Letters to the editor - week of August 2
Israel's right to the land
At long last, a chorus of voices is being raised, not heard in the last 45 years, about Israel’s rights to the land west of the Jordan River (“Israel’s right to the land undisputed,” July 12). CJN president Donald Carr, a respected member of the Toronto community as well as a friend of Israel, cites the recent conference on the status of Jerusalem under international law, where prominent international advocate Jacques Gauthier eloquently held forth on Israel’s legal rights to Jerusalem.
The one issue I would like to raise is, to quote Carr: “Jerusalem no matter how that city is defined territorially, presents a somewhat different set of issues, as Israel has never given up any claims to it and has, indeed, formally annexed large parts of it.”
It would be a mistake to allow us or the world community to treat Jerusalem as different or somewhat different, as far as Israel’s rights are concerned. Such a notion would be conducive to treating the rest of Israel as a bargaining chip, when all of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean (and more, if we are to be honest) was given to the Jewish People as their reconstituted national home, as correctly cited in Carr’s article – in the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Resolution, the Mandate for Palestine and other related documents of international law.
Founder and Chair
Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights
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Women’s Day of Protest
It is hard to believe that rape has only been recognized as a crime against humanity since 1998. When it comes to war, history tends to focus on tales from the battlefield, both heroic and grim. What is less known is the impact of war on women and children. Rarely, do we hear of civilian women as targets in war.
July 30, 2012, marked the 70th anniversary of the Day of Protest against the victimization of women by the Nazis. The Day of Protest was initiated by the Polish Mideastern Women’s Auxiliary Corps in Jerusalem and marked the plight of women, both gentile and Jewish, with a moment of silence. Countless thousands of women, including teenagers, were captured by the Nazis and sent to German factories as forced labourers, and worse.
On May 20, 1941, a letter written by a 17-year-old Polish girl to her mother in Poland reached the Polish Information Center in England. The girl had been sent to a German “public house” (the euphemism for a brothel) and described the fate that she and thousands of other women faced: “Farewell, Mother dearest, I will not see you again. We Polish girls in Germany serve only as mattresses for Nazi soldiers. We are all infected. There isn’t a night that goes by where one of us isn’t executed. I know what awaits me. I am very sick and cannot walk.”
With the 70th anniversary of the Day of Protest in our recent past, let us remember, not only the women who suffered during World War II, but all women who have suffered in war. In 1942, a small group of brave women initiated a moment of silence in recognition of the plight of others. They acted, by the only means available to them, on behalf of those who were powerless. We could do worse than to follow their example.