Update: Bernie Farber and his Brown Shirts.
Susan Howard-Azzeh - email@example.com April 23, 2006
It has been approximately one year since the infamous trip of 33 Ontario police chiefs and other senior officials to Israel for training, March 2005. The trip was initiated by Bernie Farber, and paid for by the Canadian Jewish Congress, United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General (Monte Kwinter), the Israeli government, and the police service boards which participated (meaning the Ontario taxpayer).
It is 6 months since our complaint hearing to the Hamilton Police Service, was disrupted by Bernie Farber and his brown shirts, September 21, 2005.
Hamiltonians and Ontarians opposed to the importation of brutal
Israeli police methods continue to feel marginalized and stereotyped by the
inadequate responses to our formal policy complaints from the various Police Service
Boards and Premier Dalton McGuinty. The most extreme example of mistreatment was by
the Hamilton Police Service Board, its Chair Bernie Morelli, and by Bernie Farber of
the Canadian Jewish Congress. http://www.montrealmuslimnews
Complaints regarding the trip to Israel were filed with the
Hamilton Police Service, Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police Service, Ottawa
Police Service, Windsor Police Service and others. Complaints were also filed with
the Ontario Registered Lobbyist Registrar, and the OPP. (The complaints can be found in
the Addendum of
A comphrehensive complaint was sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty. The
full complaint may be accessed at http://www.montrealmuslimnews
Hard copies of the comphrehensive complaint were mailed to all police and government officials who attended the training in Israel.
The letter we received from Premier McGuinty was woefully inadequate and did not address the substance of our four concerns. Premier McGuinty has, however told the Canadian Arab Federation that such a trip will never happen again.
The Ottawa Police Service is now engaged in a constructive dialogue with members of the Canada Palestine Support Network in Ottawa.
The Toronto Police Services Board received our deputations in a respectful and democratic environment, not tolerating any disturbances attempted by the small Zionist lobby that was present. However we are not aware of any concrete measures taken or policy changes made to address the substance of our complaints.
At a hearing of the complaint by the York Regional Police Services Board, the Board unceremoniously dismissed the complaint within moments of the deputation's presentations.
Some of the speeches from the disrupted Hamilton meeting are
available at http://www.november16coalition
The Hamilton Police Services Board remains particularily frigid towards our concerns.
To my understanding a formal response to the complaints filed by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights - McMaster and Community Coalition Against Racism - Hamilton were never forwarded to the complainants, and no constructive measures have been taken by the HPSB to address their concerns.
In November 2005, the Hamilton Police Service held a Safety Forum to "gather feedback as to how the Police Service can better serve our community as we assess our business planning for the next several years" (Sandra Wilson). Those who had been scheduled to speak at the disrupted Hamilton Police Service meeting in September regarding the trip to Israel, did not receive invitations.
1. Hamilton Police Meeting Destroyed by Bernie Farber and his Brown Shirts.
A) Hamilton Police Service Board's Chair Succumbs to Zionist Bullying, Khalid Mouammar.
B) Speech by human rights activist prevented from being delivered by Chair of Hamilton Police Service Board and Hamilton City Councillor Bernie Morelli.
2. US Congress Could End Free Trips to Israel from Lobby Groups.
1. Hamilton Police Meeting Destroyed by Bernie Farber and his *Brown Shirts.(*Bernie Farber and his brown shirts is an historically accurate use of the term 'brown shirts' and their tactics. Brown shirts were an early Nazi militia, who were sent to disrupt meetings of opponents to Nazism and to prevent information from being heard publicly -- the same tactic which was used in Hamilton. The phrase was in my consciousness, as staunch pro-Israel Zionist Izzy Asper had used it while addressing a Toronto crowd during Netanyahu's visit in 2002. Asper's comments can be found under the Toronto Star headline, "Asper compares protesters to Nazis" Sept. 1, 2002. The phrase was also in my consciousness as two colleagues had used it when they saw what was done in Hamilton.)
