News stories and other updates about the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.
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Postscript on the New McCarthyism, rabble.ca, Dec 20, 2010
SFSC News release: Coalition to push governments, universities to adopt definition of anti-Semitism that outlaws criticism of Israel
Q Media Panel on ICCA, cbc radio, Nov 19, 2010 (starts at 47:74)
Caeasar and the Ottawa Protocol, rabble.ca, Nov 17, 2010
Don’t confuse criticism with anti-Semitism, Burnaby Now/New West Record, Nov 13, 2010
Anti-Semitic to criticize Israeli construction in Jerusalem?, globe and mail, Nov 10, 2010
Harper on Israel: Is the Prime Minister mentally sound?, rabble.ca, Nov 10, 2010
Fight against anti-Semitism renewed with ‘Ottawa Protocol’, National Post, Nov 9, 2010
An enduring hatred: Irwin Cotler Defining the new anti-Semitism, National Post, Nov 9, 2010
Tory MP hits back at critics of anti-Semitism conference, Globe and Mail, Nov 8, 2010
Group questions premise of anti-Semitism conference, Globe and Mail, Nov 8, 2010
Harper pledges ‘relentless’ stand against anti-Semitism, Globe and Mail, Nov 8, 2010
The CPCCA should be reconfigured to combat racism against all peoples, rabble.ca, Nov 8, 2010
Anti-Semitism and free speech: In Parliament this weekend, rabble.ca, Nov 4, 2010
A tale of two ghettoes, National Post, Nov 2, 2010
Anti-Semitism on your magazine rack–courtesy of Adbusters, National Post, Oct 24, 2010
Face to Face with Jack Etkin: Professor Michael Keefer, ICTV Victoria, Oct 7, 2010
Criticize Israel Go to Jail, GroundWire Oct.12-25, 2010
Criticize Israel, go to jail, Edmonton Vue, Sept 21 2010
Coalition aims to criminalise criticism of Israel, Gabriola Flying Shingle, Oct 4 2010
Israel apologists cry wolf with claims of ‘antisemitism’, Vancouver Courier September 29, 2010
Author speaking on anti-semitism, Comox Valley Echo, September 24, 2010
Book launch supports free speech, Nanaimo News Bulletin, Sept 21, 2010
Radio Interview with Michael Keefer, author of Antisemitism: Real and Imagined
A Mideast reading list for Tories willing to learn, The Globe and Mail, Aug. 27, 2010
NDP MP refuses to quit CPCCA, April 24, 2010
The CPCCA: A Threat to Free Speech in Canada, download and circulate the new flyer from the CPCCA Working Group of the Seriously Free Speech Committee
Help ask the NDP to withdraw from the CPCCA, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, April 8, 2010
Book on anti-Semitism challenges Parliamentary coalition’s objectivity, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, April 6, 2010
The Bloc Quebecois quits Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, Le Devoir, March 10, 2010
Free speech at risk in Apartheid Week debacle, rabble.ca, March 10, 2010
Israel is an apartheid state and that is why they are losing legitimacy, rabble.ca, March 2, 2010
The Canadian Parliamentary Farce to Combat Antisemitism, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, March 2010
Creating a Closed Zone in Canada, download and circulate the new flyer from the CPCCA Working Group of the Seriously Free Speech Committee
CPCCA: What it means for Canadians, Canadian Dimension, Feb 4, 2010
Webcast of talk on CPCCA by Dr. Joanne Naiman at Gaza Remembered event at VPL, Jan 30, 2009
Canadian Policy: The Jerusalem effect, opednews.com, Jan 26, 2020
Policy and prejudice: De-funding Canadian aid projects, rabble.ca, Jan 18, 2010
Shaming us all, Ottawa Citizen, Dec 30, 2009
Audio files are available from last fall’s hearings of the CPCCA
Confusing politics and prejudice in the fight against anti-semitism, rabble.ca, Jan 6, 2010
HUAC [House Un-American Acvities Committee] North and its backers, Dawg’s Blawg blog, Dec 13, 2009
The “neutrality” of HUAC North, Dawg’s Blawg, Dec 10, 2009
Out of commission, Toronto Star blog of Antonia Zerbisias, Dec 11, 2009
Canadian Dimension interview about Parliament and Antisemitism (radio interview podcast with Mordecai Breimberg), ALERT/rabble.ca podcast, Dec 2, 2009 (Starts at 28:06 minutes into their program and concludes at 46:00 minutes)
Redeye: Finding out about the CPCCA (radio interview podcast with Alan Sears), redeye/rabble.ca podcast, Nov 25, 2009
Will Harper criminalize criticism of Israel?, rabble.ca, Nov. 19, 2009
Balance on Mideast is a liability, Toronto Star, Nov. 20, 2009
Seriously Free Speech Committee has written a letter objecting to the closed process of CPCCA
NDP MP REFUSES TO QUIT CPCCA
(Judy Wasylycia-Leis’s letter appears below)
To: Judy Wasylycia-Leis, NDP MP, Winnipeg North
From: Ross MacKay
Sent By Email: April 24, 2010 8:17 AM
Subject: response re: Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism
Dear Ms Wasylycia-Leis:
Please do not compound your egregious betrayal of principle by
disingenuously pretending that you can accomplish more inside the tent than
outside it. The tent is filled with snakes.
