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

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genstrike

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

Radiorahim, I would call it an occupying force and the Israeli's using tactics older than time, but more efficently than most. 

I can see parallels to aparthied, just like there are parallels to segregation and frankly to things in Canada's past and to dozens and dozens and dozens of other situations historic and current.  That doesn't make it aparthied though - it makes it aparthied like with some similarities, but also some very significant differences.  What is happening through out the Palestinian/Isreali landmass is odious all on its own without borrowing phrases from a different place.

But then I can be a bit pedantic too.

No one is saying it is exactly the same as South Africa.  No two systems in two different countries are exactly the same.  But there is a legal definition of apartheid enshrined in international law which the Israeli state definitely lives up to.  Because they are both apartheid states, there are bound to be parallels and similarities, just like there are bound to be parallels and similarities between, say, British colonialism in India and Belgian colonialism in the Congo.  I call it apartheid because it fulfills all the legal definitions of apartheid, just like I call it speeding if I drive faster than the speed limit.  The only difference is that for some bizarre reason, I don't get called a hatemonger and get condemned by the Ontario legislature when I point out someone speeding.

I don't like to give much credit to the UN, but there is a UN resolution defining apartheid from 1973, and an international criminal court resolution from 2002.  So, I would be curious as to what your thoughts on those resolutions would be?

Skinny Dipper

Just remember that most of Canada's MP's and provincial legislators voted in favour of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords.  They were practically in unanimity whereas the Canadian population was generally in opposition.

When the Ontario legislature votes unanimously for something, it's members could be absoluntely right or wrong on an issue.  In the case of Israeli Apartheid Week, they are wrong. They are just pandering for votes.

Skinny Dipper

I wonder if I brought my car from Ontario to Israel if I would be allowed to drive on the Israeli-only roads in the West Bank using Ontario licence plates.

Skinny Dipper

Peter Shurman is pulling a Bernie Farber tactic of representing a group of people in which they have no affiliation.  Bernie Farber wanted to organize the Tornto Pride parade to exclude groups that were political since in his opinion, the Pride parade should be a non-political event.  It should exclude groups and/or floats that display Israeli apartheid messages.  Peter Shurman doesn't like Israel and apartheid together because black South Africans would not like their suffering denigrated.  How does Shurman know the feelings of the black South Africans?

pogge

New Facebook group: [url=http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=325349549818&ref=nf]NDP Supporters or Members who Agree that Israel is an Apartheid State[/url]

That didn't take long.

Caissa

I have reluctantly and after much soul-searching come to the conclusion that the term "apartheid" is an apt descriptor.

Unionist

pogge wrote:

New Facebook group: [url=http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=325349549818&ref=nf]NDP Supporters or Members who Agree that Israel is an Apartheid State[/url]

That didn't take long.

Great sentiment, but probably not very well thought out. There will never be a huge number of people signing up here. You will never see a single name of an NDP person of any public note - certainly not an elected provincial or federal member. Many individuals will be reluctant to sign their name publicly to something as categorical as this, even if they agree. Also, it somewhat misses the point. The ONDP and the Libs and Cons voted to condemn Israel Apartheid Week and, in effect, to demonize that movement. The issue here isn't about whether someone agrees, in the abstract, that Israel is an apartheid state or not - rather, the issue is to affirm that this is as "legitimate" a movement as every other progressive movement in this country. Even people not comfortable or not ready to pronounce "Israel = Apartheid" should be able to sign on.

Caissa wrote:
I have reluctantly and after much soul-searching come to the conclusion that the term "apartheid" is an apt descriptor.

Having read your posts here over the years, Caissa, I can feel how difficult that must have been. I've fought the monstrous policies of this pariah state - in public - for over 40 years, but the word "apartheid" didn't spring to mind that easily. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that.

Michelle

Wow, Caissa, that's huge. Thanks for posting that. Respect to you.

Stargazer

Seriously, Caissa, that was huge. Especially after having read your posts prior. Respect to you from me as well. 

 

Unionist, you are right. Many people won't come out against this publicly. Even me, who post political stuff on FB all the time. I could not get myself to hit "Share" when I wanted to put up the link to the "debate". I have two Israeli friends on my page, plus a few rather hard core Zionists and truth be told I was afraid of offending them, and then having to deal with people accusing me of antisemitism.

They clearly did a good job when even people on the left are afraid to criticize Israel publicly for fear of the backlash.

Prophit

The Ontario leg voted on what in my view is a proper expression of the position of most Ontarians. I am pleaseantly surprised that it was unanimous and that it had the backing of my own party, the NDP.

Stargazer

You're an idiot. Sorry, I can't be nicer to you.

Proper expression of most Ontarians? Bull fucking shit. Proper expression of neo religious whackjobs and their lovely neighbours, the Zionists.

It's censorship, freedom of expression and a whole host of issues at stake here and you think this represents what most Ontarians want? I don't think so.

 

Isn't there a policy you agree to when you sign up here? Like you know, Human rights are not up for debate? Clearly Babble allows for that debate. Frankly I'd rather see all these Israel right or wrong defenders banned. How would that be for censorship.

 

johnpauljones

interesting that this was debated yesterday but I would assume introduced months ago. I did not see any public attempt to either support or stop the resolution.

How did it slip under the radar so to speak.

 

It seems that every time someone caughs in Ottawa i get 20 or so emails from different list serves but this time nada.

Tommy_Paine

They clearly did a good job when even people on the left are afraid to criticize Israel publicly for fear of the backlash.

 

And we lost this fight, not the other day in the Ontario Legislature, but eight years ago, when we stood by like the polite people we are when Clayton Ruby, Jeff Rose and Phill Berger called us all anti semites.

 

And, we stood for it.  Those of us who have the resources and or knowledge to sue, didn't sue.   Those of us who could have made any of these men pay a political price for such a lie sat on thier hands.   And those of us who's only judicial resources would be a fist to then nose, kept our hands in our pockets.

We stood for it like patsies, like the wimps we are.

Because, to be called an anti semite is fighting words, or aught to be when the accusation is thrown around not because Jews are being hated, but for political gamesmanship.  It's a slander against the person falsely accused; and more dangerous, it serves to eventually dillute the accusation.  

 

Ruby, Rose and Berger, the little boys who cried wolf:

 

http://www.cjccc.ca/antisemitism/antisemitism_link_28.html

 

So, while we chastise the ONDP for a lack of fortitude the other day, be sure that when our turn came, we did the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

antsunited

 

As an admirer of the NDP I am disappointed. Wanted to ask if anyone else heard the CBC current interview with the Israeli yesterday morning? He accused the "delegitimizing" forces in the cities of the west (London, Toronto etc)  of collusion with the "terrorists" as an existential threat to the state of Israel and went on to name names. United Church of Canada, CUPE, Naomi Klien, Ali Mallah. In addition we see the effort of the federal Tories to make criticism of Israel a crime in this country. So how long before they put someone in jail? This is not an academic exercise that can wait for a 'consensus' on the left about how to describe the crimes against humanity that Israeli policy clearly is. DiNovo is playing politics and clearly an opportunist too afraid to confront those powerful forces that are trying to bully and intimidate the growing global outcry against Israel.

Unionist

Prophit wrote:

The Ontario leg voted on what in my view is a proper expression of the position of most Ontarians. I am pleaseantly surprised that it was unanimous and that it had the backing of my own party, the NDP.

I am unsurprised that you would approve the suppression of democratic debate and protest. It's typical of those who defend the crimes of Israel, which you consistently do on this board. You who rant about the "mainstream" also dare to speak in the name of "most Ontarians". My parents - yeah, not long ago - lived in a community where "most people" turned a blind eye to their neighbours and friends being taken away to a field and shot. I really appreciate democratic rights being decided by a popularity contest among cowards.

