This originally appeared on Rabble.ca.
Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) has reached out to Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, offering to engage with him in a public session on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Mr. Fogel had proposed the idea of a public session himself, but he has yet to respond to our overtures. Meanwhile, Mr. Fogel has been lobbying our MPs to support the allegation that BDS represents the “new face of anti-Semitism.” Please sign IJV’s petition to Mr. Fogel calling on him to engage in an open and public discussion of the issue. Below is our open letter to Mr. Fogel.
Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) invites you— as the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs— to a public discussion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
We were elated to hear that you, too, are interested in a public discussion on BDS. As you may recall, during a panel discussion in which you participated in March 2014, you said to David Dyment of the Canadian International Council (CIC) that: “On the issue of BDS, where you talked about academic boycott, I would suggest to you David that it would be time well spent for you to organize a session dedicated to the whole proposition, legitimacy and value of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. And I’d be more than happy to participate in that. It’s a very big topic, and it doesn’t lend itself to very quick discussion.” In case you do not recall saying this, skip ahead to 1:35:53 at this link, where the filmed discussion entitled “Israel and Palestine: a Path to Peace” has been posted.
Based on your expressed interest, the Middle East Study Group (MESG) of the CIC extended an invitation to you, on several occasions, to engage in a public discussion on this issue with Jewish-Israeli author and peace activist Dr. Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, during Dr. Halper’s recent 4-day visit to Ottawa. Despite many efforts on the part of the MESG to encourage you to engage publicly with Dr. Halper on this issue, you failed to respond to these overtures. IJV has also extended invitations to you, which have been ignored.
With Benjamin Netanyahu’s fear-mongering against Palestinian citizens of Israel on the day of the election, and his promise to the Israeli public that he will never permit the establishment of a Palestinian state, it is important for us to discuss how Canadians might influence Israel to abide by international law in line with official Canadian policy. In the absence of state sanctions from Israel’s allies, like Canada, what should everyday Canadians who support human rights be doing?
We welcome the opportunity to engage with you, as we believe that healthy debate and dialogue on these issues is important for the Jewish community. There is no one unified voice to the diverse Jewish community, and we encourage discussion that brings a variety of voices to the table, including CIJA’s. We hope that you will consider following through on your proposal, and engage with us, and/or other proponents of the BDS movement in Canada, in a public session on this important issue.
Independent Jewish Voices – Canada
If you would like to sign IJV’s petition, which calls on Shimon Fogel to accept this invitation, follow this link.