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A new authoritarian axis demands an international progressive front
Sep 16, 2018 at 03:24 PM

There is a global struggle taking place of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the planet - economically, socially and environmentally - is at stake.

At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when the world's top 1% now owns more wealth than the bottom 99%, we are seeing the rise of a new authoritarian axis.

While these regimes may differ in some respects, they share key attributes: hostility toward democratic norms, antagonism toward a free press, intolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities, and a belief that government should benefit their own selfish financial interests. These leaders are also deeply connected to a network of multi-billionaire oligarchs who see the world as their economic plaything.

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Dimitri Lascaris is not an Antisemite
Sep 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Pro-Israel lobby groups B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) have once again levied the charge of antisemitism at a Palestinian rights activist in what appears to be an attempt to tarnish his reputation. Their latest target is lawyer and former Green Party Justice Critic Dimitri Lascaris.

Members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) and other Jewish social justice activists have worked with Mr. Lascaris for years. We state categorically that the accusation of antisemitism against him is false and irresponsible.

Mr. Lascaris has issued his own response to these charges. We appreciate the clarifications and applaud his rejoinder.

The modus operandi of these groups is to seize upon a word or a phrase by an individual, label it a manifestation of Jew-hatred, demand that people and organizations dissociate from the accused, and then repeat the allegations in the hope that the accusations, and not the facts, prevail. 

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Sir, I Will Not Be Deterred From Defending Human Rights
Sep 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

I am a proud anti-racist and advocate for human rights, yet I now find myself in a situation familiar to so many defenders of the human rights of Palestinians: I am being defamed as an anti-Semite by pro-Israel organizations and pro-Israel politicians, including Canada's own Prime Minister.

Let me state unequivocally that I oppose and condemn antisemitism. Indeed, I oppose and condemn all forms of racism. I am humbled to belong to a principled global solidarity movement against the occupation of Palestine. That wonderful and growing movement includes many brothers and sisters from the Jewish community. We are resolute that fighting all racism is necessary to realize any hope for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

I have visited and reported on Israel and occupied Palestine. I have born witness to Palestinian suffering. This has moved me to seek an end to the oppression of Palestinians, which the Canadian government tries to sweep under the carpet.

Over the last decade, pro-Israel organizations in Western nations have attempted methodically to expand the definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel and of its advocates. Previously, antisemitism was understood as prejudice and hatred of Jews, their religion, their culture and their religious institutions. The nation-state of Israel was not part of the equation.

Canada just signed on to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. In 2016, the Western-dominated IHRA adopted a 'working definition' of antisemitism that is 'non-legally binding'. That definition includes vague language that 'manifestations [of antisemitism] might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.' The IHRA definition also states that 'contemporary examples of antisemitism. . . could, taking into account the overall context, include . . . accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.' [My emphasis.]

This sweeping language has become a weapon in the hands of pro-Israel groups and individuals: deploying it enables them to denounce any critic of Israel as anti-Semitic in order to disrupt, deter, marginalize and even criminalize Palestinian rights activism.

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Vancouver Activists Demand an End to Complicity in Israeli War Crimes
Sep 13, 2018 at 12:00 AM

On September 12, 2018, protestors gathered in Vancouver, Canada outside the constituency office of BC’s Attorney General, David Eby, to call for an end to complicity in Israeli occupation and war crimes and a boycott of Israeli wines in BC government-owned liquor stores. A letter signed by 25 groups was hand-delivered to the office staff, and the protestors made it clear this was an ongoing campaign that would continue until their concerns were addressed. They highlighted the parallels with the campaign in BC 30 years ago against South African apartheid wines and concluded by refusing to be made complicit in Palestinian dispossession and violations of international law.

Following is the text of the letter that was delivered, along with the signatories to date.