If Ontario schools ban anti-Israel protest, you and the ONDP will sit back and either applaud or say nothing. The ONDP MPPs were too craven and cowardly to at least say, "We don't like this apartheid analogy, but we certainly can't vote for this motion." That would have had some backbone to it.

 

aka Mycroft

The Toronto Sun, of all publications, zings motion mover Peter Shurman for hypocrisy:

Quote:
But Shurman's objection to the use of the word apartheid did not extend to condemning those who would use it in the context of the aboriginal land claim in Caledonia, which has led to a bitter standoff and the occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates.

Activist Gary McHale has used the term in his efforts to evict the native protesters from the land but Shurman said he saw nothing similar in the usage.

"You can talk to others about that," Shurman said. "For a variety of reasons, it's not really comparable."

Apparently, Peter has no problem accusing First Nations, of all people, of practicing aparhteid because of the Caledonia stand-off but wants to ban it in reference to Israel.

 

Unionist

Tommy_Paine wrote:

So, while we chastise the ONDP for a lack of fortitude the other day, be sure that when our turn came, we did the same.

 

You're missing a rather crucial distinction, Tommy. The ONDP crowd could have kept their fucking mouths shut. That would have been a "lack of fortitude". Instead, they condemned good people. That makes them enemies - my enemies, at any rate. And I don't know who the "we" are that you're talking about, but I don't really care that much. Those of us who have had our mouths open and our fists high in support of justice in the Middle East have nothing to regret.

 

synthome

I used to have respect both for the level of responsible/ intelligent commentary on here and for the willingness of this board to debate and disagree with one another. The characterization of this incident as state repression, censorship, NDP backstabbing seems histrionic at worst and disingenuous at best. This was a resolution, which has the binding weight of an opinion. Nor from its most right wing advocate Peter Shurman nor the NDP's qualified support (from my take it seems the NDP agrees that the word apartheid may not be the most appropriate descriptor, but there is explicit acknowledgement of needing to speak up against the occupation of Palestinian territory, against the Wall, etc.) is there censorship or repression.

The push from the legislature seems to be for positive and constructive debate, not a cancellation of  the debate. Israel Apartheid Week will continue unabated. Personally, I do think a good starting point for the debate would be whether or not Apartheid is the most appropriate descriptor. And proceed from there...

 

Tommy_Paine

The "we" is anyone who identifies as left.   The belching forth of Ruby, Berger and Rose eight years ago tarred us all with that brush, and paved the way to what we saw in the Ontario Legislature a few days ago, and doubtless worse to come.

The only way to reverse this trend is to make the slanderers and liars who link all criticism of Israel to anti semitism pay a political and personal price for thier lies.

 

Prophit

Stargazer wrote:

You're an idiot. Sorry, I can't be nicer to you.

Proper expression of most Ontarians? Bull fucking shit. Proper expression of neo religious whackjobs and their lovely neighbours, the Zionists.

It's censorship, freedom of expression and a whole host of issues at stake here and you think this represents what most Ontarians want? I don't think so.

 

Isn't there a policy you agree to when you sign up here? Like you know, Human rights are not up for debate? Clearly Babble allows for that debate. Frankly I'd rather see all these Israel right or wrong defenders banned. How would that be for censorship.

 

There of course is also a policy not to bully or namecall other Babblers. You are free to disagree but namecalling is another thing.

As for your implied suggestion I be banned, to do so based on my support of my party's vote in the Ontario Leg would also lead to a banning of all ONDP members who voted in favour as well.

Michelle

Tommy, I remember a whole lot of people on babble up in arms over that letter eight years ago. And I'm betting a good number of people wrote letters to the editor in response as well, although I don't remember any specifically since it was long ago.

There is no excuse for what happened in the Ontario Legislature. During the 8 years that have intervened since that letter, people on the left have been very vocal and active in Palestinian rights activism, and we have refuted accusations of anti-semitism at every turn.

You can't blame activists for the political cowardice of the ONDP on this one. Activists are the ones without much in the way of resources and they're fighting hard, and gaining some ground - there is a lot more awareness and empathy for the plight of Palestinians now than there was even eight years ago. And the reason why is because activists have been pushing forth with actions and arguments and have been shedding light on Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

This has been done in the shadow of a concerted campaign by mainstream politicians and media to marginalize Palestinians and anti-Apartheid activists. Activists have fought back all along. And now the ONDP has joined forces with the right-wing politicians and the apartheid supporters to try and suppress that activism.

To say that somehow activists gave up the battle 8 years ago is false. On the contrary, activists have been building up solidarity, support, and strength on this issue, and that is what has apartheid supporters running scared, and pulling out all the stops - including suppressing campus activism - to make it stop.

That the ONDP joined forces with them is a complete stab in the back to activists.

Michelle

Stargazer, you'll probably find your blood pressure lowering if you just ignore the apartheid apologists on the board. We know what their agenda is here. Don't let them bait you into getting yourself in trouble with the mods.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This is the actual statement that the NDP voted in favour off.  It contains nothing but Israeli talking points.  The Ontario NDP voted that they believe that Israel is a state that respects the rule of law and human rights.  That is not a debate that is an acceptance of Israel's right to occupy and terrorize the Palestinians.  

No wonder they will never get elected with that kind of knee jerk reaction to hot button issues instead of an intelligent and nuanced response.  I have BOLDED the offending parts that they actually voted for.

Quote:

I move that in the opinion of this House, the term "Israeli Apartheid Week" is condemned as it serves to incite hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word "apartheid" in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa.

antsunited

 

Tommy I agree with you in that we should all be looking for the "fight" when attacked lest we give ground and become more vulnerable. The "left" gets suckered quite a bit these days, for example the tacit support for the war on terror in Afghanistan when it's couched as "defending democracy and woman's rights". But for a party that has taken its licks for its principled stands (taliban jack) the words of Cheri DiNovo represent a major let down of the activist base that wants to think of the NDP as our party. But I have to say it's pretty rich for you to tar us all as "the left" (Clayton Ruby? come on) with the same brush of cowardice. You purposely ignore all the progressive voices that have spoken out despite the unbelievable power of the zionist movement. The CUPEs the progressive Jews, the Muslim community, the peace movement have all fought against the slurs. They deserve a mention in all of this and the support of the NDP.

Unionist

synthome wrote:

I used to have respect both for the level of responsible/ intelligent commentary on here and for the willingness of this board to debate and disagree with one another. The characterization of this incident as state repression, censorship, NDP backstabbing seems histrionic at worst and disingenuous at best. This was a resolution, which has the binding weight of an opinion. Nor from its most right wing advocate Peter Shurman nor the NDP's qualified support (from my take it seems the NDP agrees that the word apartheid may not be the most appropriate descriptor, but there is explicit acknowledgement of needing to speak up against the occupation of Palestinian territory, against the Wall, etc.) is there censorship or repression.

The push from the legislature seems to be for positive and constructive debate, not a cancellation of  the debate. Israel Apartheid Week will continue unabated. Personally, I do think a good starting point for the debate would be whether or not Apartheid is the most appropriate descriptor. And proceed from there...

 

Explain why the ONDP members voted in favour of this motion, rather than just expressing their reservations about the "apartheid" descriptor and then voting against - or indeed, abstaining.

 

Tommy_Paine

Tommy, I remember a whole lot of people on babble up in arms over that letter eight years ago.

Aye.  And I'm still pissed off.  

But I return to the question about what price Berger, Rose and Ruby paid for thier lies.   It's not that activists gave up the fight, or acted cowardly or whatever, it's about being too fucking nice until it's too late.

 

I bet there's people here who wouldn't think twice about breaking bread and being nicey nice with any of those guys today. This has become a nation which has come to misstake perfidiousness for cleverness.

