Boycotting Israel is anti-Semitic?

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Muzzlewatch, the anti-propaganda site run by Jewish Voice for Peace, called this action by the Canadian government  a "$7 million muzzling shocker."

Canadian government cuts off funds for church group (KAIROS) it calls anti-Semitic, the report said.

Quoting Cecile Sarasky,

Despite a 35-year collaboration, the Canadian church group KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, "one of Canada's most respected and important charitable organizations," was stunned when their likely routine 7 million dollar request for the human rights program was denied by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). But they were even more surprised when they discovered why: although the group's board had made public their opposition to sanctions and boycotts against Israel 2 years earlier, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in a speech he gave this week in Israel charged the group with being anti-Semitic for "taking a leadership role in the boycott." Kenney, speaking at the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, said they were "defunding" groups as part of their new "zero-tolerance" approach to anti-Semitism.  (Read the full text of his speech HERE. )

In his speech, Kenney included in a list of acts of anti-Semitism, like the spray-painting of swastikas on a Canadian Holocaust memorial, the spray-painting of the phrase "Stop the Israeli genocide in Gaza".

Anti-human rights/Israel lobby group NGO Monitor built an extensive dossier on KAIROS- which represents Canada's Mennonites, the Anglican, United and Catholic Churches and does work in some of the poorest regions of the world.

"Stop the Israeli genocide in Gaza" is anti-Semitic?

This move on the part of the Canadian government is undoubtedly the latest attempt to broaden the concept of "the new anti-Semitism," which arose almost entirely from the idea that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. A study completed a few years ago of EU countries, however, revealed increased anti-Semitic incidents in only four of them, most attributed to skinhead groups, i.e., to the old anti-Semitism.

This reaction to KAIROS undoubtedly stems from perceived dangers of the growing international boycott movement against Israel, which continues its occupation, colonialism, and siege in the Palestinian territories under the pretext of wanting peace through a two state solution.

Cecile Sarasky's defense of KAIROS as well as KAIROS response to the Canadian government's action is too long to quote in its entirety, but can be accessed HERE for those interested.

KAIROS has also posted this list of seven ways you can help. Cecile Sarasky says, read it and act.

Tags: boycott, Gaza, Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace, KAIROS, Muzzlewatch, Palestine (all tags)



Why is I/P so much more important

than Tibet, which suffers a far more brutal occupation? Or the fighting in Kashmir? Or Sudan? Why do you people never talk about those things, but its always Israel, whose semi-occupation is far less brutal than what goes in other places in the world? Where is the boycott of Pakistan for their ethnic cleansing of Hindus, or the Arab Sudanese genocide against the blacks? Where is your blog on bringing Bashir to justice?

The singling out and the disproportionate focus on the Jewish State is indeed anti-semitism. They don't force their women into veils, hang those who insult Zionism or Judaism is "apostates" are routinely rounded up and killed in other countries.

Why do you people never talk about radical jihad?

by Lakrosse 2009-12-20 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is I/P so much more important

"Tibet, which suffers a far more brutal occupation? Or the fighting in Kashmir? Or Sudan? Why do you people never talk about those things, but its always Israel..."

Why don't you diary about these good causes, only leave the Islamophobia out of it, the jihad nonsense, in particular? Yet the only diaries we have seen from you are about Israel. So ask yourself the same questions.

I suppose Lakrosse one main reason has a lot to do with the fact that this human rights cause, Palestinian occupation/colonialism, and lack of freedom, is nurtured by the USA, while those others are not. By the USA, I mean you and me, and whomever is an American, we who contribute our tax monies to help subjugate and even kill Palestinians, as we saw in Gaza. It is close to home, therefore, and we are partially responsible.

The why not them is also another version of the criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic meme.

by MainStreet 2009-12-20 09:39AM | 0 recs

the Tibet/China issue does not have a direct immediate effect on our security...Israel/Palestine does.

Whether rightly or wrongly, I/P has been an effective recruiting tool for anti-American and anti-West terrorism and that alone makes it a more important issue for us.

by ND22 2009-12-20 10:25AM | 0 recs
there is no direct/immediate affect

I/P has on our security. Osama said he attacked us because of the fall of the Caliphate that the West supposedly brought on, the US and non-Islamic powers being immoral, and American presence on Arab lands. I/P was also not the reason Spain got hit, as Spain despises Israel, and Osama said he did that because of the loss of Andalusia and their participation in Iraq, and he attacked Britain, who also isn't close with Israel. So sorry, I/P is not the reason radical jihad exists.

