


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.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org

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Meet Bob Rae, Canada’s new UN Ambassador

Bob Rae, Canada’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, is generally regarded as “progressive” on many issues. However there is one big exception – human rights for Palestinians. He is an active supporter of Israel and involved in many Zionist organizations in Canada and in Israel. Read more…

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