If I seem forgiving of the ONDP it's because my expectations have been lowered over the years.   It's not the party that stood up and voted nay on the Liberal Party's declaration of Martial Law and setting aside of our rights, and hasn't been for many years. 

Somehow, I can't really get mad at a fish for being wet.

 

But, you and Unionist have persuaded me.   The ONDP MPP's will be receiving a terse e-mail on the subject from me later today.  And, I do not usually do stuff like that. 

 

Unionist

Cheri DiNovo wrote:
I almost thought as I stood here that we should really start in prayer, because when you talk about such divisive issues, what I'm used to doing, coming from my background, is you start with prayer even if it's in a multi-faith context, because you start where you share, and that's with prayer. Just like in the Seder supper, you always pray for your enemies first. You pray for the Egyptians in the Seder supper. You pray for those that you have a contention with.

Her ignorance about Jewish tradition is impressive indeed. Here's what we say when we pour the fourth cup of wine at the Pesach seder:

Quote:

Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not acknowledge You, and upon the kingdoms that do not call upon Your Name. For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let the wrath of Your anger overtake them. Pursue them with anger, and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the Lord.

What a dud she is.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

That would of course include the bedrock value of driving the original inhabitants and their allies from their lands and locking them up in reservations that South Africa studied to design their racist society.  Those are the Great Canadian values all Canadians should support?  Apparently the Ontario NDP needs some history lessons.  No wonder they are floundering in the wilderness they should all just join the fucking liberal party it has a nice big tent they could feel at home in.

Quote:

1330
In fact, the values of Judaism and of Israel were bedrock values for the foundation of Canada, and those values from Judaism and from Israel date back over 3,000 years-all to say that if you're going to label Israel as apartheid, then you are also calling Canada apartheid and you are attacking Canadian values.  

1340

...

it's not historically accurate any more than it would be to call Canada an apartheid nation because of our history with our First Nations people, although people have, right? It doesn't help further the conversation. It doesn't help First Nations people. 

Unionist

Cheri DiNovo wrote:
What we did was a really Jewish Seder supper. We invited a Rabbinic friend to come in and to really walk us through, to have us experience what Jesus experienced on Holy Thursday.

WTF is "a Rabbinic friend"? Is she sober when she orates?

Cheri DiNovo wrote:
You pray for the Egyptians in the Seder supper.

From the Haggadah (the liturgical text recited at every Seder):

Quote:
Thus it is said: "In that night I will pass through the land of Egypt, and I will smite every first-born in the land of Egypt, from man to beast, and I will carry out judgments against all the gods of Egypt, I the L-rd." [...]

These are the Ten Plagues which the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians, namely as follows:

Blood.
Frogs.
Lice.
Wild Beasts.
Pestilence.
Boils.
Hail.
Locust.
Darkness.
Slaying of the First-born.

[...]

Thus how much more so should we be grateful to the Omnipresent One for the doubled and redoubled goodness that He has bestowed upon us; for He has brought us out of Egypt, and carried out judgments against them, and against their idols, and smote their first-born, and gave us their wealth, and split the sea for us, and took us through it on dry land, and drowned our oppressors in it, and supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and fed us the manna, and gave us the Shabbat, and brought us before Mount Sinai, and gave us the Torah, and brought us into the land of Israel and built for us the Beit Habechirah to atone for all our sins.

Oh yes, we pray on for our Egyptian enemies all right...

What a dunce she is.

aka Mycroft

[Hansard repasted. with proper paragraph breaks, a few posts down.]

Prophit

Michelle wrote:
This has been done in the shadow of a concerted campaign by mainstream politicians and media to marginalize Palestinians and anti-Apartheid activists. .

Indeed there are mainstream politicians that support a two-state solution without using rancor and misplaced poisoned ideas such as linking Israel with Apartheid. I have talked about this with Jack Layton for example who abhors the apartheid analogy (at least that's what he told me) while we both agreed that the occupation is certainly part of the huge problem facing both sides and that it must end.

So one can engage this issue without turning sides off. That is what is needed for debate. The so-called mainstream media and politicians are in my humble opinion reflecting what Canadians want and feel for the most part.

aka Mycroft

Here's a more readable pasting of Hansard (and complete, including speakers after Zimmer):

Quote:
ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK

Mr. Peter Shurman: I move that in the opinion of this House, the term "Israeli Apartheid Week" is condemned as it serves to incite hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word "apartheid" in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pursuant to standing order 98, the member has 12 minutes for his presentation.

Mr. Peter Shurman: We debate some interesting things in this chamber, not always what appear to be provincial business. One might think that my resolution falls into that category. But since Israeli Apartheid Week takes place next week on campuses across Ontario, I submit that it very much concerns us in this place and should concern all fair-minded Ontarians.

Resolutions here do one thing only: They send a message, moral suasion pertinent to any given subject. I am passionate about my resolution today and the subject, Israeli Apartheid Week. I am the MPP for Thornhill. Over 40% of my constituents are Jewish. Understandably, there is broad support for Israel in Thornhill, and not just in Thornhill and not just among Jewish people. I have been approached to champion this cause in and outside of Thornhill, and on and off college campuses all over Ontario, and I'm very happy to do so.

I am sick and tired of the demonization of Israel by the use of a word that was only ever applied in one historical case and remains applicable only to that one period of South African history. In honesty, I, along with all colleague MPPs, have been approached as well by those not in agreement with this resolution. I say here and now that I reject their position out of hand.

This is a resolution that is entirely appropriate for discussion in our Ontario Legislature. It's about an annual event in our province on our campuses, and most significantly it's about our values, because our values are the same as the values of the state of Israel: democracy, education, individual freedom, human rights and the right to defend oneself from aggressors.

1330

In fact, the values of Judaism and of Israel were bedrock values for the foundation of Canada, and those values from Judaism and from Israel date back over 3,000 years-all to say that if you're going to label Israel as apartheid, then you are also calling Canada apartheid and you are attacking Canadian values. The use of the phrase "Israeli Apartheid Week" is about as close to hate speech as one can get without being arrested, and I'm not certain it doesn't actually cross over that line.

It's also a thinly veiled campaign by those whose real agenda is to eradicate Israel entirely. During the last week, I read an online blog or journal-there are, sadly, many like it-and I'll quote from it. Bear in mind that this is not a secret website. It came to me because I am personally mentioned in it, and that simply triggered a Google alert. It's called ziofascism.net. Now quoting:

"Israel is a terrorist, apartheid state that bombs civilian neighbourhoods and hospitals, and engages in ethnic cleansing against its enemies and covert terror against its 'friends.'

"In Canada, the Israel Lobby-a web of organizations presided over by a handful of Jewish billionaires, who head the nominal 'Jewish groups' that together with media that is owned by some of the same billionaires-has shaped Canada's policy to favour Israel's security interests at the expense of Canada's."

Pure garbage-and Israeli Apartheid Week the same.

A few pertinent details about what my resolution is not: I am not attempting to tackle in 10 minutes in the Ontario Legislative Assembly any of the vast, ongoing problems relative to Israel-no discussion today of the peace process; no discussion of the existential questions of an Israeli state. Israel is quite simply there. It isn't going anywhere-not now and not ever.

Let me say that Israel, while demonstrating some very remarkable positives, is, in the end, just like Canada or any other democratic country: not always right, and always dealing with political challenges. My resolution is, however, not about any of that. I raise it by way of asserting that I or anyone else can debate such issues any time, any place, as long as such a debate is respectful and fair to all who seek to express an opinion.

That is precisely what Israeli Apartheid Week does not do, and in our free environment, in our hate-free public forum, it has no place.

Israeli Apartheid Week occurs about this time of year every year in various locations around the world, and it runs sometime within the first two weeks of March. As I have said, here it's in the first week of March, next week.

