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Home arrow Censorship arrow "Three Wishes" Denied
"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.

Nine year old Evie Freedman, a grade four student in Ontario told the Toronto Star she was upset by the effort to ban this book. She has already read Three Wishes and told the Toronto Star reporter: “I don’t usually enjoy non-fiction books, but I enjoyed it. It had the voices of real children. It was actually real-life things that kids in other countries are going through and I’m really interested in that.”

Groundwood Books, PEN Canada, The Writers’ Union of Canada, and The Association of Canadian Publishers have responded and continue responding to censorship of Three Wishes.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association also has urged the Canadian Jewish Congress to reconsider its efforts to stop Ontario school kids reading the words of Palestinian and Jewish Israeli school kids.

Letters should be sent to the Ontario Library Association and its executive director Larry Moore, stating your opposition to censorship of their recommendations for the Silver Birch Award, and congratulating them on their integrity and courage in opposing the pressures of the Canadian Jewish Congress. The address is: info@accessola.com

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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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