Former Israeli soldier sues pro-Palestinian Toronto restaurant

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As part of a well-organized, multilayered, Israel nationalist lobby bid to bankrupt a small left-wing restaurant a prominent Toronto interior designer sued Kimberly Hawkins for $800,000. Shai DeLuca is claiming the Foodbendersowner libeled him.

The suit was filed by RE-LAW LLP and the US-based Lawfare Project which harasses pro-Palestinian activists. The Lawfare Project, reports Nora Barrows-Friedman, is “a pro-Israel group that works to silence activists by filing lawsuits against them and smearing supporters of Palestinian rights as anti-Semites.”

In a statement of claim DeLuca said two posts on Foodbenders’ Instagram account on July 6 defamed him. One of the posts was apparently a screenshot of DeLuca’s Instagram account with the comment, “he’s literally gathering his other whining Zionist friends to attack Palestinians and others in support of @foodbenders.” A second post, reported Toronto.com, featured the statement, “this guy is one of the people who was attacking @foodbenders. He’s an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] SOLDIER (aka terrorist) yet he’s using the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement for likes. How can you sit there and post about BLM when you have your sniper rifle aimed at Palestinian Children.”

DeLuca’s statement of claim suggests Foodbenders’ statements were libelous. But, on Twitter DeLuca describes himself as an “IDF sergeant (ret)” and a quick Google search demonstrates that he is an aggressive proponent of Israeli military violence. DeLuca publicly defended Israel’s 2014 onslaught on Gaza that left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and has spoken at a number of international events promoting the Israeli military. DeLuca even claims IDF experience helps with interior design!

(In recent years the Israeli military has bombed Syria on a weekly basis and has multiple boots on Palestinian necks. In his 2008 book Defending The Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security & Foreign Policy Zeev Maoz notes: “There was only one year out of 56 years of history in which Israel did not engage in acts involving the threat, display, or limited use of force with its neighbors. The only year in which Israel did not engage in a militarized conflict was 1988, when Israel was deeply immersed in fighting the Palestinian uprising, the intifada. So it is fair to say that during each and every year of its history Israel was engaged in violent military actions of some magnitude.” Maoz concludes: “None of the wars — with a possible exception of the 1948 war of Independence — was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Brerah (‘war of necessity’). They were all wars of choice or wars of folly.”)

DeLuca works with the rabidly pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Funded by Donald Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, Seth Klarman and other anti-Palestinian billionaires, CAMERA regularly promotes the IDF and is “aligned with right-wing and hawkish political views”, reports the Jewish Forward.

In his statement of claim to the Ontario Court of appeal DeLuca presents his military service as simply a requirement that every Israeli must fulfill. “He grew up in the State of Israel where he served his compulsory term of military service as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces”, it notes. But, elsewhere DeLuca offers a more politicized depiction of his time in the IDF. Asked in 2018 by the Canadian Jewish NewsWhat shaped your strong connection with Israel?” DeLuca responded: “I grew up in an extremely Zionist family. The matriarch of my family, my grandma, and I had a very special relationship. She always said that if she’d had the opportunity, she would’ve gone to Israel. She talked a lot about the importance of defending our homeland. This was really strongly instilled in me. From the age of 15, I knew that, at 18, I’d go do my army service in Israel. I finished high school in Toronto and in November 1995, I went into the Israeli army.”

When speaking to a pro-Israel Canadian audience DeLuca promotes fighting in the IDF but when a social justice activist reframes his actions as a moral outrage against Palestinians he claims to have been duty bound and the victim of malice. DeLuca’s position is not unique. After pro-Palestinian activists protested a presentation by Israeli military reservists at York in November, those who brought the ‘terrorists’ to the university and in some cases assaulted the protesters claimed they were the victims. In 2018 a private Toronto school that flew an Israeli flag and promoted its military also claimed “anti-Semitism” when pro-Palestinian graffiti was scrawled on its walls.

To get a sense of DeLuca’s extreme anti-Palestinian ideology, last week he retweeted ethnic cleansing denial, claiming Israel merely occupied mosquito infested lands. “The only ones that Zionism displaced were mosquitos,” he messaged. “The lands Zionists acquired to establish themselves were malaria ridden, and they reclaimed those lands.” This, of course, is complete nonsense.

It requires chutzpah to join a brutal occupation force halfway across the world, spend years promoting it and when called on it claim you are the victim. DeLuca should either stop promoting a violent foreign military or accept that people are going to criticize him for doing so.

 

For those interested in supporting Foodbenders please email: PALILEGALFUND@GMAIL.COM

 

Please email Cityline TV (info@cityline.tv) to say Shai DeLuca, who is a contributor, promotes a violent foreign army and denies the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

 

 

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The scandal is us, not WE

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Craig Kielburger with African children

Delving deeper into the WE scandal offers an unflattering image of us.

The most concerning element of the WE story is not that the prime minister and finance minister aided an organization with ties to their families but rather the broad backing for an organization that is a caricature of white savior imperialism. The real scandal is all the corporations, media, schools, politicians, unions and celebrities that have directly enabled WE as well as those that have done so indirectly by ignoring Canadian imperialism.

As I detailed in this widely circulated article, the main problem with WE is that it has directed young people towards ineffective international political actions and a narrow understanding of doing good in the world. It and other NGOs have also foisted a neoliberal “charitable” international social services delivery system on poor countries.

While WE’s imperialism is the central story line being ignored, the reports about the rot within the organization are startling. WE partnered with companies complicit in child labour; Marc Kielburger participated in a conversation that included a staff member in Kenya discussing bribes and making multiple death threats; WE has over $40 million invested in Toronto real estate and the Kielburger parents have amassed some $24 million in property; A WE contractor sought out the name of a critical journalist’s child and their school; They repeatedly denied critical journalists access to WE day; WE has a slew of interconnected legal structures including a for-profit arm; A WE contractor paid firms to game Google searches to bury critical stories about the organization; They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Republican aligned US lobbyists that criticized Canadaland’s reporting on WE, etc.

How did an organization supposed to be making the world more just go so wrong? The answer is: If you swim with the sharks either you’ll be eaten or become one. Right from the beginning WE’s way was appealing to corporations and the governments who were pushing neoliberal “solutions” for the world’s most exploited nations.

