February 23, 2015
Dear Mr. Fogel,
Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) is extending an offer to engage in a public session with you about the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We were happy to hear that you, too, are interested in entering into a public discussion on the topic of BDS. As you may recall, during a presentation of panellists 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.
While our respective organizations have lobbed numerous criticisms back and forth over the years, we strongly feel that a publicly-held deliberation outlining our differing views, thereby entering into healthy debate, is a far more civil way of engaging with one another on this issue. We welcome the opportunity to engage with you, honouring the cherished tradition of Jewish debate on important issues to our community. Our hope is 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 topic.
Tyler Levitan, on behalf of Independent Jewish Voices – Canada
March 2, 2015
Dear Mr. Fogel,
I hope this message finds you well.
I sent you an e-mail a week ago requesting your participation in a public session on the BDS movement. Independent Jewish Voices – Canada is more than happy to participate in such a session, based on your proposal to Mr. Dyment. As you may recall, George Jacoby– upon the approval of Mr. Dyment– attempted to organize such a session on behalf of the Middle East Study Group (MESG) of the CIC, that would have included Dr. Jeff Halper and yourself (with the possibility of including others). Unfortunately, that session did not take place, despite several efforts by the MESG of the CIC to reach you.
If I do not hear back from you soon, I will have to conclude that CIJA is no longer interested in engaging publicly on this issue with organizations that hold differing perspectives. That would truly be a missed opportunity for CIJA to pass up the chance to engage in healthy debate in an open and respectful forum on an issue of such importance to Jews in Canada.