Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian rights’

On June 8, 2011, Project Peacemakers Forum panelists Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd and Howard Davidson discussed “Israel and Palestine: What is going on and what can we do?”

Did they succeed in answering these questions? Yes and no. No, because this is a huge, complex topic and considerably more time would be required to present it in a comprehensive way. Yes, because they provide a starting point for people trying to get a sense of the issue, both in terms of understanding some of the complexities and in pointing to actions people can take to contribute to a resolution of the conflict.

Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd is an Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Winnipeg. As a member of the General Council Theology and Inter-church Interfaith Committee, she was part of an official United Church delegation that went to Israel and Palestine in February of this year, to update United Church policies and theology on the Middle East.

Howard Davidson is an Associate Professor in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba. He is also a member of the steering committee of Independent Jewish Voices and has visited Israel and the Occupied Territories on several occasions. He has published articles on Education and the Occupation.

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Imagine my surprise at learning that I am the treasurer of the freshly minted “Canadians for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods” organization – CBAIG for short. According to a news release issued May 29, 2011, we (Sid Ryan [President of the Ontario Federation of Labour], Peter Gose [Chair, Sociology and Anthropology Department at Carleton University] and Karine Macallister at the University of Montreal) are calling on Canadians to boycott Arab and Iranian tyrants “until the vicious dictatorships of the Arab Middle East and Iran are overthrown and their civilian populations are finally endowed with classical democracy.” Moreover, Sid Ryan, according to the news release, has “pleaded” with Israel “. . . to invade Syria and Iran and wipe out their respective feudal ruling classes.”

Not only that, but our “new campaign” is supported by “Emeritus Prof. Michael Chodussovsky of the University of Ottawa, the Seriously Free Speech Society, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Adbusters Magazine, the Canadian Arab Federation, Palestine House, CUPE-Ontario Section, filmmaker John Greyson of York University, Nick Day, Rector at Queens University, the Association of Arab Students and Professors in Canada, KAIROS Canada, the Canadian Postal Workers Union,  the Libyan Workers Revolutionary Committee, Sabeel, the Free Gaza Movement,  the League for Iranian Democracy, as well as by the Ontario Federation of Labour.”

Astute readers will easily identify this as a hoax, not because any of the above named supports tyranny in any form, but because all of them have championed Palestinian rights. Many, though not all, have supported the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel for its brutal occupation of Palestinian territory.

The CBAIG news release appears to be a carbon copy of one issued earlier this year announcing the formation of Britons for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (BBAIG). Whether they realize it or not, the perps may have done the BDS campaign a small service by drawing attention to the argument that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is analogous to the tyranny of many Arab states. Maybe it’s time for someone to launch a new organization: Zionists against Israeli Tyranny or, ZIT!