The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research sincerely thanks all those, presenters and audience members, who participated in yesterday’s (Sunday, November 6, 2011) remarkable and highly successful International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel.”
The event brought together nine respected academics from a variety of fields to analyze, and devise strategies to overcome, the global propaganda “soft war” being perpetrated against the democratic Jewish state. An edited video of the Conference will be up shortly on CIJR’s website.
The following “Action Points” summarize the Conference’s themes and provide guidance to those now asking themselves: “What Can I Do to Help?”
Anti-Delegitimation Action Points
1. The existence of Israel-focused antisemitism is a reality, and all ideologies with an anti-Jewish or anti-Israel component must be systematically and carefully analyzed, without illusions.
2. We must combat the use of an inverted human-rights narrative that uses pseudo-liberal language stigmatizing Israel as an “apartheid,” “racist” state. Israel is in fact a thriving democracy governed by the rule of law, which bestows upon all its citizens, both Israelis and Arabs, Jewish and non-Jewish, equal rights and opportunities. We must seek out the liars, expose their lies, and convey the truth to the public, Jewish and non-Jewish.
3. We must oppose the insidious Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) movement, through grassroots mechanisms—like purchasing goods at, precisely, boycotted stores—mobilizing both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.
4. We must constructively critique the “fifth column” amongst us—those uninformed Jews who have internalized and promoted the false anti-Israel narrative. We must try to engage such individuals in discussion in order to communicate the facts to them, particularly as regards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
5. We must reaffirm our commitment to Jewish values, which foster Jewish pride. Placating the “other” at our own expense is not a legitimate strategy. We must redefine the meaning of “victory” over our enemies, seeking strong deterrence rather than passive appeasement.
CIJR again thanks Mme. Ginette Auger and Mr. Yves Archambault, owners of Montreal’s Le Marcheur shoestore, for their steadfast refusal to submit to the ongoing and vicious Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting their business, due to its sale of Israeli-made products. Below, please find the text of the presentation made to Mme. Auger and Mr. Archambault by CIJR “Israel Student-Advocacy Program” intern Sandro Angelo de Thomasis at yesterday’s Conference:
“Prior to awarding the Golden Magen David Award, I would like to advise all present that the intention behind this symbolic gesture is by no means political.
To politicize this award would play into the hands of the extreme-left member of the Quebec National Assembly heading the boycott campaign against the award’s recipients. He is a man who promotes, on wholly specious political grounds, opposition to a 25-year-old business in his own borough because less than 2% of the shoes sold there come directly from Israel.
The anti-Zionist boycott demonstrations against Le Marcheur are conducted with the aim of both intimidating its clientele, and getting the media to pick up their delegitimation propaganda depicting Israel as an “apartheid” state.
The truly deserving recipients of this award, Ginette Auger and Yves Archambault, describe themselves as apolitical. Nevertheless, being apolitical does not necessarily mean being without principles. It is these very principles that we wish to honour here today. Mrs. Auger and Mr. Archambault did not let themselves be intimidated; they refused to bow down in the face of aggressive intimidation. Their courage and resiliency deserves recognition, and demonstrates that Quebecers will not cave to intimidation. And it forges a bond of common values with Quebec society, something of which all Quebecers should be proud.
I am therefore proud to present CIJR’s Golden Magen David Award to Ginette Auger and Yves Archambault.”
Dear Fred Krantz,
Congratulations on a well conceived and well executed conference!
Prof. Ira Robinson, Montreal
Hi Fred, Baruch, Charles & Yvonne,
Again allow me to congratulate you and your team on the very interesting conference and the efforts you invested to make it happen. Yishar Koach.
Jack Kincler, Montreal
Congratulations to all for a job well done!!!
Abigail Hirsch, CEO, AskAbigail Productions
Mazel Tovto all those involved with organizing the conference and to the outstanding panelists. It was a success on all fronts. A special thank you to the very hard-working CIJR staff—and, of course, Fred!
Howard Bokser, Montreal
I commend you for your hard work in organizing today’s wonderful conference. CIJR seems to be the only organization in Montreal that is actually trying to do something to combat the delegitimation of Israel and educate the public, and you are to be congratulated. We were particularly impressed by your thoughtfulness in honouring the owners of Le Marcheur shoestore.
May you continue from strength to strength.
Peggy Bybelezer, Montreal
STEPHANE GENDRON, QUEBEC’S ISRAEL-HATER EN CHEF
National Post, November 4, 2011
Gone are the days when Canada’s mainstream English-language media would casually spout slurs against Israel. Much of the credit for this lies with HonestReporting Canada (HRC)…whose mission is to ensure that Canadians get a balanced picture of the Middle East. Beginning in 2003, HRC started calling out the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, CBC and other outlets on stories they believed were unfair. As a result, the English media landscape has been greatly improved.
