Tag Archives: printonline

Globe & Mail: Canadian politicians love the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — except when it involves Israel

GERALD CAPLAN, Globe and Mail, Monday, Mar. 07, 2016

When it suits them, Canadian politicians embrace the rights established in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But there are limits, and most of them unaccountably seem to have to do with Israel.

Two years ago, for example, then-prime minister Stephen Harper insisted that Israeli policies should not be criticized, especially in public. To criticize Israel, he said, is to be guilty of “the new anti-Semitism. … It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel.”

Why it was anti-Semitic to criticize the Israel government for its housing or land or human-rights policies, as indeed so many Israelis do, Mr. Harper never explained. Continue reading

rabble.ca: Liberals’ shameful BDS stand gives carte blanche to Israel

rabble.ca | BY MURRAY DOBBIN | MARCH 4, 2016

Here’s a Middle East multiple choice question for you (warning: one of these will get you condemned by the government of Justin Trudeau).
Would you rather that the Palestinian people 1) once again take up armed struggle in order to end Israeli occupation of their land or 2) pursue a non-violent strategy of Boycott, Divestiture and Sanctions (BDS) until such time as Israel recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people?

Advocating a return to the use of violence against Israel may or may not get you condemned by the prime minister. But it is definitely not OK to advocate for the non-violent BDS campaign. This was made clear by the government’s support of a Conservative resolution opposing the campaign “which promotes the demonization and de-legitimization of the State of Israel,” and called upon the government “to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.” Continue reading

ipolitics.ca: Boycott Israel – or don’t. Either way, it’s none of Ottawa’s business.

Andrew Mitrovica, ipolitics.ca

Who knew that a dumb little story about ketchup could go viral? Who expected that dumb little story to end up making a backhanded comment about boycotts, political hypocrisy, the Middle East and anti-Semitism?

Recently, a guy named Brian Fernandez wrote a Facebook post saying he would no longer buy Heinz ketchup after he learned that the popular brand had shuttered its plant in Leamington, Ontario, opting to make the condiment in the United States. Instead, he’s buying French’s ketchup, which apparently is made from Canadian tomatoes.

The post got lots of positive mainstream media coverage and led to a spike in sales for French’s. So you see how this works: Someone makes a purchasing decision on the basis of personal ethics, word gets around and, suddenly, the marketplace shifts ever so slightly. Which is how commercial boycotts work — through consumers exercising the power of personal choice.

Now, imagine that another brand of ketchup, instead of being made in the good old U.S. of A., is being manufactured in Israel. Let’s say some hypothetical ketchup consumer, incensed by Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, decides to stop buying that ketchup and encourages others to do the same, or switch to mayo. What do you think would happen then?

Chances are, that hypothetical ketchup consumer would find himself praised by a few and vilified by a lot more — as a leftist loon, as an anarchist, as a Hamas stooge, as an anti-Semite. Nothing has changed between these two scenarios, apart from the target. But the target changes everything. Continue reading

CBC: Liberals denounce and agree with Tory motion condemning Israel boycotters

CBC.ca By Neil MacDonald

So, the Trudeau government intends to join with the Conservatives next week and condemn the United Church of Canada and the Quakers, along with every other organization and individual participating to any degree in a boycott of Israeli goods and services.

Blanket government condemnation is not a very sunny thing to do, and the Liberals, quivering with outrage, are making it clear they really don’t want to do it.

But they are going ahead because, apparently, they’re being bullied, the poor daisies.

It’s just not fair, the things you can be forced to do when you have a parliamentary majority.

There is no doubt, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion declared in the House of Commons Thursday, that most of the organizations and individuals supporting the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement are doing so in good faith, believing it will somehow force an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and its control over Gaza, and maybe some sort of peace deal.

But BDS, said Dion, is not government policy. And “those people, of good faith, we will not convince them of their error by banging them on the head, by hitting them with condemnations of all types, by intimidation, or by invectives. We have to speak to them with respect.”

There is also, added the minister, the small matter of freedom of speech and debate. Continue reading

The intercept: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation

Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation
The Intercept By Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman

THE U.K. GOVERNMENT today announced that it is will be illegal for “local [city] councils, public bodies, and even some university student unions … to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products, or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Thus, any entities that support or participate in the global boycott of Israeli settlements will face “severe penalties.”

This may sound like an extreme infringement of free speech and political activism — and, of course, it is — but it is far from unusual in the West. The opposite is now true. There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment, or BDS — modeled after the 1980s campaign that brought down the Israel-allied apartheid regime in South Africa — is succeeding. Continue reading

Vancouver Sun: Award-winning library director calls terrorism bill this generation’s ‘most repressive’ legislation

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

Brian Campbell, former director of the Vancouver Public Library, has been named recipient of 2015 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada from the Canadian Library Association.