At its best WE echoed some of the messages put forward by the late 1990s anti-sweatshop/corporate globalization movement. But, it never really joined that movement and was always hyper media focused.

WE’s promotion of political change through consumerism is a distraction and it’s “voluntourism” is ridiculous. It should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a minute that sending Canadian youth halfway across the world to look after orphans or build schools is absurd for ecological, technical, cost, as well as social and political, reasons. Millions of, say, Kenyans or Ghanaians are better placed to build the schools. At a broader level, countries don’t break from impoverishment/underdevelopment/unequal terms of trade through foreign teenagers building their infrastructure. The issues are political and to avoid saying as much is highly political.

An organization engaged in “community development” in Africa that ignores Canadian corporations vacuuming up billions in profits annually from the continent is upholding imperialism. An organization seeking to expand clean drinking water that ignores the Canadian Air Force’s role in damaging Libya’s Great Manmade River aquifer system, the source of 70 per cent of the country’s water, is part of the problem. An organization that says it is battling HIV-AIDS but ignores how a Canadian-backed coup in Haiti undercut success on that front is upholding imperialism.

Corporate sponsors RBC, Telus, Potashcorp etc., media partners such as the Globe and Mail and CTV, school boards, federal, provincial and municipal governments and a slew of celebrities have contributed directly to WE’s rise. So have Canadian unions. With their charity, rather than international solidarity focused humanities funds, organized labour played an important role in getting WE’s predecessor, Free the Children, off the ground and even as WE became little more than a corporate shell unions continued promoting it.

But, it’s not only those that have directly supported WE that are responsible for the growth of this farcical organization. All those who’ve ignored confronting Canadian imperialism have laid the grounds for WE. To put it directly, if people understood the nature of Canadian foreign policy and global power dynamics WE’s ‘solutions’ to poverty would be laughed at.

Even the organization largely responsible for exposing WE mostly avoids questioning the political culture behind WE’s rise. Focused on covering the media, Canadaland has largely refused to investigate the dominant media’s subservience to Canadian/US foreign policy, far and away its most extreme bias in favor of power. (I detail one element of Canadaland’s refusal to challenge Canadian media’s foreign policy coverage in this article and the broader subject in A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media and academia sell war and exploitation, which Canadaland’s Jesse Brown was unwilling to discuss.)

An organization or individual in Canada that refuses to challenge imperialism (you don’t have to use the word) is upholding it. As Howard Zinn famously asserted, “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

For those seeking to understand what I mean by ignoring imperialism below is a sort of “test” of whether an organization or individual is upholding the political culture that allows WE to thrive. Do they support a call to:

  • End public support to Canadian mining companies responsible for significant social and ecological abuses abroad.
  • Withdraw Canada from the Core Group of countries that largely rule Haiti.
  • End the charitable status of the explicitly racist and colonialist Jewish National Fund.
  • Include current and historic per capita greenhouse gas emissions between Canada and the global South when discussing climate change.
  • Withdraw from the racist Five Eyes intelligence network.
  • Seek legal opinion about whether Canadian sanctions policy aligns with international law.
  • Withdraw from the Lima Group seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government.
  • Adopt the nuclear ban treaty.
  • Withdraw from Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements in which the proportion of two-way investment is more than 3 to 1 in Canada’s favor.
  • Oppose spending $19 billion on new fighter jets that are about “enhancing the air force’s ability to join operations with the U.S. and NATO.”

Individuals and organizations that won’t support these modest reforms are probably upholding Canadian imperialism and indirectly complicit in the rise of WE.

 

Those seeking to question Canadian imperialism should sign this open letter, backed by a growing coalition of prominent individuals and organizations, calling for a “fundamental reassessment of Canadian foreign policy”.

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Filed under Justin Trudeau, NGOs

Bolivia general strike exposes Canada’s undemocratic policy

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A protest this week calling for elections on September 6

If Indigenous lives really mattered to the Trudeau Liberals the Canadian government would not treat the most Indigenous country in the Americas the way it has.

Canada’s policy towards Bolivia is looking ever more undemocratic with each passing day. A general strike launched on Monday in the Andean nation is likely to further expose Canada’s backing for the alliance of economic elites, Christian extremists and security forces that deposed Bolivia’s first Indigenous president.

Hours after Evo Morales was ousted in November, foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland released a statement noting, “Canada stands with Bolivia and the democratic will of its people. We note the resignation of President Morales and will continue to support Bolivia during this transition and the new elections.” Freeland’s statement had no hint of criticism of Morales’ ouster while leaders from Argentina to Cuba, Venezuela to Mexico, condemned Morales’ forced resignation.

The anti-democratic nature of Canada’s position has grown starker with time. Recently, the coup government postponed elections for a third time. After dragging their feet on elections initially set for January the “interim” government has used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to put off the poll until mid-October. But, the real reason for the latest postponement is that Morales’ long-time finance Minister, Luis Arce, is set to win the presidency in the first round. Coup President Jeanine Áñez, who previously promised not to run, is polling at around 13% and the main coup instigator, Luis Fernando Camacho, has even less popular support. To avoid an electoral drubbing, the coup government has sought to exclude Morales’ MAS party from the polls.

After ousting Morales the post-coup government immediately attacked Indigenous symbols and the army perpetrated a handful of massacres of anti-coup protesters. The unconstitutional “caretaker” regime shuttered multiple media outlets and returned USAID to the country, restarted diplomatic relations with Israel and joined the anti-Venezuela Lima Group. They also expelled 700 Cuban doctors, which has contributed to a surge of Covid-19 related deaths. In a recent five day period Bolivia’s police reported collecting 420 bodies from streets, houses, or vehicles in La Paz and Santa Cruz.

The pretext for Morales’ overthrow was a claim that the October 20, 2019 presidential election was flawed. Few disputed that Morales won the first round of the poll, but some claimed that he did not reach the 10% margin of victory, which was the threshold required to avoid a second-round runoff. The official result was 47.1 per cent for Morales and 36.5 per cent for US-backed candidate Carlos Mesa.

