Look, the Toronto Star cannot be accused of being overly friendly to Israel. We’ve discussed Haroon Siddiqui, whose articles on Israel were often quite critical, a couple of times in the past and we have criticized their editorial policy some years ago which had been hard on Israel and sometimes unfairly so. There was a time when the Toronto Star editorial and reporting lines about Israel were so consistently critical that members of the Toronto Jewish community encouraged people to switch to other newspapers with friendlier dispositions to Israel such as the National Post or at least to papers with deeper discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict such as could sometimes be found in the the Globe and Mail.
Times have changed. Today’s Toronto Star editorial on the current state of anti-Israel advocacy is right on target and reading it is a must. Here are a couple of choice snippets:
It is tempting to ignore this latest, tedious tiff over TIFF [Toronto International Film festival], spawned by a few dozen protesters who signed the petition â€“ Jane Fonda and Naomi Klein among them. The anti-Israel diatribes are becoming a bore: Complaints against the Royal Ontario Museum for showing Israel’s biblical Dead Sea Scrolls; “Israel Apartheid Week” for high-minded student activists; CUPE locals calling for a boycott of Israeli academics; and the latest Pride parade featuring a float that attacked gay-friendly Israel for apartheid policies (ignoring other Middle Eastern regimes that persecute gays).
Now TIFF is the target for those who would treat Israel as a pariah, demonize every aspect of its existence, and smear its supporters in Canada. TIFF, they imply, is in the pocket of the Jews â€“ from both Canada and Israel. Their open letter conspicuously highlights the names of “Sidney Greenberg of Astral Media, David Asper of Canwest Global Communications and Joel Reitman of MIJO Corporation,” noting ominously that TIFF is now “complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine.” Cue dark clouds of conspiracy.
What a strange plot twist: Canadian filmmakers who pay lip service to free expression trying to bring the curtains down on Israeli filmmakers…
A well deserved spanking. Read it all! Seriously.
And of course, you are encouraged to read our own lengthy responses to the jokers, including John Greyson and Naomi Klein, who seek to demonize Israel unfairly:
A response to John Greyson who initiated the boycott of TIFF by withdrawing a short film about censorship of a film festival, and then wrote an open letter to the Festival that encouraged censorship within a film festival.
A response to the
propagandists, er, protesters, who backed up Greyson’s boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival with their protest letter. People like Alice Walker, David Byrne, Shawn Wallace, Naomi Klein, Jane Fonda and Danny Glover.
Exposing Naomi Klein, who is captured on a Youtube video last year explaining to a newly formed Toronto-based Jewish group that sought to be active against Israel, that they have to prevent any celebration of Israel or its achievements; that Israel cannot enjoy “normalcy” and they must advocate against such normalcy.
And if you’re in Toronto, attend the Israeli films and write a note of thanks to the Festival organizers so they won’t feel they’ve made a mistake.
A little sleuthing into the protest letter group’s last media release has linked them to the organization known as Palestine House in Toronto. Palestine House is also linked to Apartheid Week and the public complaints against the Royal Ontario Museum’s 2009 Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. In other words, as you read the Toronto Star’s editorial from above, it may be that they are rejecting the continued infusion of the Middle East conflict into Canadian day to day discourse by what seems to be a Palestinian advocacy group that may have ties to the Palestinian Authority.
Naomi Klein is quoted in Sept. 11 Toronto Star as saying she is not promoting the destruction of Israel. A day earlier I had found the connection between this group of protesters and Palestine House in Toronto.
Here are questions that somebody needs to ask Ms. Klein and the other protest authors:
1. Are you affiliated with Palestine House, as the phone number for the media contact on the protest organizers’ press release indicates?
2. If so, why do you hide this fact in your open letters, interviews and press releases?
3. If your group is affiliated with Palestine House in Toronto, why are you involved with a group that openly advocates (as seen on their web site) a single state solution?
4. How aware are you that the timing of Palestine House’s actions with another cultural event in Toronto indicates they either work with or are strongly influenced by the Palestinian Authority, whose charter refuses to concede that Israel is a Jewish state or that Jews have a history in the region?
5. Are these views reconcilable with one of your group members since you claim that your group is not advocating for the destruction of Israel?
6. Or was this simply another semantic game and what you meant was that you do not seek the destruction of Israel as a state but you have no objection to its demise as a Jewish state?
For more Jewlicious reading about this:
The PA did not change its charter as per their Oslo obligations. This was recently publicly confirmed before the Fatah conference by two of Fatah’s leaders including Dahlan.