Here's what is truly remarkable about those who are supportive of Israeli Apartheid Week: Their very use of that phraseology and the content of the supposedly neutral discussion seminars is really about an apartheid that is quite the reverse of what they contend exists.

Here's why: Those behind Israeli Apartheid Week are attempting to isolate Israel and place Israel on the receiving end of an apartheid experience-the minimization and the diminishment of any Jewish heritage in the region, the denigration of Jewish rights to a homeland, the lessening of Jewish people as not being on an equivalent level with any other members of humankind. How dare they? How dare they?

Do I have a problem with informed discussion about Israel or about West Bank Palestinians or Gazans? No, I do not. Do I have a problem with people of any stripe engaging in political dialogue about that region? No, I do not. Do I have a problem with one-sided views being expressed by either side? That's never a great idea, but actually, the answer there is also no, I do not.

So what is my problem? Well, my problem is the name Israeli Apartheid Week and what's in a name. Calling this series of events by a name that is, in itself, both assumptive and declaratory prior to anyone debating anything, we come dangerously close to an outright condemnation and engaging in hate speech before any dialogue-and there is no such dialogue. Dialogue is multifaceted, and this event is not.

The name is hateful, it is odious, and that's not how things should be in my Ontario, in our Ontario. In fact, my Ontario is not about drawing lines between differing elements of our diverse society and fighting battles 10,000 kilometres away by using labelling and unilateral positioning and sometimes even outright intimidation to make points.

My Ontario is about informed discussion, and if informed discussion should occur anywhere, it should be on the campuses of our universities and colleges. Israeli Apartheid Week is not and never has been about informed discussion. I became acquainted with campus activism as it exists today when I became personally and intimately involved in the York University strike and associated issues about 16 months ago. Factions on that and other campuses find themselves under siege, and that is quite unacceptable.

There are people on our campuses who assume untenable, unilateral positions about faraway places and offer no reasonable room for discussion. As a matter of fact, by way of example, in the last week, a group that went counter to Israeli Apartheid Week applied to York University-the same university that I mentioned-to hold an equal and opposite session, if you will, and was told that it couldn't. It certainly displayed a wide array of speakers, but it couldn't hold its session because the York University administration told it the security of those people couldn't be guaranteed. Isn't that interesting? You can't guarantee the security of people who want to speak in favour of Israel, but you can guarantee the security of people who don't? What does that say about balance on that campus?

In my day, universities were the places where solutions were found through informed dialogue. It seems we've moved away from that and into a confrontation and intimidation stance. Isn't it precisely that from which people have escaped to take up a new life in multicultural, multi-ethnic Canada, where all are free and no one need be afraid? Isn't that one of the main reasons that we are all here in this place together?

My generation has not handled some things well. Perhaps the next generation will do better. But with a confrontational approach through events like Israeli Apartheid Week, how can we even begin?

"Apartheid" is an Afrikaans word that only applies to one single event in the history of humankind: the legislated separation and differentiation of races by colour in pre-Mandela South Africa. There is no comparison with any other situation on earth. Systemic racism is fairly uncommon, thank goodness, and it certainly is no hallmark of Israel. To say otherwise is at best a huge distortion and at worst, a damned lie. So I say to those who are behind Israeli Apartheid Week, the name of your event is propagandist and you are liars.

Israeli Apartheid Week, even according to some of its own proponents, makes historically inaccurate comparisons in order to delegitimize Israel and singles it out from every other country in the world. Campaigns like this are aimed solely at denying Israel's right to exist, and they do nothing at all to promote any kind of reconciliation or any kind of real dialogue. A true and lasting peace in the Middle East will only come through direct negotiation and open dialogue. Peace will never be achieved through any kind of inflammatory language promoted by this or any other campaign.

Israel is undeniably a democracy. It grants full rights to all of its citizens, regardless of race or religion. Arab- and Christian- and Muslim- and Druze- and Bedouin-Israelis have full citizenship and, foremost, the right to vote and to sit as members of the Israeli Parliament known as the Knesset.

Finally, Israeli Apartheid Week creates a toxic atmosphere on campuses, that labels supporters of Israel as racists and lessens their feelings of security. That is the truth. I have seen it personally.

It is time in Ontario to say what I am saying, to call for an end to hate speech. Israeli Apartheid Week is not an exercise in your free speech; it is an exercise in the curtailment of mine.

I said earlier that my resolution is not relevant to the existential question of Israel. Israel lives; it always has. The doubters can refer to archaeology. This is a land where Jewish people predate every other existing civilization, every other race on earth, and by thousands of years. Israel operates in a remarkably open and fully democratic way. Where else can anyone make that claim, especially in that region and, in a very real sense, over millennia?

The objectionable "apartheid" reference relates to the supposed isolation of Gazan and West Bank residents and their minimization by Israeli actions and policies. Anyone with an iota of intelligence knows that the day the Katyusha rockets stop landing in Israel and on its children for good, the day Israel is fully accepted and recognized by its neighbours, that will be the day that productive dialogue and resolution will begin and come quickly.

Finally, I call on this Legislature to do what it has the moral right and obligation to do: Tell the people behind this odious distortion of facts and language that we don't do what they're trying to do in Ontario, that there is no Israeli apartheid, and that there should be no Israeli Apartheid Week suggesting anything to the contrary.

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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Further debate?

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: Before I begin, I want to dedicate these comments to someone that many of us knew and loved: a campaign manager, union activist, social justice activist and my campaign manager, who passed away on February 4, Julius Deutsch.

Julius asked me to officiate at his funeral, a funeral attended by some 500 people. The mayor spoke, among many others. And one of the things that Julius said to me before he passed away was when I asked him if there were any regrets in his life-and he lived three lives, not one. He said, "I never got to go to Israel."

I also want to dedicate these comments to my sister-in-law, who is Muslim and has travelled extensively in the Middle East, and to my church, because many of you know I was a United Church minister before I was elected to this position.

At Emmanuel Howard Park United Church, we did a number of firsts for a Christian church. The first thing we did was that on Holy Thursday-with many churches now, it's a tradition to do a Christianized reproduction, if I can say that, of Seder supper. What we did was a really Jewish Seder supper. We invited a Rabbinic friend to come in and to really walk us through, to have us experience what Jesus experienced on Holy Thursday.

The very Sunday after 9/11, we were the first church outside of Riverside in New York to recognize that what happened in 9/11 was going to be problematic for our Islamic neighbours. We invited Jami Mosque, the oldest mosque in Toronto, to come and worship with us that Sunday, and they came-a whole busload of them came. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened. They sat in our pews, we worshiped together, and we started a fast and friendly dialogue.

What I think we want on this issue, my friends, what we want in the Middle East and what we want in the world is the same, independent of our religious stripe, and that is peace. We want peace. We don't need inflammatory language on either side of this issue. We don't want it. We don't need it. We reject it.

Is "apartheid" an inflammatory term? Absolutely. There are lots of inflammatory terms flying around about the issue in the Middle East-lots of them on all sides of that issue. They are not helpful. They detract from the cause we're all engaged in, and that is peace.

I spoke to a number of people about this very issue before I stood here today and how really to deal with it. I heard from many Muslims-Muslims who have lived in Israel and lived in other places in the Middle East-and many of them said the same thing to me: "We are not vested in that term. We don't like that term. We'd like to talk about ending the occupation. We'd like to talk about the wall. We'd like to talk about substantive issues." And these are both Jews and Muslims, both in and outside Israel. We don't want to talk in inflammatory terms, and that's what this motion speaks to.

It was interesting that one of the Muslims, a well-respected one, and I won't drag his name out, said that, really, just like you heard from the member from Thornhill, Israel is one of the few if not the only real democracy in the Middle East. He said, having been a struggler for rights in Iran, "Certainly I'd rather live as a Muslim in Israel than in Iran at the moment." And I think he speaks for many Muslims and certainly many of us-certainly as a woman.

