The third annual Israel Truth Week conference will take place on March 23 at Lodzer Synagogue (12 Heaton Street, Toronto). You can register for free admission at the event’s website.
The event is a brainchild of the Caledonia equal rights activist Mark Vandermaas. Frustrated with reports about the harassment of Jewish on Canadian campuses because of events happening in Israel, he decided to create an event, where the truth about Israel could be told in an open and impartial way.
From its humble beginning in London (Ontario) the ITW has grown, attracting more participants and speakers and even raising substantial donations for medical charities. This year’s charity is Israel’s ambulance service (through Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel). The interactive nature of the conference, where friends of Israel can mingle and discuss any issues with the speakers, makes it a place to learn more about the most maligned country in the Middle East.
The Israel Truth Week also serves as an antidote to another event – the infamous Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The latter is Toronto’s largest “contribution” to the global anti-Semitism. It is difficult to understand the significance of the ITW, if you don’t grasp the magnitude of the IAW annual Israel slander-fest.
The IAW presents an extremely distorted picture of Israel, as seen by the far left, Muslim extremists and the boycott Israel movement. The hatred displayed by those groups is so deep that even while they hide it under the code word “Zionism,” it is very clear that the final goal is the destruction of Israel.
It is true that recently the IAW has been losing its lustre. Many lefty “celebrities” shun it. When I first covered it, it opened with a much fanfare by the lefty super-activist Judy Rebick and the University of Toronto Professor Abigail Bakan. True, both would’ve felt more at home in the Faculty of Scientific Communism of the Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University of the USSR in the times of Brezhnev, but they are at least nominally mainstream figures in Canada.
After the Godfather of the movement, Norman Finkelstein, chastised it for its excesses, many academics and politicians tried to distance themselves from the IAW. That created the deceptive impression that the IAW influence is waning. Actually, the vacuum was filled quickly with extremists with no real social standing, who didn’t have the self-restraint of the well-known public figures. Under the right circumstances, such people can cause a lot of damage. (Don’t forget that in the early 1917 Vladimir I. Lenin was a grumpy penniless activist residing in Switzerland.)
A look at the events of this year’s IAW program confirms that trend. A panel dealt with Building the Global BDS movement: Lessons from South Africa, Palestine and Canada, presented by Yusuf Saloojee – the former South African ANC representative in Canada, and Hind Awwad – former Coordinator for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in Palestine.
They still exploit shamelessly the Holocaust to justify the Arab fight against Israel using the usual not-so-useful idiots, like in Continuity and Resistance: From the Holocaust to Palestine, with Suzanne Weiss – Holocaust survivor and Palestine solidarity activist.
The lefty lunacy was frightening in the discussion about Resisting Settler Colonial States through Global Solidarities and Activist Campaigns, with Carrie Lester – Indigenous rights and environmental activist; Samah Idriss – Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, Editor of al-Adab and an unidentified speaker from SodaStream Campaign from Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA). It looks like Turtle Island, just like Israel, should be “decolonized.”
They even use the homosexuality as a weapon against the only country in the Middle East that has legalized it: Pinkwashing, Homonationalism and Love under the time of Apartheid, with Zeina Amro – Love Under the Time of Apartheid Campaign, Palestine, and Natalie Kouri-Towe from the notorious Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.
The themes of the events and the titles of the participants sound like ramblings of inmates in an insane asylum. However, unlike those inmates, who are safely locked up, the IAW activists are free to roam the streets in Canada. And if they keep repeating their seemingly crazy lies without any opposition, many people could eventually accept them as truth.
That’s why it is so important to support events like the Israel Truth Week, presented by people who have actual knowledge about the history and the political realities of Israel. When you are informed about the facts, it is much easier to confront the lies and deceptions of those who hate the Jews and Israel.
Tomorrow I am going to present the speakers of the Israel Truth Week. None of them has the insane charm of the ragtag crowd behind the IAW, but most have the education and years of experience that would help every attendee understand the truth about the State of Israel and its people.
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