After six months of repeated written, email and telephone requests for a hearing into formal complaints filed by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights - McMaster and Community Coalition Against Racism, the Hamilton Police Services Board finally scheduled a public meeting. This was unusual as normally complaints registered with a police service board are heard by the police service board, not at a public meeting. Only two police service board members were on the panel overseeing the meeting. Those wishing to speak had registered prior to the meeting. They had asked for criteria for their presentations and were only told to keep their presentations within 10 minutes. At the meeting Bernie Farber stood against a wall where he had a clear line of site with Police Services Board Chair Bernie Morelli, who was supposed to be chairing the meeting. Farber was seen by many giving signals to Morelli to disrupt speakers and call for them to refrain from "politics". Zionists in the crowd who had attended the meeting with Farber continually disrupted the presentations with shouting, which went unhindered by Morelli or the numerous uniformed and undercover police officers in the room. During a slide presentation displaying photos of the exact Israeli police methods which we were objecting to, Zionists in the crowd screamed and shouted, a woman stood in front of the projector blocking the images, and Morelli called for the slide presentaion to be halted. Ironic, considering Morelli's own staff had helped us to set it up, and that when we had asked about criteria for our presentaions we had not been told no slide presentations. Morelli cancelled the meeting. Bernie Farber, surrounded by his fellow Zionists, had a happy self-congratulatory smirk on his face as he watched the meeting disintegrate.
Khaled Mouammar ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Richmond Hill, Ontario - Sept 22, 2005:This is an update regarding the public meeting, that took place at the Aquarius Theatre in Hamilton last night, to hear our complaint regarding the trip of Hamilton Police Chief Mullan to Israel.
Eighteen presenters were scheduled to speak, 13 in favour of the complaint and 5 against it. The hall was packed with 300 people and the pro-Israeli side outnumbered our side by 4 to 1, which was a major handicap and a huge disappointment.
It was evident from the start that Bernie Morelli, the Chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board, who chaired the meeting, was biased towards the pro-Israeli side who were quite intimidating by their numbers and behaviour. He did not seriously attempt to stop the Zionists from booing and interrupting our presenters. Moreover, he kept interjecting our presentations claiming they were too political.
In spite of all this harassment the first three presenters were able to deliver their speeches with courage, competence and dignity:
1) Ken Stone from Community Coalition Against Racism,
2) Maryam Ibrahim from Solidarity for Palestinian Rights, McMaster University,
3) Peter Leibovitch from Hamilton Steelworker Area Council. (Peter was unable to attend because he was held up by Stelco labour negotiations, and his speech was read by Ann Holubeshen from Palestinian Community Group).
The next presenter on the list was Susan Howard-Azzeh, president of Niagara Palestinian Association and co-chair of Niagara Coalition for Peace. Her presentation also included a PowerPoint presentation projecting pictures of Israeli police brutalities. The heckling by the pro-Israelis mounted and the Chair asked Susan to halt her PowerPoint presentation. She refused, and accused the Chair of bias and discrimination. The pro-Israelis escalated their disruptive tactics blocking the projection of the images on the screen, pandemonium ensued and the meeting was cancelled.
The pro-Israeli group came prepared to the meeting, they mobilized their troops.Their strategy was to unnerve and bully our presenters and pressure the Chair to do their bidding. They pro-Israelis were able to succeed due to the absence of our supporters which encouraged the Chair to rule in their favour whenever they heckled.
On October 14, at 1:30 pm (location not yet fixed), our complaint against Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair's orchestrated trip to Israel will be heard by the Toronto Police Services Board. It is imperative that we mobilize our communities fully this time to prevent the pro-Israelis from dictating the conduct and the outcome of the meeting. By our strong presence we will send a clear message to the chair that this issue is very important to our communities and also that we will not tolerate him giving preferential treatment to the Zionists.
I am making a strong appeal to you to publicize this event and campaign seriously for it from now until October 14 to ensure that our communities mobilize seriously for this upcoming meeting in Toronto.
The Zionists are seriously worried of the issues raised by our complaint and this is why they mobilized strongly for it in Hamilton, because they want to prevent us from exposing to the public the human rights abuses committed by Israel and its institutionalized racism.
It is imperative that our communities rise to the challenge now to send a clear message to the police and the politicians that we will not tolerate the importing of abhorrent Israeli police practices to Ontario and that we will not remain silent while our civil rights are being trampled over.
If you are interested in making a presentation on October 14, Email Deirdre Williams at email@example.com .
A person dies when he refuses to stand up against injustice and for that which is right.
Speech by human rights activist prevented from being delivered by Chairman of Hamilton Police Services Board and Hamilton City Councillor Bernie Morelli.
