Participants at IJV’s 2012 Annual General Meeting concluded their three-day program Saturday determined to continue organizing and building bridges with others seeking a just settlement of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. The meeting was packed with presentations and workshops on Israel, Palestine and Canada’s own involvement in the region. Links were emphasized between First Nation struggles in Canada against colonization and environmental degradation of their land, and those of the Palestinians.
It was pointed out during the AGM that while Jewish solidarity activists represented by IJV may appear to be outnumbered by the right wing Jewish leadership of the Israel lobby organizations in Canada, in fact, most North American Jews share IJV’s values of human rights, equal justice and security for all in Israel and Palestine, plus ending the Israeli occupation and siege of Palestine.
Kurdish Iranian professor Amir Hassanpour opened the AGM with the observation that successfully ending the Israel occupation of Palestine will be a major positive influence in the Middle East. Universite de Montreal professor Yakov Rabkin challenged the notion that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is simply a national struggle. “When Karl Marx wrote ‘Workers of the world, unite’ explained Rabkin, the capitalists took him seriously and they are now united. Palestine’s ruling class collaborates with Israel’s ruling class and the US ruling class”.
“We are going to emphasize Israel’s unjustifiable occupation and violence supporting the fanatical Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank”, stated member Scott Weinstein. “It drives the establishment organizations like CIJA and the Jewish National Fund up the proverbial wall, because they are forced to defend the settlements and the occupation, knowing full well most Canadian Jews oppose them.”
On Saturday, participants rushed out during the lunch break to the Israeli consulate to protest the seizure of the Finnish boat to Gaza carrying medical, construction and humanitarian aid. Canadian ex-MP, Jim Manley was one of the delegates captured. IJV has long opposed the inhuman siege of Gaza.
IJV’s Diana Ralph and Reverend Brian Macintosh from the United Church closed the gathering with announcements of their mutual commitment to continue working together to help the United Church’s boycott of Israeli settlement products. “We are hoping to take up the space left by CIJA at the table”, explained Ralph “when they ordered their rabbis to stop associating with the United Church.”
In between, there were workshops on the campaign opposing the Jewish National Fund; the history of Jewish non-violence; developing alternative Jewish communities; QuAIA and Pinkwashing; Israel’s pacification industry and Canada’s Guantanamo; and Syria.
Everyone agreed the catered Middle Eastern food was delicious.