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Editorial/Letters

The editor would be pleased to receive your emails at [email protected]
 
 
RE: SHALOM RESIDENCE CABARET NIGHT A BIG SUCCESS

 

December 20, 2010

Dear Editor,

Very good article written by Ava Block-Super regarding Shalom Residences Inc's fundraising Cabaret on November 27, 2010.

- Pam McKnight


 
 
RE: YOUR ARTICLE RE: RABBI MALKA DYING IN BUS IN CARMEL FIRE

To The Editor,

December 18, 2010

Here is a summary of your article re: Rabbi Malka translated to Hebrew, which is in the weekly publication  MATSAV HARUACH-with credit - on page 6.

 
Kol HaKavod,
 
Amihai Banett, former  Principal of Winnipeg's Ohr Hatorah Dayschool , Israel

 
 
Are these people breaking the law?

December 15, 2010

To The Editor,

Please see an email that I have forwarded to to a few members of parliament in Canada.  I was originally from Calgary so have always been interested in what
happens over there.

Rena Cohen
Tsfat, Israel     

....................................................... 

From: Rena Cohen
Date: 13/12/2010 12:26:15
To: Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Cc: Mr. Jason Kenny MP;  Mr. S. Day MP;  Mr. I. Cotler MP
Subject: Are these people breaking the law?
 
I am writing to you to respectfully ask for your opinion regarding a website that was just sent to me.  It can be found at:
 http://canadaboatgaza.org/cms/sites/cbg/splash.aspx
 
I would like to know why a group such as this is allowed to operate in Canada? Are they not to be considered as an illegal operation as they are collecting money in order to support a terrorist network?  And is raising money to support known terrorists allowed or forbidden by Canadian law? 
 
All the best,  
Rena Cohen
Tsfat, Israel


 
 
RESPONSE TO JOANNE NAIMAN RE: IRANIAN THREAT

To The Editor,

December 1, 2100

 
Joanne Naiman questions the statement of Dr. Catherine Chatterley that the leader of Iran "routinely threatens the nuclear destruction of the Jewish state". Professor Naiman writes: "Routinely? I would appreciate knowing her sources, as I have never heard of such a threat."
 
The current President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said in 2005 and since "Israel must be wiped off the map". He said in 2006 "this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will be purged from the center of the Islamic world", and "this fake regime [Israel] cannot logically continue to live."
 
Military parades in Iran display rockets with banners carrying the slogans "Israel must be wiped off the map" and "Death to Israel". Former president of Iran Hashemi Rafsanjani, said in 2001: "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam" and in 2002 "one bomb is enough to destroy all Israel". Independent intelligence sources consistently over years have reported that Iran is developing nuclear weaponry.
 
Professor Naiman is either ignorant or quibbling. Adolf Hitler never said that the Jews should either be gassed and cremated in death camps or shot in front of open graves by roving killing units. Hitler referred rather to a "final solution of the Jewish question". Would Professor Naiman say that Hitler never threatened the Jews with genocide, that she never heard of such a threat?
 
If Professor Naiman really wants to inform herself on this issue, I suggest she take a look at the article by Gregory Gordon in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology published in 2008 by Northwestern University, School of Law under the title From Incitement to Indictment? Prosecuting Iran's President for Advocating Israel's Destruction and Piecing Together Incitement Law's Emerging Analytical Framework. The article is posted on the internet; it has over 400 footnotes, providing as many sources as Professor Naiman could possibly want and then some.
 
David Matas
Senior Honorary Counsel
B'nai Brith Canada
 
 

 
 
RESPONSE TO JOANNE NAIMAN RE: IRANIAN THREAT

To the Editor,

 December 1, 2010

 

In response to the letter by Prof Neiman to your newspaper casting doubt on Iran's nuclear program  and genocidal intentions, we refer the author to the Responsibility to Prevent Petition, prepared by Professor Irwin Cotler, Member of the Canadian Parliament, posted by  Genocide Prevention Now on the following website and link   
http://www.genocidepreventionnow.org/2010/10/irwin-cotler-renewed-call-to-action.html 
 
This petition martials the voluminous data on Iran's suppression of human rights inside Iran --more than 120,000 executions, as well as stonings, public hangings, persecution of dissidents ,and members of non-Islam faiths, Ahmadinejad's repeated use of motifs taken directly from Hitler’s Mein Kampf to incite to genocide, Iran's support for terror throughout the Mideast, and its illegal pursuit of nuclearization. Abundant additional information comes from the International Atomic Energy Commission, US State Department and Congressional reports on human rights abuses, US House of Representatives Resolution HConRes21 2007 (which called for indictment of Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide) and the blog website www.genocidepreventionnow.org, which has published a timeline of all of Ahmadinejad's statements and those of his predecessors and associates going back many years.  
 
