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Ontario MPPs - including NDP - condemn Israeli Apartheid Week in Legislature

Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/771524--mpps-unite-to-condemn... Quote: In a rare show of unanimity, Ontario MPPs of all political stripes have banded together to condemn “Israeli Apartheid Week.” Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill) tabled the motion Thursday to denounce the sixth annual provocative campus event that kicks off next week at universities and colleges in 35 cities around the world. “Resolutions in the Ontario Legislature send a message. They are about moral suasion,” said Shurman, adding “it is close to hate speech” to liken democratic Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. “I want the name changed, it’s just wrong,” he said, emphasizing that “respectful” debate about the Middle East is much more constructive than slinging slurs. “Israeli Apartheid Week is not a dialogue, it’s a monologue and it is an imposition of a view by the name itself—the name is hateful, it is odious,” he said, adding it is also offensive to the millions of black South Africans oppressed by a racist white regime until the early 1990s. New Democratic MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) said while the motion, which passed with a unanimous voice vote at 4 p.m., was “symbolic,” it sent a signal that parliamentarians want to promote positive debate. “What we need to build peace … are not inflammatory words like ‘apartheid,’ particularly used inappropriately in the case of Israel,” said DiNovo, who was among the 30 MPPs in the 107-seat Legislature for the vote. But she's just a-okay with Christian supremacy in the Legislature, isn't she? Fought tooth and nail to ensure that the Lord's Prayer continues to be said every day in the Legislature, while "lesser" religions have their prayers recited on a rotating basis afterwards. Another example of how every time I think the ONDP are not so bad (e.g. running an amazing candidate like Cathy Crowe), they pull stupid shit like this.

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Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Stephen Harper will be happy. The Supreme Court said it couldn't interfere in foreign policy, but apparently the Ontario Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP are free to do so as long as they are attacking Canadians who expose Israeli crimes.

It is to be hoped that one day, all of them will face justice.

Michelle wrote:
But she's just a-okay with Christian supremacy in the Legislature, isn't she? Fought tooth and nail to ensure that the Lord's Prayer continues to be said every day in the Legislature, while "lesser" religions have their prayers recited on a rotating basis afterwards.

Well, as a minister of the United Church, it's only natural that DiNovo would stick up for Christianity and Israel. The other religions can elect their own MPPs to lobby for their own prayers.

 


Lou Arab
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Joined: Jul 25 2001

Oh boy.

Mayse, Oldgoat, this seems to be as good a time as ever to let you know I'm going skiing next week, so I won't be doing much moderating while I'm gone.  :)


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I don't agree with Dinovo that it's not apartheid. It is. She herself is giving away her biased opinion on the matter. How can there be the peace process she mentions when such a lopsided situation exists?

And I must say that although I disagree with Chomsky on recent 9/11 history and that I think it is a very important case against the global war on terror, I agree with Noam that an embargo of Israel would be futile. The Yanks are not ready to give up Israel as its premier frontline state in the Middle East. Not until such time as countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and perhaps Iran in the near future are fully under US control and subserviant to US and British energy and geostrategic interests in this colder war period of US-led NATO military aggression around the world. And at that point, Israel would be thrown to the wolves and neglected once the empire is firmly established in Central Asia and other Middle Eastern countries after arming Israel's arch enemies as well as Israel to the eye teeth for many years. Giving attention to Israel would be like focussing on the bully's capos and lesser minions of doom when the bully's back is turned.  There is only one way to deal with bullies, and that is to confront the bully directly.


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

Fidel wrote:

I don't agree with Dinovo that it's not apartheid. It is. She herself is giving away her biased opinion on the matter. How can there be the peace process she mentions with such a lopsided situation?

Thanks for that, Fidel.

I think, rather than discussing Middle East politics again, this thread could usefully treat the question of how a provincial assembly could unanimously condemn Canadians organizing for justice in the Middle East. Why would such a motion be entertained, and why would it receive all-party support?

 


genstrike
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Joined: May 1 2008

Fuck all of the other parties, and fuck the NDP.

This is something I've worked my ass off to bring to Winnipeg for the first time this year.  The NDP will never get a dime or a minute of work from me ever again.  It's perfectly clear that the NDP isn't and doesn't want to be a party of the left, or a party representing protest movements.  They just want to shut us up.

These people don't recognize that the state of Israel is not a person, it is a political entity, and one can criticize it.  Especially if it conforms to all the legal definitions of apartheid established in international law.

