Canadian First Nations To Stand With Israel Against IAW

 First Nations congregation shows their support of Israel— by Noam Bedein, Director, Sderot Media Center

On my recent visit to Canada, I was confronted by the growing strength and public acceptance of the Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) and came back to Israel with new friends who take a courageous stance for Israel — The First Nations communities.

More after the jump.
First Nations delegation in Israel, near the Knesset.Background

From January 25th to 31st I traveled to Winnipeg and Ottawa, invited and sponsored by Bnai Brit of Canada in Winnipeg, CAMERA, Hillel, and the Israeli Consulate in Ottawa. During this speaking tour I experienced the PR campaign leading up to the anti-Israeli festival “Israel Apartheid Week”, which will be held in 92 cities around the world from February 20th to March 11th, and in Canada from March 5th to 9th, 2012.

In Winnipeg I realized that the main challenge was getting more people from the Jewish communities to understand the real message behind “The Apartheid Slur” and take a stand against “The Apartheid Slur.”

As Director of Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev, I was in Canada to talk about Sderot and the Western Negev, and the connection between Hamas-controlled Gaza and the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic festivals that are popular on college campuses. These festivals’ main purpose is to demonize the State of Israel and at the same time de-legitimize Israel as a sovereign state.

Over the past several years, multimillion dollar media campaigns have promoted the Palestinian narrative in Gaza, the first Arab territory in the Middle East controlled by a regime designated as a terrorist organization, since June 2007. In addition to these well-funded media campaigns, a slough of “alternative news” websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook accounts help spread the message that Israel is an apartheid state that abuses “Palestinians”. In spite of overwhelming evidence that this is not true, this lie has been told so often, and for so long, that few question its validity.

In addition to the anti-Israel media campaigns, unbalanced reporting by almost every major media outlet has legitimized ongoing missile attacks from Gaza. One rarely hears a report on the brutal reality. Since the “cease fire” of January 18th, 2009 that ended Operation Cast Lead, Gaza-based terrorist organizations have launched more than 1,070 aerial attacks. As in the past, the many different Islamic terror groups target the civilian population that has endured approximately 13,000 aerial attacks over the past eleven years, including during the current “cease fire” (Israel’s third unilateral cease fire).

Noam Bedein and Rev Raymond MacLean
Finding New Israel Supporters

On Wednesday, January 25, I gave a multimedia presentation in Winnipeg for the Bnai Brit Jewish/Aboriginal/Christian Round Table that included Jewish, Christian, and First Nation representatives and met many remarkable people at this meeting, including Rev. Raymond MacLean.

Rev. MacLean is a First Nation representative and Pastor to the largest urban First Nation community in North America. 10% of Winnipeg city’s population of 700,000 is Aboriginal/First Nations people.

Rev. MacLean founded an organization known as World Indigenous Nations for Israel. He has visited Israel 16 times since 2003 and is part of the Indigenous Tour to Israel being held from February 12th to 23rd, 2012.

The Indigenous Tour to Israel as promoted in Winnipeg: “Original peoples from both the northern and the southern ends of the earth” from Greenlandic Inuit, Canadian Inuit, First Nations from Canada, as well as indigenous people from Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia

“Wherever we stand, we stand for Israel”

There are fifteen First Nation communities from four Provinces (Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan) including representatives from the Objiway, Cree, Oji-Cree and Sioux tribes. More than 300 First Nation individuals have visited Israel in the past 9 years.

Speaking with Rev. MacLean, I learned that their communities will always take a stand for Israel, as they have in the past.

Rev. MacLean:

In 2006 our First Nation group took a stand for Israel in the streets of our city during the Israel-Lebanon war. We received criticism from all sides both people from the streets and from the media. I was interviewed
by the media of our city and I shared positive things why we should stand with Israel and no word of mine was posted in that interview the next day.

The beautiful connection the First Nation people have with the Jewish people’s rights to live in Israel, is summed up as “the inheritance of the land by the ancestors”

I asked Rev. MacLean to comment on how anti-Israel activists compare the Arab-Israeli conflict to “the Colonizer occupying land and kicking out the First Nations to live in poverty and in refugee camps”.

Rev. MacLean:

Our conflicts are not the same. They need to study history a little further. I know the history from the beginning. There were Arab nomads who lived in the Holy Land prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 who were hired by the new Jewish settlers. Also, neighboring Arabs from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt sought employment and were hired by the Jews who were settling in their new land after returning from exile after 2500 years to reclaim their inheritance left by the ancestors. These Arabs became known as Palestinians but were originally Arab nomads and neighbors of Israel who Israel endorsed and recognized as Israeli citizens.

Many challenges face the First Nations. They are struggling to maintain their identity, history, and culture while living within the mainstream society and, at the same time, dealing with poverty and related issues brought on by centuries of mistreatment and hostility.

Rev. MacLean:

Our young people no longer retain their original tongue, but all speak the main English language.

Right now the Jewish world, especially here in Israel, is having difficulty maintaining our identities and beliefs and protecting our basic historical and legal right just to live in Israel. At this time, it’s encouraging to know that there are people, even in remote places around the world, who understand our situation and stand with us.

Connecting with these communities can bring real social change and hope to many Indigenous people throughout the world, while at the same time uniting people behind Israel’s cause.

I returned from Canada with renewed hope for the future, knowing that we have friends out there who are motivated and educated and who are not necessarily Jewish or Christian. My experience with the First Nations communities reminded me of Psalm 126

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; Then they said among the nations: ‘Hashem has done great things with these.’ Hashem hath done great things with us; we are rejoiced.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

UN Commemorates Racist Durban Racism Conference

— Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith International condemns the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. That event, in Durban, South Africa, was a forum overshadowed by rabid anti-Israel sentiment and deserves to be remembered as embodying the worst aspects of the United Nations.

The vote results included 104 nations in favor of the resolution, 22 against, and 33 abstentions.

B’nai B’rith International commends those nations voting against the commemoration: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Particularly disappointing was the near unanimous bloc of Latin American nations voting in favor of the resolution.

More after the jump.
The proposal to celebrate the original Durban conference has been championed by Arab and other largely non-democratic states, many with records characterized by mistreatment of minorities that have used their collective numbers to push through many anti-Israel resolutions at the world body. Though it is now only in its early planning stages, the Durban commemoration has been scheduled for a time when world leaders are expected in New York in September 2011, and just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“It is tragic that more nations don’t publicly recognize and condemn Durban as the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish free-for-all it truly was,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Our delegates joined other non-governmental organizations in walking out of the conference in 2000 and again during Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel diatribe during the 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva. The prospects for anything positive to take place at a 10-year commemoration are no better.”

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, with its Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), implied that Israel alone is a racist nation. Even worse than the U.N. proceedings were the NGO forum and street scenes that saw horrific expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

“The original Durban conference attempted to validate the perverse theory that Zionism is racism,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Durban’s legacy of hate, intolerance, and double standards should never be forgotten, and should certainly never be celebrated.”

Following the proposal to commemorate Durban, Canada was the first country to unequivocally state it would not attend such an event. B’nai B’rith is calling on all countries not to participate in “Durban III.”