The well-meaning author of the letter equates  her ignorance of the evidence with absence of evidence. The same lethal error was made by many well meaning appeasers back in the 1930s. 
 
Best wishes
 
Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH
Hebrew University-Hadassah Jerusalem and GenocidePreventionNow
Jerusalem Israel
 

 
 
CIC CONDEMNS DISCRIMINATORY LETTER FROM GROUP OF RABBIS

 

On December 10th, in response to a public letter signed by a number of rabbis in Israel, which urged property owners not to rent or sell homes to non-Jews, the Canada-Israel Committee issued the following statement:

“The Canada-Israel Committee shares Prime Minister Netanyahu's outrage over this issue. This disturbing letter represents an extremely marginal position in Israeli society, as demonstrated by the thousands of Israeli protestors who have taken to the streets this week to condemn it. It is also important to note that many learned rabbis in Israel, as well as leading institutions such as the Attorney General’s office and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, have publicly opposed the letter.  
 
“As the only liberal democracy in the region, Israelis remain proud of their commitment to the full protection of minority rights and equality under the law. And that's why this letter has been so widely denounced, and will do nothing to change Israel's liberal, pluralistic character."


 
 
Petition: UNESCO decision about Rachel's tomb

November 28, 2010
 
To the Editor,

I took a minute and signed this petition belowto protest UNESCO's decision to deny the Jewish people  their heritage locations of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb.
 
There is been TOO much obliteration of Jewish history throughout the world; cemetries in the Middle East and throughout Germany, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, etc. These historical sites should be allowed to remain. 

Phil Spevack
Winnipeg

The United Nations has once again reared its anti-semitic head. 

The Executive Board of UNESCO has declared 2 of Judaism's holiest sites (Tomb of the Patriarchs and Tome of Rachel) to be mosques and demand that Israel remove the sites from its National Heritage list.

In an effort to erase Jewish history and supersede Jewish religious sites with Islamic institutions, Muslims have intentionally built mosques upon numerous synagogues and Jewish holy sites.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office decried the ludicrous nature of the UNESCO decision:  "The attempt to detach the Nation of Israel from its heritage is absurd. If the nearly 4,000-year-old burial sites of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish Nation - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah -are not part of its culture and tradition, then what is a national cultural site?"

In cooperating with efforts to erase Jewish historical ties to Israel, UNESCO is aiding and abetting those who hope to and obfuscate Israel's Jewish past and undermine Israel's Jewish future.

Please take this seriously and sign the petition below:
http://www.petitiononline.com/rabbiv/petition.html


 
 
ROVING REPORTERS AND LOVING THE WINNIPEG JEWISH REVIEW

November 27, 2010
 
To the Editor,
 
Do you have an email address for Elliot Leven? I tried to send him birthday greetings a few weeks ago, and they bounced from every email address I had for him. I think you should post email addresses for all of your roving reporters, like the big publications do, so we can write to our favourite freelancers with opinions!

Hope all’s well – loving the Winnipeg Jewish Review!

Happy Chanukah!
Gayle Charach

Editor's Response: Will see what I can do.  In the meantime, Happy Birthday  Mr. Elliot Leven--who is an the ageless wonder! (I believe Mr. Leven was in fact born before the Common Era. The exact date may be a  subject of archeological speculation) 


 
 
RE: Catherine Chatterley's Response to Dr. Michael Keefer

November 27, 2010

To the editor of the Winnipeg Jewish Review:

I wish to comment on Dr. Catherine Chatterley's recent response to Dr. Michael Keefer, which is laden with distortions of fact, innuendos and gross errors of omission, as well as being full of side issues not relevant to Dr. Keefer's criticisms of her original piece. I am most disappointed that the Winnipeg Jewish Review saw fit to publish it.

I wish to focus on only one of the many inaccurate statements made in this piece by Dr. Chatterley. Without providing a shred of evidence she writes, "The most obvious example [of the global resurgence of anti-Semitism] is the leader of Iran, who routinely threatens the nuclear destruction of the Jewish State, which constitutes incitement to genocide and is a clear violation of international law." Routinely? I would appreciate knowing her sources, as I have never heard of such a threat.

On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently stated (Jerusalem Post, Nov 8, 2010): "The only way to ensure that Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of military action against it, unless it stops its race to obtain nuclear weapons." U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (CBC news online, Nov 8, 2010) has stated, "[s]o my view of military force would be not to just neutralize [Iran's] nuclear program "but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard."  And  this from Dennis Ross, in charge of Iran policy at the White House (Asia Times online, Nov 19, 2010): "But should Iran continue its defiance, despite its growing isolation and the damage to its economy, its leaders should listen carefully to President Obama who has said many times: 'We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons'." These quotes tell us two things – first, both the Israelis and Americans know full well that Iran does not yet have nuclear weaponry, and, second, it is Israel and the U.S. that are routinely threatening Iran militarily, not the reverse.