As a woman who had the great good fortune of being the one to perform the first legalized same-sex marriage in North America, I know that the rights of LGBT people are important to me. They're important to me, and they're important to my constituents. So I look around the world as to where those rights are upheld, and it's problematic. There are not too many places. We're very much engaged, some of us, in the situation in Uganda right now. But I wouldn't want to hold up any other place-I mean it's a little freer in Israel than it is some of the places that surround Israel in that regard. This is problematic.

But one thing I will say, and I'll say it to my friend from Thornhill, in terms of symbolism, one of the best things we can do in this House, dealing with a motion like this, is to reiterate what we all share, to reiterate the binds that bind us. I have to say, having been a studier of theology, having my doctorate in theology and having read all of the scriptural precedents, that there is nothing in any of our scripture-Muslim, Jew or Christian-that does not call on us all to treat our brothers and sisters, independent of their religious background, independent of where they come from, as just that, brothers and sisters, with love-to extend a handshake and to avoid anything that would cause us to learn to hate each other, to propagate hatred or to propagate anything that would add to the deaths of children, for example. That's why, when I stand here, I do so with some trepidation.

I've also heard the discussion, and I don't think there's validity to it, that this sort of motion does not belong here. I think, in a sense, it does. We are a place that is symbolic, in part at least. I know I have motions on the order paper that talk about the rights of Tibetans. We, as provincial representatives, really don't have a lot to say about the rights of Tibetans, but we should say something about the rights of Tibetans, just as we should say something about the rights of all people who have legitimate grievances in the world. We should say something about it as human beings, never mind as political representatives.

Some have talked about peace-but, yes, peace with justice, absolutely. There's no true peace without justice for everyone.

Certainly our federal New Democrats have a policy, a pretty widely supported policy, and that is the two-state solution. I don't differ from that policy as a member of provincial Parliament. I think a two-state solution is the way to go.

But more importantly than talking about the politics in this place, what we really need to do is to talk about how to move from here as brothers and sisters, particularly at this time.

So here's the thing. Israeli Apartheid Week: Does this help advance any cause? Even some friends that I have-and I have many-on the far left who have experienced real life in their home countries in the Middle East, and again mainly and mostly Muslim friends in the organization I'm thinking of, are very sceptical about such a term as "apartheid" when applying it to Israel.

First of all, as the member from Thornhill has pointed out, it's not historically accurate any more than it would be to call Canada an apartheid nation because of our history with our First Nations people, although people have, right? It doesn't help further the conversation. It doesn't help First Nations people. It doesn't help Muslims or Palestinians to talk about Israel as an apartheid nation. It doesn't help Jews. It certainly doesn't help Christians to use that term, and they support that.

The movement, though, is what I'm concerned about. I almost thought as I stood here that we should really start in prayer, because when you talk about such divisive issues, what I'm used to doing, coming from my background, is you start with prayer even if it's in a multi-faith context, because you start where you share, and that's with prayer. Just like in the Seder supper, you always pray for your enemies first. You pray for the Egyptians in the Seder supper. You pray for those that you have a contention with.

What I would suggest to all those on campuses is that instead of engaging in inflammatory language, instead of using terms that divide, we perhaps begin the discussion somewhere else. Perhaps we talk about what we do agree on and how we can move forward so that people's lives could be saved. That is what we all want. What we all want to reiterate, and to go back to where I started, is peace-peace with justice, but peace. What we all want is safety. What we all want is what the member from Thornhill has in his riding, which, if I remember correctly, is a synagogue next to a mosque next to a Tibetan temple next to a Christian church. We want what we model in Canada. We want this for our neighbours around the world, in part. Not that we're perfect-far from it-but we want what is so graphically shown in our city.

We want all faiths to work together. We want all peoples to work together. We want to take the level of rhetoric down at least a notch or two and to start seeing each other the way we see ourselves. That is what the Torah calls us to do. That is what the Christian Bible calls us to do. That is what the Quran calls us to do. That is what my Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu neighbours call us to do. That is what we are called to do-dare I say it?-by God. That is what we are called to do.

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I thank the member for standing and raising this. I also think, as I thank him, of all those Muslim friends of mine who are also concerned and have legitimate concerns. I suggest that perhaps rather than calling names at each other, they sit down the way we did at my church, around a common table, share a common meal-it's a meal we all share in some senses-and speak. What we suggest as a political party, the New Democratic Party, is that, again, we look towards a lasting peace, a peace with justice.

I have to say in closing that some of my favourite dissenting films come from the state of Israel, films against the draft in Israel, films that question the wall in Israel by Israelis themselves. In Israel there is fervid and ardent debate, as there should be here and everywhere; that's absolutely a given. But at the end of the day, let's drop the rhetoric, not just for now or this week but for all time, and let's go back to our scriptural roots, all of us, and let's speak as humans, the humans, as I say, our God meant us to be.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Further debate?

Mr. David Zimmer: I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Eglinton-Lawrence.

I too, like the previous speaker, am going to vote in support of the member from Thornhill's motion. Israeli Apartheid Week raises many, many troublesome questions. I have been thinking about it since the resolution was introduced. Some of the questions I've asked myself: What's the purpose of Israeli Apartheid Week? Secondly, what is the effect of Israeli Apartheid Week? What is it trying to achieve? I've asked myself in that regard, what is the endgame? What is the ultimate goal for everyone who's concerned about peace in the Middle East, particularly peace among the Israelis and the Palestinians? Does the concept of Israeli Apartheid Week serve that ultimate goal that all well-meaning people have, that is, peace?

With regard to its effect, I say my view is that Israeli Apartheid Week is, in effect, a block on that road to peace. It's a block on that road to peace because words have meaning. Words have effect. Words can be destructive. Apartheid: The word "apartheid," in my view, is a destructive word. It's particularly destructive in the context of trying to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace. To compare the situation in Israel, the tensions in Israel between Israelis and Palestinians, to apartheid in South Africa is just wrong; it's false and it's disingenuous. Apartheid week must surely serve another purpose, a not good purpose.

In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the word "apartheid," the suggestion that apartheid exists, is just factually wrong. That's the first problem with the word "apartheid" as it relates to the Middle East; it's factually wrong. In Israel, there's freedom of religion. All races, all ethnicities are free to come and go as they please. Arab Israelis serve in the Knesset. Arab Israelis vote. It's a fully functioning democracy; the Knesset is a fully functioning democracy, unlike a lot of other countries in the world.

The question then becomes, when I reflect further on it, what can possibly be the motive or the intent of Israeli Apartheid Week? Assuming everyone wants peace-and they say they want peace, the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week-I ask these questions of myself: Why do the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week want to inflame the situation? Why do they want to inflame the situation between Jews and Palestinians? Why do they want to further divide Jews and Palestinians? Why do they want to aggravate an already fragile situation? Why not bring the parties together? Why not calm the fears and anxieties? Why not promote dialogue and reconciliation? In my view, Israeli Apartheid Week is destructive of any constructive Israeli-Palestinian relationship. It does nothing to promote the relationship.

Here's an idea, and I offer this to the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week: Why not have an Israeli-Palestinian peace week? Now, that would be a novel and constructive step. You see, the real victim of Israeli Apartheid Week and that concept is peace itself: peace in Israel, peace in the Middle East. It's peace for Palestinians. It's peace for Arabs. It's peace for Israelis. It's peace for the Christians who live there. It's peace for everybody who lives there.

Why do the organizers, I ask myself, want to exacerbate an already difficult situation? Why not lower the temperature? Why not work towards dialogue, reconciliation and peace? What are they afraid of? What is their motive? Why won't they have an Israeli-Palestinian peace week? That would be truly something constructive.