Global Affairs Canada bolstered right-wing anti-Morales protests by echoing the Trump administration’s criticism of Morales’ first round election victory. “It is not possible to accept the outcome under these circumstances,” said a Global Affairs statement on October 29. “We join our international partners in calling for a second round of elections to restore credibility in the electoral process.”

At the same time, Trudeau raised concerns about Bolivia’s election with other leaders. During a phone conversation with Chilean president Sebastián Piñera the Prime Minister criticized “election irregularities in Bolivia.” Ottawa also promoted and financed the OAS’ effort to discredit Bolivia’s presidential election.

After the October 20 presidential poll, the OAS immediately cried foul. The next day the organization released a statement expressing “its deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results [from the quick count] revealed after the closing of the polls.” Two days later they followed that statement up with a preliminary report that repeated their claim that “changes in the TREP [quick count] trend were hard to explain and did not match the other measurements available.”

But, the “hard-to-explain” changes cited by the OAS were entirely expected, as detailed in the Washington-based Centre for Economic Policy Research’s report “What Happened in Bolivia’s 2019 Vote Count? The Role of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission”. The CEPR analysis pointed out that Morales’ percentage lead over the second place candidate Carlos Mesa increased steadily as votes from rural, largely Indigenous, areas were tabulated. Additionally, the 47.1% of the vote Morales garnered aligned with pre-election polls and the vote score for his MAS party.

Subsequent investigations have corroborated CEPR’s initial analysis. A Washington Post commentary published by researchers at MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab was titled “Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud.” More recently, the New York Times reported on a study by three other US academics suggesting the OAS audit was flawed. The story noted, “a close look at Bolivian election data suggests an initial analysis by the OAS that raised questions of vote-rigging — and helped force out a president — was flawed.”

But, the OAS’ statements gave oxygen to opposition protests. Their unsubstantiated criticism of the election was also widely cited internationally to justify Morales’ ouster. In response to OAS claims, protests in Bolivia and Washington and Ottawa saying they would not recognize Morales’s victory, the Bolivian president agreed to a “binding” OAS audit of the first round of the election. Unsurprisingly the OAS’ preliminary audit report alleged “irregularities and manipulation” and called for new elections overseen by a new electoral commission. Immediately after the OAS released its preliminary audit US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went further, saying “all government officials and officials of any political organizations implicated in the flawed October 20 elections should step aside from the electoral process.” What started with an easy-to-explain discrepancy between the quick count and final results of the actual counting spiraled into the entire election is suspect and anyone associated with it must go.

At a Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council on Bolivia the representative of Antigua and Barbuda criticizedthe opaque way in which the OAS electoral mission to Bolivia released its statements and reports. She pointed out how the organization made a series of agreements with the Bolivian government that were effectively jettisoned. A number of Latin American countries echoed this view. For his part, Morales said the OAS “is in the service of the North American empire.”

US and Canadian representatives, on the other hand, applauded the OAS’ work in Bolivia. Canada’s representative to the OAS boasted that two Canadian technical advisers were part of the audit mission to Bolivia and that Canada financed the OAS effort that discredited Bolivia’s presidential election. Canada was the second largest contributor to the OAS, which received half its budget from Washington. In a statement titled “Canada welcomes results of OAS electoral audit mission to Bolivia” Freeland noted, “Canada commends the invaluable work of the OAS audit mission in ensuring a fair and transparent process, which we supported financially and through our expertise.”

A General strike this week in Bolivia demanding elections take place as planned on September 6 will put Canadian policy to the test.

 

On August 12 the Canadian Latin America Alliance and Canadian Foreign Policy Institute are co-organizing a talk on Bolivia’s fight to restore democracy and Canada’s role. The event features former Foreign Minister of Ecuador Guillaume Long, MP Matthew Green and Bolivian journalist Ollie Vargas. Register here.

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Filed under Justin Trudeau, Latin America

Propaganda or principle? Trudeau on Venezuela and Haiti

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Haitian president Jovenel Moïse and Trudeau

Propaganda or principle? In the world of foreign affairs the latter is often claimed but the former is much more common.

One way to evaluate the seriousness of the Trudeau government’s stated objectives in seeking to oust Venezuela’s government is to examine their policy elsewhere in the Caribbean. While they talk about the constitution, democracy and human rights there, the Liberals ignore their stated ideals in Haiti.

The only reason corrupt repressive and illegitimate president Jovenel Moïse remains in office is due to the support of Ottawa and Washington. Since July 2018 there have been massive protests and strikes, including one that shuttered Port-au-Prince for six weeks, calling for Moïse’s removal. But, the US and Canada have continued to offer decisive diplomatic, financial and policing support. (A by-product of US/Canadian policy, Moïse benefited from the destruction of Haiti’s most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas, in the 2004 coup and aggressive interference in the 2010 presidential election in favor of Michel Martelly, who is Moïse’s mentor.)

The constitutional and human rights situation in Haiti is deteriorating. Since the start of the year Moïse has governed by decree and has recently begun appointing local level officials. There haven’t been elections during Moïse time in office, so the mandates of most officials have expired.

Plunging the country into a greater constitutional morass, eight members of the provisional electoral council resigned last week (the other member stepped aside a few weeks earlier). They resigned in response to a letter from Moïse giving different social sectors four days to either confirm or replace their representatives on the electoral council.

Two months ago, nine gangs in Port-au-Prince brokered an alliance. Backed by Moïse, the “G9 and Family” accord is largely designed to deter protests and election organizing. InSight Crime writer Parker Asmann explains, “the G9 alliance has reportedly benefited from strong ties to the government of President Jovenel Moïse. The gang leaders are seemingly free from persecution so long as they help keep the peace in the neighborhoods they control. In exchange, Moïse’s government has found in them loyal foot soldiers quelling insecurity, stamping out opposition voices and shoring up political support across the capital.”

The mastermind of the G9 is Jimmy Chérizier, alias “Barbecue”. A former police officer, Chérizier was involved in a November 2017 police operation that left at least 14 innocent civilians dead in the neighborhood of Grand Ravine. Chérizier has also been accused of leading a four day killing spree that left as many as 71 dead in La Saline in November 2018 and a recent United Nations report named Chérizier in killings in the neighborhood of Bel-Air last November. After the La Saline massacre he was dismissed from the police and a warrant was put out for Chérizier’s arrest. But, the 14-year veteran of the force was recently photographed smiling next to a group of police.

