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Plucky reader honoured for book's defence PDF Print E-mail
Feb 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Toronto Star, Feb. 28.
Tess Kalinowski
Education Reporter

A Burlington Grade 5 student has become the first child to receive the Writers' Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award.

Evie Freedman, 10, is being honoured for her spirited defence last year of the controversial book, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak by Simcoe author Deborah Ellis.

The book was pulled out of circulation in some Ontario school libraries, including those in the Toronto and York public boards, after the Canadian Jewish Congress complained it was an inappropriate selection for the Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch reading awards program.

The Halton public board, where Evie attends Charles R. Beaudoin Public School , did not pull the book.

But children like her are among the most affected by book bans, said Ron Brown, chair of the writers' union.

Because of Evie, "we were able to get the message of freedom to read to students of that age," he said.

An ardent fan of Ellis' books, Evie was widely quoted in the press objecting to the censorship of Three Wishes.

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Theatre scraps play on Mideast 'martyr' PDF Print E-mail
Dec 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

CanStage boss insists artistic merit, not political pressure, behind decision

December 22, 2006
Martin Knelman, arts columnist Toronto Star

Opting to avoid the dangerous liaisons of Middle East politics, the Canadian Stage Company has called off plans to bring the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie to Toronto, the Star has learned.

Martin Bragg, artistic producer of Canstage, said in a phone interview yesterday that he has changed his mind...

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"Three Wishes" Denied PDF Print E-mail
Mar 31, 2006 at 12:33 AM

Palestinian boy with word ‘censored’ taped across his mouth.Initiatives to censor expressions of “unacceptable” thoughts are an important feature of the work of Canadian advocates of Israeli state policies. This includes efforts to silence even children. 

In 2006 the Canadian Jewish Congress is waging a campaign to prevent Ontario school school children from reading the words of Palestinian and Jewish Israeli children presented in the book Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli children speak, by award-winning Ontario author Deborah Ellis. The Toronto Star reported on this censorship campaign on March 2. Another article March 15 documents the spreading campaign, and a March 16 Toronto Star editorial compares this with other current censorship issues. The book had been recommended by the Ontario Library Association as one of those eligible for their prestigious Silver Birch Award, winners chosen by the votes of school children who read the eligible books.

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AP Erases Video PDF Print E-mail
Mar 31, 2006 at 01:04 AM

March 2006: AP Erases Video of Israeli Soldier Shooting Palestinian Boy

Alison Weir reports in Counterpunch, March 18/19: ”In the midst of journalism’s ‘Sunshine Week’ — during which the Associated Press and other news organizations are valiantly proclaiming the public’s ‘right to know’ — AP insists on conducting its own activities in the dark, and refuses to answer even the simplest questions about its system of international news reporting.

Most of all, it refuses to explain why it erased footage of an Israeli soldier intentionally shooting a Palestinian boy...”

Rachel Corrie's words "Too hot for New York" PDF Print E-mail
Mar 17, 2006 at 01:07 AM

March 2006: Rachel Corrie’s words — “Too Hot for New York”

The Nation reported March 16th on the storm of protest in response to a New York theater company’s decision to self-censor by postponing, indefinitely, its production of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, composed from the journal entries and e-mails of the 23-year-old from Washington State who was crushed to death in Gaza three years ago under a bulldozer operated by the Israeli army.

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In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

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