Cheri DiNovo doesn't get it.  We call it apartheid because it is apartheid.  So, we tell it like it is and try to build movements against apartheid like the BDS movement.  We can't pretend that all we need to do is have some dialogue in toronto and have falafel with Zionists and there will magically be peace and justice.  The conflict is driven not by irrational hatred, but by systems of Israeli apartheid need to be dismantled, that's the only thing that will do it.

Fuck, I'm so pissed off.  If this shit happens in Manitoba...

I guess the one thing I can take satisfaction in is that when the movement grows and when the wall falls, history will absolve us.  These days, even the bourgiest of bourgie liberals is against South African apartheid 15 years too late


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
genstrike, just remember, this is the Ontario NDP. The federal NDP has some MPs who are excellent on this issue, like Libby Davies.

Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Apparently they are trying to prevent university groups from using campuses for their anti-Israeli political agendas? [drift] This seems to me to that this is a similar situation mentioned by Chomsky wrt 9/11 - that the 9/11 truth movement is a distraction from larger political issues and from where progressive people should be focussing their attentions, which according to Chomsky, should be directed toward activism against real crimes of the state. And for Chomsky, crimies of the state emanate from the source country enabling client states such as Israel and dozens more where basic human rights are trampled. And imo, South Africa is better today only in the sense that a racist apartheid regime is not still firmly in control of things in that country. According to Naomi Klein and others, S. Africans themselves are not better off economically under the neoliberal regime of things in Africa though. The neocolonialism has simply mutated, moved into surrounding African countries and murdering even more Africans at a frenzied pace today. The root source of the problem of neocolonialism still exists today in Africa with the same western countries that supported Pic Botha's South Africa during the cold war. Picking on Israel similarly will do nothing to abate the problem of neocolonialism and Anglo-American -sponsored oppression at its source.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
I'm also hoping that the dismal turnout for the vote - 30 MPs altogether, and I'm not sure how many NDP, although apparently the leader, Andrea Horwath, was present for it - might mean that there were a few NDP MPs who didn't attend the vote because they didn't want to stab the many activists who work to shine a light on Israeli apartheid and who vote for them in the back like this.

genstrike
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Joined: May 1 2008

Michelle wrote:
genstrike, just remember, this is the Ontario NDP. The federal NDP has some MPs who are excellent on this issue, like Libby Davies.

Well, out of the three NDP MPs in my city, there is one I don't know about and two which are loud Zionists on the CPCCA.

And the Manitoba NDP isn't that great on this issue either.

So, I would be stupid not to expect this to happen again in Manitoba.


genstrike
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Joined: May 1 2008

Fidel wrote:

Apparently they are trying to prevent university groups from using campuses for their anti-Israeli political agendas? [drift] This seems to me to that this is a similar situation mentioned by Chomsky wrt 9/11 - that the 9/11 truth movement is a distraction from larger political issues and from where progressive people should be focussing their attentions, which according to Chomsky, should be directed toward activism against real crimes of the state. And for Chomsky, crimies of the state emanate from the source country enabling client states such as Israel and dozens more where basic human rights are trampled. And imo, South Africa is better today only in the sense that a racist apartheid regime is not still firmly in control of things in that country. According to Naomi Klein and others, S. Africans themselves are not better off economically under the neoliberal regime of things in Africa though. The neocolonialism has simply mutated, moved into surrounding African countries and murdering even more Africans at a frenzied pace today. The root source of the problem of neocolonialism still exists today in Africa with the same western countries that supported Pic Botha's South Africa during the cold war. Picking on Israel similarly will do nothing to abate the problem of neocolonialism and Anglo-American -sponsored oppression at its source.

 

Are you seriously trying to compare IAW organizers to 9/11 truth nutters?

Are you seriously trying to defend the NDP's vote in favour of this motion, based on Chomsky and Naomi Klein who spoke at last year's IAW?


genstrike
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Joined: May 1 2008

Michelle wrote:
I'm also hoping that the dismal turnout for the vote - 30 MPs altogether, and I'm not sure how many NDP, although apparently the leader, Andrea Horwath, was present for it - might mean that there were a few NDP MPs who didn't attend the vote because they didn't want to stab the many activists who work to shine a light on Israeli apartheid and who vote for them in the back like this.

