The Canadian Israel Experience Lies to Us

I just received an email from the Canadian Israel Experience (CIE), a Tour organizer for Birthright. Birthright is a program to send young people of jewish decent to Israel to gain an appreciation for the country. I did it, it was great and I highly recommend it. During the trip there was minimal propaganda and the conversations with both staff and fellow travelers were open and contained a wide variety of political opinions.

However, I just received a newsletter from them regarding the current crisis. It is factually incorrect.

In it, they state Hamas broke the ceasefire on December 19th. This a lie.
On November 12, the NYT Jerusalem reporter, Isabel Kershner, wrote: “At least six Palestinian militants were killed in a clash and an Israeli airstrike on Nov. 4 after an Israeli force entered Gaza for the first time in five months.”

Therefore, the rockets into Israeli territory after nearly six months of cease-fire followed – rather than preceded – the Israeli invasion into, and the killings of Palestinians inside, the occupied Gaza Strip. On November 14, the paper’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner, re-stated the same facts reported by Kershner; he additionally voiced them in his accompanying interview on NYT radio – both can be read/heard here.

More reports of Israel breaking the ceasefire.
UPDATE: I just found this relevant material: This is in direct contradiction with official Israeli Government documents, which clearly states that Israel attacked Gaza militants on November 4th, prior to any rocket attacks and thus breaking the ceasefire agreement.

Full Letter from CIE:

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT THE CURRENT SITUATION IN ISRAEL:

You probably have seen and read about the recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas over the past two weeks. We felt that it was important to provide Birthright Israel alumni with some background information as well as provide some links to more information and ways to support Israel in these difficult times.

A Brief Summary
In 2005, Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza, thus ending any occupation in that region. Since that time, Hamas has indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel, killing and wounding innocent Israeli citizens.

A temporary ceasefire between Gaza and Israel was declared in June, 2008; on December 19th, when that ceasefire expired, Hamas resumed firing rockets into southern Israel. These attacks increased over the following week and on December 27th, Israel responded by launching military air and ground campaigns targeted at weakening Hamas forces.

Hamas made its intentions clear when it announced that it would no longer be abiding by the ceasefire. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry and the Palestinian Authority have put the responsibility for the escalation in Gaza squarely on Hamas.

Every country has the right and the obligation to protect its citizens. Israel seeks peace and security for its citizens and for the citizens of the region. In order for this to happen, Hamas must stop targeting Israeli civilians, and must accept Israel’s fundamental right to exist.

Israel regrets the loss of innocent life and notifies Gaza residents in the areas they intend to target. Israel military actions in Gaza are targeting Hamas combatants who are – in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention – shielding themselves behind innocent men, women and children. Israel continues to allow truckloads of aid, including food and medical supplies, to enter Gaza on an ongoing basi s .

The Israeli government has issued statements that it is willing to negotiate a ceasefire providing Hamas stops its missile attacks on southern Israel; ends terror attacks on the border fence between Gaza and Israel; and ceases to smuggle weapons into Gaza. It has been proposed that an international force would be needed to enforce these terms.

Links to More Information
For commentary from Alan Dershowitz in the Jersualem Post, click here.
To watch a CNN interview with New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg here.
To watch a CNN interview with Likud Leader, Benjamin Netanyahu click here.

For the Israeli news perspective you can follow daily updates and articles through these websites:
The Jerusalem Post: www.jpost.com.
Haaretz Daily Newspaper: www.haaretz.com.
Ynet news: www.ynetnews.com.

To learn more about Canada-Israel relations, please visit Canada Israel Committee at www.cicweb.ca or Canada’s Israel at www.canadasisrael.ca.

Community Rallies:
As part of a nation-wide campaign to support Israel, cities across Canada will be organizing rallies on Thursday, January 8th. Please look below to find the times and locations in your local community:

Toronto: Beth Tzedek Synagogue (1700 Bathurst St.) @ 7:30 pm
London: London Jewish Community Centre (536 Huron St.) @ 7:15 pm
Hamilton: Adas Israel Synagogue (125 Cline Ave. S.)@ 7:30 pm
Winnipeg: Asper Jewish Community Campus Gym (123 Doncaster St.) @ 7:00 pm
Vancouver: Schaarei Tzedeck Synagogue (3476 Oak St.) @ 7:30 pm
Calgary: Calgary Jewish Community Centre (1607 – 90 Ave. S.W.) @ 7:30 pm
Montreal: Beth Israel Congregation (6800 Mackle Ave.) @ 7:30 pm
Ottawa: Soloway Jewish Community Centre (21 Nadolny Sachs Private) @ 6:30 pm

Published on January 7, 2009