Let me be clear, I am no fan of the Ahamenijad regime in Iran, and am well aware of its current hostility towards the State of Israel. But I am even less of a fan of nuclear war.  While neither the US nor Israel has publicly stated that they would use nuclear weaponry in a war with Iran, we do know that both these countries possess such technology. The sabre-rattling of the U.S. and Israel at this moment is both troubling and dangerous, not only for people in the Middle East region – including Israelis – but also for the rest of us.

The issue of anti-Semitism is certainly one that merits attention from academics and the general public. However, the shoddy response offered by Dr. Chatterley does nothing to further the debate. It is a weak piece of propaganda masquerading as academic analysis. Dr. Keefer "a committed, caring, and well-respected Canadian academic who has many important things to say about anti-Semitism" deserved better than this.

Joanne Naiman
Professor Emerita, Sociology
Ryerson University, Toronto
Former Board Member, Science for Peace


 
 
GENERAL COMMENT

To the Editor,
 
I love your stuff - keep up the great work.
 
- Mark David


 
 
Israeli Delegation to attend United Nations Conference on Climate Change

November 21, 2010

To the Editor, 

An Israeli delegation will be attending the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, scheduled to begin next week in Cancun Mexico. 

The delegation will include professionals from the fields of agriculture and forestry under hot and arid conditions.
 
Israel has achieved a worldwide reputation for efficient use of water and afforestation in arid zones. Three Israeli case studies will be presented at the conference concerning agricultural production and forestry under desert climate regimes, characterized by low rainfall and high temperatures.
 
Michal Marmary
FPCI - Foreign Press Consulting Israel


 
 
RE: CAMPUS ANTISEMITISM: COMBATING ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK ON CAMPUS - THOUGHTFUL ENGAGEMENT REQUIRED

Hi.  Not seeing a comment link on the IAW article I thought I'd send a note. I think the author makes some important points but leaves open the question of how to properly counteract the tactics and rhetoric of IAW.  I agree that pure and simple ad hominem is unhelpful, even counterproductive. However, I am of the view that IAW is effective primarily because they have deftly framed issues in language that shapes any ensuing debate. Israel proponents can only wade in by
addressing "to what degree Israel parallels South Africa", not the best place to start off; it's like entering a fistfight by letting one's opponent take the first few swats.  In a situation in which one is continually shouted down, it is dangerous game trying to defend oneself against charges of being an inhuman butcher.

I recommend -- not ad hominem per se -- but a careful reframing of the debate in sound byte-sized slogans.  Slogans that inherently demand full-length discourse and answer the "apartheid" charge effectively. At this point I was stymied for a while, because I am no good at bumper-sticker type slogans, myself.  But I did think of one, that I'd like to put on a T-shirt, though it's more general-purpose than just answering IAW:

"Question the Narrative!"

After all, IAW is all about narrative.   IAW and similar types of activists are very deliberate about this.  I believe it was out of  such movements that the current use of the term "narrative" arises. So why not put that into people's mind right at the outset.  Simply putting the slogan into someone's mind in the context of a discussion of IAW is likely to have them pondering what should be questioned, perhaps for days or weeks afterwards.  Especially if some factual information can be bundled with it, in however small sound bytes you get.  If you can motivate even a few to cross-check some fact, you've come a long ways.

But recently, listening to my current favourite Podcast, Shire Network News, I heard a much better slogan that I think could be used with devastating effect -- it's a new "brand" for the week:

"Israeli double-standard week"

I think it is brilliant because it takes into account one of the weaknesses of "IAW":  it doesn't have the "ring" of a good slogan -- it's begging for something better to come along.  "Israeli double-standard week" is admittedly also a bit awkward, but not so as to put it at a competitive disadvantage.  It has the advantage that, while IAW is trite by now, "double-standard" is fresh. It is a worthwhile keyword to inject into the conversation, and it provides a much better launching point for debate than "apartheid".  Force them to debate the alternative label, rather than you defend against their brand.

There is a minor problem with the slogan, namely that it may be understood as declaring that Israel has double standards.  That, fortunately, doesn't give much ammunition to the other side:  what double-standard?  What are you talking about?  Whereas the assertion that there is a double-standard AGAINST Israel is something easily supported, even in small pieces (which is all you're likely to get in many fora).

I've tried to fix this.

"Israel double-standard week" fixes the reference to PEOPLE, but does not correct the underlying ambiguity of meaning."Anti-Israel double-standard week" is less ambiguous, but is too long and convoluted to work as an effective slogan."Double standard week" fixes both problems but creates a new one in that it is too general.