I don't know, sticking up for your friends by not showing up?  They could have just voted no.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
I know. Unless the vote was whipped or something - I have no idea. Anyhow, for anyone who is interested, here is the "debate" that happened in the Legislature. I use the term "debate" loosely, since it was really just a bunch of back patting. http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?Date=2010-0...

radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

You can find the motion near the bottom of the page at this link.

http://tinyurl.com/ycstfox

Anyway, I condemn the condemners.

I spent some time in Israel and the West Bank last May. 

I must confess that prior to my visit I had some reservations about using the term "apartheid" to describe the Israeli state. Although I always supported the Palestinian cause,  I wondered whether some folks on the left might sometimes be a bit "over the top" and I worried about the use of the term alienating progressive members of the Jewish community.

But, after my visit...going through the checkpoints, seeing Palestinians being "hassled" by the Israelis for documents,  travelling on "Israeli only" highways in the West Bank, seeing "the wall" first hand, meeting Israeli military resisters, hearing the stories of the Palestinians from all walks of life, visiting refugee camps and seeing what living hell Palestinians lives are, I have no reservations whatsoever in labelling Israel an apartheid state.

There is no other way I can in all good conscience describe it.   Palestinians are in all manner of their lives, treated collectively as inferior human beings.

And I'm in good company.

Here's a memo that Nelson Mandela wrote to Thomas Friedman of the "New York Times" back in 2001. I think Nelson Mandela is to say the least an expert on apartheid.

Mandela very clearly describes Israeli policy towards the Palestinians as one of apartheid.   I will take my own observations and those of Nelson Mandela's over any Ontario MPP.


genstrike
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Joined: May 1 2008

even if you think the term apartheid is over the top, people shouldn't join with the opposition to condemn their allies because you don't approve of their messaging.  Such people aren't really allies.  If I don't like the slogan that my student union uses, I don't go running off to join forces with their political opponents to pass motions in the legislature condemning them.

And of course, this isn't the first time that Shurman has been butting in to student politics.  Wasn't he the one who demanded that York overturn their election results because the leftie slate won?


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
In fact, Naomi Klein was a keynote speaker at last year's IAW, and she specifically endorsed BDS, and the term "Israeli Apartheid Week". She warned us against allowing the supporters of apartheid to dictate the terms of debate, and to dictate to us what terms we can use and what actions we can take. Basically, any term that is accurate and that describes the magnitude of Israeli oppression of Palestinians is a term that apartheid supporters don't want us to use, because duh, it might actually change some minds. And any action, like BDS, that might actually work, is an action that supporters of apartheid say is "out of bounds". Well, duh again. Basically, they just want activists to say things that no one will listen to, and take actions that Israel can ignore. Any action is legitimate, as long as it is ineffective and doesn't bring pressure to bear for change. Any action that might be effective is, to apartheid supporters, anti-semitic and out of bounds.

Andrew Brett
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Joined: Feb 19 2009

I e-mailed Cheri DiNovo and received this response, which just demonstrates that she is poorly educated on the issue, if she thinks this is about religion:

Quote:
I don't believe that the term apartheid is accurate or contributes to the goals of peace in the middle east. I spoke out of conscience and after years of work with all faith communities.
I did not speak before also speaking to trusted muslim friends as well as Jews.
We cannot always agree but we should always act out of love.
Cheri

Whether you agree with the apartheid analogy or not, most progressives support the freedom of students to organise events discussing this topic.

If Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein can make the comparison, why can't students at Canadian universities do so without facing harassment from university administrations?

An NDP MPP joining in this chorus of condemnation and repression against student activists and the trade union movement (based on consultations with 'faith communities') is an embarrassment to the party.


Bookish Agrarian
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Joined: Nov 26 2004

Hey radiorahim - I am almost postive that memo was a piece of satire written in response to the column it references.  I will have to check, but I am sure it wasn't actually written by Mandela.

 

 

Maybe my problem is I actually know South Africans who lost people close to them and body parts to the struggle and see the use of this term differently than a new generation of activists who are more focused on the Israeli occupation.

Israel is a occupying force, it has much blood on its hands, using a term like aparthied underminese the legitimate struggle for human rights and peace to me and devalues those South Africans who fought for generations against the Afrikaaner regime. But younger generations not so steeped in that struggle may only see the parallels and not the significant difference that make it inappropriate.

 

 

Edited to add

 

Yah here's a link about it

 

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&fo...