Unfortunately, the French-language media still has its stubborn Israel-haters. One of them is Stephane Gendron, host of the V-network morning talk show Face à Face.
“The [Canadian] Minister of Foreign affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO,” Mr. Gendron declared [last] Wednesday. “Why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding. Why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge for the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, they decided to build 2,000 homes in areas that do not belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them five minutes to get out and then they’ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.”
In the past, there have indeed been confrontations over disputed land involving bulldozer-equipped Israelis: This much is true. But the idea that Israel has a plan to “bulldoze people, kill people” is a vicious libel. (Mr. Gendron is no doubt thinking of one particular episode—the death of Rachel Corrie, a member of the militantly pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, in 2003. That accident occurred because Ms. Corrie intentionally stood in the way of the bulldozer, and was outside the driver’s field of vision.) It is of a piece with the other casual lies people tell about the Jewish state—such as the idea that Israeli soldiers intentionally slaughter Palestinian children, or that Israel committed a “massacre” in Jenin.
In the past, Mr. Gendron has accused the Jews of “invent[ing] terrorism,” and compared the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto. He also has accused Israel of conducting a “genocide.” And he has described Israelis as “les Nazis des temps modernes.” Mr. Gendron’s views comprise a blot on Canada’s French-language media, and cast a shadow on those outlets that choose to air them.
Below is the email exchange between CIJRsupporter David M. Sherman (Toronto) and Diane Patenaude, Director of Communications for V Interactions, following Stephane Gendron’s anti-Israel tirade.
David Sherman writes on November 4, 2011:
It has been reported that your host Stephane Gendron stated (translated): “The Minister of Foreign affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO, why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding, why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge for the admission of Palestine to UNESCO, they decided to build 2000 homes in areas that do not belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them 5 minutes to get out and then they?ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.?
If this report is correct, it is a horrendous libel against Israel that has no place on Canadian airwaves, and I am utterly appalled. Israel does not “run people down with bulldozers”. Indeed, Israel has offered the Palestinians a state, but the Palestinians refuse to negotiate, because that would require accepting Israel’s existence, while the Palestinian leadership still seeks to destroy Israel.
You should not tolerate such false vitriol on your network.
David M. Sherman, LLB, LLM
Diane Patenaude responded on November 7, 2011:
We received the e-mail you sent to Maxime Remillard last week concerning the opinions expressed by Stephane Gendron during the November 2nd broadcast of Face a Face on the V television network.
Face a Face is a public affairs show that touches on numerous topics of interest and aims to provoke debate and discussion. This program is neither a news telecast nor a news magazine, and its hosts are not journalists. The opinions expressed on the program are those of the individual hosts or their guests. As such, they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management.
Following the broadcast of the November 2nd episode of Face a face, the management of V has spoken to the production team responsible for the program. In order to avoid repeating a similar occurrence in the future, we have reiterated the need for the program to adhere to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s guidelines.
We deeply regret if the comments expressed on one of our programs were offending to you.
Diane Patenaude, Director of Communications for V Interactions
David Sherman wrote in response on November 7, 2011:
Thank you for your email. If I understand your response correctly, if one of your hosts had said that all Black people are trash who should be deported from Canada, or that Homosexual people carry AIDS and shouldn’t be given medical care in Canada, you would respond with a simple disclaimer that “they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management” and that you have “spoken to the production team”, and that’s it? No consequence for inflicting a horrendous libel against Israel and the Jewish people? No plan to broadcast a correction to explain that this statement was libellous, incorrect and inflammatory against Jews?
I am appalled.
David M. Sherman, LLB, LLM
WHY ARE JOHN MEARSHEIMER AND RICHARD FALK
ENDORSING A BLATANTLY ANTI-SEMITIC BOOK?
New Republic, November 4, 2011
As the discourse about Israel on university campuses continues to degenerate, there is growing concern that some of Israel’s most vocal detractors are crossing a red line between acceptable criticism of Israel and legitimizing anti-Semitism. The recent endorsements by several internationally prominent academics—including John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Richard Falk of Princeton—of an overtly anti-Semitic book written by a notorious Jew-hater illustrate this dangerous trend.