Apartheid is a destructive concept. To accuse one side of practising apartheid does absolutely nothing to promote peace. That's why I'm supporting the member for Thornhill's motion.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Further debate?

Mr. Ted Arnott: I'm pleased to have the opportunity to participate briefly in this debate this afternoon. As you know, our caucus is afforded 12 minutes to speak to this motion, and there are two other speakers from our caucus who are interested-I understand maybe now one other speaker who is interested in making some remarks on the record with respect to this important private member's motion that has been brought forward this afternoon by my colleague and friend the member for Thornhill. He asked the House to consider "that, in the opinion of this House, the term Israeli Apartheid Week is condemned as it serves to incite hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word 'apartheid' in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa."

From the outset, I want to indicate to the House my intention to support this resolution, to vote for it. I think the member is well-intentioned in his efforts to bring forward this issue this afternoon for consideration. It is timely, as he indicated. Campuses around Ontario, in some cases, are organizing these kinds of events right now, and I think it's helpful and hopefully informative if the Ontario Legislature makes a statement and sends a strong message that this sort of event is not acceptable nor is it appropriate.

I agree with what has been said in the House this afternoon. I've always believed the state of Israel to be a free and democratic state with individual freedoms, free elections and a commitment to human rights. This kind of event that has been held, I guess, in campuses around Ontario, would appear to be not helpful in terms of advancing towards a solution.

I want to associate myself with some of the remarks that have been made by other members here so far. The member for Parkdale-High Park, I thought, gave an excellent speech, as did the member for-

Interjection: Unionville.

Mr. Ted Arnott: Unionville? David Zimmer.

Interjection: Willowdale.

Mr. Ted Arnott: Willowdale. I appreciated his positive and constructive discussion suggestion, whereby he challenged the students who might be participating in these kinds of events to have an Israel-Palestine peace week instead of this, and that would serve to create a foundation for reasoned dialogue, as opposed to potentially inciting hatred.

The member for Thornhill has been an outstanding addition to our caucus since he was first elected in 2007. He's really given us a new agree of enthusiasm that I hope people will see in this House day to day. He is a strong voice for fairness and for a logical, reasoned decision-making approach in government, and he adds a great deal to our discussions in this House. I want to commend him for bringing this forward today and again encourage all members of this House to express support for it when it comes time to vote.

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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Further debate?

Mr. Mike Colle: Generally, I don't agree with many of the positions of the member from Thornhill, and I'm proud to say I don't, but in this case here, I unequivocally support this resolution, because he has clearly demonstrated a horrific example of what is really hate speech that has been put into a systematic attack on the only democracy in the Middle East. It's called Israeli Apartheid Week. It's just ludicrous.

Here is a small democracy surrounded by all these dictatorships. The organizers of this week never look at what is happening in Yemen or maybe Saudi Arabia or that regime in Iran. They don't bother with those regimes and the incredible amount of torture and systemic abuse of people, their populations, but they pick on Israel. Why do they pick on Israel? It has nothing to do with Muslims, nothing to do with Palestine; it has to do with this long-time systemic hate against anything to do with the Jewish religion. That's what it is.

So these hate-mongers have co-opted people into organizing this; basically, it's a worldwide campaign to demonize Israel, and this is what this is part of. Israeli Apartheid Week is anti-academic, and it is not a debate but a prejudged diatribe against Israel that prides itself in creating hostility toward Israel. That's what they want to do. It stifles debate, as evidenced by the title alone. Labelling Israel as an apartheid state is a deliberate and calculated attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel. That's what it is. Anything to do with Israel, anything to do with the Jewish state, is under attack by these propagators of hate.

It's not just the universities where this hate is organized. It has spread even to our churches. Earlier this summer, the United Church of Canada's 40th general council had a resolution basically calling for the divestment of Israel, entitled "Seeking Peace in the Middle East Using South African Actions for Justice as a Model." So even our churches are engaged in this. Luckily, the resolution did not pass. I'm proud to say that I sent a letter to David Giuliano, the moderator of the United Church, and said that it is appalling that this resolution is even before the church. It was just disgusting that Canada's largest church is discussing this anti-Israel apartheid type of motion.

Then we have Canada's largest union engaged in the same activity. CUPE has been doing this systemically for years: trying to boycott Israeli products and trying to condemn Israel.

We, as citizens of Ontario, should stand up to this type of hate-mongering, whether it's CUPE, the United Church or this group that organizes this Israeli Apartheid Week. It's couched with all kinds of different things about protecting and trying to help people, but it's basically a pointed, focused attack on the only democracy in the Middle East, which is having an incredibly difficult time coping with the enemies that surround it. The enemies are not only Iran and Yemen and all these pseudo states, but this worldwide hatred of anything to do with Israel.

So if we don't condemn this type of utter nonsense here in our universities, in our churches and in our unions, it is basically, with our silence, no different than what happened in Germany. Remember there was a famous quote in pre-war Germany that said something like, "First they came for the Jews, and I said nothing; then they came for the Catholics, and I said nothing; then they came for the Protestants, and I said nothing." At least by standing up and supporting such a resolution, we're able to say that this is wrong, that you don't arbitrarily malign, denigrate and attack one group of people and say that it's to the benefit of some other group. This type of pointed hate is not acceptable. This Israeli Apartheid Week unequivocally is based on systemic hate of Israel and anything Jewish, and there's no way around it. This type of thing is liable to spread, as it has spread beyond our colleges, and we should try to put an end to it as fast as we can. It's not about free speech at all; it's about hate-mongering for no substantiated reason. To equate Israel to apartheid in South Africa is absurd, considering what the state of Israel has accomplished in democracy and what it has accomplished in terms of treating people from all walks of life. Yes, Israel is not a perfect state, but democracy is not perfect. So I urge you to support this resolution.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Further debate?

Mr. John O'Toole: It's a real privilege to have been asked by my good friend and colleague the member from Thornhill, Mr. Shurman, to speak and make remarks with respect to his resolution against Israeli Apartheid Week. I think it is striking, as well, to each member here to recognize the many points made by all three parties in support of the intent of this resolution. Each of us has a reflection on why we would like to make remarks. I have two particular reasons that are personal, bringing some reference to why I'm speaking not only in support of the resolution but to, as has been said, the term and the wordsmithing around it-whoever crafted this sort of statement, Israeli Apartheid Week. The two reference points are, first of all, my beloved sister, Jane, who married a wonderful man, Dr. Paul Goodman, who is unfortunately deceased; he died way too young. He was a very kind and generous man, a very intelligent man. I shared many feasts and celebrations with him in his Jewish faith, as well as he in my Christian faith. It's quite interesting that he taught me more about tolerance than anyone I had met, and that includes my sister, who does continue in the pursuit of studying theology, which is part of her life.

More importantly, I had a chance some years ago to participate as a peace observer in Northern Ireland. It was during the time of the Good Friday accord. There is quite an interesting parallel between these struggles, most of them based on differences of faith and most of them based on intolerance-often, intolerance based on ignorance of one another. In that respect, I was drawn to reflecting on the comments made by Mr. Shurman and the resolution itself.

I think it's absolutely true that it creates an artificial atmosphere and diminishes the struggles of peoples, really. The resolution uses the term-and the member from Willowdale pointed this out, the inappropriate use of the word "apartheid" in relation to Israel. It's not only false but also it diminishes, and in fact is offensive to, the millions of people who suffered under the actual apartheid of South Africa.

I know that Nelson Mandela-there was a movie just recently portraying his life and what a wonderful, inspiring person and individual he was, despite the suffering he endured during apartheid, the real apartheid. He in fact appeared here in the Ontario Legislature as a guest of then-Premier David Peterson. This was sometime before 1990. Nelson Mandela made the remark that he could not conceive of Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories "if Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders." That's really the politics of intolerance, and the crucial part of this whole debate.

