NDP cautiously differentiates itself from Tories and Grits on Palestinian human rights

Now that we know officially that a Canadian federal election will happen, Peter Larson’s posting is timely; I invite you to read his blog via the links provided. Also, news from Susiya is encouraging, too, as Jewish Voice for Peace today forwarded the following from Rabbis for Human Rights and Free Jerusalem:
“Thanks to the determined struggle led by the residents of Susiya, and the public pressure in which we all took part, we have come to believe that in the coming two weeks, there will not be demolitions in the village. At the same time, we will wait to hear about developments, and when the timing for a decision regarding the village’s future grows nearer, we will renew the public struggle.” (Click here.)

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

dewar to nicholson on Susyia

As a federal election looms, Thomas Mulcair and Paul Dewar have taken positions on human rights for Palestinians in the last few weeks that differentiate them from both the Harper Conservatives and the Trudeau Liberals. Their statements are cautious, but positive. They will no doubt attract fierce criticism from the Israel lobby. More.

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We are one Earth community – Canada shares responsibility…

Canada is a part of the global community. If we are concerned about the future, we need to understand that what happens elsewhere (e.g., Palestinian refugees in Syria) also impacts Canadians. To sustain life ‘there’ is linked to sustaining life ‘here’.

I invite you to learn more about the need for international (including UN-member states like Canada) support for Palestinian refugees in Damascus, particularly Yarmouk refugee camp. Peter Larson posted on his blog, recently (click here), referring to CBC Radio’s program, “The Current”, on Thurs., 9 Apr. 2015 (click here).

For additional info, please follow these links:

Through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians (UNRWA), the UN protects Palestinian refugees and calls for urgent support (click here).

This appeared in a left-leaning, Israeli newspaper (click here).

Trying to understand recent news about Israeli-American and Canadian relations?

On 3 March 2015, the Israeli government representative, Prime Minister Netanyahu, addressed the United States Congress for the third time. Winston Churchill is the only other international leader to appear before Congress three times. For additional, contextual information about the address, check out this annotated guide – click here and then click on all of the grey-highlighted words for the annotations.

Click here for another resource, TimesWarp. Click here for a website maintained by British journalist, Jonathan Cook, from his base in Nazareth, Israel.

Click here for commentary from Canadians in The Globe and Mail.

And, click here for recent insights about the Canadian government’s relationship with the Israeli government.

Witnessing pain – Friends object.

Upon witnessing the effects of the Israeli authorities’ demolition of friends’ home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, my friend, Jan, is calling out to the world in the name of peace. Please read her blog posting to learn more (click here).

As a reminder (from my posting on 13 April 2011, click here):   Israel occupied East Jerusalem along with the West Bank in 1967. Occupation is regarded internationally as a temporary situation. Permanent changes in occupied territory are not allowed except for military necessity or to benefit the local population (Article 43, Hague Regulations). Destruction of property is not allowed (Article 53, Fourth Geneva Convention). Confiscation of property (Article 46, Hague Regulations) is not allowed. The forced displacement and inhumane treatment (e.g., denying essentials like water) of the local population is…not allowed.

I agree with Jan in asking: If the Israeli government and the Canadian federal government claim to be best friends, how is it that the latter does not object to what the former is doing – which is blatant disregard for international law?

“Are we brave enough for peace?”

Cris Williamson asks this question in her 2003 song titled, “We the People” (click here).

This week in Canada, we experienced violence that is prompting us as a society to ask if globally-related violence really is growing on this part of Turtle Island (North America; click here). Our government is proposing that we increase national and provincial security measures. In effect, our government and uncritical media are suggesting that we be fearful.

But, others, like the people of Cold Lake, Alberta (click here) and Cris Williamson offer alternative perspectives. Here are the lyrics to the chorus of Cris’ song:

We the people
Stand in the hard rain pourin’ down
We’ll not be prisoners of war
We will not cast the stone

We can and are choosing non-violent responses to violence. Yesterday, for example, in Cold Lake, Alberta, as local Muslims gathered for Friday prayers, they discovered violent words spray-painted on the side of the mosque. They and many other Cold-Lake residents responded with concern and began to wash off the violent words, together. They were brave and chose peace.

