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.
In newspapers and magazines Canadians can openly criticize their Parliament, provincial legislatures, politicians, or any of our social institutions. We can have political cartoons that make fun of esteemed individuals. We can have a free and open debate about whether marijuana should be legalized, whether gays should have the right to marry, whether women should have the right to abortions, or whether recently proposed Quebec policies on the wearing of religious attire for public servants should be legislated. Many of these debates appear regularly in the Vancouver Sun.
But apparently there is one particular topic that seems to be excluded from free and open discussion in this country, and that topic is Israel/Palestine. Whenever critics of current Israeli policy-whether in academia, in film, in newspapers, or on transit ads-try to open such a debate, they find themselves under attack, usually being charged with anti-Semitism. However, the Sun editorial goes one further, by naming one woman who is a member of the transit ad coalition, and attacking her for being, apparently, a commie and a terrorist. Such arguments, of course, are a sure sign that those doing the attacking don’t have anything concrete to say regarding the substance of the argument.
If all criticisms of government policies of the State of Israel are de facto examples of anti-Semitism, then Canadians are faced with the bizarre reality that they can openly criticize any government in the world-including their own-but not that of Israel.
Shame on the Vancouver Sun and the Courier for its support of censorship. The time has come for all Canadians to demand a free and open debate on the reality of what is happening in Israel/Palestine.
For the Seriously Free Speech Committee.