Pleased as I was to see Bill Gladstone’s “Eye On Arts” column once again (CJN, Aug. 1), his myopic views on a letter signed by 70 important Canadian authors objecting to Israel’s implementation of its Prawer Plan is both appalling and misleading. He fails to note that this plan involves “resettl[ing] thousands of Palestinians and Bedouins” who are full citizens of Israel. They amount to some 40,000 people, perhaps more. Those of us who understand Jewish history are outraged by this, as are Canadians who know what we European settlers did to the indigenous peoples of Canada. For shame, Bill!
* * *
Petition shouldn’t be derided
Bill Gladstone (Eye on Arts, CJN, Aug. 1) wrote, “Sadly but not unexpectedly, many admirable Canadian Jewish writers have added their names to the letter” criticizing Israel for its plan to forcibly move 40,000 of its own citizens – Bedouin and Palestinian, not Jewish of course – off their land. Does this mean you support this action? If so, shame on you.
Israel claims to represent all Jews, worldwide. It most certainly does not represent me. And it is fomenting anti-Semitism, which, for the first time in history, has a basis in the things Jews have done and are continuing to do.
* * *
Columns need balance
Like all of The CJN’s longtime readers, I was very happy to see the resumption of publication. As The CJN’s mandate had been to be a community newspaper, I expected you to continue the tradition of being even-handed with your treatment of all the constituencies that Canadian Jews represent.
With this in mind, I was flabbergasted to see that one of your new columnists is Joe Oliver, a federal Conservative cabinet minister (“The values we share” CJN, Aug. 1). How can The CJN claim to be non-partisan when it gives a regular platform to a sitting politician? Are you planning to provide similar opportunities to write a column to members of the Liberals, NDP or Green party? If not, why not? When I read Oliver’s column, I thought I was reading his platform for the next election campaign. Yes, we are happy that the Conservative government supports Israel, but do I need The CJN to give a column to a sitting politician to tell me this? I thought that was what reporters were for.
In the Aug. 1 issue, CJN vice-president Elizabeth Wolfe expressed her gratitude for the help provided by various Conservative MPs in gaining financial support from the federal government so that The CJN could continue publishing. I’m sure this is not the case, but by installing a federal Conservative cabinet minister as a columnist, The CJN is giving the appearance that this was payback for the funding. How can a newspaper with a strong independent journalistic tradition allow itself to be put into such a conflict of interest?
* * *
What changed, Bibi?
I was shocked that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is freeing terrorists and making other “gestures,” like not building in parts of Jerusalem (“Roiling region, pessimism behind Kerry’s urgency on peace talks”, cjnews.com). This is ludicrous! We’ve been so proud of you, Bibi. If you’re playing a game, it’s a dangerous one, and if you’re serious, I’m even more concerned!
Why are we offering parts of our tiny country and not Egypt, Jordan, etc., who have huge lands to give the Palestinians?
My grandparents in an Arab land, in Tunisia, were wealthy, and had to leave in 1957 with a family of five, with $50. Can we go back and get our place and possessions back?
Why are U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry obsessed with Israel making risky gestures and concessions and not obsessed with over 100,000 Syrians dead? Bibi, you told Obama proudly, we will never go back to the ’67 borders, as Obama announced, and you made us proud, but now your statements and actions are shocking! What happened to you? Bibi, why are you begging the Palestinians to talk and begging them to recognize that Israel exists?
Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon took a similar path by giving back Gaza – a terrible mistake that everyone admits to now, and my family nearby get rockets in their backyards and in their schools. They’ve built a great state of terror and weapons.
When we have pride and self-respect, the world will respect us. May we have true peace in our days!
Rabbi Yirmi Cohen