I believe that Canadian society is capable of being brave, too, and choosing peace. By responding to global violence with more violence, are we not contributing to the problem by destroying the places in which the next generation is trying to grow? If we contribute to destruction, how can any little person develop in healthy ways and relationships? It’s not too late to declare that war with its violence is unhelpful. In 2005, Jean Shinoda Bolen described that “when the problem is violence, solutions have to be found to keep noncombatants safe from physical harm and emotional trauma” (p. 95, see more here). She writes that women (and I would suggest men, too, who have been given the love and resources to develop healthy, sensitive selves) “…have the qualities that are needed for the human family, the planet and all life on it to survive and thrive” (p. 98). And, she notes that we need to make our healthy relationality visible.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to participate in the 2014 People for People conference in Edmonton (click here; coordinated by Kara Stokke, click here). Teresa de Grosbois (click here), one of the great keynote speakers, encouraged us to speak with the intention to be heard.

And, so I offer this posting with compassion for the larger whole… we don’t have to choose fear. In Canada and globally, we can choose to “Stand in the hard rain pourin’ down” (Cris’s song) and declare that increasing Canadian security measures could contribute to the building of walls that exclude and potentially humiliate and diminish others. We can choose connection and create spaces in which to listen to each other with care and curiosity, to understand.

I write with the intention to be heard. I believe that we are capable and can be brave enough for peace. Okay, here we go – on the count of 3, let’s stand up together… perhaps it’ll be raining, quite possibly snowing… [grin!]

Radio interview between citizens regarding Canadian and Israeli government relationships

Other views of the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine exist… other views than Prime Minister Harper’s perspective. Here is a link (click here) to a radio interview from 15 Jan. 2014 with Tyler Levitan of Independent Jewish Voices-Canada / Voix juives indépendantes-Canada (Campaigns Coordinator) (here). The interview was conducted by TLV1 which is “an English-language internet radio broadcasting from the heart of Israel – Tel Aviv. Founded in 2013, TLV1 seeks to provide listeners with a fresh and novel perspective on the daily agenda in Israel and its neighbors, and keeps its finger on the beating pulse of Tel Aviv – the cultural barometer of the Middle East. / TLV1 is a trailblazing radio station, combining cutting-edge technology with the highest professional standards. It holds no political agenda and does not tolerate propaganda” (see more here).

When going to the TLV1 link (here), look for and click on ‘New Canadian ambassador to Israel raises controversy’.

 

Ambassador Bercovici – Did you travel freely?

Dear Ambassador Bercovici,

I understand that you have been part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s official delegation or small circle of 29 people (all travel expenses paid) in his recent trip to Israel and Palestine (click here). As I look at the list of five groups of people in the larger delegation of 208 people, a recent book, The Armaggedon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada by Marci McDonald, comes to mind. Have you read it? Some of the people on your trip are the type that McDonald discusses in her book. From this Globe & Mail article, the authors note: “Several of the delegates are representatives from evangelical Christian organizations, including the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada, of which Mr. Harper has said he is a member.” The authors also note: “Rev. Bruce Gregersen, a senior adviser on theology for the United Church of Canada who did not participate in the delegation, said it makes sense for the Prime Minister to include a large number of faith-based organizations because faith and politics are closely linked in the region. / But Mr. Gregersen, who has worked on Middle East issues for the United Church, said he was surprised that a broader range of Christian faiths were not included, given that a number of Orthodox, Anglican and Catholic churches have stronger historical connections with Palestinian Christians.”

What ties this delegation together? John Bell notes (here) that Canadian media have noticed the delegation’s size and “questioned the wisdom and motivation of this ample devotion to Israel. Is it calculated interest or a moral drive? Some point out that Harper has much to lose by this stance. The parliamentary electoral gains among the Jewish community, although key to three seats in Toronto, are small in comparison to losses among the Muslim community. Certainly, in Europe, where I live, people are baffled by Canada’s zealous support for Israel” (here).

I am curious, too, about the shift in recent years of Canadian foreign policy to support the Israeli government . How would you respond to these questions (here) prepared by the United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI)?

How was your travel? Did you move freely? Did you travel to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank with the Prime Minister? Did you travel by road and go through Qalandiya check point (here)? Or, did you fly? Here is a video (here) created by Neta Efrony, a filmmaker and a member of Machsom Watch (Hebrew for Checkpoints Watch; here). She is an Israeli citizen who objects to the Israeli government’s denial of the freedom of movement of Palestinians (for example, at Qalandiya or Kalandia check point). She asks: Where has compassion gone?

Wondering,

Sherry Ann