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
Andrew Brett wrote: -----------------

An NDP MPP joining in this chorus of condemnation and repression against student activists and the trade union movement (based on consultations with 'faith communities') is an embarrassment to the party.

------------------ That's for sure. It's a complete stab in the back, and so unnecessary. The NDP could have said something like, "Whether we personally think "apartheid" is an appropriate word or not is irrelevant - this motion goes against activist and academic freedom to engage in debate on campus, and therefore we can't support this motion." Bookish, Nelson Mandela calls it apartheid. And so do a number of activists who were involved in anti-South African apartheid activism back then and are involved in anti-Israeli apartheid activism now. A few of whom spoke at last year's Israeli Apartheid Week events. I'll take their word over yours and Cheri Di Novo's. Another stab in the back from the ONDP, selling out the progressives in their ranks yet again. How not surprising.

Bookish Agrarian
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Joined: Nov 26 2004

You got that the memo was not in fact from Mandela?

And I was only expressing my personal opinion.  I also know former anti-aparthied activists who find the use of the word really offensive.  And you will see if you re-read my post I condemned no one.  I simply think that this younger generation just doesn't get it.  Personally I would like to see an approach that helps them understand the differences instead of using a shock word to get a reaction.  To me the historically correct term of occupation is strong enough and also much more accurate.


Kaspar Hauser
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Joined: Aug 15 2004

Michelle, do you have a link regarding Mandela?

 

Desmond Tutu, whose moral authority rivals Mandela's, and who certainly can't be called a young South African activist, has compared the situation in Israel/Palestine to Apartheid South Africa:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/29/comment

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020715/tutu

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Palestinians have been fighting for 60 years against this outrage that just gets more brutal and institutionalized.  Seems like they have fulfilled your generational test.  

So what should one call a system with two classes of citizens with distinctly different rights including the right to security of the person and home?  Is there an "acceptable" word that conveys the everyday humiliation and fear and resistance that this system instills in the people living under the yoke of the Israeli government.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
So you support the ONDP using the Legislature to try and suppress student activists who use a term that the ONDP doesn't agree with? Yes, I saw that after I posted, that the Nelson Mandela thing is inaccurate. My mistake. I didn't realize that. However, Archbishop Desmond Tutu HAS described Israel as an apartheid state, as Michael has posted. And it doesn't change the fact that "apartheid" is NOT a "single use" term (and there is actually a UN Convention against Apartheid that describes "apartheid" in general terms. We can argue all day about whether "apartheid" is an appropriate term to apply to Israel. And isn't that great, that we can have that debate? Too bad your party is trying to take that right away from students on university campuses. Shame.

Bookish Agrarian
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Joined: Nov 26 2004

I also think it is wrong to question the motives of someone like Cheri Di Novo.  You can question her conclusion and her vote, but someone like her is doing it because she feels it is the right and proper approach.

If I were in the Leg I wouldn't have voted for such a motion, but I think someone like Di Novo is sincere when she says she doesn't favour that approach.

ETA

Looks like we crossed posted.  First of all it isn't 'my party'.  I have one vote on election day and cast it for the best person in my riding.  That has mostly been a New Democrat, but I have also just not voted.  Nor do I have any standing of note in any political party and work closely with politiicans from every party. 

 

Secondly I disagree with the votes.  I also won't condemn a party, as I would not have condemned students, because this was, as far as I can tell, MPPs acting as private members, not voting in a block as a party.  You might think that is splitting hairs, but I see MPPs when they are acting as independent agents in these kinds of situations, as acting in their own conscience and hopefully their constituents (although I am not so naive as to think this is always or even often the case), not as acting as agents of a party.  But then I am a technocrat


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
You think it's wrong to question the motives of Cheri Di Novo? Wow, so now not only should students allow the ONDP to censor them on campus, but also nobody should be allowed to question them when they attempt to do so? I'm sorry, but Cheri Di Novo also spoke out against the move by the Liberals to remove the Lord's Prayer from the Legislature, and your party ensured that the Lord's Prayer is said every day, while "lesser" religions have their prayers rotated on a daily basis after that. I certainly do question her motives, and those of any NDP MPP who joins forces with Conservative Israeli apartheid supporters to stab activists in the back in such a manner.

kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

I also think it is wrong to question the motives of someone like Cheri Dinovo.  You can question her conclusion and her vote, but someone like her is doing it because she feels it is the right and proper approach.

