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Canadian Museum of Human Rights


March 6, 2013

[Editor's note :Something tells me we are going to be hearing more and more about the issue of Palestinian refugees in the future in the context of the Canadian Museum of  Human Rights. And I can't help but wonder whether as time goes on the very  creation of the State of Israel will be challenged through potential exhibits in the  CMHR.  The majority of the Palestinian refugees or their descendents  whom I have interviewed over the last 7 years in Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza,  have spoken of returning not to a future Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza, but to homes that no longer exist  within the green line.  If the CMHR  takes up their cause, in a way that satisfies them, it will be talking about their return to Lod, Ramla, Jaffa, Haifa, Akko, and B'er Sheva, in addition of course to Jerusalem. They will be advocating in essence the flooding of  pre-67  Israel with Palestinian refugees, and rather than call it the destruction of Israel, they will refer to it as the One State solution. And the issue is not only what the  CMHR will have as exhibits on this issue when it opens, but 5 years after it opens, and 10 years after it opens etc, keeping in mind that the government of the day will change at one point or another. And will our community have the communal resources to adequately defend against anti-Israel exhibits ? Will we have enough pro-Israel academics here in the city to conduct pro-Israel advocacy, and  teach a Zonist narrative ? Will the CMHR end up being more and more like the United Nations when it gets up and running? The questions to think about as you read the article below:

The following is part of an email that Friends of the CMHR sent to its mailing list on March 6, 2012 after the above CBC article was published, whihc makes it clear that the CMHR intends to deal with the issue of human rights lessons in the context of the  Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

 Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights - Recent Media Coverage / Amis du Musée canadien pour les droits

Because you are a key donor and supporter of the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Friends), I wanted to let you know about media stories regarding gallery content in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).


Story on CBC Manitoba and in the Winnipeg Sun


CBC ran a story that resulted from their investigation into concerns expressed by the Canadian-Palestinian community regarding how their human rights stories will be conveyed.


As a part of the story, a set of CMHR's Gallery Profiles (from September 2012) was posted on the CBC Web site. While this is an internal working document that was never meant for public consumption, CMHR was obliged to release it because of a request filed under Access to Information. CMHR and Friends' would have preferred for CMHR to release information about its content in an organized way that would have enabled our donors and our supporters to 'hear the news' first. This remains our intention for a future date.

It is important to note that some parts of the September profiles are already dated and, as part of a working document, will be constantly changing right up until inauguration. Regardless, please rest assured that Friends and CMHR are working collaboratively to ensure that our donors and supporters are provided with information about the museum journey - including gallery content - that will provide a more in-depth view than the working document that was obtained by media.


In regard to the CBC story that reports on concerns raised by some Palestinian-Canadians, CMHR is, of course, very interested in the human rights issues raised by the Israel-Palestine conflict. They are working on ways to portray the human rights lessons that can be learned from this ongoing struggle.


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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.