Chérizier likely joined the police with a host of other thugs after Canada and the US took over the force following the 2004 coup against Jean Bertrand Aristide and other elected officials. Since then Ottawa has financed police facilities and Canadian police have trained their Haitian counterparts. Canadian diplomats regularly attend Haitian police ceremonies and praise the force. But, they rarely criticize their abundant abuses. In a Le Nouveliste interview last month Canadian ambassador Stuart Savage refused to answer a direct question about police repression. The reporter asked on “June 29 there was a demonstration that was suppressed by the police in Haiti. How does Canada, which works for human rights, which funds the National Police of Haiti, which helps the Haitian government, understand what happened that Monday?” Savage responded, “I am not aware of all the facts of this specific event. But I can tell you that in a democracy, the right to organize peaceful demonstrations is a given and must be respected. I hope that here and elsewhere this right will continue to be upheld, because it is necessary that people who have perspectives to share, to communicate, to convey, have a peaceful means to do so.”

Did Savage seek out information about the repression of a Nou pap dòmi rally, reported on by Le Nouveliste, and subsequently express Canada’s opposition to the police suppressing a protest? Not from what I could find. I searched in vain for anything critical of police actions on the embassy or ambassador’s twitter accounts. Similarly, there’s nothing about the widely discussed G9 gang alliance or the electoral council resigning. But, the Canadian ambassador in Haiti has taken the time to criticize the Venezuelan government. Savage’s last two tweets were about the Canadian government’s campaign to oust Nicolás Maduro’s government.

As respect for the constitution, democracy and human rights go from bad to worse in Haiti there is barely a murmur of criticism from Canadian officials. At the same time the Trudeau government claims it is defending said ideals in Venezuela.

 

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Filed under Canada in Haiti, Haiti, Justin Trudeau, Venezuela

End the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement

 

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On Sunday a demonstration is planned in Montréal against the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). Under the banner “Against Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley. No to the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement!”, the march is seeking to politicize CIFTA amidst Israel’s plan to formally annex parts of the West Bank.

The march follows an open letter released last month by over 100 Montréal artists and activists calling for the cancellation of CIFTA.

Signed in 1997, CIFTA was Canada’s fourth free trade agreement and first outside the Western hemisphere (US, NAFTA and Chile). In an implicit recognition of the occupation, the free trade agreement includes the West Bank as a place where Israel’s custom laws are applied. Canada’s trade agreement is based on the areas Israel maintains territorial control over, not on internationally recognized borders. The European Union’s trade agreement with Israel, on the other hand, explicitly excludes products from territory Israel captured in the 1967 war and occupies against international law.

The Liberals “modernized” Canada’s FTA with Israel. International trade minister Jim Carr boasted the new accord “strengthens bilateral ties between Canada and Israel.” Liberal MPs on Parliament’s Standing Committee on International Trade rejected an NDP amendment to the trade accord’s legislation stipulating its implementation “shall be based on respect for human rights and international law.” They also rejected an NDP amendment to the deal that would have required distinct labels on products originating from “Palestinian territory that has been illegally occupied since 1967.”

In July 2019 Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi wrote, “the Palestinian leadership calls on the Canadian government to act in accordance with Canadian and international laws and amend, without delay, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Bill C-85), which affords products originating from illegal Israeli settlements tariff free status, in flagrant violation of Canada’s obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and United Nations Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016).”

In July 2017 the federal government said its FTA with Israel trumped Canada’s Food and Drugs Act after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency called for accurate labelling of wines produced in the occupied West Bank. After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inaccurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the CFIA notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as “products of Israel”. Quoting from longstanding official Canadian policy, CFIA noted that “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.” In response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, the government announced that it was all a mistake made by a low level CFIA official and that the Canada-Israel FTA governed the labelling of such wine, not CFIA rules. “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” a terse CFIA statement explained. “These wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labeled.”

In other words, the government publicly proclaimed that the FTA trumps Canada’s consumer protections. But, this was little more than a pretext to avoid a conflict with B’nai B’rith, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Israeli officials, according to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Trade and Investment Research Project director Scott Sinclair. “This trade-related rationale does not stand up to scrutiny,” Sinclair wrote. “The Canadian government, the CFIA and the LCBO are well within their legal and trade treaty rights to insist that products from the occupied territories be clearly labeled as such. There is nothing in the CIFTA that prevents this. The decision to reverse the CFIA’s ruling was political. The whole trade argument is a red herring, simply an excuse to provide cover for the CFIA to backtrack under pressure.”

If the Canadian government does indeed support a rules-based international order as Prime Minister Trudeau has proclaimed then the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement should be scrapped.

Information on the demonstration “Against Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley. No to the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement!” is available here.

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Filed under Canada and Israel, Israel, Justin Trudeau, Middle East

Commemorating US occupation of Haiti

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rebel leader Charlemagne Peralte

While remembering their past has not prevented history from repeating itself, it is not possible for the descendants of the world’s first successful large-scale slave revolt to forget the trauma inflicted by their northern neighbours.

One hundred and five years ago today a brutal US occupation of Haiti began. To commemorate an intervention that continues to shape that country Solidarity Québec Haiti is organizing a sit in in front of the US Consulate in Montreal.

On July 28, 1915 the USS Washington, with 900-men and 20 canons, docked in Port-au-Prince. US troops withdrew in 1934 but Washington largely controlled the country’s finances until 1941 and the Banque de la République d’Haïti remained under US supervision until 1947.

The occupation wasn’t Washington’s first instance of interference in Haiti but rather consolidated its grip over the country. Six months beforehand US Marines marched on the treasury in Port-au-Prince and took the nation’s entire gold reserve.

At the height, 5000 US Marines were stationed in the country of less than 3 million. US-led forces brutally suppressed a largely peasant resistance movement, killing 15,000 Haitians.

In one of many instances of overt US racism, a top commander in the occupation, Colonel Littleton (Tony) Waller, descendent of a prominent family of slaveowners, said, “I know the nigger and how to handle him.”

