I try to read the blogs of my fellow ‘Times of Israel’ contributors, mostly to expose myself to differing points of view lest my rightist orientation becomes too reflexive and too dogmatic. I really do try to approach these articles with an open mind, recognizing that there is a myriad of ways for individuals to perceive the same event or subject.
Which brings me to the subject of Canada’s Federal Court deciding that wines from Judea and Samaria could not be labelled as ‘Products of Israel’ so that purchasers unwilling to buy anything made in the occupied territories could make informed decisions. However you dissect this decision, it is clear that the Federal Court is essentially endorsing the B.D.S. playbook.
I wrote about this lamentable development in my blog yesterday (blogs.timesofisrael.com/canada-and-jews) and I now see that another Canadian, Sheldon Kirshner, has written on the same subject but with a diametrically opposed perspective (blogs.timesofisrael.com/let-the-label-show-west-bank-settlement-not-israel).
According to Mr. Kirshner, Israeli settlements are engaging “ … in a deceptive practice under which their exported products are affixed with misleading ‘Made in Israel’ labels.” I would very much appreciate Mr. Kirshner explaining to me if Judea and Samaria are not part of Israel, then which country has rightful claim to that region? The fact is that no other country’s claim to jurisdiction over Judea and Samaria holds any legal weight, hence Israel is well within its rights to assert that they are part of Israel. And when Mr. Kirshner states that “Israel conquered the West Bank” without providing any context or elaboration, he is engaged in a mammoth distortion of history by failing to mention that Israel gained control of the area in a war of self-defense where her enemies were doing their very best to erase Israel from the map.
Mr. Kirshner goes on to say that the European Union declared in 2015 that products manufactured in Judea and Samaria could not be labelled as ‘Made in Israel’ and he praises the Canadian judge for agreeing with the European decision. You know, the same Europe that sends millions of dollars to Palestinian leaders without vetting where the money goes, the Europe that consistently votes against Israel at the United Nations, the Europe that displays very little concern for the enormous increase in anti-Semitic acts over the past few years, the Europe that welcomed millions of Muslim immigrants without any regard for the possible repercussions on their Jewish communities, and most importantly, the Europe that is complicit in Iran’s becoming a nuclear power. This is the Europe that Mr. Kirshner feels should be setting the moral agenda for Israel and Canada.
Mr. Kirshner adds that the Federal Court judge noted that all the intervenors in the case, such as the Independent Jewish Voices Canada agreed that the settlements were not part of Israel. We’re now holding up the IJVC and B.D.S. supporters as paragons of objectivity?
Finally, Mr. Kirshner tells us that the “ … counter-productive settlement project … is a huge impediment to peace”. You have got to be kidding, Mr. Kirshner. Do you have any recollection of what transpired after Israel completely withdrew from Gaza? Did you simply erase from your memory banks the numerous occasions where Israel offered the Palestinians control over virtually the entire West Bank in return for a sustainable peace agreement?
I believe Mr. Kirshner has rightfully earned the ‘Misguided Jew Award’ for this week but he will have to share it with the principal complainant in this case, one David Kattenburg. This gentleman claims to be the son of Holocaust survivors but nevertheless claimed that the ‘Made in Israel’ labels on the wine (which he would never have purchased in any case) were an “… affront to his conscience and human rights”. Apparently, Mr. Kattenburg once visited the West Bank and witnessed for himself that the “ … Palestinians live under… permanent military occupation and apartheid”.
Talk about a blinkered view (which is how Mr. Kirshner refers to Israelis who don’t agree with his contention that the West Bank should be incorporated into any future Palestinian state). Mr. Kattenburg conveniently ignores the entire 75 year history of this conflict where Palestinians have never abandoned their dedication to the destruction of the State of Israel, committed innumerable vicious and inhuman terrorist acts, refused to engage in any sincere efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel, financially reward murderers and their families, immerse their children in the vilest of anti-Semitic drivel, continuously rewrite history to make unsupported territorial claims for themselves while denying the proven Jewish connections to the Holy Land, and despite Mr. Kattenburg’s claims and enjoy far greater freedoms in Israel (including Judea and Samaria) than they experience in any Arab country.
For his unwavering commitment to B.D.S. principles, for his distortions of history and present-day facts on the ground, and for his ocean-sized hypocrisy and self-righteousness, we hereby name Mr. David Kattenburg as co-winner of this week’s ‘Misguided Jew Award’.
It is unfortunate for the Jewish community in Canada that we have allowed these individuals blinded by progressive dogma to hijack this entire West Bank/Judea & Samaria dialogue, portraying themselves as representative of Jewish opinion when they speak for only a miniscule portion of our community.
I plead with you, my fellow Jewish Canadians : speak out against these anti-Israel voices and hold them to account for their prevarications and distortions. If we just sit quietly on the sidelines and allow these lies to go unchallenged, then it will be those lies that people will remember and believe.