"It Will Never Happen"

Published: June 8th 2010
in News » Local

CJC CEO Bernie Farber
Pic: CJC

On Monday night, a public briefing was held for Toronto's Jewish community, following the confrontation between IDF soldiers and activists on the ships that participated in the Gaza aid flotilla.


The briefing, held at Adath Israel Synagogue and sponsored by UJA Federation, was meant to update local community members on the situation as well as to provide methods for community members to speak up for Israel following the outrage which has been directed at it as a result of the confrontation.


Among the speakers at the briefing were Israel's Consul General in Toronto Amir Gissin, Colonel Richard Kemp (who participated from the UK via Skype), international legal expert Professor Ed Morgan, and Noah Kochman and Rebecca Cherniak of the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students.


Also addressing the community was CJC's CEO Bernie Farber. Shalom Life is proud to bring to its readers the full text of Farber's speech:


My dear friends:


What a difference a day can make.


On Sunday, May 30, the Jewish community of Toronto took to the street in its thousands to participate in the annual UJAFederation Walk for Israel.  There, on a beautiful day we were joined by our friends from many communities to express our love for Israel. The day was made more special by the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke of Israel, its longing for peace and its need for safety and security. There were those protesting the Walk who questioned our longing and denigrated our needs – and wrapped up their false arguments in a disgusting tissue of lies, calling Israel an Apartheid State – but they were in the minority on that beautiful day.


Twenty four hours later, the sun had seemingly passed behind a cloud, and Israel once again was characterized with language designed to demonize and delegitimize.


Antisemitic tropes. We are pirates. We are violators of international law. We are murderers. We are child-killers and blood-suckers. We are the enemies of peace. We are the practitioners of Apartheid and we are the truncheon-wielding police of Selma, Alabama.


What can be said in the face of all this? What can be said as our enemies – ignorant and willful – compose this new al chait, and try to bend our arm to our breast so that we may beat ourselves in penitence? There is only one thing to say – “It will never happen.”


We will not, as a community, accept the fantasy that others have of Israel as being its reality. We will not accept the explicit notion that Israel is forbidden to protect itself, nor will we accept the implicit notion that the only good Jew is a subservient one – or a dead one. We will not accept the notion that the rules which apply to every other nation in the world are somehow suspended in their application where Israel is concerned. We have the right to defend ourselves from those who would do us harm.


On the screen behind me there are images that have been taken from anti-Israel rallies held in the week since the attempted breach of the Gaza Blockade.


Related articles: (Bernie Farber, CJC, canadian jewish congress, flotilla, gaza, turkey)

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