Monday, February 23, 2009

Harvey Oberfeld on CUPE's Disgrace

CUPE Ontario Shames Canada’s Union Movement

February 22nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

No surprise! The Canadian Union of Public Employees’ Ontario members voted in favour of supporting a boycott of contact with virtually all Israeli universities.

Resolution 50, which was passed at CUPE’s convention in Windsor Sunday protested the continued Israeli ”occupation” of Gaza (Huh????) … and called for its members to boycott working with Israeli institutions that do any research beneficial to the Israeli military. But in my view, this resolution, and the myopic view it reflects, is so totally one-sided as to be more of a disgrace to Canada’s union movement than Israeli universities.

Why just Israel? Why not any institutions anywhere doing research that helps their country’s military apparatus? Because that could open a whole can of worms in lots of places … like Iran, China, Russia, the U.S. and even Canada!!!

No, no … just single out Israel! That, in my view, is pathetic discrimination.

This wasn’t the first time that CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan has focussed his attack and railled against Israel. In 2006, during Israel’s war with Hesbollah, Ryan reportedly hastily called a CUPE Ont. meeting on a Saturday, when observant Jewish members could not attend, and had a motion condemning Israel passed then too.

I do not object to anyone criticizing any country, organization or collective group for positions or actions taken. But, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I absolutely hate one-sidedness and bigotry … and I believe Sid Ryan … and CUPE … are GUILTY on both accounts.

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Israel was promised peace if it withdrew from the buffer zone it had created in southern Lebanon to protect northern Israeli villages .. but was totally lied to?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE after Israel withdrew and once more exposed its citizens to potential shelling .. when Hesbollah moved in … not with farmers and ploughshares, but with THOUSANDS of rockets, and it started firing into Israel almost daily?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when two Israeli soldiers, in their own land, patrolling on their own side of the border with Lebanon, were kidnapped and murdered by Hesbollah?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE as thousands of Israeli’s … including THEIR women and children … cowered in bomb shelters as Hesbollah rockets rained down .. totally unprovoked?

Where was Sid Ryan when Hesbollah turned its guns, mortars, rockets on the Lebanese people themselves and killed hundreds of civilians in an abortive attempt to seize control of the entire country?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Hamas, after winning the Gaza election, soon after turned its fury and weapons on Fatah, its political opposition, murdering hundreds of them (including throwing some of them to their deaths from atop buildings) to eliminate any dissident voices and terrorize the ordinary Gazans into submission? No boycott there!

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when, with the greatest heartache and pain, Israel forcibly removed 45,000 of its own settlers from Gaza, turning the entire area over to the Palestinians in yet another move aimed at promoting the promised peace?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Israel and Egypt re-opened Gaza’s borders in a gesture of good will …. and Hamas imported hundreds of rockets (from Iran) hidden in food and commercial supplies?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Hamas, instead of promoting farming, businesses and beach resorts in its regained Gaza, moved rocket-launchers into its new Gaza territories and started firing almost DAILY at Israeli towns nearby?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when, in retaliation Israel and Egypt placed severe checks on goods flowing across the border, so Hamas built illegal underground smuggling tunnels to import THOUSANDS more rockets to fire into Israel?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Hamas and Hesbollah DELIBERATELY AIMED their rockets at CIVILIAN targets in Israel?

Where was Sid Ryan and CUPE when Israel warned Hamas and the world that if the Hamas rockets did not stop (after HUNDREDS had fallen inside Israel ..terrifying, injuring and killing) it would have to act?

And apart from Israel, where have Sid Ryan and CUPE been in all the suffering that has gone on in Darfur, Sudan, Chechnya, Bosnia, Cambodia etc etc etc over the years? Where were there resolutions calling for boycotts of institutions in those killing fields?

And where are Sid Ryan and CUPE as human suffering goes on and human rights are regularly trampled in countries like China, Cuba, Iran, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and almost all the Arab countries of the world?

In fact, ironically, Israel is the ONLY country in the Middle East with a free and democratic union movement, an actual political LABOUR party, and human rights levels (for all its citizens ..including Arab Israelis) that residents in ALL its neighboring states could only dream about.

Ryan’s and CUPE’s anti-Israel motion disgraces them more than Israel.

How ironic: it will be celebrated ONLY by those who support terrorist groups and dictatorial regimes where almost EVERYTHING Canadian unions claim they stand for are punishable by harrassment, imprisonment or death.

The Canadian union movement has only been further tainted by this addition to the public’s perception that it is full of far-left, one-sided radicals who support terrorist groups, dictatorial regimes … almost anyone anti-Israeli and anti-American … while staying so silent about the real tyrannies that imprison their own people and threaten our freedoms.

Other Canadian unions should repudiate CUPE Ont.’s stand … or share the shame.

Harv Oberfeld


NRF said...

Reasonable people are saddened that a political solution in the Middle East seems impossible and efforts at dialogue are rooted in hatred and support for genocide. Positions harden and many observers believe they must adhere to all concepts of one side or be treated as an enemy.

People inclined to support Israel are blind to the deaths and injury of innocents, including youngsters bombed in schools, or Israeli white phosphorus fire bombing of U.N. quarters near civilians. Yet many of those who aim to sustain the Palestinian movements ignore the countless efforts by Arabs to kill or hurt unknown but blameless citizen of Israel.

A Rabbi I know says that Jews and Arabs lived together successfully through much of history. He believes that today, the underlying root of conflict is financial crime. Powerful people on both sides gain from the status quo and prevent solutions from taking hold. For example, American officials accused Yasser Arafat of accumulating a personal fortune of between 1 and 3 billion dollars while his constituents lived in utter poverty. Yet, who can deny that the military industrial complex in Israel depends on continued warfare for its good fortunes.

CUPE is not helpful in being a Palestinian partisan in this minor but symbolic matter. However, it would not be hard to find examples of people keen to blindly support any behavior of the other side. There is shame for both supporters of Israel and for supporters of Palestine

David in North Burnaby BC said...

Great piece by Terry Glavin in the May 10 '07 Ottawa Citizen on the unholy alliance between the Left and Islamofascists.:

"...a bizarre, backroom alliance between key leaders of Canada's so-called "anti-war" movement and the Islamist far-right. The Citizen story was an account of a recent gathering in Cairo that had gone largely unreported in the English-speaking world.
The Cairo meeting brought together hundreds of militants and activists from around the world. One of the largest contingents was a 20-member Canadian delegation that included the key leaders of such groups as the Toronto Stop the War Coalition, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and Canada's umbrella anti-war organization, the Canadian Peace Alliance.
Among the Islamist participants at the Cairo gathering were scores of activists from Egypt's barely tolerated Muslim Brotherhood, several senior officials with Lebanon's illegal police-statelet Hezbollah, and members of the politburo of Hamas -- the Jew-hating suicide-bomb fanatics that the Canadian government properly recognizes as terrorists. ..."

Gavin. said...

Can't people understand that the Israelis have given the Palestinians every chance to develop their own nation and develop their own economy over the years and the Palestinians have blown every opportunity given them by infighting and religious dictatorship. Look at what the Israelis have done with their nation built on a non-arable desert and compare it with what the Arabs and Palestinians have accomplished in the same historical timefame. Don't ever forget that Israel is a sectarian state where religion and politics are separate. The Muslims can learn a lot from this but they never have and that is their tragedy. Very sad and up to now an insolvable situation between two great and historic peoples.