Posted September 22, 2005
Here is the speech the Chair of Hamilton Police Services Board and Hamilton City Councillor Bernie Morelli ( firstname.lastname@example.org) prevented me from deliverying at tonight's (Sept 21, 2005) sham public meeting in Hamilton. But then at least 4 of us got to speak. There was a self-congratulatory smirk on puppeter Bernie Farber's (National Executive Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress - email@example.com ) smug face as he leaned against the wall. He looked so proud of himself for orchestrating the meeting's disruption and shut down.
Good Evening Police Services Chair Morelli, Vice Chair
Nimigan, Police Chief Mullan, and Ms. Lois Morin...
My name is Susan Howard-Azzeh and I'm here representing the Niagara Palestinian Association and the Niagara Coalition for Peace which have members in both the Niagara Region and Hamilton. (Between the two groups we have approximately 818 individual members, not counting organizational members.)
I am not a diplomat and I am not a rabble-rouser. I am here tonight to try to be informative. The pro-Israeli lobby had a week to give their perspective to Ontario police in Israel. Please let the voices for Palestinian human rights and appropriate policing in Canada have this one evening
Our membership is very concerned about the Hamilton Wentworth Regional Police Service Board's decision to permit your Chief of Police, Chief Mullan to participate in the training trip to Israel of Canadian politicians and senior police officials. I know if consulted, none of our members would have endorsed this training. (A full list of all those who went on the trip is on page 21 of our complaint.)
The idea of Canadian police officers learning from and possibly adopting Israeli police tactics is genuinely scary.
Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress was quoted in the Toronto Star August 31 as saying that our complaints are "frivolous". He was also quoted as saying that the complaints are "Hypocritical and based on many false and hateful foundations." (The Liberal, Chief's Israel trip OK, says board" by Martin Derbyshire, staff Writer Sept 1, 05)
Our complaints are not based on "hateful foundations" as Farber declares. They are based on fact. But yes, we do hate it when Israeli police arrest young people for throwing stones at Israeli tanks by putting a damp burlap sack over their head, cuffing them and physically and verbally beating them during interrogations, as has been documented. Yes, we do hate it when an Israeli sniper, during a period of calm, fires upon a group of children, killing some, as happened to my husband's 13 year old cousin Nida in Beit Jalla near Bethlehem. Yes, we do hate it when Israeli police arrest and indefinitely detain Palestinians without charge or trial and deny them access to legal counsel and family, as is documented for example in "Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel's Detention of Palestinian Children" by Adam Hanieh. Yes, we do hate it when Israeli police routinely use a shoot to kill strategy, which they also taught to the London police who shot Jean Charles de Menezes (Jimmy Burns Financial Times July 25, 2005 and other articles.). Yes, we do hate it when some Palestinian areas have an 80% unemployment rate because Israeli "border" police will not allow them through check-points to go to work, their orchards, or to school. And yes, we do hate it when pregnant Palestinian women give birth at check-points for the same reason, resulting in at least 30 newborn infants dying at Israel checkpoints in a two year period. ("Children Under Occupation" Appendix F in our Complaint.)
In Israel, Israeli Jews are for the most part only subject to Israeli police. Palestinian Israelis on the other hand are subject to both Israeli police and the Israeli military interchangeably. As Michael Ben-Yair, Attorney General of Israel from 1993 to 1996 said, Israel has two judicial systems: one - progressive, liberal - for the Jews; a second - cruel, injurious - for the Palestinian Arabs. (Ha'artez News, March 3, 2002.) Members of the Niagara Palestinian Association have been tortured by these cruel, injurious Israeli policing bodies. The use of torture is routine and officially sanctioned in Israel. When one of our members was 16 years old, he was throwing stones at an Israeli tank. He was arrested. While the Israelis were beating him, he fell to the ground and said "Guys, my hip, my hip." Rather than softening their blows or letting him up, they beat him harder until his hip totally shattered. They then arrested him and put him in jail for 18 months. His leg is now 2 inches shorter and he has a permanent limp. Israel placed another of our members in a concrete closet for three months, with only a small opening near his eyes. He was allowed out for one hour a day to eat and lie down.
