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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 10, 2003

Concordia, Hillel, and the Foreign Enlistment Act: An Open Letter

Hi all,

This is my first ever blog post, though I've been lurking in your midst for a couple of months (I've made a few comments). Bear with me on the mistakes - I'm no computer guy. Hopefully there'll be more interesting content to come.

This post is a letter I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the Hillel banning at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Though the situation seems to be working itself out, I have still not seen anyone address one fundamental point: there is nothing wrong with advertising for Machal. Read on....

To whom it may concern,
Re:Concordia Student Union

Foreign Enlistment Act
S. 3
Any Canadian national, in or out of Canada, who voluntarily accepts any position in armed forces of foreign state at war with any friendly foreign state
Any person, regardless of nationality, while in Canada, induces any other person to accept any part in such armed forces is guilty of an offence
S. 4
Any Canadian national who leaves Canada with intent to join armed forces of foreign state at war with a friendly state
Any person, regardless of nationality, within Canada, induces any other person to leave Canada with a similar intent, is guilty of an offence


Many Canadians volunteered to fight and join the American army in Vietnam -a war without as clear a justification as Israel's defensive struggle for existence -with the blessings of our government. Canadians fight in the French Foreign Legion, and fought under the British Flag for many years -all well within the bounds of the foreign enlistment act. Indeed many Canadians have fought with distinction in the IDF since 1948, without so much as a peep from our government. Why?

I understand that many of you (especially at Concordia) will identify America and Britain (of course not France -have they ever done anything wrong?...Well, except for that whole Vichy thing in WWII right?...Capitulating to the Nazis was wrong... wasn't it?) as enemies of Canada as well. While this may be acceptable in your ivory towers, this simply isn't the case outside the castle.

You all can be against war in any circumstances and sight a long string of international conventions fromn the Kellog/Briand pact in the 1920's through to the Charter of the United Nations and the Uniting for Peace resolution of the 1950's that appear to outlaw the very concept of war (they don't). Read the preamble (the part before chapter 1)to the UN charter. Read it again. Read it ten more times.

To summarize... the purpose of the UN is "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be ensure BY ACCEPTANCE OF PRINCIPLES AND THE INSTITUTION OF METHODS, THAT ARMED FORCE SHALL NOT BE USED, SAVE IN THE COMMON INTEREST".

Canada recognizes Israel's position on the front line for establishing the conditions under which justice and respect for international law can be maintained -a job that has unfairly fallen on Israel's shoulder's almost alone. Canada, does indeed often criticize Israel's tactics, but at the same time Canada certainly understands Israel's difficult situation, especialy in light of Israel's desire to abide by international treaties which their enemies do not recognize.

Israel, a true friend of Canada with shared core values (see freedom, justice, democracy, respect for minorities -even hostile ones) is not at war with any friendly state of Canada. In fact, Canada, an upstanding member of the United Nations should be encouraging those who wish to actively engage in deterring Canada's enemies, since Canada does not afford such opportunities with our weakened and depleted military.

Read the act above. Which "friendly" states of Canada is Israel at war with? Hizb'allah? Hamas? Al Qaida? The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade? Wait a second those aren't states at all! Unfortunately, due to a strategic tactical decision to resort to terror and not peacefully negotiate resolution of disputes, Palestine is not yet a state either.

I understand that it might be uncomfortable to many of you who have invested so much time in the Palestinian cause to accept that your country, Canada, would do the exact same thing if it were in Israel's shoes -though probably without as much restraint.

I am sorry that the Machal 2000 brochure caused you some distress, but you went well beyond your rights in banning the Hillel organization - an international
Jewish Student Union that preaches tolerance, diversity and respect of all minorities (Jews included).

Your selective and misguided enforcement of "Canadian" values over this past year has unfortunately harmed the very integrity of your academic institution and all associated with it. I urge you to take a more measured stance in the future before you ban yourselves into obscurity and irrelevance.