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.

As Jews, we understand the sensitivity of the Jewish community to anti-Semitism. But attempting to shut down all attempts to open a debate about what is happening in Israel does not do our community justice. We feel capable of engaging in reasoned discussions. But since the ads have appeared, conservative Jewish organizations have expressed horror at the ads without bothering to address what they deem to be the ads’ inaccuracies.

As Jews who recall what happened when the world looked on as our people were suffering, we feel it our moral duty to draw attention to the current plight of the Palestinians. It is our view that the time has come for all Canadians to look critically at what is happening in Israel/Palestine, and to allow all voices to be heard on the subject.

Sid Shniad, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Surrey

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