Independent Jewish Voices letter to Prime Minister Harper

May 13th, 2008 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine, Politics, Solidarity

    Photo: Apartheid in Palestine, an Israeli check-point.


    Dear Prime Minister Harper.

We read with dismay and sadness the report of your remarks in the Montreal Gazette with regard to those who criticize the State of Israel. As Jews, and as Canadians, we are deeply offended by your allegations that objections to Israeli policies that include the occupation, forced eviction, and denial of human rights to Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank — as well as discrimination against the many Palestinians living in Israel — are signals of “anti-Semitism.”

To the contrary, these objections are rooted in the many Jewish struggles for justice and democracy throughout history, and reflect the contributions made by many Jews around the world for the respect of human rights. Thus, we are troubled that you, as Prime Minister of Canada, chose not to recognize the multiplicity of Jewish voices and positions, both in Canada and in Israel. It is our history of dissent, constructive criticism, and community action that has helped build Canada. Our ability to address not only Jewish concerns but also those of our fellow citizens stems from the painful memories of how silence was used against us.

Dissent is not something we take lightly – whether in Israel, Canada, or elsewhere. To equate the “criticism of the state of Israel as similar to the attitude of Nazi Germany” is slanderous!

As members of Independent Jewish Voices (Montreal) we demand that you retract your statements: they reflect the type of overwhelming misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of Jewish cultures and histories that continues to contribute to racism against Jews. Moreover, we demand that you make a public apology to all of us — Jews and non-Jews alike — who take their role as citizens conscientiously.

Independent Jewish Voices (Montréal)

1 Comment »

I just wanted to say thank you for standing up to the incorrect label of Anti-Semitism for those who protest Human Rights violations. I am a Muslim who deeply respects not only the Jewish faith but also Jewish people. I do not feel that my protests against the actions of the State of Israel toward the Palestinian refugees are in any way Anti-Semitic – because the actions of the State of Israel do not represent Judaism, nor do they represent the myriad of gentle, kind Jews that I know, who also believe strongly in the need to protect Human Rights. They have come to be this way through their own historical struggles, and also because of their great faith in the One Who Created all people.

Comment by Suzanne — July 27th, 2008 @ 1:03 AM

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