You know, as well as the tens of thousands of people across Canada who work
tirelessly every day on behalf of peace and justice, that the Canadian
Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism is a fraud whose sole
purpose is to criminalize criticism of the state of Israel. In the
process, it is quite willing to smear these same committed people and many
others with the very serious charge of anti-Semitism. It is hard to
imagine a more despicable tactic, especially considering that many of the
people who will be slandered by this accusation have worked their entire
lives against all forms of racism and bigotry, and would be horrified by
such an allegation. Indeed, one of your colleagues on this committee,
Jason Kenney, has already besmirched the reputation of KAIROS with this
Trumpeting your participation in some progressive organizations is no
defence for your role in legitimizing the CPCCA and its McCarthyite
proceedings. Please don’t add insult to injury by assuming that
progressive, thinking people will be persuaded by your feeble pretexts.
Rather than justifying your participation in the CPCCA, you should be
apologizing for it.
Letter from Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Thank you for your message regarding my participation in the Canadian
Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA).
I joined this coalition when it was initiated because of a commitment I
have held throughout my more than 20 years as an elected representative to
do whatever I can, personally and politically, to speak out against
antisemitism and any other form of racism and hatred in our society. In my
view, antisemitism is still a tragic reality in this country and therefore
worthy of consideration on an all-party basis.
Through formal and informal parliamentary groupings and dialogue,
Parliamentarians have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to share
ideas and pursue actions on serious issues facing our society. It is for
that reason that I am also a member of the All-Party Group for the
Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, the Canadian
Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development, as well as
many parliamentary friendship groups including Canada-Philippines and
My participation doesn’t imply I agree with everything the group says or
does. In fact, in the case of the CPCAA, I agree that it was wrong for the
Coalition Chairs to choose not to hear from the Canadian Arab Federation
and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.
However, I believe I can do more ensuring their voices and all views are
heard and included in the final report by being a part of the Coalition
than I can by removing myself completely from the discussions.
Throughout the hearings, I have made it my priority to question witnesses
about the importance of distinguishing between antisemitism and criticism
of the State of Israel and to expose attempts by the Conservative
government to use the issue of antisemitism and the work of the Coalition
for political, partisan purposes.
As a member of CPCCA, I have opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise to
oppose forces that are counter-productive to the goal of combating
antisemitism. Furthermore, if the final report of the Coalition does not
address my concerns or the testimony of many witnesses, I have the
opportunity of writing a minority report and appending an alternative
viewpoint which I believe would be considered more seriously than if I was
criticizing the report from the sidelines.
I appreciate your concern and hope that you understand my position. Thank
you for taking the time to contact me.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis, MP
THE BLOC QUEBECOIS QUITS COALITION TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM
Le Devoir, March 10, 2010
Ottawa – The Bloc Quebecois decided yesterday to withdraw from the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism because it judges it “biased” in favor of Israel and against the Palestinians.
The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) is a coalition of parliamentary parties represented in Ottawa. Less as of yesterday. Le Devoir learned that the two representatives ‘bloquistes’participating in the CPCCA decided to quit.
The CPCCA undertook an “investigation commission” to address the nature of antisemitism in Canada. Witnesses were invited, including Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney. The Bloc Quebecois, deploring the fact that most witnesses shared the same perspective and point of view, proposed to hear two different groups.
“We found that the list of the proposed witnesses presented a single side of the same coin”, explains the whip of the Bloc Quebecois, Michel Guimond. We wanted this to be a lot more reasonable.” They asked to hear the Canadian-Arab Federation, that had submitted testimony and asked for an audience, as well as the Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East. The committee, presided by the conservative Scott Reid, did not grant this request.
