Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Caption: Jeff Halper
Photo by Rhonda Spivak

Caption; Mark Etkin passing the hat for donations after Halper's speech on the Canadian Mennonite University.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak

Caption: Audience at Canadian Mennonite University listening to Jeff Halper
Photo by Rhonda Spivak

Jeff Halper Advocates No Jewish State in the Middle East

February 15, 2009

By Rhonda J Spivak, B.A., L.L.B.

Jeff Halper, a radical non-Zionist Israeli Jew, was in Winnipeg to advocate a so called “one state solution” in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River ( currently pre-67 Israel, the West Bank  and Gaza). Jews living in this theoretical state would become a minority in a Palestinian majority.
Halper advocated this “one democratic”state -which is none other than a call for the destruction of Israel- to a supportive crowd of 250 Mennonites and a handful of Jews on January 24, at the Canadian Mennonite University.

Halper co-founded the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) in 1997, which resists demolitions of Palestinian houses in the territories.
This reporter interviewed Halper prior to his talk, and asked Halper how he thought he “ was ever going to sell a one state solution to the Jewish world.”  He answered, “ I don’t give a f_ _ _ about the Jewish world.”

In his talk, he said a Jewish state was “a racist concept” and that maybe it was justified, because of the Holocaust “at some point”, “but no longer.”
Halper, who moved to Israel in 1973 from the U.S., and was nominated for the  2006 Nobel Peace Prize, said there doesn’t need to be a Jewish state because “the Jews didn’t go to Israel,”  “so many Israelis live abroad” and “only one quarter of the Jewish people    live in Israel.”  (Editor’s note: The correct percentage of Jews living in Israel is 41% as of 2007. The percentage has progressively been increasing, and is projected to be 46% by 2020.  See 2007 Annual Report of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI), a project of the Jewish Agency)

Notwithstanding he advocates destroying Israel in order to create a “one state” with a Palestinian majority, Halper said in reference to Jordan, and other Arab states, “These are not places I’d particularly like to live in.”
In an article posted on” by Iwasaki Atsuko, (April 3, 2006,) Halper admitted that “ I don' t think that we [ICHAD] are taken very seriously by the Israeli public…Our voices are very marginal because we are outside of the Zionism box ( emphasis added)…”]
In his talk, he said that since the Israeli occupation has gone too far, there is no way to get  “a viable  Palestinian state,” and a two state solution is no longer possible.

In an interview, when this reporter suggested  that  at the Arafat-Barak Camp David talks in 2000 Israel was prepared to give  “land swaps”  to the Palestinians in exchange of retaining settlement blocs, Halper dismissed the notion of land swaps, saying there are “no sand dunes the  Palestinians would accept.”

Halper said that Israel has created an “apartheid” situation, by building “settlements’, “Israeli-only highways”, and the separation “Wall.” He also accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”

In his talk, Halper’ also supported the boycotting of academics from “Israeli universities.” [Editor’s note: This would effectively prevent any Israeli academic from contesting Halper’s views on university campuses]

During his talk and his interview with this reporter, Halper  did not criticize any of the actions or omissions on the Palestinian side of the conflict-be they those of   Arafat, Abbas, Hamas,  Islamic  Jihad or others. His one criticism was directed towards PA President Abbas, whose term he said should have ended on January 9, 2009.

In an interview after the event, when this reporter suggested that Hamas seeks to destroy Israel and is designated as a terrorist entity by Canada, the U.S. and the E.U., Halper replied, “Hamas doesn’t say it wants to destroy Israel.  It won’t call it [the state] Israel because it views it as Palestine but it will respect a two state solution if another Faction, Fatah negotiates this.” 

When asked which document supports his statement, Halper referred to the “2005 Prisoners Document between Hamas and Fatah.” [ Editor’s note:  The Prisoners Document was in 2006, not 2005, and is mired in controversy and ambiguity.  Moreover, ever since Hamas’s violent take over of Gaza from Fatah in June 2007, it has been crystal clear that Hamas does not recognize Israel, seeks to destroy it and will not let Fatah negotiate a two state solution on its behalf.  On January 25, the very day Halper made his incredulous statement the headline in the left of center Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz was  “Hamas: No reconciliation with Fatah until it ends Israel peace talks.” The article stated that Hamas official Osama Hamdan, as and Fatah “should be based on a resistance program to liberate territory .”]

According to the advertising poster, the National Sponsoring Organizations for Halper’s cross Canada tour were: Independent Jewish Voices, Canadian Arab Federation, United Jewish Peoples Order, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Science For Peace, Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation, Kairos, Canadian Friends of Sabeel.  Local Sponsoring Organizations were: Canada-Palestine Support Network Winnipeg, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Politics Department (University of  Winnipeg), Department of Politics, Labour Studies & Sociology (University of Winnipeg),  Canadian dimension Magazine, CKUW 95.9 FM Radio.

The Winnipeg contact for Independent Jewish Voices is Mark Etkin, who spoke briefly at  the event at the Canadian Mennonite University.

The website of the Canada-Palestine Network ( on February 2, 2009 had a posting regarding “Jeff Halper’s speaking Tour of Canada.” A sub-heading of that posting was entitled “ICAHD appeal for donations.”

It read “Currently ICAHD is in dire straits financially as a result of the recent non-renewal of a very large core funding grant from the European Union…”

The posting under the subheading “ ICAHD appeal for Donations”  also said “Finally, you can support Jeff [Halper]’s Canadian tour by writing a cheque to Independent Jewish Voices and mail it to Mark Etkin,…”

At Halper’s talk at the Canadian Mennonite University, Etkin passed around a basket to audience members soliciting money to help support Halper’s ICAHD organization. 