The book in question is entitled The Wandering Who? and was written by Gilad Atzmon, a British jazz musician. Lest there be any doubt about Atzmon’s anti-Semitic credentials, listen to his self-description in the book itself. He boasts about “drawing many of my insights from a man who…was an anti-Semite as well as a radical misogynist” and a hater of “almost everything that fails to be Aryan masculinity” (89-90). He declares himself a “proud, self-hating Jew” (54), writes with “contempt” of “the Jew in me” (94), and describes himself as “a strong opponent of…Jewish-ness” (186).…
Throughout his writings, Atzmon argues that Jews seek to control the world: “[W]e must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.” “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ [sic] are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.” Atzmon expands on this theme in The Wandering Who?, repeatedly conflating “the Jews” and “the Zionist”: He calls the recent credit crunch “the Zio-punch” (22) and says it was not “a Jewish conspiracy” because “it was all in the open” (30). Paul Wolfowitz, Rahm Emmanuel, and other members of “the Jewish elite” remain abroad instead of moving to “Zion” because they “have proved far more effective for the Zionist cause by staying where they are” (19). The American media “failed to warn the American people of the enemy within” because of money (27).
Atzmon has written that Jews are evil and a menace to humanity: “With Fagin and Shylock in mind Israeli barbarism and organ trafficking seem to be just other events in an endless hellish continuum.” “The Homo Zionicus quickly became a mass murderer, detached from any recognised form of ethical thinking and engaged in a colossal crime against humanity.” Atzmon rehearses many of these ideas in The Wandering Who?: “[T]o be a Jew is a deep commitment that goes far beyond any legal or moral order” (20) and this commitment “pulls more and more Jews into an obscure, dangerous and unethical fellowship” (21). If Iran and Israel fight a nuclear war that kills tens of millions of people, “some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’” (179).
Atzmon regularly urges his readers to doubt the Holocaust and to reject Jewish history: “It took me years to accept that the Holocaust narrative, in its current form, doesn’t make any historical sense.… If, for instance, the Nazis wanted the Jews out of their Reich (Judenrein—free of Jews), or even dead, as the Zionist narrative insists, how come they marched hundreds of thousands of them back into the Reich at the end of the war?” “[E]ven if we accept the Holocaust as the new Anglo-American liberal-democratic religion, we must allow people to be atheists.” Atzmon reprises some of this language in The Wandering Who…?: “The Holocaust religion is probably as old as the Jews themselves” (153). The history of Jewish persecution is a myth, and if there was any persecution the Jews brought it on themselves (175, 182).…
Hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers…have happily counted Atzmon as one of their own. David Duke, America’s premier white supremacist, has posted more than a dozen of Atzmon’s articles on his website over the past five years and recently praised Atzmon for “writ[ing] such fine articles exposing the evil of Zionism and Jewish supremacism.” Kevin MacDonald, a professor at Cal State Long Beach whose colleagues formally disassociated themselves from his “anti-Semitic and white ethnocentric views,” called Atzmon’s book “an invaluable account by someone who clearly understands the main symptoms of Jewish pathology.” Israel Shamir, a Holocaust denier (“We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation”) who argues that Jews ritually murdered Christian children for their blood and that “The rule of the Elders of Zion is already upon us,” refers to Atzmon as a “good friend” and calls Atzmon one of “the shining stars of the battle” against “the Jewish alliance.”
Atzmon’s well-established reputation for anti-Semitism [and] the copious anti-Semitic filth that fills The Wandering Who? have also not deterred Professors John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk from actively endorsing Atzmon’s work. Mearsheimer, the Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, calls The Wandering Who? a “fascinating” book that “should be read widely by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Falk, Milibank Professor of International Law Emeritus at Princeton University and United Nations Special Rapporteur on “human rights in the Palestinian territories,” calls The Wandering Who? an “absorbing and moving” book that everyone who “care[s] about real peace” should “not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Falk’s endorsement appears prominently on the cover of Atzmon’s book. Mearsheimer’s endorsement is featured on its first page. These professors are not merely defending Atzmon’s right to publish such a book; they are endorsing its content.…
These endorsements of Atzmon’s book are the best evidence yet that academic discourse is beginning to cross a red line, and that the crossing of this line must be exposed, rebutted, and rejected in the marketplace of ideas and in the academy. (Another evidence of this academic trend in Europe appeared recently on Atzmon’s website, where he brags that he has been invited to “give a talk on ethics at the Trondheim University” in Norway. This is the same university whose faculty refused to invite me to speak about the Arab-Israel conflict.)
Accordingly, I hereby challenge Professors Mearsheimer and Falk to a public debate about why they have endorsed and said such positive things about so hateful and anti-Semitic a book by so bigoted and dishonest a writer.
(Alan Dershowitz is a professor at Harvard Law School.)
THE UNESCO FOLLIES ARE BACK
John R. Bolton
Weekly Standard, November 14, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 09
The Palestinian Authority succeeded last Monday in becoming a member state in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The vote was 107 in favor, 14 opposed, and 52 abstaining, with France, Spain, Austria, and India among those supporting PA admission. Two of [the US’] closest allies, the United Kingdom and Japan, abstained. Because of a 1990 federal law, supplemented in 1994, the State Department announced a few hours after the vote that the United States was ceasing its contribution to UNESCO.