To suppress the anti-occupation movement the US employed the nascent technique of aerial bombardment. Most of the fighting ended when rebel leader Charlemagne Peralte was killed, pinned to a door and left on a street to rot for days at the end of 1919. The US military described Peralte as the “supreme bandit of Haiti”.

In a famous mea culpa, an architect of the occupation confessed he was in fact the true “gangster”. Describing himself as a “high class muscle man for Big Business” and “gangster for capitalism”, Marine Corps General Smedley Butler wrote in an article years later, “I helped make Haiti … a decent place for the National City Bank Boys to collect revenues in.”

Opposition to the occupation was fed by conscription. US authorities captured civilians and compelled them to work on public roadway, buildings and other infrastructure. One reason the Marines wanted new roads was to help them bypass rugged terrain to suppress the resistance.

During the occupation the US established a new military. Created to crush resistance to the foreign presence, the National Guard “never fought anyone but Haitians.” For the next 70 years it would be used by Washington and the elite against Haiti’s poor. Haiti’s current government is seeking to revive that force.

In general, the occupation devastated the peasantry. Wealth extracted from the countryside was overwhelmingly channeled to infrastructure in the capital and foreign banks. The occupation spurred migration to Port-au-Prince and out of the country.

The US instigated other major changes to rural ways. In 1918 they rewrote the constitution to allow foreigners to purchase land, which had been outlawed since independence. A number of US corporations took advantage of the changes. The US controlled North Haytian Sugar Company and Haytian Pineapple Company both acquired hundreds of acres of land while the Haitian American Development Corporation, Haytian Corporation of America and Haytian Agricultural Corporation acquired tens of thousands of acres.

Toronto-based Sun Life Assurance Company initiated its operations in Haiti during this period. Canada’s largest bank also benefited from the US occupation. In 1919 the Royal Bank of Canada became the second bank in Haiti. RBC hired former finance minister Louis Borno as a legal advisor and officials of the Canadian firm subsequently financed his successful presidential bid during the US occupation.

Unfortunately, Solidarity Québec Haiti’s sit in is not only about drawing attention to a dark chapter in Haitian history. Washington retains significant influence over the country. In fact, the only reason the corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Jovenel Moïse is currently president of Haiti is due to US (and Canadian) support.

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Filed under Canada in Haiti

Neo-Nazi bad, left wing anti-Israel store owner much worse?

 

20200707-foodbenders.jpg-resize_then_crop-_frame_bg_color_FFF-h_400-gravity_center-q_70-preserve_ratio_true-w_600_Contrasting the Jewish establishment’s reaction to alleged bigotry from a left-wing Toronto restaurant and unambiguous hatred from a far-right politician is a sad comment on their political priorities.

As I detailed here and here, the anti-Palestinian lobby went into overdrive after Foodbenders owner Kimberly Hawkins posted to Instagram at the start of the month: “Open Now – 8 PM for non-racist shoppers #Bloordale #Bloorstreet, #Toronto, #Open, #ftp [fuck the police] #FreePalestine and #ZionistsNotWelcome.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and others claimed the #ZionistsNotWelcome hashtag discriminated against Jews. CIJA tweeted no less than 25 times about a restaurant known for supporting indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes. As of writing, CIJA’s pinned tweet was a press release from July 8 largely about Foodbendors. CIJA also released a long statement regarding the small left-wing Toronto restaurant and sent an action alert asking its members to complain about Foodbendors’ to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The advocacy arm of Canada’s Jewish federations also called on politicians to denounce the restaurant and pushed a campaign targeting Foodbenders’ delivery services, institutional customers, website host and social media accounts.

As the Foodbendors brouhaha was mostly dying down the head of the Canadian Nationalist Party, Travis Patron, published a flyer and video titled “Beware The Parasitic Tribe”. In the video he described Jews as “inside manipulators” who “infiltrate the media, they hijack the central bank, and they infect the body politic like a parasite.” His conclusion was of an ethnic cleansing variety. “And what we need to do,” Patron exalted, “perhaps more than anything, is remove these people once and for all from our country.”

There is little ambiguity here. Patron is spewing vile anti-Semitic hatred. Additionally, Patron has been accused of violence. He’s currently before the courts on charges of aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm for an incident in November so it’s not implausible that he could commit a violent hate crime against Jews or others he regards as targets.

While CIJA condemned Patron’s comments, they did so with considerably less vigor than Foodbenders. They only tweeted about it twice (versus 25 times for Foodbendors) and I couldn’t find a press release or action alert on the matter.

The contrast between B’nai B’rith’s reaction to Patron and to Foodbendors was similarly striking. While it tweeted about Patron twice, it put out two dozen messages about the restaurant and different ways to bankrupt it, including two tweets three weeks after the kerfuffle began. On July 24 B’nai B’rith tweeted, “Big shout out to @MrCaseDelivery to thank them for severing business ties with Foodbenders in Toronto” and then another stating, “Anti-Zionist Canadian Restaurant Owner Faces Growing Legal Woes.”

From what I can find Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy stayed silent on Patron though she published a half dozen articles on Foodbenders. Even Bernie Farber, Chair of Canadian Anti-Hate Network and former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, tweeted more times about Foodbendors (8) than Patron (2).

The ferociousness of the campaign against Foodbenders has been remarkable. Contrasting it with the Israeli nationalist Canadian establishment’s reaction to unambiguous anti-Semitic hatred from a far-right politician would seem to indicate that destroying a business owned by a left-wing owner is of greater priority than opposing neo-Nazis.

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Québec’s not a counterweight to US dominance of Haiti

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Québec Premier Jean Charest and Haiti Prime Minister Gerard Latortue

Le Devoir’s Christian Rioux is right to highlight the ruinous nature of US power in Haiti. But, he’s wrong to focus on Black American cultural influence or to suggest Québec has challenged US power there.

In “Se rat kay kap manje kay” Rioux lays out his strongly Paris/Francophonie centric world view. Rioux’s claim that French ideals inspired the Haitian Revolution is offensive. While the French Revolution of 1789 opened some political space for the revolutionary slaves, the Africans of Saint Domingue repeatedly resisted the barbaric French-run plantation economy.

