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Published, Aug 30/2001, Edmonton Journal

 

Manley Shames Us All

 

I am ashamed to learn that Canada’s foreign minister John Manley may boycott the upcoming UN conference on racism as he feels some text “goes too far in singling out one country, in this case Israel.”

 

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.” 

 

In 1948 close to a million Palestinians fled what is now called Israel and have never been back.  Millions of Palestinians have lived in refugee camps for over 52 years now waiting to return, but have been flatly denied this basic human right, as it would upset the “Jewish nature” of Israel. 

 

Meanwhile, millions of Russian, European and American Jews have flooded into Israel, while two entire generations of Palestinians have grown up in refugee camps on Israel’s borders.  If this doesn’t constitute racism than what does?

 

Not to mention, house demolitions, farmland destruction, water diversion, assassinations and illegal settlements (more correctly colonies).

 

What is the point of having a UN conference on racism if we cannot "single out" such an obvious and tragic case?  We will never rid the planet of racism if we cannot even acknowledge or speak out against the worst offenders, or worse yet - boycott in their defense. Would John Manley have refused to attend a conference on Apartheid because it singled out South Africa?

 

T M Weis

Edmonton