Dear Premier Selinger,
To put it politely, I am deeply upset by your decision to deepen economic ties with the State of Israel. The ongoing violation of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel has made Israel, deservedly, a pariah among nations. Because of this, individuals, organizations, companies and even governments are banding together in a nonviolent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in the hope that Israel will recognize the rights of Palestinians and seriously work for peace.
Surely you are aware of the 1400 Palestinians (including 300 children and hundreds of civilians) who were killed during the 18-day invasion the Israelis called Operation Cast Lead. If not, please follow this link to a report by Amnesty International.
You must have heard of the widespread misery and deprivation that persists in Gaza because of the Israeli blockade. Possibly you are too busy to follow these matters in any depth, but I hope you will take the time to read the UN Human Rights Council report on the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and the murders perpetrated against unarmed peace activists during that attack. These people were murdered because they were bringing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, people prevented by the blockade from rebuilding after the devastating Israeli invasion.
All too commonly in this country, affluent and ill-informed people are willing to turn a blind eye to injustice. The injustice against Palestinians began with their expulsion from their land in 1948. Systematically and relentlessly Israel has reduced the land available to Palestinians to a few small patches, hemmed in by Israeli soldiers, checkpoints and growing Israeli settlements. The situation of Palestinians is not unlike that of blacks in South Africa during the apartheid years. It is no accident that the term “Israeli apartheid” is heard more and more.
Is Manitoba in such desperate straights that our government sees a need to do business with such a repressive regime? What were you thinking?
Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinian people is an affront to all who cherish human rights and social justice. Those who do business with such a regime are complicit in this ongoing horror show.
I expect better of my provincial government and I expect better from you.
Please cancel your upcoming trip to Israel and reverse your policy of economic and cultural cooperation with Israel until such time as it shows serious commitment to redressing the injustices it has committed against the Palestinian people.
Please do your part to remind Mr. Selinger that it will not be acceptable to do business with Israel until it makes peace with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and dismantles the ugly apartheid system it has set up.
Tell him Manitoba should be a part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions for Palestine movement, rather than a partner in apartheid.
Greg Selinger’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.