In 1947, the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) drew up its racist anti-Arab scheme to partition Palestine. This enabled the rising imperial power of the U.S. to prop up the decaying colonial power of France and Great Britain by inserting a so-called “Jewish state.” That prevented the Palestinian population residing there for millennia from exercising their right of self-determination outside the dictate of colonial or imperial power. Thus was the next act of a great 20th century tragedy triggered. Featuring massacres, forced-marches and expulsions of more than three-quarters of a million members of this native population from their land and homes by Zionist militias, it culminated, in darkest night, moments before the end of British occupation, in the declaration of the so-called “State of Israel.”
David Ben-Gurion, the mass-murdering war criminal, tool of U.S. imperial designs on Arab oil and first Prime Minister of the "State of Israel," ominously described this result as “the establishment, in the western part of ‘Eretz Israel’” of a “state based on dynamic expansion.” And Canada, as America’s best little buddy, was in the thick of it. Six months earlier, members of the UN General Assembly -- bribed behind the scenes by the U.S. and cajoled especially by its chief agent there, Canadian diplomat and future prime minister Lester Pearson -- passed the Partition Resolution 181 which pulled the trigger. Acknowledging Pearson’s historic role as the Wrench of Reaction tossed into the spokes of history’s forward-moving wheel, the Zionist movement dubbed him “the Canadian Balfour.”
What overall meaning is to be gleaned, then, from Canadian government votes on UN resolutions affecting Palestine? And, what in particular to make of the allegedly contradictory recent evidence of some of its more brazenly, and some of its minutely less brazenly, pro-State-of-Israel positions? Not much. Careful always to proclaim the highest ideals of Humanity as its own, no Canadian government ever failed to toss in its own kick at the Palestinians when they were down -- and Ottawa was confident about averting discovery or retaliation.
An evolution then, perhaps, from a “more liberal” stance to a “less liberal” one? Hardly. “What we have here,” as the Captain of Road Prison 36 in the film Cool Hand Luke callously announces to his victim lying in the ditch below, half-beaten to death and writhing in pain, “is a failure to communicate.” That obtuseness and impenetrability defines precisely the deafness and blindness of Canadian governments to the justice of Palestinians’ demands. From the moment Canada’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ivan C. Rand, was named to UNSCOP, its policy concerning Palestinians and their rights has been suffused in every pore with the brutal self-serving logic of colonial justice:
• All native peoples are an inferior pre-European throwback worthy only of extermination
• The Palestinians are a native people
• Therefore the Palestinians need to be exterminated.
The Canadian government’s most recent vote on a non-binding resolution put forward by South Africa in the UNESCO committee, as the sole supporter of the United States against 41 other member-states, plumbs new previously-unknown depths in Ottawa’s sordid game-playing with the lives and livelihood of the Palestinian people. It is no less than its shameful “dissent” before and truculent opposition after the International Court of Justice at The Hague issued its historic judgment of 9 July 2004 condemning the Zionist annexation wall as an outrage against international law.
On 25 January 2006, the Palestinian people elected a Hamas-led government. This followed decades of slander and dismissal of their national liberation struggle as “terrorism and anti-semitism” by the world Zionist movement, the U.S. empire and its flunkies in Ottawa and some other places. The national liberation struggle is thus once again back at the top of the Palestinians’ agenda. Canada’s UN votes mark its first official response in the international arena to that historic shift. Given the history just recounted and recent developments in the recomposition of Canada’s own government in early February, the real question is: why or how could it have voted any differently, especially on the matter of the right of return for Palestinian women and children to the homes and lands from which they were previously genocidally dispossessed?
The new Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s chief adviser on aboriginal affairs is a deeply reactionary U.S. professor, Tom Flanagan. He fervently believes in completing the genocidal dispossession of the native people in Canada by converting the populated portions of their “reservations” into municipalities. Flanagan’s proposal, which is considered unofficial policy in Conservative policy-discussion circles, would eliminate collective band ownership of land as being alien to Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and the principle of fee simple private property. First Nations’ would thereby be stripped of any remaining connection even to the pathetically reduced Bantustan-like fragments of their traditional lands from which the “reservations” themselves were constituted. However, there is far more to this than the fellowship of ideological reactionaries.
In its first month of office, the Harper government gave every assistance to the tour of the State of Israel by a delegation led by a Canadian native chiefs from the “Assembly of First Nations” (AoFN). This was part of a joint political program and tactic of the incoming government, the former Martin Liberal government and the State of Israel -- and, given the gravity of what was envisioned, very likely with the complicity if not coordination of the U.S. State Department as well. Back in the fall of 2005, the previous Martin Liberal government had encouraged a tour by an accredited consular official from the “State of Israel” of native reservations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to talk up the idea of opening a Canadian native embassy in Jerusalem. Regardless of the Canadian government’s complicity, the consul’s activity and proposal themselves constitute a serious violation of the diplomatic principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a host country. The Zionist aim was, and is, to pave the way for Canada to lead the Western-bloc in overturning a long-standing and critical consensus of international law that denies the State of Israel any authority to annex Jerusalem or treat it as a capital city or an integral part in any other way of the “Jewish state.” Such a coalescence reflects the profound desperation that the project of the world imperialist system has encountered in the teeth of ongoing Palestinian and intractable Iraqi resistance to, open Afghan defiance of, and Iranian steadfastness against being further dominated, subjugated and plundered by this system.
It would seem, in these conditions, that the ruling classes in Canada will hoist into office any grouping prepared to look after their interests on the basis of denying that anything anywhere in the world has changed. A leading Cabinet members of the incoming Conservative government, Stockwell Day, also supported moving the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem -- in effect, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. The party itself has never repudiated the actions of a former Conservative prime minister, Joe Clark, attempting back in 1979 to move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem. The AoFN tour was staged to declare solidarity of Canada’s native peoples with the colonialist settler war criminals stealing Palestinians’ lands in the Occupied Territories. Acting thus, the delegation in effect attacked the Palestinians’ right to resist ongoing aggression taking place under the cover of a brutal and illegal military occupation inflicted by the “State of Israel”. In that same moment, the delegation thus became a participant in the very act of aggression that is being denied. This pattern of denial has also cropped up in the reporting by Canada’s corporate media of this government’s stepped-up participation in NATO-led aggression and foreign occupation in Afghanistan, where a recent spate of deaths and injuries suffered by Canadian troops there have been reported not as resistance to a foreign invader but as a series of incoherent and irrational encounters with men “wielding axes” and “tossing grenades” at Canadian forces trying endlessly to “meet” Afghan village elders.
Even amidst these indications, however, it is nevertheless clearly time for change. By electing Hamas in the teeth of a massive internationally orchestrated propaganda against “Islamic terrorism,” “suicide bombing” and you-name-it, Palestinians resolved not to allow the fraud of the so-called Oslo Agreements to continue. The times are approaching a turning point. At the time of the first Intifada, at the outbreak of the second Intifada, at the time of Operation Defensive Shield -- in short: whenever the veneer of high ideals maintained by the government started to slip and strip away -- Canadians came forward to denounce their governments’ anti-Palestinian course and affirm their own solidarity with and support for the Palestinians’ just cause. Once again, it is time to strip away the tissue of liberal-Zionist lies spread not only in the government but among all the opposition parties in Parliament as well, so that Canadians on this occasion can once again stand up and declare: “Not in our name!”
Other Articles by Gary Zatzman
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