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But if you look at the comparison to apartheid, it's actually false and spurious, and provokes the toxic atmosphere that my good friend mentioned. It bears no resemblance to the realities of contemporary Israel and plays down the uniqueness of South Africa and the experience of apartheid, as I've mentioned.

The resolution reminds us that "the use of the word 'apartheid' in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime" and, in fact, the values of Judaism itself.

Prior to 1994, apartheid in the state of South Africa was extraordinarily repressive. Through legalized racism, it regulated every detail of the lives of 90% of the citizens on the basis of the colour of their skin. The concept of apartheid, or separateness, was actually enshrined in South African law in 1948 and only came to an end in 1994.

By contrast, the state of Israel was founded in 1948, on the very principles of democracy. The Israeli declaration of independence says that the nation will uphold the full social and political equality of all citizens, guaranteeing full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture. The declaration affirms that the State of Israel will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all inhabitants. It is based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets themselves. Israel's declaration of independence states that it will safeguard the sanctity of shrines and holy places of all religions and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The declaration stands in sharp contrast to the dozens of laws enacted by the South African regime to enforce the racism and segregation of apartheid. Israel's declaration of independence is honoured not only in principle but indeed in practice throughout the world.

As a democratic state, Israel upholds the rule of law for all citizens who fully participate in Israel's political life. Arab students and professors study, research, teach and debate at all Israeli university campuses, including at Haifa, a university where 20% of the student body is Arab. Those who might consider boycotting Israel's universities and other institutions should remember that, in doing so, they would indeed be boycotting both Jews and Arabs.

As a member of the Legislature, we have a duty to protect these very values that are being debated today. If a democratic country that supports the rule of law, human rights and personal freedom is described as an apartheid state, that claim should not go unchallenged.

I can tell you that I also have concerns that this terminology may indeed incite hatred and provoke conflict against the state and the people, as well as our own freedom and perception of it.

I will be voting, I hope with many others-or all others; I hope unanimously-in support and in favour of the resolution from my good friend, partner and colleague the member from Thornhill. I would call on this House to support this resolution unanimously.

With the final remaining seconds, I would only state that in the debate that I've listened to today, there has been no recognition for this hate speech of Israeli Apartheid Week. That's what this is about: tolerance, to the fullest extent of the democracy that we all share.

In that spirit, I will leave the rest of the time for my colleagues to make remarks.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Further debate? The honourable member for Thornhill.

Mr. Peter Shurman: Thank you to all of the members who participated in the debate, as well to members who approached me on a one-to-one basis and offered their support. It's a nice thing to stand in the Legislature, which is so often filled with acrimony and rancour, and hear members from all three parties talk in positive terms about something that should be a positive experience, which is the opportunity for people who live in Ontario to engage in informed debate, and very particularly on the campuses of Ontario to be able to put forward ideas that, ultimately, are not meant to demonstrate that Israel is any more perfect as a country than Canada or any other but, rather, to look for solutions to the problems that each country has.

Very particularly, thank you to the member from Parkdale-High Park, who I listen to often in debate, who brings her take on the world with a very wide-ranging and open-armed approach to questions that concern religion and background; to the member from Willowdale, for his recognition that this is about an endgame that has nothing to do with apartheid, but existence; to the members and my colleagues from Wellington-Halton Hills and Durham for their added comments, and to my friend from Eglinton-Lawrence who, while he may not agree with me most times, thank goodness agrees with me on this one.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): I should have explained, since the Conservatives hadn't used all their time, you had the minute 30 plus two minutes.

Mr. Peter Shurman: Well, I have a couple more things, then, if you like.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): The honourable member for-

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): Okay. That ending the time for this ballot item, we will vote on Mr. Shurman's item in about 100 minutes.

 

Unionist

Prophit wrote:

Indeed there are mainstream politicians ... The so-called mainstream media and politicians ...

Because they can't defend their ideas, the Zionist establishment has invented the codeword "mainstream" to marginalize and demonize all Jews of conscience. You can smell it a country mile away.

I would only caution my mainstream friends to remember what happened in Biblical times to those who tried to suppress and enslave the Jews - they ended up in the main stream. Sus v'rochvo ramah va'yam. Look it up.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Prophit wrote:

Michelle wrote:
This has been done in the shadow of a concerted campaign by mainstream politicians and media to marginalize Palestinians and anti-Apartheid activists. .

Indeed there are mainstream politicians that support a two-state solution without using rancor and misplaced poisoned ideas such as linking Israel with Apartheid. I have talked about this with Jack Layton for example who abhors the apartheid analogy (at least that's what he told me) while we both agreed that the occupation is certainly part of the huge problem facing both sides and that it must end.

So one can engage this issue without turning sides off. That is what is needed for debate. The so-called mainstream media and politicians are in my humble opinion reflecting what Canadians want and feel for the most part.

So I propose since apartheid is not an acceptable term how about:

A Celebration of the Israeli Murderous Illegal Invasion and Occupation Week.

Lets celebrate their upholding and modernizing of the finest Canadian tradition of land theft and racist policies like the Indian Act and Potlatch laws. 

Fidel

aka Mycroft wrote:

There are people on our campuses who assume untenable, unilateral positions about faraway places and offer no reasonable room for discussion. As a matter of fact, by way of example, in the last week, a group that went counter to Israeli Apartheid Week applied to York University-the same university that I mentioned-to hold an equal and opposite session, if you will, and was told that it couldn't. It certainly displayed a wide array of speakers, but it couldn't hold its session because the York University administration told it the security of those people couldn't be guaranteed. Isn't that interesting? You can't guarantee the security of people who want to speak in favour of Israel, but you can guarantee the security of people who don't? What does that say about balance on that campus?

Thank you aka Mycroft. Yes, we certainly don't need to reproduce the Middle East conflict on university campuses in Ontario, I agree. And I agree with Dinovo that informed debate on the Middle East would be more helpful than reactionary activism and abrasive language whether people on the left agree with it or not. Observe the abject failures of Liberal Democrats in the US to unite Americans toward supporting progressive agendas and using condescending and inflammatory language designed to infuriate conservatives.

johnpauljones

I just re-read Cheri's remarks a part that touched me was the comments about my late friend Julius:

 

"Julius asked me to officiate at his funeral, a funeral attended by some 500 people. The mayor spoke, among many others.

And one of the things that Julius said to me before he passed away was when I asked him if there were any regrets in his life-and he lived three lives, not one.

He said, "I never got to go to Israel."

 

 

TheIronist

  

Ultimately, the success or failure of a communications strategy (or campaign) is decided based upon, well, whether or not it succeeds or fails. This very practical perspective is the only one that matters. A professional organizer will have at the very core of this strategy some way to measure how well the campaign is succeeding (or failing), and this measure will be applied on an ongoing basis, for the campaign's duration. If something isn't working, you change it. Then you gauge its success. And so on.

While I am sympathetic with the issues back of "Israeli Apartheid Week," there is no way to spin this campaign as a success. It has been a dismal failure.

Instead of advancing the discussion, the incendiary trope of its title further polarizes what is already one of the most polarized debates the world has ever known. 

Instead of winning new people to the cause, it further alienates.

Instead of galvanizing the faithful, it has instead galvanized the opposition, and has succeeded in making the other side sympathetic to potential allies (and this, I would suggest, is the basis for this thread being started). Worse, when potential allies fail to fall in line, their motives are impugned--when what should be taking place is a second look at the strategy itself.

These sorts of issues are unfortunately a problem with most university organizing--where passion all too often takes the place of experience and organizational acumen.

If I were running the "Israeli Apartheid Week" I would immediately stop it. A new campaign would be devised--one with a clear set of goals to be decided upon after extensive consultation with allies. An action plan would be developed, using tried and true tactics. And then it would be implemented.