Anyway, I think the basic instinct of the SNN slogan is correct, and the main problem is one of delivery.  "Israeli (or Israel) double-standard week", injected by the right speaker in the right context, makes the point perfectly.

Here's another thought:  Coming from a "social justice" church I will confirm that Israel has a public relations problem in many Christian denominations, some of which have loose ties to the ISM.  Again, I have a slogan-like suggestion, which I think will catch people's attention, if nothing else:

Mimic Jesus' famous couplets from the Sermon on the Mount.  Do not reference Jesus directly, just use the form:
"You have heard it said that X"
"But I say to you that Y"

It's a pithy and effective way to challenge faulty assumptions and narrative.    It can pack rhetorical punch if delivered with some force.  Using this phraseology will unmistakably point christian listener's to Jesus.  The famous sermon uses the form to challenge trite sayings with statements that would strike his listeners as inherently, even mysteriously wise (though some were outrageous ...you'd have to go home to chew on them).  Christians are not muslims;
nobody will be offended by the overt reference to Jesus' famous sermon. You won't get death threats for borrowing Jesus' pattern of speech.  More likely you will be admired for your wit and ability to connect to your audience.

Peace,  Rob

Dr. Robert Craigen
Mathematics, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB Canada
204-474-7489 (Dept Fax 204-474-7611)
[email protected]
www.umanitoba.ca/science/mathematics


 
 
Re: Harper and Israel

 To the Editor,
  
Several of your letter writers depict Stephen Farmer as a staunch friend of Israel.  They should be more specific.  He is a staunch friend of greater Israel and even after further Netanyahu government announcements of construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem he is silent.  The good friends of Israel will promote peace and not the creation or expansion  of settlements.  A real friend would warn Israel that her present course of action is not only undemocratic but perhaps leads directly to a "one state" solution.  Some friend.

Prof. Stephen Scheinberg
Co- Chair Canadian Friends of Peace Now


 
 
RE: ELLIOT LEVEN'S ARTICLE "TIME FOR A UNITED DEMOCRATIC NATIONS"

Mr Leven,

I read your post about the UDN...I thought you did a VERY nice job.  And I fully agree with your position.  I thought you might find this interesting...
 
www.UnitedDemocraticNations.org
 
This is my website, basically a proposal.  I would very much appreciate your feedback if you feel so inclined.
 
Gary Stark
Campbell, CA  USA


 
 
REMEMBER WHAT'S IMPORTANT, November 14, 2010

Dear Rhonda Prepes,

Excellent article, very well written and I agree with you. 

- David Shapera
   Winnipeg


 
 
REMEMBER WHAT'S IMPORTANT, November 14, 2010

Dear Rhonda Prepes,

Thanks so much for writing and sharing this article. I appreciate you naming the names of those who have passed away - this act alone brings them back to memory. 

-Ellie Goldenberg
  Toronto


 
 
Re: Prime Minister Harper

November 14, 2010

To the Editor,

Prime Minister Harper is truly a brave man. So many of our world leaders cow tow to evil to make sure their OIL supplies continue to flow.

Aaron Berman


 
 
REMEMBER WHAT'S IMPORTANT, November 13, 2010

Thank you, Rhonda (Prepes) for writing this article and for remembering those whose lives ended way too soon. A sad yet very thoughtful tribute! The date and its significance to Shaun's passing are also not lost.

-Ruth Laveman
  Winnipeg


 
 
Lake Winnipeg Foundation Upcoming Event - November 30

November 13, 2010

To the Editor,
 
Lake Winnipeg Foundation Red Zone II hosts a  public forum at the IMAX theatre at Portage Place in Winnipeg on November 30, 2010.  Admission is free. The evening will include the premiere showing of the film "Choking Lake Winnipeg" written and produced by Dr. James Byrne, and a panel discussion [ moderated by Gary Filmon] featuring the following speakers:

• Dr Gordon Goldsborough - Wetlands as potential solutions to problems in Lake Winnipeg
• Dr. Hank Venema - Novel solutions to problems in Lake Winnipeg
• Dr. Ray Hesslein - System hydrology as a potential solutions to to problems in Lake Winnipeg
• Dr. Bob Sandford - Lake Winnipeg - our Black Sea
• Dr. Tom Simpson - Public-private joint ventures for water quality improvement; pipe dream or possibility?

We encourage you to attend.
 
Janet Sampson
Membership Chair Lake Winnipeg Foundation


 
 
REMEMBER WHAT'S IMPORTANT, November 12, 2010

That is beautiful, Rhonda (Prepes)!! Thank you for writing this, I hope that everyone takes the time to read this article and takes the time to do exactly what some of our friends have lost...passing away at such an early age!! Enjoy life, you never know the future may hold!!

- Fayanne Abrams Charach
  Winnipeg


 
 
 
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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.