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Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Closing of embassy in Tehran

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper did the right thing by closing down the Canadian Embassy in Tehran and by expelling Iranian diplomats from Ottawa (“Canada severs diplomatic ties with Iran,” Sept. 13). Iranian officials, from the president down, have slandered Israel, calling the country an insult to humanity and a cancerous tumour, and have issued calls for its disappearance. These insults from one member of the United Nations against the other should be grounds for Iran to be turfed from the United Nations. Instead, time after time, the UN Human Rights Council issues absurd resolutions condemning Israel for a variety of manufactured alleged transgressions. Not a word of condemnation against Iran, until finally Harper exhibits the courage and integrity to do to Iran what the United Nations and the rest of the world should have done a long time ago. 

Bert Raphael

Thornhill, Ont.

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The United Church boycott

 

Three problem areas highlight the hypocrisy of the United Church’s decision to boycott products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank (“Community outraged at United Church,” Aug. 23):

• It ignores much worse occupation scenarios, all done for aggrandizement and not for survival. Among others, these include India’s occupation of Kashmir since 1947; China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950, and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara since 1975. The United Church does not advocate boycotting the products of these settlements. When I pointed this out to a prominent BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) advocate, she called this a red herring, and would continue to attack Israel only. I think it’s because Israel is small and Jewish, and the others are not.

• It morally equates Israel’s occupation of the West Bank with other occupations, when they are acknowledged at all. In May 1967, when everyone expected Israel’s imminent demise, and all the guarantees of the United Nations and the United States proved worthless, Israel fought to survive. How ludicrous would it be for China to claim it conquered Tibet because Tibet had been trying to wipe out China? China conquered for aggrandizement, not for survival.

• It ignores evidence that boycotters aren’t striving for an Israel with 1967 borders, but rather for no Israel at all.

Israel withdrew from Gaza and now Hamas is in charge there, dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Why would anyone suppose a withdrawal from the West Bank would be different? Farfur, the Palestinian TV Mickey Mouse character, still teaches Arab children to hate Jews and to strive for Israel’s destruction.

Nelson Daniels

Toronto

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The Levy report

 

Smadar Meiri can quote the official Israeli government position during the 1967 Six Day War and the words of Israeli amabassador Abba Eban to her heart’s content, but she cannot get past the fact that these good intentions were entirely one-sided (“Levy report requires rebuttal,” letter, Aug. 23). At the end of the war, when Israel offered to return the territories, the Arab world rejected this offer in no uncertain terms: no negotiation, no peace, no recognition of Israel, the famous Khartoum “three nos.” The Arab position has not changed one iota since then (and was no different before, either). Meiri then accuses Israel of “encroach[ing] on territory that will likely be conceded,” yet in the very next sentence, admits that the settlements constitute only about five per cent of the captured territories and will likely be retained by Israel under any agreement. Despite this, she implies that anyone who agrees with the Levy report (which concluded that “Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria) cannot possibly “yearn for peace” (Levy report affirms Israel’s rights to territory, Aug. 9).

Jacques Gauthier, a non-Jewish French-Canadian international lawyer has spent more than 20 years studying the legal claims of the various parties to the territories in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. His doctoral thesis – successfully defended and therefore, presumably, accurate in its understanding of international law – agrees wholeheartedly with the conclusions of the Levy report.

Stephen Tannenbaum

Thornhill, Ont.

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