This week, like all Canadians, our community is preoccupied with the federal election. This is an important opportunity to participate in our democracy and I encourage you to engage at the ballot box and beyond. Our thoughts today, however, are with Israelis.
The peace we enjoy in Canada stands in stark contrast to the horrifying situation in Israel right now. Virtually every day, Palestinians are committing unspeakable atrocities against Israelis. These suicidal murders make no distinction among Jews: young and old, men and women, religious and secular…all are being targeted simply for being Jewish.
Frustratingly, media have suggested that these attacks are part of a “cycle of violence” – a phrase that implies equal culpability between the two sides. In what universe is a terrorist morally equal to his or her victims, or those who come to their aid?
Other media lend credence to the idea that Israel is provoking tensions on the Temple Mount, an objectively false premise. At every opportunity, Israeli leaders have reiterated that they have no intention of undermining Muslim worship on the Temple Mount, and, in fact, in an effort to ease tensions, have even gone so far as to ban visits by Jewish Members of the Knesset to the holiest site in Judaism.
Within our community there is a healthy debate about the legitimacy of Jewish worship at the site, but no serious observer would argue that Israel has failed to preserve the status quo and Muslim access to the Temple Mount.
Still other media suggest that terrorism derives from economic malaise and political despair on the part of Palestinian youth. Such comments ignore the reality that a number of attackers were Israeli citizens with attending democratic rights and freedoms, Palestinians employed in Israeli construction firms and telecom companies, and residents of Jerusalem with access to the city and its many opportunities.
Nor do these comments recognize that, after rejecting three offers of Palestinian statehood since 2000 (all without counter-offer), the Palestinian leadership have walked away from the peace table and have raised condition after condition to block the resumption of talks. This rejectionist stance was evident in Mahmoud Abbas’ latest declaration at the UN that the Palestinians are “no longer bound” by the Oslo Accords, which obligate the PA to renounce violence and counter terrorism.
All the explanations and equivocations we have heard this month refuse to acknowledge the primary cause of these attacks: Palestinian incitement. In mosques, media, and especially graphic social media, young Palestinians are encouraged to martyr themselves by attacking Israelis – and those inflaming the situation include PA officials and activists from Fatah, the governing party in the PA.Take action
This email is not a business-as-usual update to community members. Israelis are facing a terrorist threat that, though not unprecedented in scale, is certainly unprecedented in its nature.
The daily spate of knife, gun, and car attacks is as frightening as it is unpredictable, as merciless as it is unrelenting. Israeli analysts have confirmed that, while extensive security measures are in place, given the nature of the attacks and the methods used – both of which are quite distinct from past terror campaigns – there is no way to prevent all these attacks.
Such new and dangerous tactics require from Israelis the innovation, vigilance, and resilience that have been hallmarks of Jewish history. At the same time, if we are to be worthy of our claim to love Israel, now is the time for Diaspora Jews to take action.
We must educate Canadian leaders and all Canadians about the real obstacles to coexistence and the vital fact that the vast majority of Israelis and Diaspora Jews seek peace for the benefit of both peoples. We must hold the UN and world leaders to account for their ongoing failure to speak out and address this situation truthfully.
And we must send a message of solidarity to Israelis, whether by emailing Israeli leaders, buying Israeli products, or taking a trip to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people and a city that should be a model of peace for all peoples.Take action
Sincerely and with a heavy heart,
David J. Cape, Chair