Publish Date: March 26, 2009
Dear Ms. James,
As Jewish British Columbians we were disappointed and angered by your treatment of newly-chosen Kensington candidate Mable Elmore regarding comments she made some years ago about the difficulty of dealing with Zionists in her union when trying to organize around peace issues. We want you to know that we are not at all offended by Mable's remarks but rather by your response to them, which we think does a disservice both to Jews and the community as a whole.
Mainstream Zionism is a political ideology that supports the creation of an exclusively Jewish state in the land of Palestine. The creation of the state of Israel and its many actions in violently repressing the indigenous Palestinian people, denying their human rights and repeatedly violating international law is a direct consequence of this Zionist ideology.
It is completely fallacious to equate the term "Zionist" with the term "Jew". There are many in the Jewish community, including ourselves, who are very critical of the policies of the Israeli state and have strong disagreement with the Zionist organizations and individuals in Canada and elsewhere who defend these policies. With the recent brutal assault on the people of Gaza by the Israeli military, and the recent election of an Israeli government which includes openly racist demagogues such as Avigdor Lieberman, more and more people within the Jewish community and within the broader community are becoming critical of Israeli policies and want to see a change in the situation which could actually lead to a just settlement and peace between the two peoples.
The real aim of the Zionist leadership in branding people like Mable who criticize Israeli policies as anti-Semites is to try to extinguish any debate, discussion and analysis of the real issues in the Middle East. It is the new McCarthyism in the current political context. This is the Big Lie—to repeat endlessly that criticism of Israel amounts to anti-Semitism.
Your response to Mable's words in that interview have helped to spread the Big Lie further and to repress any real discussion and debate over the difficult human rights issues in the Middle East. For the party of social democracy in British Columbia to take such action is shameful. We hope that you will reconsider your words and actions in this matter and attempt to set the record straight.
Independent Jewish Voices B.C., a provincial chapter of Independent Jewish Voices (Canada).