Our vision is for an Israel-Palestine where all peoples are equal and
free regardless of their religion, culture, ethnicity, age, gender or
sexual orientation; and where all the basic tenets of international law
and human rights conventions are implemented.
On 9 October 2014 Tyler Levitan was in Halifax to give this talk at
the University of King's College, Alumni Hall, New Academic Building.
Tyler is the Campaign Co-ordinator for Independent Jewish Voices, Canada.
Born and raised in a Zionist family in Ottawa, he attended an
all-Jewish elementary school there. He was a committed Zionist until his
early undergraduate years at Queen's University. In his first year at
Queen's he discovered the only way he could get to Israel on the cheap was to
accept a “Hasbara Fellowship". “Hasbara” (which means “explanation” in
Hebrew) has come to mean Israeli propaganda. His experience in Israel
had the opposite effect to what was intended. Tyler has since become a
strong critic of Israeli policy and its occupation of Palestine.
In Israel’s recent attack on Gaza, Hasbara was very much in evidence as
Israel again attempted to “spin” the story to its advantage.
On 22 May 2014, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) held a$250 per plate
"Negev Dinner" as a fundraiser at the Cunard Centre in Halifax. The JNF
registered charity in Canada. It is also a racialist
organization. Its stated purpose is to acquire land in Israel
which can only ever be sold or leased to Jews. The Canada
Revenue Agency's rules prohibit racialism.
Independent Jewish Voices Canada is conducting a
campaign to have JNF's charitable status revoked because of this racialism.
In support of this campaign, the Dalhousie University chapter of
Students Against Israeli Apartheid, the Halifax chapter of Independent
Jewish Voices and Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace organized a
protest on the evening of the Halifax "Negev Dinner".
Before, during, and after the 1948 war between Israel and several
neighbouring states, Israel drove over 700,000 Palestinians out of the
farms, villages and cities where they had lived for thousands of
generation. In fact, it was the resulting flood of refugees into
neoghbouring states that precipated that war. This is known as the Nakba, an Arabic word meaning catastrophe. Just as November 11 is Canada's Remembrance Day, May 15 is Nakba Remembrance Day.
Palestinian Refugees, October-November 1948
Source: Front cover of The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem by Benny Morris
Two events were held on 15 May 2014 to commemorate Nakba Day.
1. A rally at 5:00pm in Victoria Park, sponsored by Dalhousie Students Against Israeli Apartheid
In the evening, we had a reception at a community hall with great food and speeches, and watched the
20 year old CBC Fifth Estate film about the creation of Canada Park in the West Bank.
Three villages in the West Bank were destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces during and after the 1967 war.
Later, the Jewish National Fund raised tax-deductible funds in Canada to create
Canada Park on the site of those destroyed villages.
Dr. Ismail Zayid, an 81-year-old Halifax pathologist, retired after 27 years at Dalhousie University Medical
School and Capital Health who was born and grew up in one of those villages, was featured in the film.
On 3 December 2013 UNJPPI organized a Canada-wide day of action.
In Halifax, this consisted of a demonstration in front of Saint Andrew's United Church
in downtown Halifax. Several members of CAJJP participated.
From the Mid-West to the Middle East - 25 September 2013
In 2002, Pamela Olson, a small town girl from eastern Oklahoma, had achieved
what she had always wanted - a physics degree from Stanford University - only to realize
that she had no interest in spending any more of her young years in a basement lab
doing problem sets.
So she spent a year as a bartender near the Stanford University campus "because it had the
best dollars-to-stress ratio of any job she could think of". With her savings from this job
she embarked on a holiday in the middle east, and while in Jordan met some people with whom
she decided to visit the West Bank ... ...
Eva Bartlett is a very brave young Canadian woman who has spent much
of the last six years in Palestine, volunteering for the
International Solidarity Movement.
In mid 2007 she arrived in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories
in the West Bank where she stayed for 8 months. In late 2008, she
sailed to the Gaza Strip with "Free Gaza", one of five successful
sailings to Gaza. Every boat since has been stopped, often brutally,
by the Israeli navy.
In summer 2013, during a speaking tour in Canada, Eva gave a talk and slide-show in Halifax
explaining her experiences there.