The Paris-based correspondent’s criticism of Black American cultural influence in Haiti is bizarre. While it is important to question all elements of the US’s immense power over that country, other manifestations of American power are far more damaging.

Rioux’suggestion that Haitians look to Québec as a counterweight to US/Anglo dominance is the most important element of his much-criticized story to unravel. To make his point, Rioux reaches back to the 1943 visit of Haitian president Élie Lescot to Canada. During his trip Lescot received an honorary degree from l’Université de Laval and was feted by Québec Premier Adélard Godbout. But, complains Rioux, Lescot received a much frostier reception from Prime Minister McKenzie King in Ottawa, supposedly reflecting Anglo indifference to Haiti.

But, Lescot’s presidency was largely the product of US influence in the country. A member of the small mixed-race elite, Lescot took power not long after the end of the US military occupation and throughout his time as president the US controlled the Banque de la République d’Haïti. In partnership with the US, Lescot expelled peasants from more than 100,000 hectares, razing their homes and destroying more than a million fruit trees in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to cultivate rubber for the US war machine. He deepened the US-created Army’s repressive Section Chief system in rural areas and Lescot was close to Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo who ordered the 1937 slaughter of 20,000 Haitians out of fear they were “darkening” his country.

Lescot’s visit to Québec, notes Sean Mills in A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Quebec, reflected the growing ties between Catholic, French speaking Québecers and the Haitian elite. They were generally hostile towards the overwhelming majority of Creole speaking, voodoo practicing, moun andeyo. In 1941-42 Lescot supported the Catholic church’s anti-superstition campaign that targeted voodoo practitioners for arrest, beatings and even death.

In 1946 Lescot was ousted in a worker/student/peasant uprising in what Laurent Dubois, author of Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, describes as the first successful popular overthrow of a US-backed regime in the Americas.

Lescot’s ouster ushered in a social reformist government. The first black president since the US occupied the country in 1915, Dumarsais Estimé substantially increased the number of black professionals in cabinet and civil service positions.

Québec’s support for Lescot didn’t benefit most Haitians. Nor did it challenge US dominance over the country.

To take a more recent example, the same can be said for Québec Premier Jean Charest’s meeting with Prime Minister Gerard Latortue at his Montréal office in 2006. After living in Florida for many years, Latortue was installed following the US-led ouster of thousands of elected officials, including president Jean Bertrand Aristide, in 2004. Charest’s diplomatic support for Latortue reinforced, rather than undermined, Washington’s grip over the country.

Anyone genuinely concerned about Haiti must challenge US power there. As such, Solidarity Québec Haiti is rallying in front of the US Consulate on July 28 to mark the 105th anniversary of its brutal occupation. Washington — backed by Canada/Québec — continues to largely determine Haitian affairs. The only reason, for instance, the corrupt and repressive Jovenel Moïse remains president is because of US backing.

In a future column Rioux should look beyond the threats posed by hip hop and investigate the deleterious impact US diplomatic, aid, military and intelligence officials have had and continue to have in Haiti.

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Canada’s relationship to China rooted in century of imperial violence

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Front entrance to the Forbidden City, Beijing

Canada is locked in a hostage standoff with China that doesn’t look likely to end anytime soon. As relations with the world’s most populous nation deteriorate, it’s important to consider some history shaping the conflict and the impetus for the latest dispute. While most of the media present this conflict in a simplistic us-versus-them, good-guys-bad-guys framing, past and present actions by Canada and the “West” reveal a centuries-old pattern of colonialism, imperialism, military threats, diplomatic isolation and other forms aggressive behavior aimed at weakening and “containing” China.

While the Chinese government has adopted various authoritarian measures recently, today’s conflict is still centered on US efforts to curtail China’s rise. Most directly, Washington has sought to stunt the growth of telecommunications giant Huawei, the “Crown Jewel of China Inc”. The US has effectively banned the world’s largest 5G network provider from building its cutting-edge broadband infrastructure and pressed others to follow suit. Canada’s arrest and continued detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, is connected to Washington’s efforts to curtail that company and China more generally.

This is in line with a long history of Canadian involvement in efforts to exploit and contain China. Beginning in the 1820s, the British began to dominate the ancient empire. In two wars fought over trade and diplomatic relations, notes Noam Chomsky, “the British government compelled China to open its doors to opium from British India, sanctimoniously pleading the virtues of free trade as they forcefully imposed large-scale drug addiction on China.” The Opium War of 1836 is considered by many to be the beginning of China’s “Century of Humiliation”. Over that century Britain, France, Japan, Russia, Germany and the US all developed spheres of influence in China. The foreigners played the country’s regions off of each other, keeping China’s central government weak.

Canada, as a loyal part of the Empire, aided the British conquest of China. Some Canadians fought in China and the British commander of the Canadian Militia from 1880-84, Lieutenant-General Richard George Amherst Luard, served there. In 1900 Canada was contracted to supply the British forces quelling the Boxer Rebellion. Canadian missionaries were also a significant force in China and they generally aided the foreign powers as detailed in “When Missionaries Were Hated: An Examination of the Canadian Baptist Defense of Imperialism and Missions during the Boxer Rebellion, 1900”. By 1919 there were nearly 600 Canadian missionaries in China.

Ottawa tacitly supported Japan’s brutal 1931 invasion of China’s Manchuria region that left 20,000 dead. “Whatevermay be thought of the moral or ethical rights of the Japanese to be in and to exercise control over Manchuria their presence there must be recognized as a stabilizing and regulating force,” noted the Canadian diplomat who opened the first Canadian mission in Japan, Hugh Llewellyn Keenleyside. Six years later the Canadian ambassador to China, Randolph Bruce, told the Toronto Star that Japan’s invasion of Nanking, to the west of Manchuria, was “simply an attempt to put her neighbour country into decent shape, as she has already done in Manchuria.” Some 20,000 women were raped and tens of thousands of Chinese killed in the six weeks after Japan entered Nanking.

