CIJR Delegitimation Conference in Montreal (Nov. 6, 2011)

On November 6th, CIJR Canadian Institute of Jewish Research at Concordia University hosts a conference that will bring international activists and scholars to Montreal. The morning will be devoted to defining and analyzing the “delegitimization strategy” and scholarship. The afternoon will be devoted to combating it.

The morning participants will be Efraim Karsh, the distinguished historian, Sally Zerker, of York U., Asaf Ramirowsky, the Middle East Forum, Barbara Kay, the Canadian journalist, and Catherine Chatterley, U. of Manitoba.

Daniel Pipes (Hoover Institution/MEF) will be giving the keynote address over lunch, which is included in the admission.

I am especially excited about participating with the afternoon panellists who have been activists in the cause, Richard Landes, Mordechai Nisan, and Charles Small.

Richard Landes coined the term “Pallywood,” which visually exposes the creation of Palestinian victims’ films on the West Bank. This was revealed on Sixty Minutes.

Mordechai Nisan, a former Montrealer, has proposed a novel solution to the Palestine refugee problem in his new book, Only Israel West of the River, and Charles Small, also a former Montrealer, has been in the forefront of exposing Islamist anti-semitism.

The conference is free to students and $36 to the public.

If you have any interest in history, the people, or the land of Israel, you will want to attend this conference, and I urge you to do so.

Nov. 6, 9 – 4:30 Lunch included $36./free for students.

Location: Chevra Kadisha on Clanranald near Queen Mary

To register:
or call: 514-486-5544

8 thoughts on “CIJR Delegitimation Conference in Montreal (Nov. 6, 2011)

  1. The Diverging Opinion of an Israeli Citizen

    Dear Friends,

    I am reading with interest about your planned Conference on Combating the Delegitimization of Israel.

    I am sure that your intentions are positive. However, I have the feeling that much legitimate criticism of our general Israeli Peace Policy is at times labeled “anti-Israeli” or downright “attempting to delegitimize the State of Israel”.

    Consider this:

    “Israeli intelligence estimates that among the 50,000 rockets in Hizbullah’s arsenal, at least a few hundred can reach Tel Aviv.”

    The above is one of repeated warnings that we have been receiving lately from our Civil Defence leadership. If nothing else, then surely this should arouse us from our ongoing collective slumber.

    In a scathing attack on Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, Jerusalem Post Senior Editor Caroline Glick recently summed up the threats that Israel is facing at the present time, ranging from President Obama’s withdrawal of the US as the predominant power in the Middle East, via the Muslim Brotherhood’s rising power in Egypt, to the growing instability of the Syrian and Jordanian regimes.

    We are thus being confronted with a series of events that indicate a global ‘power shift’. We are living in a changing world, and it would evidently be wise for us to attempt achieving integration into this Region while the power balance may still be in our favour.

    It may be argued that “this is all very well, but how can we possibly ‘integrate’ in the region, if the other side refuses to accept us?” After all, are we not regularly being told by our politicians that the goal of the Palestinians is ‘Palestinian sovereignty over the entire area’? And that even ‘the most moderate elements’ of the Palestinian leadership insist on the right of the refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes in Israel.

    Some of us may recall that an Arab/Muslim Peace Initiative has been on record for close to a decade. They ─ more than 50 Arab and Muslim states!─ offer us “the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel”.

    Close to three years ago, the PLO published full page advertisements in the Israeli press, headed “Arab Peace Initiative: 57 Arab and Muslim Countries will Establish Full Diplomatic and Normal Relations with Israel in Return for Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Ending the Occupation”. (Jerusalem Post, 21 November 2008.)

    To date, we have not heard of any attempt on our part, to examine just how serious our Arab partners may be with that Initiative. It would not be unreasonable to expect of our political leadership, a more creative and less megalomaniac approach to the acute problems of our existence here.

    But no, instead of attempting to clarify the intentions of the Arabs, we are being brainwashed with the argument that they demand to solve the Palestinian Refugee problem “in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194”. And don’t we all know it: Resolution 194 stated that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so”.

    However, what our leadership fails to tell us is that the present Initiative speaks of “a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be agreed upon”. One may logically ask, what could be more in our national interest than a “just and agreed upon solution” to the festering Palestinian Refugee problem?

    And what would be more befitting than an official Israeli Government declaration: “The Israeli Government welcomes the Arab Peace Initiative. We propose to call a top level conference designed to clarify some of the elements included in that Initiative” ─ or words to that effect?

    But no; instead of that, we are being indoctrinated into believing that ‘they’ simply refuse to accept us here. ‘They’ want it all, and ‘they’ wish to flood Israel with Arab refugees.

    In view of the recent popular uprisings in our region, – in the neighbouring Arab countries as well as here at home, against the price of cottage cheese and the high cost of housing, – one cannot fail to be astonished at the ongoing lethargy displayed by our Israeli public.

    An ever increasing number of former senior Defence officials are voicing their concern in public. Shimon Peres, the President of Israel, recently expressed it thus:

    “We’re about to crash into the wall. We’re galloping at full speed
    toward a situation where Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

    Once before, more than 40 years ago, we missed an opportunity:

    “… I do not agree … that we have taken all possible initiatives concerning peace. … I do not agree that every initiative which might have been taken was indeed taken … Would it not have been prudent on our part to react officially to [President Nasser’s] words? …” (Knesset Records, 26 May 1970)

    Those were the words of former Hagana Commander Moshe Carmel. The remarks were made with reference to peace feelers from King Hussein and President Nasser. But those were the heydays of the Greater Israel Movement, and nobody paid attention to MK Carmel’s words. Three years later we lived through the Yom Kippur war. And after a further five years Menachem Begin signed the Peace Treaty with Egypt, ─ on terms similar to those that we so arrogantly had dismissed eight years earlier. Greater foresight might have spared us the tragedies of 1973 …

    I am concerned about the future of our army-aged grandchildren. They will have to pay the price for our ongoing follies–and of the next conflagration.

