Trending Topics:

Head of Canada’s Israel lobby claims Israeli Apartheid Week renamed Islam Awareness Week

News
on 11 Comments

Shimon Fogel,  the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)— the primary Israel lobby group that falsely claims to represent Canada’s diverse Jewish communities— recently claimed in an article in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin that Israeli Apartheid Week has been “respectfully renamed ‘Islam Awareness Week’ at the University of Ottawa.” This, of course, is false. Israeli Apartheid Week happened to coincide with Islam Awareness Week this year on Ottawa campuses, but they have nothing to do with one another.

CIJA_ENG_CMYK1CIJA, the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada, has spent millions of dollars over the years concealing and distorting the truth about Israel’s systematic human rights violations, so that the mainstream Canadian Jewish community would continue to provide Israel with moral and financial support. It is hard to believe that Fogel, speaking for an organization that spends millions combating Palestine solidarity activism on campuses across the country, and that prides itself on carefully monitoring the campus political climate surrounding the Israel/Palestine issue, mistakenly assumed that Israeli Apartheid Week changed its name to Islam Awareness Week at the University of Ottawa.

Islam Awareness Week did not hold a single event on either campus (it took place at three Ottawa campuses, not only at the University of Ottawa as Fogel contends) whereas Israeli Apartheid Week held a couple of events and a press conference at the University of Ottawa, and several more events at Carleton University. Islam Awareness Week had information tables on both campuses, raising awareness of the Islamic faith without any mention of the word Palestine. Both share an acronym, but “IAW” is never used publicly to refer to Islam Awareness Week, only Israeli Apartheid Week.

Fogel— in this article to his base of supporters highlighting the supposed successes of CIJA in combating “anti-Israel” activities— clearly wanted to convey two false messages: 1) that Israeli Apartheid Week is losing supporters, and 2) that the situation in Israel/Palestine is a battle between the Judeo-Christian West and Islam. By implying that Palestine is equivalent to Islam, it appears that Fogel wishes to instill fear into the mainstream Jewish community, so that many Jews in Canada will continue to justify Israel’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinians in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

This is insulting to Muslims and, of course, to Palestinians. The situation in Israel and Palestine is about the ongoing colonization of historic Palestine by one ethnic and religious group, and the suppression and/or removal of the native population; it is a battle over land, resources, and equal rights, not over religious differences.  Not all Palestinians are Muslim—many are Christian, and some are even Jewish. In addition, not all supporters of equal rights in Israel and Palestine are Muslim—there are many Jews, Christians, and non-affiliated individuals who support the cause of justice throughout Israel/Palestine.

The disingenuous conflation of Islam with Palestinian freedom was brought to the attention of the editor of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin on April 29; I asked him politely to correct the error both in print and online. More than a month has elapsed, and there has been no correction on the website or in either of the two print issues released since the error was published. There are two messages being sent by the mainstream Jewish establishment by this inaction: 1) They are not ashamed of fomenting Islamophobia in the interest of maintaining unquestioning allegiance to Israel; 2) They can continue to behave immorally and irresponsibly, because nobody will hold them accountable.

As a proud Canadian Jew, my response to both is: “Not in my name.” It’s enough with the censorship and the lies. It is high time the Jewish Federations of North America actually listen to North American Jews who are thirsty for justice and equal rights in Israel and Palestine, rather than exploiting an unfounded fear of Muslims to desperately maintain an uncritical—and fundamentally unhelpful— relationship towards Israel.

Tyler Levitan
About Tyler Levitan

Tyler Levitan is the Campaigns Coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices – Canada. He is based in Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

11 Responses

  1. Zach S
    Zach S on June 5, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Indeed. This is an outrage! There should be Islamic Apartheid Week and Israel Awareness week at not only the University of Ottawa, but every campus throughout Canada and the world. Make it happen, Tyler.

