By William A. Cook
Canada’s border security officials and Jason Kenny, the immigration minister, banned George Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, from Canada where he was scheduled to speak in Toronto on the 30th. “A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the decision … was based on a ‘number of factors’ in accordance with section 34 (1) of the country’s immigration act” (Guardian.co.uk 3/20/09). This action denies Galloway entrance as a foreign national on security grounds for one or more of 6 reasons including “engaging in terrorism,” and “engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada.” The CJC, the Canadian Jewish Congress, supporting the decision, noted that it should be seen as an “issue of security law, not a dispute over free speech” (Mar. 27, 2009, Montreal Gazette). Indeed, other Jewish organizations like the League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith, not only supported the action but took some credit for the banning of Galloway.
Galloway’s talk, “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar,” sponsored by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, would have provided Canadians with a first hand account of conditions in Gaza following Israel’s invasion and destruction of that walled in strip of Palestinian land during the three week war from December 27 to January 18, 2009. Galloway is one of a handful of foreigners to see the devastation that others could glimpse only from You Tube videos made available through Al Jazeera news service. All western journalists were banned from Gaza by Israel’s IDF. Galloway led a convoy of trucks from England to Gaza carrying relief provisions for the people. The convoy entered Gaza just over a week ago.
Contrary to the CJC contention that the banning should be seen as a security measure under section 34 (1) of the immigration act, a close reading of the act would suggest that Galloway cannot be perceived as a person (c) “engaging in terrorism” or in (e) “acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada,” but rather an individual, by virtue of his recent experience in Gaza, who would be upholding the intent of Canada’s Criminal Code, Sections 318-320. Canada’s Criminal Code, passed in 1970, builds upon the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1966, the conventions of which support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as defined by the Charter of the United Nations.
According to the Nizkor Project “The premise underlying Canada’s anti-hate laws is that in a democratic society, identifiable groups must be protected against racism, including its verbal manifestations, in order not to limit their basic freedoms and thereby their full participation in Canadian society.” Nizkor asserts that the catalyst for this legislation might well have been the experience of Nazism, “that unchecked racism and hate propaganda could lead even a highly educated, cultured and democratic society to justify the most heinous crimes against humanity.”
How does this code apply to Galloway’s “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar”? The answer would appear to be in the importance of his eye witness account of the conditions in Gaza resulting from the invasion and his investigation of those conditions from Gazans, NGOs, and newspaper reports made available since the attacks. Multiple human rights organizations including B’tselem out of Jerusalem, the PCHR in Palestine and Human Rights International have brought varying allegations of Israeli war crimes before the International Court and the United Nations, crimes of disproportionate force in a civilian enclave where escape was impossible, crimes against civilians intentionally executed especially of women and children, crimes against international law for the use of banned weapons like white phosphorous, and crimes against the Geneva Conventions through the use of children as human shields. Additionally, the United Nations envoy for human rights activities in Palestine, Richard Falk, has brought forth a report that details Israeli war crimes suggesting that the fact that the people of Gaza could not escape made the invasion even more of a crime since it meant that civilians had no recourse from the weaponry of this massive military incursion into the densely populated cities of Gaza.
Now to the actual sections of the Criminal Code as they are applicable here. Section 318: Advocating Genocide and Section 319: Defining Genocide. “The criminal act of ‘advocating genocide’ is defined as supporting or arguing for the killing of members of an ‘identifiable group’ – persons distinguished by their colour, race, religion or ethnic origin. The intention would be the destruction of members of the targeted group. Any person who promotes genocide is guilty of an indictable offence, and liable to imprisonment…” Section 319 defines genocide as “any acts committed with intent to destroy an identifiable group – such as killing members of the group, or deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.”
Given the knowledge that Galloway brings regarding “criminal acts committed with intent to destroy an identifiable group – such as killing members of the group, or deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the groups physical destruction,” because that identifiable group is distinguished by their colour, race, religion and ethnic origin, it would appear that Galloway has a responsibility to bring such awareness, no doubt recognized by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, before the Canadian people to protect members of that group who reside in Canada.