Michel Guimond asserts that the withdrawal of the Bloc must be understood as a “repudiation”. The party wants to distance itself while the Coalition prepares its report. “We consider that the Coalition is tainted, partisan and presents a single side of the coin. We desired a a much more moderate approach, more consensual, and still with the outlook to find peace.”
One will remember that Ottawa cut funding to the Canadian-Arab Federation last year, after they had called Minister Kenney a “professional whore” for his absolute support for the State of Israel.
SERIOUSLY FREE SPEECH COMMITTEE STRONGLY OBJECTS TO CLOSED PROCESS OF CPCCA
To: Monica Kugelmass <Monica.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director, Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism
November 16, 2009
I am writing on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) to express our strongest possible objections to the proceedings of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.
Our concerns include the Coalition’s lack of openness and transparency, its lack of respect for fundamental democratic traditions in its public process, its unfair and secretive choice of witnesses, and its lack of accountability to the public that elected its members to Parliament by not revealing its mandate and its source of funding.
Our committee submitted a brief to the Coalition on August 13, 2009. On September 15, 2009 we emailed the Coalition stating “We are calling on your office to acknowledge receipt of all submissions and to post all submissions on your Web page. Acknowledgment of receipt of the submission is a minimal courtesy. Publication of the submissions allows interested organizations and individuals to review and assess points made in all briefs.”
In her email reply of September 22, 2009, Monica Kugelmass indicated that “as soon as it is possible we will begin posting more information on our Website, including our future timeline.”
As of today, the SFSC has received no notice of any hearings nor an invitation to appear before the committee. Since submitting a brief was a requirement to be a witness, it follows that those organizations would be invited to appear before the committee or at the very least be notified of hearings that have been scheduled.
Despite Ms Kugelmass’s promise of more information, no submissions to the coalition have been posted on the website and therefore neither the public nor stakeholders are able to read and assess them. It seems that the Coalition is unable to maintain even the most minimal standards of a public process.
The Coalition website now states the “committee [sic] has invited over forty individuals and organizations to appear before them during their hearings in November and December.” This, however, raises more serious concerns about the process of the coalition:
– the list of “over forty” witnesses has not been posted on the website nor made public, so it is impossible to verify the Coalition’s claim it has “invited witnesses with a variety of experiences and backgrounds.”
– the first hearing was hastily announced on the Coalition website on October 27, only one week before the hearing on November 4th and all hearings are being held exclusively at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa. No only would this make it extremely difficult for regional grassroots groups to give evidence, most will not even have the opportunity to attend a hearing.
We have been in contact with more than a dozen organisations and individual academics that submitted briefs expressing concern over the process and mandate of the Coalition and it’s potential impact on freedom of expression in Canada. None had received an invitation to testify nor notification about the hearings.
Also troubling is that the Coalition has not revealed its funding sources despite a promise that it “will voluntarily disclose all sources of funding.” As the Coalition is not an official parliamentary body, it would be unethical for individual MPs to use their constituency or party resources to support its “inquiry”.
It appears that the Coalition is trying to have it both ways, implying that it is an official parliamentary committee by referring to itself as a “committee” (as quoted above) and using parliamentary facilities but avoiding the transparency and openness required of an actual parliamentary body.
The Coalition’s actions force us to conclude that its process is closed to anyone who questions its preordained recommendation of expanding the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of the State of Israel, such as calls for a boycott or political discussions of Israeli apartheid, thus moving toward criminalising dissent in this country. In addition, The Seriously Free Speech Committee infers that the Coalition is not genuinely concerned with determining the state of antisemitism, racism and human rights in Canada. Clearly, the operation of the Coalition is designed to shield Israel from criticism and to silence Canadians who are critical of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and Israel’s recent war crimes in Gaza, as documented by the Goldstone Report to the UN.
Co-chair, Seriously Free Speech Committee
The Independent Jewish Voices of Canada has created a petition (text below) concerning the CPCCA. Please sign this petition.
The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) is conducting eight hearings starting November 2 to December 14. “Witnesses” have been selected from some 150 submissions to further the CPCCA’s political agenda.
Many of those critical of the CPCCA agenda to equate criticism of Israel or Zionism as anti-Semitism made submissions. To the best of our knowledge, they have all been excluded from the hearings.
The CPCCA’s goal is to criminalize criticism of Israel and Zionism, not to hold impartial hearings.
Therefore, we oppose the CPCCA as an ideologically biased organization with an agenda that will harm free speech and human rights activity in Canada.
We oppose the CPCCA’s Orwellian distortion of anti-Semitism. It is a danger to both Canadian liberties and to the genuine and necessary fight against anti-Semitism.