The retired 71-year-old former systems and planning director has defended free speech and promoted free and equal access to information both inside and outside of libraries throughout his career.

During Campbell’s 25-year B.C. library career, he played a leading role in library association campaigns against federal government plans to reduce statistics gathering programs, raise fees for government information, and eliminate the government depository program. He also chaired library committees that campaigned for passage of provincial freedom of information and protection of privacy laws.

In his acceptance speech on May 21, Campbell, who helped found and run Vancouver FreeNet (now Vancouver Community Network), described the Harper government’s anti-terrorism bill (C-51) as the “most repressive piece of legislation introduced in this generation.” He warned that libraries could be put at risk by the bill’s broad definition of terrorist. Continue reading

Salon: Return of the blacklist? Cowardice and censorship at the University of Illinois


Job offer to world-renowned scholar reportedly revoked under pressure, likely over Gaza opinions on Twitter

A few weeks ago Steven Salaita had reason to be pleased. After a full review by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he had received a generous offer of a tenured, associate professor position there — the normal contract was offered, signed by the school, he had received confirmation of his salary, a teaching schedule, everything except the final approval of the UIUC chancellor.

In academia this is not at all unusual; departments and schools are told to go ahead with the offer, so as to be competitive with both the candidate’s current school and others that might be bidding for their talent. Salaita is a world-renowned scholar of indigenous studies (and also a frequent Salon contributor). At that point, as required by academic protocols, upon accepting the position he resigned the one he held at Virginia Tech.

But final approval never came. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today that “Phyllis M. Wise, the campus’s chancellor, and Christophe Pierre, the University of Illinois system’s vice president for academic affairs, informed the job candidate, Steven G. Salaita, on Friday that they were effectively revoking a written offer of a tenured professorship made to him last year by refusing to submit it to the system’s Board of Trustees next month for confirmation.” Continue reading

SFSC/rabble: Who’s afraid of a map? Palestine bus ads spark debate in Vancouver

By Brian Campbell, Seriously Free Speech Committee, rabble.ca, Sept. 12, 2013

Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian human rights are constantly frustrated by the near-monopoly of the Zionist perspective in the dominant media. Most people find it difficult to learn the consequences of illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and to hear the stories of Palestinians.

Avenues explored to increase international awareness of the Palestine situation have included Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, protests, conferences, teach-ins, web sites and alternative media. These efforts have contributed to the dramatic changes taking place in North American and European understanding of the occupation and the daily lives of Palestinians.

Using billboards and transit advertising space to present a public educational message about Palestine has been a recent tactic. Following the lead of other North American cities, Vancouver Palestine supporters bought advertising space on buses for maps depicting Disappearing Palestine. The Palestine Awareness Coalition (PAC), consisting of seven Vancouver solidarity organizations with a wide-range of political and activist orientations, purchased $15,000 worth of advertising space in one Skytrain station and on the sides of 15 buses for one month. Continue reading

SFSC Letter: Denouncing Vancouver Sun’s and Courier’s Attacks on Palestine Awareness Coalition Spokesperson

Letter to the Editor of the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Courier

Several weeks ago ads from the Transit Ad Coalition first appeared in Vancouver showing four historic maps of Israel/Palestine. Since that time there have been a variety of critical responses emanating from various Zionist organizations and from some journalists across the country. However, nothing compares to the outrageous and libelous comments printed in Thursday’s Vancouver Sun and the scandalous lack of research displayed in Allen Garr’s column in Friday’s Courier. Continue reading

Vancouver Sun: Disappearing Palestine transit ads defended

Vancouver Sun Letters to the Editor, Sept. 7, 2013

Re: Amid chaos and conflict, Rosh Hashanah brings hope for a sweet year, Editorial, Sept. 5

Enough with the attacks on the Israel/Palestine transit ads. This latest tirade, which appeared as an editorial in today’s Vancouver Sun, was simply too much. Yes, it’s Rosh Hashanah, but the thought that Jews in synagogues across the country are in a state of panic over a small number of factual ads on Vancouver’s buses and SkyTrain stations is ridiculous.

The timing of the ad was completely out of the Transit Ad Coalition’s power, so trying to criticize the sponsors of the ad for their insensitivity about a Jewish holiday is a non-starter. Furthermore, attacking a member of the Transit Ad Coalition by slamming what are putatively her personal politics is outrageous. It smacks of McCarthyism. Continue reading