Calgary Herald | 09Mar2010 | Orest Slepokura

Hold Israel accountable

Re: "The underbelly of Israeli Apartheid Week," Leonard Stern, Opinion, March 4.

For decades, collective punishment predicated on collective guilt has been a mainstay of Israeli government policy with its brutal treatment of Palestinians under military occupation. Such wholesale scapegoating to punish an entire population is, of course, illegal under international law.

Mind you, it also negates the vital lessons of the Holocaust, which mandate that we not remain silent when confronted with clear evidence a state is inflicting collective punishment on a people based on some racial, religious or other consideration; and that to remain a mute observer of such injustice is to give it tacit consent, to become vicariously complicit in it. That is the moral subtext of Israeli Apartheid Week. One that, evidently, eludes many of our play-it-safe elected officials of whatever political stripe.

Orest Slepokura, Strathmore
Calgary Herald | 10Mar2010 | Editorial

Favouring the hate-mongers

That annual disgraceful orgy of hate known as Israel Apartheid Week is underway on campuses across Canada, and this year it runs for two weeks. One can only wonder with utter disgust when it will be extended long enough to be known as Israel Apartheid Month.

York University, a hotbed of IAW activity in Canada, is doubly disgraced this year, for university authorities cancelled events planned by the Imagine With Us coalition -- pro-Israel groups headed by B'nai Brith Canada and a Christian organization called MyCanada.

York officials said the pro-Israel activities would be cancelled because the coalition wasn't paying for a security presence, and had not provided a list of those attending, along with a summary of speech topics. York also required a ban on publicly advertising the coalition's events, and later told the Jewish Tribune that the presence of B'nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant and columnist Daniel Pipes, among other guest speakers, was the reason for the ham-fisted rules. The Israeli Apartheid organizers, however, did not have to follow the same rules to stage their events.

Last week, York, to its credit, suspended a student who is under investigation for online postings allegedly advocating genocide against Jews. However, York's double standard for pro-and anti-Israel groups mocks the twin concepts of freedom of speech and the university as a bastion for the free exchange of ideas. Shame on York for denying the pro-Israel coalition the same rights enjoyed by the hate-mongers.

Calgary Herald | 10Mar2010 | Sara Tees

Hamas is root cause

Re: "Hold Israel accountable," Letter, March 9, 2010.

We keep hearing about the "brutal treatment" of the Palestinians under Israeli "occupation," but the particulars are never spelled out. The whole concept is an inversion of reality. How many tonnes of food does Israel ship across the border each day? How much gas? How much energy? There is no Israeli military presence in Gaza, and hasn't been for four years -- except, of course, during the war a couple years ago. You give these people everything they need, and they cry "Apartheid!" Like a misbehaving child, they need to be told: "You can't always get what you want." Especially not when your ruling party states in its charter that they are striving for the elimination of Israel and the extermination of all Jews. You don't get to be treated like an adult with that kind of behaviour. "Collective punishment?" Having Hamas ruling over you is the real "punishment." Are people hungry, poor, jobless, feeling like there is no future, and undereducated? This is due to Hamas, not Israel. Apartheid? Get real!

Sara Tees, Calgary

Calgary Herald | 11Mar2010 | Vicky Tobianah


Re: "Hold Israel accountable," Letter, March 9, 2010.

The underbelly of Israeli Apartheid Week is promoting hatred and inciting fear into students' lives, polarizing campus life, while under the facade of "education." The Holocaust began through hate education -- through a corrupt Nazi regime inciting society to dehumanize, degrade and destroy an entire nation. One of the vital lessons we should learn from the Holocaust is never to let this hate education occur again. Never can we remain silent when confronted with a regime that uses its power to destroy and to murder. Israel was established under the backdrop of the Holocaust, incorporating its lessons into state policies. That is why Israel decided to give all Israeli citizens full rights and citizenship. Jewish, Muslim, Christian -- they are all equal. That is why Arabs and Jews sit together on the Supreme Court of Israel and in the Knesset. Israel refuses to allow the Holocaust to happen again. She ensures that by securing and defending her country, something the Canadian government has consistently supported. She refuses to be taken advantage of by rocket attacks, suicide bombers and terrorism. Israel is not a perfect country, but I am certain her policies and actions are in place to protect those vital lessons.

Vicky Tobianah, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Calgary Herald | 12Mar2010 | Sam Kocsis

History abused

Re: "Hold Israel accountable," Letter, March 9, 2010.

The nascence of the analogy of the Holocaust and the Palestinians' predicament mangles history, and immolates reason with the ignominious undertones of the anti-Israel extremists. It is counterproductive to finding solutions while trampling over the graves of six million people. Aside from the scale and intensity of dehumanization and murder suffered by Holocaust victims, something hopefully, Palestinians will never have to come close to experiencing, the Palestinians are not enduring any suffering because of extremist racism running rampant in the Israeli government.

Israel always seems to have more than its share of legitimate reasons to act. Palestinians have the highest level of health and life expectancy in the Arab world, not to mention they can have peace, and for the first time in history, their own country, any time they decide to.

Sam Kocsis, Calgary