If I were in the Leg I wouldn't have voted for such a motion, but I think someone like Dinovo is sincere when she says she doesn't favour that approach.

 

Then she needs to educate herself if she wants to be a progressive voice. Ignorance is no excuse for siding with the right wing against activists fighting for justice. 

I don't care about her motive I care about her actions and her actions leave a lot to be desired.


Bookish Agrarian
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Joined: Nov 26 2004

That is fair comment to me.  What I object to is ascribing motive to someone who thinks they are doing the right thing.  Questioning whether they are right or wrong, that's a different matter all together.


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001

 

To paraphrase "Humphrey"  in the sit com "Yes, Minister", voting against the resolution would have been the courageous thing to do.

 

Politics is for the faint of heart.


Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
Not one MPP voted against it, so that means all MPPs from your party (you're a member, so it's your party - I'm not, thank god, so to me, it's "your party" to people who belong to it) who were present voted in favour. And it was clearly thought out because she had a gigantic speech all prepared - I highly doubt she was just out on a limb there by herself, without any input from the rest of the party. Not one NDP MPP had the guts to stand up for the freedom of activists to organize on their own terms. That is a failure of the party as a whole, not of just an individual MPP.

Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

genstrike wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Apparently they are trying to prevent university groups from using campuses for their anti-Israeli political agendas? [drift] This seems to me to that this is a similar situation mentioned by Chomsky wrt 9/11 - that the 9/11 truth movement is a distraction from larger political issues and from where progressive people should be focussing their attentions, which according to Chomsky, should be directed toward activism against real crimes of the state. And for Chomsky, crimies of the state emanate from the source country enabling client states such as Israel and dozens more where basic human rights are trampled. And imo, South Africa is better today only in the sense that a racist apartheid regime is not still firmly in control of things in that country. According to Naomi Klein and others, S. Africans themselves are not better off economically under the neoliberal regime of things in Africa though. The neocolonialism has simply mutated, moved into surrounding African countries and murdering even more Africans at a frenzied pace today. The root source of the problem of neocolonialism still exists today in Africa with the same western countries that supported Pic Botha's South Africa during the cold war. Picking on Israel similarly will do nothing to abate the problem of neocolonialism and Anglo-American -sponsored oppression at its source.

 

Are you seriously trying to compare IAW organizers to 9/11 truth nutters?

Are you seriously trying to defend the NDP's vote in favour of this motion, based on Chomsky and Naomi Klein who spoke at last year's IAW?

No but if you can afford to pay attention for a few seconds, the left all over North America is somewhat divided right now on 9/11 as are the American ruling class and ruling elite in America. Otoh and simultaneously opposing a 9/11 Truth movement as a waste of time and resources, Chomsky says that focussing on Israel is also a waste of time and resources for the left. Chomsky says activists should concentrate efforts on activism and opposing the crimes of the state - as in crimes of the vicious empire at its source(ie. not Gary Doer, not Darrell Dexter, and not even the NDP but the imperial-master nation itself, and that'd be the Upside-down Socialist States of America proper) Capiche?

 


Bookish Agrarian
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Joined: Nov 26 2004

Michelle wrote:
You think it's wrong to question the motives of Cheri Di Novo? Wow, so now not only should students allow the ONDP to censor them on campus, but also nobody should be allowed to question them when they attempt to do so? I'm sorry, but Cheri Di Novo also spoke out against the move by the Liberals to remove the Lord's Prayer from the Legislature, and your party ensured that the Lord's Prayer is said every day, while "lesser" religions have their prayers rotated on a daily basis after that. I certainly do question her motives, and those of any NDP MPP who joins forces with Conservative Israeli apartheid supporters to stab activists in the back in such a manner.

I added this to my post, which I think addresses much of what you posted after me

 

 

 

"Looks like we crossed posted.  First of all it isn't 'my party'.  I have one vote on election day and cast it for the best person in my riding.  That has mostly been a New Democrat, but I have also just not voted.  Nor do I have any standing of note in any political party and work closely with politiicans from every party.  Secondly I disagree with the votes.  I also won't condemn a party, as I would not have condemned students, because this was, as far as I can tell, MPPs acting as private members, not voting in a block as a party.  You might think that is splitting hairs, but I see MPPs when they are acting as independent agents in these kinds of situations, as acting in their own conscience and hopefully their constituents (although I am not so naive as to think this is always or even often the case), not as acting as agents of a party.  But then I am a technocrat"


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