In October 2000, 13 Palestinians were killed during a demonstration by Israeli police. This week the Israeli Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Unit released its decision that none of the Israeli police who killed these 13 unarmed Palestinians will be prosecuted, despite concluding that officers issued directives to snipers to open live-fire on the stone throwing protesters. Additionally the Or Commission found that officers could have prevented clashes and that live-fire was used without justification causing death and that evidence had been concealed, yet still no Israeli police have been prosecuted. ("No officers to face charges for October riots as ministry closes investigation" Jonathan Lis, Haaretz 19/09/05; "No police charged in rioters' deaths" Jerusalem Post Sept 18, 2005. "Arab, left wing MKs blast decision" Jerusalem Post Sept 18, 2005.)
Are these the "best practices" we want Canadian officers to use in Canada? I don't think so.
I can't imagine that the Hamilton Regional Police Services Board was aware of these practices when they approved Chief Mullan's trip to Israel.
Leslie Lasky, president of the United Jewish Appeal Federation, whose Toronto chapter hosted two Israeli Defence Forces representatives, who were illegally recruiting in Toronto schools in May (page 6 of our Complaint), is quoted in the Hamilton Spectator yesterday as saying our complaint, "borders on anti-Semitism." ("Tomorrow's hot topic: Police chief's Israel trip" by Sharon Boase Hamilton Spectator, Sept 20, 2005.)
Our complaints are not anti-Semitic. As Canadian citizens we expect that our right to public dissent be protected without the slander of automatically being labeled anti-Semitic. ?Many try to silence any critical discourse of Israel?s practices by calling it anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. The obvious fact is that the government of Israel has been labeled by many international human rights organizations and various United Nations bodies as a frequent violator of human rights and the rule of international law.? (Omar Alghabra, President Canadian Arab Federation, ?Re: ?Police chief?s Israel trip was bound to blow up on him- and it did.? Hamilton Spectator, March 26, 2005.)
What we are criticizing is the political ideology of *Zionism and the practices that stem from creating and maintaining an exclusively "Jewish State" at the expense of the indigenous non-Jewish Palestinians. Canada and all of our public institutions, such as police services, supposedly embrace anti-racism and multicultural and religious diversity. So why would we want to emulate Israel which as an exclusively "Jewish State" and which is therefore racist by definition? Ironically, South African Apartheid and the creation of Israel were both implemented in 1948.
*Zionism is an ideology founded by Theodore Hertzel in 1897: ?Among the Jews, a theory, plan, or movement for colonizing their own race in Palestine, the land of Zion, or if that is impracticable, elsewhere [such as Argentina and Uganda], either for religious or nationalizing purposes. http://www.brainydictionary
The sponsors' Propaganda Agenda of this trip was very effective. To read our findings in this regard and our thoughts on the "Security Measures" learned, please see pages 11 and 16 of our Complaint.
1. Premier Dalton McGuinty has told the Canadian Arab Federation that he will never allow a trip like this to happen again. This is not enough. Reparatory action must be taken to mend the damage that has already been done. And the Hamilton Wentworth Police Services Board needs to develop policy to ensure that their officers never again accept funding and training from a foreign government which is involved in human rights abuses, such as I have described. Despite Premier McGuinty's promise, the Hamilton Wentworth Police Services needs new policy, because politicians come and go.
2. Some organizations have requested that local police services reimburse taxpayers for the approximately $2,000. per officer who participated in the trip. On the other hand the Niagara Palestinian Association and the Niagara coalition for eace request that the Hamilton Police Service or the province send the Chief Mullan and the same Ontario Police delegation back to the Middle East but this time to the occupied Palestinian territories, to Palestinian Canadian chosen locations, to Palestinian areas in Israel (some of which are worse than the refugee camps in the territories), and to meet with joint Jewish/Palestinian peace organizations; NOTE: There is a fundamental difference between Ontario police officers going to Israel to learn Israeli police and military tactics, and Ontario police officers going to the occupied Palestinian territories on a Fact Finding Mission to learn about the day to day living conditions of Palestinians under Israeli police and military rule.
3. Hamilton Police Service, if they have not already done so, to create requirements to ensure that the Police Service Board reflects Hamilton?s multicultural and religious diversity.
4. Meet with Palestinian Canadian victims of Israeli torture.
We would be pleased if you would accept our invitation to attend various cultural and educational events held by Palestinian Canadian organizations and supporters of Palestinian human rights. They are an ideal opportunity to get to know the Canadian Palestinian and solidarity community, to sit in a relaxed atmosphere to learn about Canadian-Palestinian and solidarity concerns, and the on-going suffering of Palestinians in the territories, in Israel, and in exile.