    (Part of the above has been published before, at: )

    This then, is my opinion as a loyal and patriotic Israeli citizen. I sincerely hope that it will interpreted constructively as intended, rather than “an attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel”.

  2. Dear Zeev,

    I am heartened by your comments. It is clear that you are a student of history and have employed your intelligence to analyze and promote peace initiatives that are worthy of support. I am also pleased to hear the perspective of a person who resides in Israel and has obviously lived what you are talking about.

    Like you, I support the State of Israel but disagree with how it has handled — and continues to handle — relations with the Palestinians and surrounding Arab/non-Jewish states.

    I am gravely concerned that a conference such as the one that Ms. Hirsch is publicizing here will set back dialogue by lumping people such as you and me in with people who truly wish Israel ill. That is a ghastly thought to me; first because it distorts my intent, indeed much of what my life is about, but also because it is a strategy calculated to foment conflict, rather than deescalate it.

    As you point out through the examples of “missed opportunities” that you cite, (1) there are people of peace on both “sides” of this issue; and, (2) what is most in the self-interest of people who genuinely support Israel is to sit down and talk with the people they think represent other points of view.

    My greatest concern about the conference that Ms. Hirsch and others are promoting is that it is predicated on the notion that people who support Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, plus long governmental rejection of the peaceful overtures that surrounding countries have made, are victims in some way. It also creates a paper tiger by characterizing people who disagree with Israel as criticizing Israel alone. In my case, nothing could be farther than the truth. Most every ethnic group in this conflict has committed major political mistakes; many have been responsible for committing violence and killing people. Sadly, in the case of most of the countries surrounding Israel, as well as Israel itself, that has included heinous human rights violations.

    As a Jew, my focus on Israel grows out of my deep connection to Judaism. I am a Jew down to my core. For the past 34 years, I have felt that I was watching Jewish values — the ones that I was raised on by Holocaust survivors and have built my life around — being sucked down into a black hole. That hole may have been labeled “nationalism” most of the time, but to my way of thinking it is about far more than that; a discussion that begins with 3,000 years of suffering.

    Returning to the conference, I also question the wisdom of a confab that is built around nurturing the kind of chumminess represented on this page.
    1. People who castigate others for disagreeing with Israeli policy — beginning in the Jewish community, where Jews continue to viciously attack other Jews on that point — are not new to dialogue with one another. That vociferous put-down-and-chatter machine has been active since the State of Israel came into existence.
    2. It seems to me that the conference is structured around tearing down a broad assortment of folks who will not be there to be a part of the discussion. In that sense, the conference itself is calculated to “delegitimize.” And who are conference organizers talking about? Well, they don’t seem to address that point beyond lumping together people, such as myself, who support free speech and democratic values, with those who deny the Holocaust and/or seek to revise it.

    Frankly, I cannot think of a less productive strategy to promote peace in the Middle East. After 63 years of failed detente, during which name-calling, label-plastering, and cliquishness have been used as major tools to denigrate and isolate the “other,” it seems high time to retire those tactics, not revitalize them in conference form.

    Jewish Peace Activist
    SF Bay Area

  3. To Zeev from Israel and MH from San Francisco:

    It is too bad that you prejudge the conference and the conferees and that you will not be able to participate.
    I wish you were right about the Palestinian and Arab desire for peace, but when I look at Abbas going to the UN, and refusing to engage with Israel, and Hamas embracing released terrorists, I wonder about the intentions for peace on the part of our Palestinian neighbors. At the same time that we know that many of of our Arab neighbors are continuing to root for a strong Israel to ward off Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

    Those who have wanted peace with Israel have had it: Egypt and Jordan. I have heard many Palestinians lament that their leadership has not been as smart as Sadat who got the Sinai back without firing a single shot and the King of Jordan who enjoys a peaceful border with Israel as we speak.

  4. Dear San Francisco Jewish Peace Activist,

    I welcome your comments and regret that you will not be able to be here. I just came back from a conference of the New Israel Fund which was live-streamed to Montreal from Toronto. I am against any people attacking each other on loyalty grounds. That is not the nature of debate that I support. Hope to fill you in on the conference as I will be videotaping and interviewing the participants.

    December 1-4, 2011
    Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif. USA

    At a time when polarization is the true culprit, a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary conference addressing fear-based belief systems, negative stereotypes, polarization, enemy images, scapegoating, and artificial barriers of distrust that divide us.

    Sponsored by:
    Common Bond Institute, Pacifica Institute, Santa Clara University, Global Ministries University, International Humanistic Psychology Association
    Endorsed by an international list of over 100 organizations and universities

    Official Partner of: Charter For Compassion & Parliament of World’s Religions

    Conference Details at:

  6. Ad in Ha’aretz Nov 11, 2011


    The government defines
    Settlement extension
    as punishment
    For the Palestinians.
    Violent settlers fix
    Their own “price tag”.

    The Knesset is busy
    Enacting anti-democratic laws.
    Thugs implement them
    On the street.

    So who is
    “Delegitimizing” Israel?

    Best wishes,
    Zeev, Haifa

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