Davis’ apartheid Israel

Dr. Uri Davis spoke at Chernoff Hall on Wednesday.
Dr. Uri Davis spoke at Chernoff Hall on Wednesday.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is always a cause for debate and Wednesday night was no exception.

Dr. Uri Davis, a self-described Jewish Palestinian, spoke to approximately 45 people at Chernoff auditorium.

Davis is on a tour to promote his most recent book, Apartheid Israel. Possibilities for the Struggle Within.

Davis was brought to campus by several groups including Queen’s for Palestinian Human Rights (QPHR) and Studies in National and International Development (Queen’s SNID).

Davis began his talk with comparisons between apartheid South Africa and what he believes is Apartheid Israel.

“Israel remains the only apartheid state that is a member of the UN,” he said.

He said he sees a difference between state and country, lives in the state of Israel but considers his country to be Palestine.

He spoke extensively on the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Canadian citizens’ role in the fund.

He said donations to the Fund are tax-deductible, like donations to any other charity.

He said JNF money has gone towards the illegal building of parks that are cover-ups for crimes against humanity.

Canada Park, located in occupied territory, was built with money donated by Canadians to the Fund, Davis said.

Three villages, destroyed by the Israeli army, are now the site of the park which bears this country’s name, he said.

The majority of Davis’ presentation involved a recording of an episode of the CBC’s 5th Estate. The show was investigating the controversial Canada Park.

After the film, Davis said he would like to see the JNF brought to justice through the Canadian judicial system.

“Act urgently and bring these people to justice,” he said.

Before the talk began, the chair of the Israel Advocacy Committee, Ira Goldstein, handed out literature entitled “Israel Wants Peace.”

After Davis’ talk the audience was invited to ask questions. It took some time, but eventually people began to engage with Davis.

One audience member asked if Davis thought the wall being constructed in the occupied territories helps with security.

“This structure is obscene,” said Davis. “I shudder to think to have to raise my children in the shadow of this wall.”

He said if terrorists wished to attack people in Israel, wall or not, they would find a way in.

Davis encouraged young people living in the Western hemisphere to go on exchange programs to better understand the situation.

Saleem Haddad, president of QPHR, said he was happy with the talk but said he wished more people had attended.

“I thought there could have been more people, but it’s understandable because it’s the beginning of the year,” he said.

He said bringing someone like Davis to campus helps develop dialogue.

“I think most sides need to meet and talk about it,” he said. “It’s essential.” Saleem said this year’s QPHR executive is trying to work out ways to create forums for dialogue amongst its members and Jewish groups on campus.

Goldstein echoed Saleem’s wish for student discussion.

“You just need the right forum and it needs to be comfortable,” he said.

Goldstein said he supports bringing Davis to campus.“It’s consistent with our diverse community,” he said.

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