The third sponsor of Halper’s visit  was UJPO. As of Feb 3, according to UJPO’s website (under the heading “Around the World),  UJPO states “We support a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, under which both people’s would live side by side as peaceful neighbours in secure and viable states (emphasis added) ”


By Rhonda Spivak

An article by Seth Freedman ,July 2006, in the Gaurdian [] - hardly known as a pro-Israel publication- refers to  Halper as  a  “sinister figure in terms of the damage he does to the chances of rapprochement between the moderates in Israel and those on the Palestinian side of the divide.”
As  Freedman says  “A supporter of the one-state solution - in other words, the total elimination of Israel in its current form - Halper travels the world… calling for heavy sanctions to be implemented against the Jewish State. Despite his highly critical take on Israeli government policies, he and his group are allowed to flourish and promote their biased views, unrestricted by intervention on the part of the authorities (emphasis added).”
 Halper and his “ilk” are “ afforded a level of freedom totally at odds with the demonic reputation they've bestowed upon Israel.”
Freedman questions why the European Union has funded  ICHAD :
“ [Jeff Halper] is entitled to his views as is the next man but, as a recent report by NGO-Monitor shows, the fact that the EU bankrolls his organization is a somewhat more unjustifiable situation. According to NGO-Monitor's Dan Kosky, "EU money is being spent in total opposition to actual EU policy, which is based on support for the Middle East peace process, clearly defined by the road map and a two-state solution." When European taxpayers' money is so casually doled out to anti-Israeli groups such as ICAHD, it is little wonder that many Israeli citizens continue to question the impartiality of the EU and its officials.”
 “W hen I met Jeff Halper in February, what struck me about his rhetoric was his complete refusal to blame the Palestinians for the current state of affairs…,” he writes.
Freedman concludes  Halper  is responsible for “distorting the truth, calling for Israel's destruction, and supporting Palestinians "right or wrong."  He is “guaranteed to raise the hackles of any Zionist … be they on the right or left of the political spectrum.”
In an article on the CAMERA website, (Sabeel’s Rhetoric Questioned by Jewish Peace Activists), Dexter Van Zile says that Halper’s “support for Palestinian terrorism is undeniable” and even other  left wing  Jewish peace activists such as Rabbi Arthur Waskow, do not accept this rhetoric. As Waskow said:
… “What’s the point of having two Palestinian states alongside each other?
So, if there is to be a state which in fact has a special relationship to Jewish history and to the Jewish people and to an attempt to generate out of Jewish values what statehood means then it isn’t going to be a state flooded with and whose majority ends up being people who don’t share those values.

Finally, a comment from a Christian non-Zionist posted on the website of Peace Allaince Winnipeg (one of Halper’s sponsors) on Jan 31,2009 is instructive. The activist says that “ Zionism…is a completely inhuman and anti-Biblical ideology..” But, notwithstanding this the activist still asks“ Why do most of our rallies never criticize Hamas? … Hamas has also aimed rockets at Israeli civilians and has killed some…
… Why only the focus on the situation in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan? There are also massive human rights abuses taking place in Chechnya, Colombia, Darfur…”

JEWISH STUDENTS COUNTER HALPER                           
Jeff Halper spoke to about 120 people at U of W and  100 people at U of M on Jan. 26-27.

A few JSA students handed out pamphlets to counter Halper’s viewpoint.

Aaron Gorodzinsky, president of JSA/Hillel noted that one was about why Israel is not an apartheid state, and the second compared human rights in Israel and the rest of the Middle East…”

Regarding Israel’s barrier fence, Gorodzinsky said that “While talking about the security wall, Halper tried to make the case that there was no security involved and that it was an apartheid wall. However, he forgot to mention the reduction of  over 90 per cent of terrorist activity in Israel since the wall was up.” ( this figure is given in an article by Michael Bard,  “Israel’s security Fence”, updated Sept3,2008 , on the website of Jewish Virtual Library.)

Eyal Kraut, a science student at the U of M wrote an article posted on the Jewish Federation’s website at the time( countering numerous claims by Halper.

Kraut wrote: “…[At the U of M]  Halper made no attempt to counter a questioner’s comments that “9/11 was a stage act” and that terrorism has been fabricated as an excuse for war. Such a comment is immensely offensive not only to Israeli victims of terror, but to the 2998 innocent Americans who were murdered on September 11th.  Additionally, Halper commented that “you have to sign a statement of support for a two-state solution to get into Jewish community centers – seriously.” Halper made no attempt to clarify [this]… leaving the audience with a bizarre and wholly false presumption.”

Professor Evelyn Schaefer, Dept. of Psychology at the U of W, who was at Halper's talk  wrote in an email: “I am concerned about the plight of Palestinians and that there also are difficulties that Israeli Arabs experience. However, to give such a one-sided presentation is not helpful for people to understand the very real and complex issues that must be addressed to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” 

<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Orthodox Union
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Coughlin Insurance Brokers
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Tel Aviv University Canada
  • Booke + Partners
  • Gislason Targownik
  • James Teitsma
  • Janice Morley-Lecomte
  • Obby Khan
  • Artista Homes
  • Fetching Style
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Chisick Family
  • Stringers Rentals
  • Winnipeg Beach Home Building Centre
  • KC Enterprises
  • John Wishnowski
  • JLS Construction
  • Ingrid Bennett
  • Gulay Plumbing
  • The Paper Fifrildi
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Levene Tadman Golub
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Holiday Inn Polo Park
  • Bruce Shefrin Interior Design
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Bridges for Peace
  • CVA Systems
  • Chochy's
  • Lakeside Roofing
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Roseman Corp
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • kristinas-greek
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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.