In the real world, where people genuinely care about results, this is how things are done.

Unionist

Cheri DiNovo wrote:

And one of the things that Julius said to me before he passed away was when I asked him if there were any regrets in his life-and he lived three lives, not one.

He said, "I never got to go to Israel."

I never knew Julius, but I'm wondering whether he regretted too that the Palestinians and their descendants never got to go back.

 

Caissa

Could DeNovo be reading from a modern Hagaddah, Unionist? Ironic discussion on the eve of Purim.

spatrioter

TheIronist wrote:
A professional organizer will have at the very core of this strategy some way to measure how well the campaign is succeeding (or failing), and this measure will be applied on an ongoing basis, for the campaign's duration. If something isn't working, you change it. Then you gauge its success. And so on.

Do you have any quantitative indicators that show the Israeli Apartheid Week campaign is failing? Because judging by its growing attendance every year, more high-profile speakers every year, expansion over five years to over 40 cities worldwide, it looks to me like it's a smashing success.

Opposition or condemnation is not an indication of the failure of a campaign. In fact, I don't know of any social justice struggle throughout history that has not provoked this kind of passionate debate in the public. If anything, it's a sign that the campaign is working, especially when those in power feel the need to respond in this way.

ceti ceti's picture

Cheri fought tooth and nail to get the Lord's Prayer recited in the Legislature? Her sanctimonious religious hypocrisy on behalf of a foreign STATE getting criticized for its atrocious human rights record is touching. I'm done with the ONDP. Never again.

Unionist

LOL!

I still want to know what DiNovo's "Rabbinic friend" looked like. Is that, like, a euphemism for "Rabbi"? Sort of like saying, "our neighbours are Hebraic individuals" instead of "our neighbours are Jews"? I wonder if she invited some Egyptic friends over also, so the Rabbinic type could pray for them.

She also rants and raves about the problem in the Middle East being a clash of religions. She would be dangerous if she had any power. Thank the Lord (our Jewish Lord - the one who massacres Egyptians then asks us to pray for them) that will never happen.

Michelle

The ONDP did. The Liberals set forth a process to review and ultimately get rid of the Lord's Prayer in the Legislature. The NDP joined with the Conservatives to raise a stink about it, and ultimately a "compromise" was struck, where they would continue to say the Lord's Prayer every day, and after the Lord's Prayer, they would alternate other prayers from other religions daily. And in one Toronto Star article, which was pulled (but someone on babble quoted it before it was), Peter Kormos was crowing about how the NDP got the Liberals to back down on it.

Here's a reposting of the article, which you can't find now on the Toronto Star website:
http://urbantoronto.ca/archive/index.php/t-6902.html

QUOTE:
--------------
Speaker Steve Peters said the Lord’s Prayer would be joined by a daily rotation of eight other prayers from major denominations plus a moment of silence to appease agnostics and atheists.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos (Welland) said the entire debacle was an embarrassment to the Liberal government.

"McGuinty tried to abolish the Lord’s Prayer and the Opposition stopped him," crowed Kormos.

"McGuinty got stopped in his tracks," he said.
---------------

And Cheri Di Novo was one of the people quoted in the articles at the time in favour of keeping the Lord's Prayer in the Legislature. In this (horrid, I know) LifeSite article, she's quoted as claiming that 80% of her constituents wanted the Lord's Prayer to stay put.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/may/08050610.html

Unfortunately, all the Toronto Star articles on it are either expired or behind a pay-per-view wall.

remind remind's picture

so who are ya voting for ceti?

 

or are ya giving up voting?

 

and unionist I find your last sentence of your commentary troubling.....

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Apartheid translates into "separateness". In that context, how does Ms. DiNovo explain the meaning and purpose of the "separation barrier"?

As well, you know, as cruel and demeaning as South African Apartheid was, it never did reach the ferocity of Zionist racism. I also must note that the defenders of institutionalized South African racism, also exclaimed support for "the only democracy" in Africa. 

I shall never again support in any way, shape, or form the ONDP. In fact, I shall treat them with the derision and contempt I reserve for Conservatives.

Stockholm

I have a solution to all of this. Let's promote a contest to come up with a unique name or word to describe whatever it is that Israel does in the occupied territories that we don't like - ideally a word in Hebrew that is has some sort of metaphorical meaning. Apartheid after all is an Afrikaans word that was created by the national Party in South Africa in the 1940s and 50s specifically to describe how they themselves wanted to organize South Africa. While the word "segregation" tends to be used to describe conditions in the American south pre-60s.

My view has always been that every time groups who are critical of Israel go off the deep end with ad hominem attacks on "Zionism" and talking apartheid - champagne corks are being popped at the Israeli embassy - as they gleefully watch their critics self-destructively immolate themselves with language that makes them easy to dismiss and that comes across as ridiculous to most people. Its kind of like how gay activists secretely cheer every time Rev. Phelps does one of his "God Hates Fags" demos and all that it does it drive up support for gay marriage by about 10 points.

All you're doing is making it easy for criticism of Israeli policies to be dismissed. In case you haven't noticed - while we waste time debating useless crap like whether or not Zionism is racism or whether or not what Israel does on the West Bank is or is not the same as what the South African government was doing in the 70s - things have been very quite in in Gaza and the West Bank over the last year. The "security wall" has succeeded in putting a stop to almost all terrorist attacks, more settlements are being built in the West Bank and Netanyahu is quite popular these days. Every time people go on these wild goose chases of debating about the use of purposely provocative language - the only winner is Israel because what we are not talking about are solutions or concrete criticisms of Israeli policies that are not so easily dismissed and parodied.

Michelle

You didn't ask me, remind, but I'll tell you, I feel pretty disempowered right now, and actually, yes, I am thinking about giving up voting in provincial elections.

How can I possibly vote for a party that brands me as an anti-semite who promotes hate speech because I participate in Israeli Apartheid Week? Just how much nose-holding should activists be expected to do, while people like Di Novo walk all over us and treat us like shit because it's politically expedient and they know there's no real alternative for us in the election booth?

This is such an affront, such a stab in the back.

Tommy, you blame activists for not having gone after those letter writers 8 years ago. But now, someone from the ONDP joins together with the Conservatives to stab activists in the back and accuses them in the Legislature of "hate speech" for speaking truth to power, something they should do themselves if they weren't such cowards and craven political opportunists, and you're talking about how you think you might write them a "tersely worded letter"? I mean, that's great, but do you see the irony here? Will you still be voting for them in the election this fall after you write that terse letter? Will a "tersely worded letter" make them stand to account for this betrayal and smear?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Not true, Stockholm. The Israeli racists are scared shitless of the term as acceptance of it adds full legitimacy to the BDS campaign. Their Conservative supporters know as much. Unfortunately, the ONDP have only proven themselves useful idiots.

Unionist

remind wrote:

and unionist I find your last sentence of your commentary troubling.....

Remind, I was mocking Cheri DiNovo, who claimed in her speech that Jews pray for the Egyptians in the Passover seder - where in fact the seder is filled with bloodthirsty reminders of what God did to the Egyptians. Please don't be troubled. It actually reminded me of the Simpsons episode where, the day after Hurricane Neddy has devastated Springfield, the marquee outside the church reads: "God welcomes his victims."

 

spatrioter

A little trip down memory lane...

Quote:
A provincial NDP politician is calling a report that she fired all her staff members in a late-night, wine-fuelled e-mail message “a huge exaggeration.”

The story, printed in the latest edition of the Inside Queen’s Park (IQP) newsletter, a monthly publication circulated by lobbyist Graham Murray, says Cheri DiNovo fired her three staff members on Labour Day.

Ms. DiNovo was upset her staffers failed to show up to a barbeque the following morning. She tried to re-hire them, blaming the previous night’s e-mail on “drinking too heavily,” according to the article.

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