Jewish Dissenters Speak Out Over Gaza

Judith Weisman, 78, is a Toronto psychotherapist. She
grew up in "a very Zionist family" in Baltimore but "began to change
when Israel supported the Vietnam War."

She and her husband came to Canada in 1969. She worked at the Jewish Family and Children's Services.

1982 invasion of Lebanon estranged her from the Jewish state. "It took
me a while to grasp what was being done to the Palestinians." She was
critical of Israel through the two intifadas and the 2006 invasion of

She helped found Jews for a Just Peace; Jewish Women
to End the Occupation (since renamed Women in Solidarity with
Palestine); Not in Our Name; and an umbrella group, Independent Jewish

She helped host a stream of visiting Israeli scholars and
human rights activists. She's awaiting the arrival of Jeff Halper of
the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (7.30 p.m., Jan. 23,
Trinity St. Paul's United Church).

Hers has been a long struggle, ignored by the media and shunned by "the organized Jewish community" that is solidly pro-Israel.

But in recent years, she and other dissidents have been garnering support. In recent days, they've had much company.

On Wednesday, a dozen Jewish women "occupied" the Israeli consulate on Bloor St., demanding an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza.

group included Judy Rebick and Judith Deutsch, president of Science for
Peace (whose former presidents include George Ignatieff, the late
father of Liberal leader, Michael, who has just joined the Stephen
Harper Tories in giving blanket immunity to Israel).

The women
expressed "outrage at Ottawa's refusal to condemn the massacres," said
spokesperson Miriam Garfinkle. They urged the media to report that
"many Jewish-Canadians do not support Israel's violence and apartheid

On Thursday, four prominent Jewish Canadians held a news conference.

Anton Kuerti, internationally acclaimed concert pianist, said:

"I am not an expert on what is a war crime but I can recognize one when I see one ...

"What if almost a thousand Israelis had been killed by F-16s and helicopters and 1,000-pound bombs? There'd be immense outrage throughout the world ...

"Israel's behaviour makes me ashamed of being a Jew, and Canada's servile support of the United States position - `it's all Hamas' fault' - makes me ashamed of being a Canadian."

read from a prepared statement: "The words `never again,' so fraught
with memories of the Holocaust, means `never again' for all peoples."

who spoke were Weisman; Michael Mandel, professor of international law
at Osgoode Hall, once a visiting professor at Hebrew University of
Jerusalem; and the venerable Ursula Franklin, retired U of T research
physicist, Companion of the Order of Canada and a Pearson Medal of
Peace recipient.

Later that evening, two dozen dissenting Jews turned up at a pro-Israel rally at Beth Tzedec Synagogue.

Carmon, a dual Israeli-Canadian citizen, said the group was harassed by
another - "a mob of thugs, full of hate, shouting `IDF,' `We love
Israel,' and `Terrorist supporters,' `Traitors,' `You are not real

On the other side of town, there was a candlelight vigil for Gaza at the Mississauga Civic Square, organized by Palestine House.

yesterday, there was a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate,
organized by an array of groups, including the Canadian Arab
Federation, Canadian Peace Alliance, Coalition to Stop the War,
Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario), Canadian Union of Postal
Workers, and all the groups that Weisman is associated with.

She had planned to be there, as she had been the Saturday before.

© 2023