In the fall of 1941 Ottawa sent 1,975 troops to defend the British colony of Hong Kong from Japan. “Hong Kong constituted an outpost which the Commonwealth intended to hold” read an External Affairs message to London in response to a request for troops. A number of Chinese-Canadians were covertly sent into China during World War Two partly because “whenever the Japanese capitulated, it would be useful to have on hand a team to enter Hong Kong promptly to help reestablish the British writ there.” HMCS Prince Robert also helped the British reoccupy Hong Kong.

After the Second World War Canada sided with Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang against Mao’s Communists. Ottawa aided the Kuomintang by sending 170 planes and providing $60 million in export credits between 1945 and 1948. The money was granted even though some members of the Liberal cabinet opposed taking sides in the Chinese Civil War.

Mao’s government was met with hostility from Ottawa. Canada refused to recognize the Chinese government until 1970. A November 1949 External Affairs memo complained, “China must now be regarded as a potential enemy state.” Steven Lee further summarized the 1949 External Affairs report: “The rise of communist power on the mainland ‘confronted the Atlantic Pact [NATO] powers with considerable strategic and political problems.’ In Japan, argued the memo, the US position was threatened by a potentially hostile power in China; the usefulness of Korea and Taiwan as military bases would be undermined, and in Southeast Asia, ‘the source of vital raw materials,’ Western interests were menaced by the impetus the Chinese revolution gave to communist movements.”

While they framed it as anti-Communist, US mandarins feared Chinese nationalism and worried that revolutionary nationalist ideology would spread throughout the region. Some within Canada’s External Affairs department had similar concerns, worrying that “Communist China might dominate ‘all Asian communist states’ and form ‘a new Asian alliance — linked neither with the Soviet Union nor the United States.’”

Partly in response to Mao’s triumph, Ottawa began its first (non-European) aid program in 1950. The Colombo Plan’s primary aim was to keep the former British Asian colonies, especially India, within the Western capitalist fold.

Canadian aid to African countries was also designed to minimize Chinese influence. Led for two decades by socialist leaning Julius Nyerere, Tanzania became a major recipient of Canadian aid due to Ottawa’s concern that this former British colony might align with China. Tanzania’s 1964 request for Chinese trainers disturbed Washington and Ottawa. A July 1969 Canadian Interdepartmental Military Assistance Committee memo explained: “Although it is clear from Tanzania’s decision to terminate our military assistance program that we have not succeeded in preventing the swing to virtual full reliance on China, we did succeed in postponing this development until the Tanzanian forces were basically organized and had acquired their own internal cohesion, which should leave them in a much better position to deal with possible Chinese subversion.”

After Mao’s forces took control in 1949 the US tried to encircle the country. They supported Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan, built military bases in Japan, backed a right-wing dictator in Thailand and tried to establish a pro-Western state in Vietnam. The success of China’s nationalist revolution also spurred the 1950-1953 Korean War in which eight Canadian warships and 27,000 Canadian troops participated. The war left as many as 1 million Chinese soldiers dead.

After pushing North Korean troops back to the 38th parallel, the artificial line that divided the North and South, the US-led force moved to conquer the entire country. UN troops continued north in a bid to undermine China’s new government. US officials, particularly UN force commander Douglas MacArthur, repeatedly attacked Mao’s government and before China entered the war American aircraft bombed that country while carrying out air missions in northern Korea. Even more ominous, both MacArthur and (later) President Truman publicly discussed striking China with nuclear weapons.

UN troops pushed north even after the Chinese made it clear they would intervene to block a hostile force from approaching their border. Beijing was particularly worried about northern China’s dependence on energy from the Yalu River power station in northern Korea. From the Chinese perspective the People’s Liberation Army defended the country’s territorial integrity, which was compromised by US bombings and the control of Formosa (Taiwan) by foreign-backed forces.

Since the end of the fighting Canada has maintained a small number of troops in Korea. Three years ago a Canadian became the first non-US general to hold the post of deputy commander since the United Nations Command (UNC) was created to fight the Korean War in 1950. Washington is pushing to “revitalize” UNC, which is led by a US General who simultaneously commands the 27,000 US troops in Korea. According to the Financial Times, the UN force “serves to bolster and enhance the US’s position in north-east Asia at a time when China is rising.”

As Washington has turned its focus to countering Chinese power in Asia over the past decade Ottawa has ramped up its belligerence. In June 2012 the Canadian Press reported, “Canada is seeking a deal with Singapore to establish a military staging post there as part of its effort to support the United States’ ‘pivot’ toward Asia to counter a rising China.”

In recent years Canadian vessels have repeatedly been involved in belligerent “freedom of navigation” exercises through international waters that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, Strait of Taiwan and East China Sea. To “counter China’s” growing influence in Asia, Washington has sought to stoke longstanding territorial and maritime boundary disputes between China and the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and other nations. As part of efforts to rally regional opposition to China, the US Navy engages in regular “freedom of navigation” operations, which see warships travel through or near disputed waters.

At its most extreme, the anti-Chinese campaign reflects a worldview that longs for a divided and imperially dominated country like before 1949. But, the militarist/xenophobic/pro-US forces in Canada have to contend with China’s rising economic power and elements of the capitalist class who see conflict with this huge market as self-defeating and an obstacle to profit-making. Corporate Canada and elements of the Global Affairs bureaucracy generally prefer greater ties with Beijing while militarist/xenophobic/pro-US forces seek conflict.

People who believe in a peaceful, rules-based international order that does not reward imperial bullying, have many reasons to oppose militaristic xenophobes. While leftists should challenge capitalism, in this situation much of the corporate class are taking a more progressive position than the so-called “security” establishment.

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Israel lobby’s racist attacks against Left-wing Toronto restaurant

 

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Foodbendors sign

The Israel lobby has waged a remarkably successful campaign to bankrupt a small left-wing Toronto restaurant. Despite claiming to fight bigotry, it is the Israeli nationalists who have committed the surest racism and arguably taken the most anti-Jewish positions.