Also, if we just abandon Israel because we're scared of Osama, do you realize what other allies would think behind closed doors? The US would be an unreliable "ally," plus we'd be doing what Chamberlain and Daladier did. Sorry you believe in appeasing Islamic terror.

Where is your explanation for Islamist attacks in Russia, tho Russia has worked against Israel since the Suez Crisis to the present day as they stall sanctions on Iran? I could go on listing Islamist attacks and methods that have nothing to do with Israel.

by Lakrosse 2009-12-20 03:14PM | 0 recs

the fall of the Caliphate that the West supposedly brought on

part of the Caliphate was replaced with Israel.

I/P was also not the reason Spain got hit, as Spain despises Israel

Google Spain 1492.

Also, if we just abandon Israel because we're scared of Osama, do you realize what other allies would think behind closed doors?

That they did the same thing like 20 years ago?

Where is your explanation for Islamist attacks in Russia

Checnya, duh.

by ND22 2009-12-20 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: History

Plus, very few critics of Israeli policy advocate abandoning Israel.  Most think that a 2 state solution is exactly how to ensure Israel's security and are willing to guarantee it with continued support.  The point is that the occupation is currently the biggest threat to Israel's future as well as Palestine's.  It's a false dichotomy.

by Strummerson 2009-12-20 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Why is I/P so much more important

Here's an update just for you.
From Mondoweiss

The China-Darfur distraction
by David Samel on December 20, 2009

One line often used against Israel's critics is that there are bigger fish to fry, that Israeli oppression of Palestinians pales in comparison to human rights violations around the world, such as Darfur or Chechnya or Myanmar/Burma or the Chinese occupation of Tibet. This has become a familiar complaint in discussions of BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions), war crimes investigations, and the September protest of the Toronto International Film Festival's celebration of Tel Aviv. Some of Israel's defenders insist that anyone who targets Israel instead of more oppressive regimes must be acting out of some nefarious ulterior motive. I wonder what that might be.

In response, many critics of Israel have defended their position by contending that the extent of Palestinian suffering compares with or even exceeds the misery of other global victims. While I find this argument to be factually convincing, there is something fundamentally unsound in engaging in such comparisons at all.  Why should activists who seek to change Israeli policy be expected to first familiarize themselves with every other worldwide human rights violation, and resolve those that are deemed more pressing, before they can legitimately attend to the Palestinian situation? In any other context, such demand would be considered unreasonable, even ridiculous. For example, the Olympic games in Beijing were met with demonstrations all over the world against China's oppressive policies. The Chinese government defended its suitability as an Olympic host, but never accused protesters of anti-Asian racism because they were ignoring greater evils.

But in the service of Israel, no argument sinks to a level that is unutterable. If it can be imagined, it can be articulated, because there are legions of the willingly gullible who are eager to grasp any line of reasoning to shield the moral superiority of their beloved country from challenge. All skepticism is tossed aside. There is no recognition that this claim is analogous to that of the hapless lawyer who argues that his client should not stand trial for burglary because there are murderers at large. And that analogy holds only if the questionable factual premise is true, and the suffering of others greatly exceeds that of the Palestinians.

The China-Darfur distraction serves the additional purpose of reinforcing the conviction that "the world's oldest hatred" is the ubiquitous explanation for protest of Israeli policies. "You are singling out the Jewish State for condemnation while letting much worse violators of international law and human rights off the hook." The target audience, predisposed to swallow any pro-Israel argument, will be especially happy to embrace one tinged with implications of anti-Semitism.

The accusation is cynical as well. Those who make it are not agitating for relief for the unfortunate whose suffering supposedly outranks the Palestinians'. They are defending Israel from pressure to remove its stranglehold on Palestinian life, and exploiting the misery of other human rights victims as a convenient pretext for portraying protesters against Israel as anti-Semites. They can make no credible claim that the Israeli critic's attention would be better spent elsewhere, since their attention is also focused on Israel, but in defense of "second-rate" oppression rather than opposition to it.

So regardless of whether you believe that Palestinian suffering is the single most troublesome international tragedy, the fifth worst, or the fiftieth worst, there is no need to justify efforts to alleviate it. Israel's treatment of its own Palestinian citizens is reminiscent of the era in American history that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, and its treatment of non-citizen Palestinians under occupation is far, far worse. If it's broke, it should be fixed, notwithstanding dubious claims that there are more urgent wrongs in need of repair. Those who bring up China or Darfur in defense of Israel are just engaging in the world's most common faux accusation of racism.  Their time and energy would be better spent actually working to solve those other problems, instead of adding to this one.

by MainStreet 2009-12-21 07:05AM | 0 recs


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