Friday, February 22, 2013

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs at AIPAC

As of today - February 22, 2013 - a Google News search doesn't show one citation that Mr. John Baird, Canada's  Minister of Foreign Affairs is confirmed to deliver a keynote address at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual policy conference in Washington, DC, taking place March 3 - 5, 2013.

AIPAC, according to their own literature, is America's leading pro-Israel lobby working to enact public policy that enhances the US-Israel relationship. In fact, AIPAC wields powerful influence over the US political system to ensure that Israel's illegal, violent and racist human rights violations in Palestine can continue unchecked. What is Canada's foreign affairs minister doing there?

In contravention of international law,  segregated, Jewish-only settlements continue to proliferate on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The indigenous Palestinians are being forcibly displaced while their homes, olive groves and access to water is severely restricted.  Over 600,000 colonial settlers, under watch of heavily armed Israeli occupation forces ensures that a policy of illegal land theft and population transfer continues unabated. 4 million Palestinians are living under an illegal, military occupation.

The illegal separation wall continues to divide Palestinian communities, and by snaking ever-deeper into occupied Palestinian territory, effectively further annexes Palestinian land and grafts it onto a continually expanding Israel.

Peacefully demonstrating against these internationally condemned assaults on human rights and dignity are routinely responded to with tear gas, live fire and incarceration.

Palestinians living in Gaza continue to be traumatized by a punishing land and sea blockade imposed by Israel and as a result of regular violent military incursions involving the air-force, navy and ground troops.

These colonial atrocities continue in large measure because AIPAC helps ensure that the world community remains impotent whenever it wishes to censure Israel and hold it accountable to its international obligations. The US reflexively vetoes UN Resolutions critical of fundamental Israeli human rights violations in Palestine. Canada is complicit on account of it's uncritical support of these policies.

For many Canadians, the Harper Government's unconditional acceptance and encouragement of Israel's deepening apartheid practices against the People and Land of Palestine is morally and legally contemptible. I hope that Mr. Baird will speak the truth at the AIPAC policy convention in Washington and raise his voice to demand an end to the illegal occupation and blockade of Palestine, and not just voice the usual racist, Islamophobic, pro-occupation rhetoric.

J Max Soos

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