The recent three-day detention of John Manly, a retired United Church minister and former NDP MP for Nanaimo, by Israeli defence forces shows again the oppressive actions of the government of Israel.
The protest ship Estelle was in international waters when boarded by IDF members who forced the ship to an Israeli port and interned some of the protesters.
There was no comment from our federal government about this action against one of its former members.
Instead, this week we had John Baird fulminating against Richard Falk, the UN envoy who has noted that the actions of Israeli settlers in the West Bank is a serious block to the Middle East peace process. “Both offensive and unhelpful” were John Baird’s words.
Earlier this year, we heard Dr. Izzeldin Abulaish speak in the Comox Valley.
This physician is well-regarded by his Israeli medical colleagues. He described the deaths of three of his daughters and a niece when his home was shelled in January 2009 during the Israeli incursion in Gaza. The IDF refused to allow his daughters to be buried alongside their mother, who had died of acute leukemia the preceding September!
Dr. Abulaish is now an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health in Toronto as he and his remaining children are endeavouring to rebuild their shattered lives.
The government of Canada rarely gives any details of the daily humiliations suffered by the inhabitants of Gaza. The state of Israel receives our government’s support despite evidence of harmful actions caused by IDF and the settlers in the West Bank.
A good parallel of the attitude of the Canadian government regarding Israel is that, which prevailed for years, of turning a blind eye to domestic violence.
As Canadians we should demand that our government accept that there is something amiss with Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. As John Manly mentioned, one should be able to speak the truth to friends when it is necessary.