Letters to the editor week of July 26 - Part II
IOC appeases terrorists
Despite the urging of Canada, a number of other countries and a growing online petition of some 100,000 signatures, it doesn’t appear as if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will reverse its position and hold a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London to honour the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. For the past 40 years, the IOC has kept disgracefully and immorally silent about this tragedy for fear of supposedly “politicizing” the Olympic Games and possibly offending participating Arab and Muslim countries. Subsequently, the Games have always gone on as usual without any official IOC commemoration of this horrible event.
IOC president Jacques Rogge claims that his “hands are tied” in this matter by the 46 Arab and Muslim members of the IOC. He would do well, however, to remember the consequences of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 policy of appeasement toward Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Munich, which led to a world war of epic proportions and the deaths of millions of people. By continuing to shamefully ignore the 1972 Munich massacre, its 11 Olympic victims and their families, the IOC effectively condones this murderous and cowardly attack and thereby appeases terrorists worldwide. Such policy has absolutely no place at the IOC, which should be promoting the spirit of brotherhood and peaceful competition among a global community of athletes.
Sadly, according to the wife of one of the murdered Israeli Olympians, Ankie Spitzer, the IOC has turned into “a corrupt organization led by greed, rather than the Olympic spirit.”
* * *
Peace centre doesn’t understand realities
I am almost dumbstruck by the Canadian Peres Center For Peace’s failure to understand the realities of a future state of Palestine and the Palestinians (“Two states now, peace later,” July 5). A better name for the organization would be the Chamberlain Appeasement Centre. Since 1948, Israel has been offering to accept less than its fully rightfully owned territory in exchange for peace. The offers were rejected in 1948, after every war, and after the evacuation of Gaza. Egypt accepted the Sinai for peace, but even that agreement seems to be now in jeopardy. To continue a dangerous process that has not worked in the past is idiocy. Peace Now and the Canadian Peres Center for Peace are trying to lead Israel on a path to destruction. Justice Edmund Levy in his recent outposts committee report has correctly indicated that Judea and Samaria are legally part of Israel, and Jordan has been designated for the Palestinians. Any decisions as to Judea and Samaria must reject incorrect Palestinian propaganda about occupation and be based on the legal right of Israel to the territories.
* * *
Guest voice is off the mark
After all the spilt blood of thousands of innocent Israelis as a result of the Oslo “peace” process, the arming of the enemy Fatah organization by Israel and the enabling and endorsement of the arch terrorist Yasser Arafat as a “peace” partner once again by Israel, it is shocking to see the guest voice “Two states now, peace later” (July 5), which is so callous and off the mark, in your paper In retrospect after the expulsion of the residents of Gush Katif, it can only be a twisted logic that can see anything positive or good about this undemocratic unilateral move by former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to drive thousands of Jews from their homes thereby making Gaza Judenrein, only to have Hamas fill in the void, thereby endangering the whole south of Israel, (including Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon) through exposure to the constant Arab terrorism by rocket bombardment. A more realistic headline for the article would be “Two states now, disaster ahead.” In the future, I expect a far better choice of “news opinions” from so-called experts.
* * *
Canadian Jews promoting Israel’s demonization
It is outrageous for Jews to call for a boycott of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (“The United Church report,” Letters, July 5). There is no justification for it. Settlements do not block the elusive peace agreement the Israelis have been searching for with the Palestinians. There were no settlements in 1967, and the Arabs still went to war with Israel. There is no peace agreement because Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The disposition of the settlements is a matter for final-status negotiations. You may support the settlements or challenge their existence, but they are not illegal.
Actions such as those by Canadian Friends of Peace Now and the United Church of Canada promote the delegitimization and demonization of Israel. Why would Canadian Jews promote such action against their co-religionists in Israel? It will not lead to peace, and it certainly will not convince the Palestinians to enter into peace negotiations with the Israelis.
* * *
Church report not ‘balanced’
There is nothing fairly “balanced” about the United Church’s report. The fact that the church would even consider studying the boycotting of Israel while ignoring all of the rest of the Middle East is blatant antisemitism (“The United Church report,” Letters, July 5).
There is only one reason to single out Israel. The reason is the desire to deny the Jewish People a homeland. As for Peter Beinart’s book, The Crisis of Zionism, it is misnamed. It should be called “The Crisis in Anti-Zionism.” There is no crisis among mainstream Jews. The crisis is among fringe groups and shtetl Jews who believe we have to keep quiet and be nice to our oppressors in the hope they’ll go easy on us. It didn’t work in 1938, and it won’t work now.
* * *
The CJN has turned left?
I have been a reader of The CJN for decades. As such, as a Toronto-born Orthodox Jew, I am perturbed by a noticeable shift of reportage and focus of articles to the political left. To wit, in the July 5 issue, two of the letters to the editor, “Raising kids without day school” and “The United Church report,” demonstrate to my mind that shift. The former posits that without attending a Jewish day school, children are “committed Jewish adults working in the Jewish community.” The latter defends the United Church’s “balanced and thoughtful document,” notwithstanding the recommended boycott of “settlement products.” With respect to the first letter, I would question the depth of the “commitment” and how many generations that “commitment” will last without Jewish education. The second letter is authored by the co-chair of Canadian Friends of Peace Now, a proponent of surrender of swaths of the Jewish homeland to intransigent Arab Jew-haters based on the ephemera of Arab acceptance of Israel. Peace Now may be the darling of the elites and entrenched academia in Israel, but it represents an ever-shrinking minority of Israelis. The guest voice “Two states now, peace later” (July 5) is of the same stuff as the second letter, only focused on the “two states for two peoples” myth so beloved by the author’s organization. Despite CJN’s “balanced” reporting, many of my friends are discussing the paper’s apparent leftward shift and are voicing their disappointment with the editorial direction it is taking.
* * *
After immigration reform, Kenney doesn’t deserve honour
The Canadian Friends of the University of Haifa is planning a tribute dinner to honour Immigration Minister Jason Kenney later this year. Kenney is the architect of dramatic revisions to Canada’s immigration programs, which have drawn criticism from both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. Effective last month, the availability of health care to refugee claimants has been sharply curtailed and essential benefits will no longer be available (“Rabbis urge PM not to cut refugees’ health care,” July 5).
The Toronto Board of Rabbis, along with Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, has denounced these funding cuts, and physicians across the country have demonstrated in protest. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has registered its concerns over this measure with the government. The slogan “none is too many,” which described the Canadian government’s attitude toward postwar Jewish immigration, appears to have become “none is too much” to describe this government’s position on funding refugee healthcare.
Kenney also proposes to designate a list of countries deemed safe from persecution, which will certainly include Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, whose Roma citizens continue to suffer physical violence at the hands of neo-Nazi skinheads. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre has noted an increase in antisemitic incidents in Hungary and has urged the government to reconsider the creation of its list of so-called safe countries. Many of these countries are safe for most of their citizens, but not for vulnerable minorities for whom state protection is not available.
The Canadian Friends of the University of Haifa should seek to honour someone who is imbued with the Jewish values of compassion for the underdog and the disenfranchised. There are many other deserving individuals worthy of being honoured.