The applicable statute, proposed in 1989 by Senator Bob Kasten, was a corollary to President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to prevent the Palestine Liberation Organization (predecessor of the PA) from joining U.N. agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNESCO. Back then, the PLO was trying to create “facts on the ground” in the Middle East peace process by working the U.N.’s corridors. Because only states are eligible for membership in the U.N. system, becoming a member of U.N. bodies, in the PLO/PA’s idiosyncratic view, would prove it was a state and therefore equivalent to Israel.
Europeans in particular were reluctant to oppose the PLO. In part, they dismissed as pro forma the Bush administration’s warnings that Congress would retaliate financially if the PLO joined WHO; they assumed this stance was purely for domestic consumption, to appease “the Jewish lobby,” which Europeans believed in even before professors Walt and Mearsheimer unearthed it.
Those of us in the administration working to block the PLO realized we needed to take much stronger steps. Accordingly, Secretary of State James Baker issued a statement that he would recommend to the president eliminating all U.S. contributions, assessed or voluntary, to any U.N. organization that granted the PLO full membership or changed its observer-state status. Everyone understood that Bush 41 would accept Baker’s suggestion.
The effect was dramatic. PLO membership was defeated in May 1989 during a boisterous WHO meeting in Geneva that saw Libyans, Cubans, and Nicaraguan Sandinistas stand on their chairs denouncing American imperialism. Immediately afterwards, I flew from Geneva to Paris to meet with UNESCO’s executive board. Ever since Ronald Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO in 1984 (along with Thatcher’s Britain and Singapore), U.S. contributions to UNESCO had been minimal, so defunding was irrelevant. Instead, I delivered an equally stark message: You can have us or the PLO. The United States will never rejoin if the PLO is admitted. Different words, same music, same effect.
Some people might call this the exercise of smart power. Twenty-plus years later, however, confronted with a resurrected Palestinian U.N. membership campaign, Team Obama stumbled badly. Initially, there was even speculation, since denied, that the president might not order a Security Council veto of a PA application to the United Nations. (Applications to U.N. agencies are decided individually by their respective governing bodies.)
In the context of the financial crises since 2008, there are often calls for governments to use a “big bazooka,” a really dramatic step to signal their willingness to take strong measures and thereby reassure global markets. Obama’s hesitancy, embarrassment, and unwillingness to fire up a big-bazooka defunding threat undoubtedly contributed to last week’s UNESCO defeat. Without question, the PA sensed this weakness and exploited it. Comments by State Department officials before and after the vote betrayed their displeasure with the statute, in effect blaming Congress for making them do something they didn’t really want to do. Had they enthusiastically endorsed turning off the U.S. spigot to UNESCO, they would likely have succeeded, as the Bush administration did in 1989.
The difference between Obama and Bush 41 is that Bush understood America had higher priorities than funding U.N. agencies. He and Baker were not afraid to order, over the usual cries of doom and gloom, strong diplomacy to achieve our objectives. And their muscular strategy prevailed. U.S. Middle East policy was not derailed by politically incontinent Palestinian leadership, and the U.N. system was not deprived of any funding. Under Obama, the opposite is happening on both counts.
George W. Bush decided to rejoin UNESCO in 2003 under the mistaken impression he could thereby stem criticism of his administration’s unilateralism. Predictably, however, the “international community” pocketed the U.S. return while continuing its unrelentingly hostile appraisal of Bush and his policies. For the privilege of continuing to be abused, Washington resumed payment of its assessed share of UNESCO’s annual budget; the U.S. share reached approximately $80,000,000 this fiscal year.
The State Department’s prompt announcement last week that it was cutting off funding to UNESCO was its savviest action in this affair to date. State thus followed the Bush 41 administration’s Plan B, namely, to cauterize the wound within the U.N. system caused by the PA’s victory. Our theory in 1989 was that, even had we failed to stop the PLO from joining WHO, the traumatic prospect of a system-wide funding cut-off would bring the rest of the U.N. entities to their senses, minimizing the damage.
We will now see whether the Obama administration, having failed to implement Plan A effectively, can handle Plan B.… One thing is certain after the administration cut-off of UNESCO funding: We are at least $80,000,000 closer to solving this year’s federal deficit problem. In fact, the entire episode provides strong arguments for moving toward voluntary funding, rather than assessed or mandatory contributions, across the entire U.N. system. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has introduced legislation, recently reported to the House floor, to do just that. Her timing couldn’t be better.