Canada Palestine Association
Halifax, NS, B3J 2X1
The Hon. Mr. John Manley
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dear Mr. Manley:
Your response and the statements you made, about
the reasons for failing to attend The World Conference Against Racism, appear to
contradict all our country's values and claims of opposing racism regardless
of the perpetrator. Your statements, together with those of Ms. Hedy Fry
condemning the Palestinian statement as to the racist practices of Israel ,
evidently condone these racist practises and provide a licence for the
continuation of these practices, in defiance of international law.
Furthermore, these statements display inadequate familiarity with the facts or
submission to US and Zionist lobby pressure.
Let us look at the facts. Israeli practices and
laws demonstrate blatant racism and discrimination against its own
citizens, who are not of the Jewish faith. The list of laws and practices
is lengthy but I will allow Israeli human rights activists and thinkers ,
amongst others, to describe these practices:
The late Professor Israel Shahak, a
Holocaust survivor and Chairperson of The Israeli League for Civil and
Human Rights, stated: " It is my considered opinion that the
state of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term. In this
state people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way
and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This
racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried today mainly in
cooperation with the institutions of the Zionist movement."
The Israeli thinker Derek Tozer stated:
" The official policy of the government [of Israel] is unequivocal. Arabs
like the Jews in Nazi Germany are officially 'Class B' citizens, a fact which
is recorded on their identity cards."
Denis Goldberg, a Jewish South
African sentenced to life imprisonment for " conspiring to overthrow the Apartheid
regime", was released through the intercession of Israeli officials,
came to Israel and stated in 1985 that he sees " many similarities
in the oppression of blacks in South Africa and of Palestinians", and
pledged never to stay in Israel and moved to England.
Nelson Mandela, not unfamiliar
with racist practices, in one of his first speeches after release from prison,
compared blacks in South africa to Palestinians who are fighting "
against a unique form of colonialism".
South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu observed,
during a Christmas visit to Jerusalem in 1989: " I am a black South
African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening
in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, could desribe events in South
Attorney Malea Kiblan, a member
of the American National Lawyers Guild Group who visited
Israel and the Occupied Territories, stated at the Guild's Press Conference on
Aug. 1, 1977: " Before I came, I had never fully understood the UN
Resolution that equated Zionism with racism, and I came here with an open mind
to have personal access to the facts of the situation. When I saw things first
hand, I was totally overwhelmed by the way the Arabs are treated as inferior
people. I didn't really understand institutional racism until I made this
trip, although we have racism in the United States. Israel is built on an
exclusive system, and the Arabs racially cannot qualify as equal citizens in
the West Bank or in Israel in any area, including health , education, personal
treatment and every other area."
To quote one of the many laws in Israel that
discriminate against non- Jewish citizens of the satate, there is the Development
Authority Law of 1950, which remains effective. This law grants the Jewish
National Fund authority over 92% of the land in Israel. By means of a
"land Covenant", all this property, most of it expropriated from
Palesinians, becomes the
"inalienable property" of the
Jewish people worldwide. This means non-Jews, citizens of the state, can never
buy any of it, rent it or till it. If such a law stipulating only
Christians or any specific religious entity can own or lease or till 92% of
the land of Canada, would there not be an outcry of discrimination and racism?
Clearly, Mr. Manley, there is a need for an open
mind and examination of the facts so as not to give a free licence to those
who practice racism to continue to do that unchallenged. No country, including
Israel, must be allowed to remain above international law, and Palestinians as
well as Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel are humans too.
Ismail Zayid, MD.
President, Canada Palestine Association