In response to pressure from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), B’nai B’rith, Jewish Defence League (JDL), etc. delivery services Uber, Ritual, Door Dash and others have dropped Foodbendors in recent days. A number of institutional customers also announced they would no longer buy from the restaurant. Foodbendors’ highly active Instagram account was taken down. Its money processor also held back some payments for orders and a Gofundme campaign that quickly raised $2700 to defend the restaurant was deactivated. An investigation of their business license has begun, an individual launched a $750,000 defamation suit against the owner and she is also being dragged before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

This devastating assault is being waged against a restaurant that has strongly advocated for Black Lives Matter and Indigenous rights as well as against patriarchy and Canadian imperialism. Its long Canada Day statement noted, “Canada backs every coup of elected socialist leaders led by Washington and continues to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia where they will be used to perpetuate war and famine in Yemen.”

In the fall the unabashedly left-wing restaurant painted “I love Gaza” in its window on the busy Bloor street. This prompted a backlash from the anti-Palestinian crowd and put Foodbenders on the radar of those looking to squash any sign of solidarity with the long-beleaguered Palestinians. Amidst recent Black Lives Matter protests, the restaurant had a dust-up with pro-police forces when they put up a sign in front of their shop saying, “No Justice, No Peace, F*ck the Police!” Then they faced criticism for a “Happy KKKanada day” sign on July 1. Preferring targets that are already offside with elements of the establishment (think Jeremy Corbyn), the Israel lobby groups saw a chance to deliver a blow when owner Kimberly Hawkins posted to Instagram, “Open Now – 8 PM for non-racist shoppers #Bloordale #Bloorstreet, #Toronto, #Open, #ftp [fuck the police] #FreePalestine and #ZionistsNotWelcome.” The anti-Palestinian lobby claimed the #ZionistsNotWelcome hashtag discriminated against Jews.

To her credit Hawkins didn’t back down. She clarified that Jews were indeed welcome and that she does not believe “criticism of the Zionist political ideology, Israel or the Greater Israel Project, or pointing out its racist supremacist foundations amounts to criticism of the Jewish people or even Israeli citizens.”

Whether one believes Hawkins’ restaurant has been unfairly attacked or Toronto Jewry stigmatized by the Foodbendors owner, the primary victims of any suppression of discussion of Zionism or “free Palestine” are those locked in the Gaza prison or in the occupied West Bank. In the Toronto conflict the clearest act of hate was carried out by JDL thugs scrubbing a Palestinian Lives Matter marking from the sidewalk and, similar to what Jewish supremacist settlers do to Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, a woman painting the symbol on the Israeli flag onto Foodbenders window.

The Israel lobby groups have also engaged in essentialist language that if taken to its logical conclusion basically blames all Jews for a European colonial movement that dispossessed Palestinians.

Critics of the restaurant have said that Hawkins uses the term “Zionism” or “Zionists” as a euphemism for “Jew” or “Jewish”, which she flatly denies. Writing in the Toronto Star, self-professed progressive Emma Teitel responds to those who say using the word Zionist with a disparaging adjective “isn’t anti-Semitic, because Zionism doesn’t equal Judaism. But this position is a semantic fallacy. Zionism in modern Jewish terms is synonymous with a belief that the state of Israel has a right to exist. By this definition a great many Jews today are Zionists. When an activist group or a shop owner or whoever attaches anti-Semitic tropes to an adjective, Zionist, that millions of Jews wear, they’re engaging in anti-Semitism plain and simple.”

While some genuinely anti-Semitic people do what Teitel claims, there has to be a way to distinguish between those who support the idea of a religious/ethnic state, which is at the core of the Zionist philosophy, and those who support secular states. Many people, Jews included, believe that a state shouldn’t favour one religion or ethnic group over another. Those who demand a secular state in Canada but support a Jewish state in Israel are inconsistent at best and racist at worst (against Palestinians who live under that state’s control).

In their statements about Foodbendors, CIJA, B’nai B’rith and International Legal Forum directly conflate Jewish and Zionist. CIJA notes, “a recent study of Jewish Canadians confirms that the overwhelming majority of Jewish Canadians are Zionists, and the term can be used to describe our community.”

Generally presented as a response to late 1800s European anti-Semitism, the Theodore Herzl-led Zionist movement was also spurred by the Christian, nationalist and imperialist ideologies sweeping Europe at the time. After two millennia in which Jewish restoration was viewed as a spiritual event to be brought about through divine intervention, Zionism finally took root among some Jews after two centuries of active Protestant Zionism. “Christian proto-Zionists [existed] in England 300 years before modern Jewish Zionism emerged,” notes Evangelics and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism. Until the mid-1800s Zionism was an almost entirely non-Jewish movement that reflected the more literal readings of the Bible that flowed out of the Protestant Reformation.

Another factor driving Jewish Zionism was the nationalism sweeping Europe in the late 1800s. Germany, Italy and a number of eastern European states were all established during this period.

Alongside nationalist and biblical literalist influences, Zionism took root at the height of European imperialism. In the lead-up to World War I the European “scramble” carved up Africa and then the Middle East. (Europeans controlled about 10 percent of Africa in 1870 but by 1914 only Ethiopia was independent of European control. Liberia was effectively a US colony.)

Similar to Europe, Zionism’s roots in Canada are Christian, not Jewish. Early Canadian support for Zionism was based on more literal readings of the Bible and tied to this country’s status as a dominion of the British Empire, which in the latter half of the nineteenth century began to see Zionism as a potential vehicle to strengthen its geostrategic position in the region. At the time of Confederation, Canada’s preeminent Christian Zionist was Henry Wentworth Monk. Monk called for the British Empire to establish a “dominion of Israel” similar to the dominion of Canada. In the 1978 book Canada and Palestine, Zachariah Kay notes, “Monk believed that Palestine was the logical center of the British Empire, and could help form a confederation of the English-speaking world.”

By CIJA, B’nai B’rith, JDL, etc… logic, Jewry in its entirety are responsible for this colonial movement and its dispossession of Palestinians. In fact, if one makes that claim they can rightly be accused of anti-Semitism because individual Jews and Canada’s Jewish community are clearly not responsible for what the Zionist movement or Israel does. Of course, individual Jews and Jewish organizations can be complicit in Israeli crimes if they support that country, but that is because of their actions, not who they are.

The Israel lobby’s racist and essentialist ideas need to be contested and their effort to bankrupt a progressive Toronto restaurant resisted.

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