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Jewish Group Applauds Pride's Pro-Free Speech Stance

June 25, 2010

Independent Jewish Voices – Canada applauds and congratulates Pride Toronto on its historic decision to allow Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march in next month's Pride parade. IJV condemns attempts by the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and other self-appointed leaders of the Jewish community to close down serious discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian situation by wrongly equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

The term “apartheid” is part of the political lexicon in Israel itself. Defence Minister Ehud Barak and former prime minister Ehud Olmert are two of many mainstream Israeli politicians who have warned that Israel is heading towards a system analogous to apartheid South Africa. Former Israeli Attorney-General Michael Ben-Yair has referred to "an apartheid regime in the occupied territories". It is not anti-Semitic for these Israeli politicians to use the term apartheid, nor is it anti-Semitic for QuAIA or others to use the term in their criticism of Israel.

"It is time for honest discussion about what is happening in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,`` says IJV spokesperson Larry Haiven. Whether or not you agree with the term ‘apartheid’, it is important for all Canadians of good conscience to be concerned about the human rights crisis there. The discussion cannot be advanced by limiting debate and censoring terms like 'apartheid' particularly when this term is a part of mainstream debate within Israel,".

"For too long groups like the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith have worked on the principle that if they just bully and intimidate, they will get their way. For too long uncritical supporters of Israel have acted as if they speak for the entire Jewish community when in fact they speak for only one part of it. A growing number of Jews in Canada and around the world reject this attempt to avoid serious discussion of Israeli policies," adds Haiven.

Independent Jewish Voices – Canada is a national organization whose mandate is to promote a just resolution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties. IJV has chapters in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Vancouver plus many individual members.

For more information contact:
Andy Lehrer
Independent Jewish Voices - Canada


Larry Haiven
Independent Jewish Voices - Canada
Phone: 902-240-2782

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