In short, the CJC and the League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith, along with other Jewish organizations that have supported the Israeli invasion of Gaza, including the Harper government, would appear to be guilty of promoting “unchecked racism and hate propaganda” that could “justify the most heinous crimes against humanity.”
Clearly these organizations and the government of Canada realize the avowed intent of Avigdor Lieberman, a self- promoted Zionist and a member of Olmert’s government that executed the “war” in Gaza and now a member of Netanyahu’s new government, to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land, including if necessary the use of the atomic bomb on them. It would appear that the Harper government and the Jewish Canadian organizations support Israeli governments that, in Lieberman’s words, want to “execute Israeli Arabs that are members of the Knesset,” or “Destroy the foundation of all the [Palestinian] authority’s military infrastructure … not leave one stone on another. Destroy everything.” Civilian targets included. Bomb all Palestinian commercial centers including banks and gas stations.
Ironically, it is not the Canadian Jews that are in danger by Galloway’s appearance because he is a “terrorist” and a security risk against the Jews as potential victims, but the fact that he brings information that identifies the Zionist party of the Israeli government, particularly in the form of Lieberman’s racist party, Israel Beytenu, as terrorists intent on destroying Palestinians. Hence the real danger in Canada exists for the Palestinian people living there not the Jews. Indeed, one might argue that it is the responsibility of the Canadian Government to support Galloway’s efforts to enlighten the Canadian people to the dangers inherent in the actions of the CJC and the League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith of Canada that forced the Canadian immigration authorities to ban Galloway.
According to the Canadian Council on Human Rights, Section 319 (3), an individual cannot be convicted of breaking the Criminal Code if the statements or information provided can be established as true, are relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which is for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds it is able to be believed as true and is expressed in good faith and intended to point out … matters tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.” Quite obviously, the information George Galloway brings about the intent of the Israeli government as noted above is true and is of importance to the safety of Canadian citizens of Palestinian descent, since groups supportive of the genocidal acts committed by that government as alleged, recorded and advanced by respected Human Rights organizations before the proper world authorities, wants to prevent the citizens of Canada from hearing such information; they are the guilty parties not George Galloway.
It should be clear from the evidence presented here that a disturbing picture of an Israeli government emerges, one intent on the destruction of the Palestinian people as stated by members of that government and by the polls taken in Israel of Jewish support for the invasion, 94%, that a concerted effort to commit genocide against an identifiable group, the Palestinians, because of “race, ethnicity, and religion,” by “promoting the killing of members of the group” and “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction, ” is occurring, all actions condemned by Canada’s Council on Human Rights through its Criminal Code as defined in sections 318-319.
Alykhan Velshi, Jason Kenney’s spokesman, “said that the act (immigration act 34) was designed to protect Canadians from people who fund, support or engage in terrorism.” This article makes clear that those who “fund, support or engage in terrorism” are those who convinced Kenny to ban Galloway. He could provide Canadians with accurate, recent, detailed information related to the intended destruction of the people of Gaza and their livelihood. He can provide pictures and testaments from NGOs and the people of Gaza about the actions of the IDF as they launched missiles from the sea, from the air and from tanks on the surrounded civilians of Gaza, how they used illegal chemical weapons on children and women, how they intentionally destroyed United Nations schools housing children and mothers knowing some or all would be victims of that action, how they leveled with white phosphorous the humanitarian store house of the United Nations so that the people could not have food and water, how they maintained the locked gates so that no one could leave and no needed medical and food supplies could enter, and how even the soldiers of the IDF have now reported on the intentional killing of children and women.
This information is vital to the Canadian people if only to provide the truth that their government wants to suppress, if only to mark indelibly who the real terrorists are in Canada that want them, like their neighbors to the south, to be ignorant of that truth.
– William A. Cook, Professor of English, University of La Verne, California author of Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, The Rape of Palestine, and The Chronicles of Nefaria. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.