David Eby, BC Attorney General

Dear Mr. Eby:

We wish to bring to your attention our concerns about Israeli wines, many of them produced in the Occupied Territories, which are being sold in our publicly owned BC Liquor Stores. We note that as BC’s Attorney General, you are responsible for the provincial Liquor Distribution Branch.

We had hoped that the current NDP government would be more concerned with these blatant violations of international human rights, but we are aware that your response to inquiries so far has been to completely ignore the issues raised and instead focus solely on “personal choice”.

The wines in question are either from the Galil Winery, which is a joint venture with the Golan Heights Winery (the name of which speaks for itself) or from the occupied West Bank, including the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc around Jerusalem. Two wines of particular note are the Efrat Judean Hills Kosher and Vision Malbec, both produced by the Israeli Teperberg Winery. This winery openly states that some of its vineyards are in occupied Palestinian territories and even provides a map on its website showing vineyards in the occupied West Bank.

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The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real)
Aug 19, 2018 at 12:00 AM

The current hysteria engulfing the British Labour Party resolves itself into a pair of interrelated, if discrete, premises: Anti-Semitism in British society at large and the Labour Party in particular have reached crisis proportions. If neither of these premises can be sustained, then the hysteria is a fabrication. In fact, no evidence has been adduced to substantiate either of them; on the contrary, all the evidence points in the opposite direction. The rational conclusion is that the brouhaha is a calculated hoax - dare it be said, plot? - to oust Jeremy Corbyn and the principled leftist politics he represents from British public life.

But even if the allegations were true, the solution would still not be to curb freedom of thought in the Labour Party. At its worthiest, the Left-Liberal tradition has attached a unique, primordial value to Truth; but Truth cannot be attained if dissentients, however obnoxious, are silenced. Given the fraught history of anti-Semitism, on the one hand, and its crude manipulation by Jewish elites, on the other, an objective, dispassionate assessment could appear beyond reach. Still, it must be attempted. The prospect of a historic victory for the Left might otherwise be sabotaged as, thus far, Corbyn's supporters, whether it be from fear, calculation, or political correctness, dare not speak the name of the evil that is afoot.

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Emerging From An Israeli Prison, Freedom Flotilla Captain Accuses Canada’s Government Of Complicity
Aug 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dmitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News Network from Montreal, Canada.

For the past few months, The Real News has been covering the voyage of the Freedom Flotilla from Scandinavia to Gaza. Matters came to a head in late July when Al Awda, the lead vessel of the flotilla, was hijacked in international waters by Israel’s navy. Its passengers were then forced to enter Israel and were incarcerated there. The second vessel in the flotilla, the Freedom, was hijacked by Israel’s navy a few days later. Freedom was captained by Canadian human rights activist John Turnbull. The Real News spoke to John by satellite phone a few days before Israel’s seizure of the vessel. And last week, John was finally released from an Israeli prison after the seizure and was permitted to leave the country. He joins us today from Paris, France. Thanks very much for joining us, John.

JOHN TURNBULL: You’re very welcome, Dimitri. Good to be here.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: John, why don’t we start with the moment at which the vessel the Freedom was first contacted by Israeli forces, and then talk to us, please, about the seizure of the vessel. How did that unfold?

JOHN TURNBULL: Well, we are a sailboat, a fairly heavy, reasonably large sailboat, 72 feet long. We were waiting for nightfall, expecting to be contacted, and in fact hoping that they might let us go until sunrise the next day. But that was not to happen. Around 7:00 we received a VHF call. It was fairly standard call asking for identity. But when the questions got a little farther than our simple identity, which is convention, I objected. That I didn’t understand the nature of the call, or the intent behind it.

At that point, the Israeli navy read two statements- in fact, I think it might have been a recording of a statement- basically saying we were entering a military zone and our vessel could be confiscated. And then a few moments later there was a sort of second degree, but similar, message. We began at that point, and now it’s about 8:00, to notice lights surrounding us on all the cardinal and intermediate points of the compass. Those lights came closer. A little bit like seeing the eyes of wolves in the forest, if that’s happened to you.