We would be happy to meet at any time with Chiefs of Police, police officers and elected officials who are interested in discussing Canadian-Palestinian concerns.
I appreciate your time and attention. Thank you.
2. US Congress Could End Free Trips to Israel from Lobby Groups.
TRAVEL SPONSORED BY LOBBIES UNDER ATTACK Congressional Trips to Israel Sponsored by AIPAC Should be Made Illegal January 13, 2006 Terry Walz http://www.cnionline.org/
House Republicans, according to the January 11, 2006 New York Times, are considering a lobbying proposal that would ban all travel paid for by lobby organizations. The proposal is being drawn up by David Dreier (R-CA), chairman of the Rules Committee, and has been endorsed by Dennis Hastert, the Speaker. They are now approaching Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the Democratic Minority Whip, for his support.
If the proposal succeeds, Hoyer's almost annual trips to Israel could come to an end, since the cost of such trips would have to come out of the Congressional budget. During the recent congressional break (December 2005-January 2006), AIPAC "Update" reported that the American Israel Educational Foundation, "a supporting organization of AIPAC," took Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on a trip to Israel. Update commented, "American lawmakers routinely travel to Israel, saying that trips to the Jewish state give them an in-depth perspective of the security challenges it faces."
Usually the group meets with the prime minister and a high official in the Israel Defense Ministry. The December/January group called at Hadassah Hospital to wish Ariel Sharon well from his massive stroke.
In November-December 2005, AIEF sponsored another group of lawmakers, including Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Rep Ellen Tauscher (D-CA). During the August recess, they took out 16 Republicans and 14 Democrats on separate trips. The Republican group was led by Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is now running for Tom Delay's position, and Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), and the Democratic group was led by Steny Hoyer and Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez (now the new senator from New Jersey, filling the place of Jon Corzine, who was elected governor). This was Menendez's second expense-paid trip, having been a member of the Democratic group that went to Israel in August.
Both Steny and Blunt outdo themselves in their support for Israel. As Ron Kampeas pointed out in a recent article in the JTA, "Working with Rep Steny Hoyer?.Blunt has initiated pro-Israel resolutions that are guaranteed overwhelming passage, and he leads a trip to Israel every two years for Republican freshmen."
The August Republican group, led by Blunt and Cantor, included Rob Bishop (UT), Henry Bonilla (TX), Jo Bonner (AL), John Carter (TX), Thelma Drake (VA), John Doolittle (CA), newcomer Virginia Foxx (NC), newcomer Bobby Jindal (LA), newcomer Randy Kuhl (NY), Dan Lungren (CA), Kenny Marchant (TX), Tom Price (GA), Deborah Pryce (OH), and Paul Ryan (WI). Ilena Ros Lehtinen, who also manages to get to Israel once or twice a year, admitted in an article published on the Republican Jewish Coalition website, that she would "go to mat on Israel issues." Indeed, she regularly does. Two years ago she became head of the Middle East Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, which spearheads many pro-Israel resolutions.
The August Democratic group included, in addition to Menendez and Hoyer, John Barrow ((D-GA), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Israel (D-NY), James Langevin (D-RI), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), John Salazar (D-CO), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey.
According to the group's published agenda, the representatives called on Ariel Sharon, Simon Peres, "and other top government officials, visit[ed] the Golan Heights, Israel's border with Lebanon, strategic overlooks in the West Bank," Massada National Park, the Dead Sea, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, and Mevasseret Immigrant Absorption Center, "among other security and cultural sites." On the Palestinian side, only an appointment with Palestinian Authority, the Finance Minister Salam Fayad was announced.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported at in 2005 some 103 members of Congress visited Israel and that Congress took 15 resolutions for the benefit of Israel.
The rigid pro-Israel bent of Congress is too much for even President Bush, who's embrace of the Ariel Sharon's unilateral policies have been a mark of his administrations. David Dumke, who has followed congressional attitudes toward the Middle East for many years, believes the differences have complicated Bush's Middle East positions.
The overreaching of lobby groups such as AIPAC and the power it exerts on US foreign policy prompts a need for regulation and transparency.
The Council for the National Interest is promoting a Foreign Lobby Registration Act, and those interested in signing the act may read it on CNI's website.
Council for the National Interest Foundation 1250 4th Street SW, Suite WG-1 Washington, District of Columbia 20024