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Anti-Israel obsessions
Gerald M. Steinberg
Canadian Jewish News
June 15 2006

The latest onslaughts in the political war against Israel have come from trade unions in Canada (the Ontario branch of CUPE – the Canadian Union of Public Employees) and Britain (the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education). Last month, both groups passed resolutions using the demonization rhetoric of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, which revived the “Zionism is racism” agenda. The union resolutions also promote sanctions and boycotts – the preferred method of turning Israel into the new “apartheid regime” and preparing the foundation for its destruction.

These and similar attacks from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) flying the false flags of human rights and humanitarian aid are marked by the huge level of ignorance that’s used to justify anti-Israel obsessions.

In his opening speech, Paul Mackney, NATFHE’s general secretary, highlighted the pressing issues on the agenda: the problems facing public sector unions in the United Kingdom, the crisis in education, and, of course, the situation in “Palestine.”

Here, Mackney claimed great expertise, overcoming his lack of education in international relations or the Middle East. Repeating the rhetoric of Durban, he dispensed with the history and evidence, including the Arab rejectionism, incitement and violence. Instead, Mackney poured out a stream of data purporting to compare Palestinian suffering to that of Israelis in terms of casualties, unemployment, education, aid, and other spheres. His claims are based on bogus statistics repeated from Palestinian propaganda sheets. And there was no mention of Palestinian incitement, corruption and the internal anarchy in the Palestinians’ terrorist proto-state. It was a triumph of ignorance.

In Canada, Sid Ryan, the head of CUPE, displayed an equally toxic combination of hatred and ignorance in promoting the Durban strategy and repeating the “apartheid” slogans. Ryan seems to have adopted the words of Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian whose presence is noted in many extremist anti-Israeli activities, including “Israel Apartheid Week” this past school year at the University of Toronto. Ryan’s call for a boycott campaign until Israel “meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination” totally erases Palestinian rejectionism and terror. And the promotion of the Palestinian myth of a “right of return” for refugees is tantamount to calling for the destruction of Israel. The absurdity of CUPE’s move was highlighted by the resolution’s rubber-stamping by all of Ryan’s 896 “delegates” – Stalin could not have done better.

To their credit, many Canadian analysts and letter writers have highlighted Ryan’s ignorance, and the Globe and Mail printed a point-by-point critique by Natan Sharansky. The extent of the damage is unknown, but the belated counterattack is important, if insufficient. Like Hitler’s great lies, the slogans and rhetoric of the Durban strategy have become deeply embedded in the media and universities, and among NGO officials who fly the false flags of human rights.

To take the offensive and defeat the armies fighting this political war to destroy Israel, it’s necessary to focus the public debate on their obsessions. For many years, the officials at Human Rights Watch, based in the United States, and Christian Aid, based in the United Kingdom, were able to devote a huge and disproportionate portion of donations to promote the slogans and myths used to attack Israel.

After NGO Monitor exposed this obsession, and demonstrated its inherent racism and anti-Semitism, the extremists in both groups were forced to retreat. In the past 18 months, the volume of HRW attacks against Israel has dropped to less than one-quarter of what they were, and human rights violations in Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and by Palestinian terrorists have suddenly been discovered. A recent study of Amnesty International’s obsessive ideological agenda may have a similar impact.

Similarly, the Canadian government needs to halt the millions of taxpayer dollars provided by CIDA and other agencies to NGOs promoting the propaganda echoed by CUPE. Recipients in this category have included Alternatives (based in Montreal), BADIL, the deceptively named “Medical Aid for Palestinians,” World Vision and UNRWA.

In addition, co-operation and educational activities involving serious labour leaders need to be increased, including sponsoring trips to Israel to dispel the myths. And the role of Arab extremists such as Rafeef Ziadah in CUPE, as well as the source of the funding for these activities, should be examined.

Finally, a members’ revolt to remove union officials who promote this self-destructive and obsessive agenda would send a very powerful message.

The writer is the director of the Program on Conflict Management at Bar-Ilan University and the editor of NGO Monitor.

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