    • eljay
      eljay on June 6, 2014, 8:53 am

      >> There should be Islamic Apartheid Week and Israel Awareness week …

      1. Islam is not a state. No religion – not even Judaism – should be a state.

      2. Israel, which is a state, should not be a religion.

      3. I agree that there should be protests against all states that act unjustly and immorally. And none of those states or their defenders should be permitted to defend their unjust and immoral actions by pointing to acts of injustice and immorality committed by other states. (A lesson Zio-supremacists and the supremacist “Jewish State” could stand to learn.)

      >> Make it happen, Tyler.

      He’s busy. You make it happen.

  2. chet
    chet on June 5, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Kudos Tyler Levitan for your informative and insightful article.

    • just
      just on June 5, 2014, 7:40 pm

      And kudos for your devotion to truth.

      This is great work that you are doing! I especially appreciate this:

      “More than a month has elapsed, and there has been no correction on the website or in either of the two print issues released since the error was published. There are two messages being sent by the mainstream Jewish establishment by this inaction: 1) They are not ashamed of fomenting Islamophobia in the interest of maintaining unquestioning allegiance to Israel; 2) They can continue to behave immorally and irresponsibly, because nobody will hold them accountable.

      As a proud Canadian Jew, my response to both is: “Not in my name.” It’s enough with the censorship and the lies. It is high time the Jewish Federations of North America actually listen to North American Jews who are thirsty for justice and equal rights in Israel and Palestine, rather than exploiting an unfounded fear of Muslims to desperately maintain an uncritical—and fundamentally unhelpful— relationship towards Israel.”

      Thank you.

    • stevieb
      stevieb on June 6, 2014, 10:36 am

      My sentiments, also. This Canadian thanks you..

  3. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka on June 5, 2014, 7:01 pm

    Is there anything that the Zionists aren’t trying to steal from the Palestinians?

    • Citizen
      Citizen on June 5, 2014, 9:53 pm

      NO. They continue to add more native Palestinian foods to their list of “Israeli” foods. It’s all over Twitter.

  4. RoHa
    RoHa on June 5, 2014, 8:07 pm

    “raising awareness of the Islamic faith ”

    What does that mean?

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra on June 6, 2014, 5:28 am

      Greetings RoHa,
      …raising awareness of the Islamic faith…..
      raising awareness of:
      Jewish Citizenship,
      Jewishness,
      Zionism.
      What do they mean?
      ziusudra

    • gamal
      gamal on June 7, 2014, 12:42 pm

      “raising awareness of the Islamic faith ”

      After 9/11, I was approached to participate in an “Islam Awareness” week, my first thought was “What like Cancer Awareness”, eventually they had an “Islam Expo” in which I didn’t involve myself or my institution and it excited almost universal derision, predictably, given the atmosphere at the time

      http://www.islamexpo.com/index.php

      the single most destructive aspects of municipal Islam events is that streams of “Arab” money flood in, with strings attached and there is a pretty revolting communal scramble for cash, resentments and tensions take years to dissipate, if indeed they ever do, and they allow every Muslim carpetbagger to network with every other “Arab money” miner.
      Also there is interminable behind scenes bickering of what constitutes authentic Islam, mostly of the “mine is authentic yours is heretical” mode of interaction, its all worse than a waste of time, Islam, like anything else needs to be studied if you want to know something of what people say about it, the status of such “knowledge” is opaque, I dont know much about it, it never seemed that interesting to me, and I am offended by such notions as the “greatness” of Arab or Islamic “culture”, last time I prayed in Ibni Tulun I was not assailed by a sense of pride or a desire for continuity, quite the opposite if I recall correctly.

  5. bryan
    bryan on June 6, 2014, 8:36 am

    Perhaps what we need is Judaism Awareness Week to trumpet loud and wide that the religion had a proud record of promoting progressive causes of social justice, democracy, the rule of law, peace and human rights before it was hijacked to become a bouncer in the service of an irreligious ideology that is contemptuous of social justice, democracy, the rule of law, peace and human rights. Perhaps ADL would not then find so much apparent hostility to Jews.

Leave a Reply