Explained: The Controversial Bill That Would Allow Jewish-only Communities in Israel
Jul 10, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Right-wing politicians have spent half a decade trying to pass a ‘nation-state’ bill that would prioritize Israel’s Jewish nature over its democratic one. Even President Rivlin thinks the law could harm Jews worldwide.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-explained-the-bill-that-would-allow-jewish-only-towns-in-israel-1.6265091

Israel has always understood itself to be a Jewish state. But for the past five years, politicians – specifically those on the right – have been pushing for legislation that would make that fact irrefutable, strengthening their ability to incorporate the country’s Jewish national and religious character into government policy.

This proposed nation-state bill would be a Basic Law, which means it would have constitutional-like status. Israel’s lack of a constitution has led to the creation of a series of such “Basic Laws,” which the courts are meant to recognize as articulating the underlying principles of the state.

However, due to internal wrangling over the wording of the law, the nation-state bill has enjoyed a legislative roller-coaster ride since its original conception back in 2013.

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Revoke the tax deductible status for the JNF
May 23, 2018 at 02:54 PM

Sunday, June 3rd, 5:00pm sharp
Four Seasons Hotel, 791 W. Georgia (at Howe), Vancouver
Facebook Event Page


Join us to picket the Jewish National Fund Dinner which is celebrating the "70th anniversary of the state of Israel". The racist and discriminatory policies of the JNF have been well documented and are of particular concern here in Canada due to the creation of “Canada Park” on the ruins of 3 Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank.

As in previous years, the JNF is attempting to hide its policies and history behind a charitable project, this time to "Help Improve the Lives of Children with Disabilities". The grotesque irony of this particular project at this time, as Israeli snipers maim and disable hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza, including children, doesn't seem to bother the $300/ticket gala-goers. UNICEF stated on May 16, 2018, that “since 30 March 2018, over 1,000 children have been injured in violence in the Gaza Strip. Many of these injuries are severe and potentially life-altering, including some resulting in amputations.”

Call on the Canadian Government to revoke the tax deductible status for the JNF, and stop being complicit in these WAR CRIMES.

Stop maiming Palestinian children.
No to 70 years of celebrating Palestinian dispossession!
No to "greenwashing" ethnic cleansing.

Organized by BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish, Canada Palestine Association, Int’l League of Peoples Struggle Canada, Vancouver Peace Council.

Groups wishing to endorse the action, please email cpavancouver@gmail.com

The Israeli Government Role in Promoting Islamophobia Internationally
May 09, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Much of the study of Islamophobia is directed at the social and political causes and manifestations, including religious and political dimensions and racist characteristics.  However, Islamophobia is also used as a strategic tool or weapon; i.e., in pursuit of national agenda.

Many of us are familiar with Islamophobic movements within the Buddhist majority in Myanmar (against the Rohingya minority), and within Hindu nationalist parties in India. It is important to note, however, that it is characteristic of these movements that they direct their Islamophobia against particular groups of Muslims within their own societies, and are less concerned with creating an international movement against Islam.

This is what makes the case of Israel unique.  Although Israel, like Myanmar and India, seeks to marginalize and ultimately eliminate a specific population of Muslims – in this case the mostly Muslim Palestinians – part of its strategy for doing so includes encouraging and fostering Islamophobia internationally.  Thus, for example, Israel has successfully pursued strong military and diplomatic ties with the governments of Myanmar and India, and especially the Islamophobic movements within those countries.

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Report and Future Actions: Block the Boat Vancouver
Posted on September 14, 2014 by

Future actions are planned to Block the Boat and stop ZIM’s apartheid shipping in Vancouver. To join these actions and learn more, like and follow Block the Boat Vancouver: https://www.facebook.com/blocktheboatvancouver

Download the Block the Boat flyer (PDF): http://www.boycottisraeliapartheid.org/biac/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/zim-flyer.pdf

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