Review: Denman4Palestine, Community Back Hall


This past Monday, guest speaker Yves Engler spoke for an hour on the details of Canada’s direct complicity in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing in Palestinian territories, and specifically Gaza. He also took questions and engaged with attendees. While his talk acknowledged the reality and horror of the estimated 50,000 plus civilian murders (they haven’t begun to count bodies under Gazan rubble), he mostly focused on the Canadian government, and Canadian corporations’ and institutional support for Israeli war crimes and apartheid. His lecture did not spare critique of Canadian media’s dutiful partnership in justifying that which is unjustifiable.

Engler calls it for what it is; genocide, just as the International Criminal Court has called it, hardly a radical institution. The Back Hall was comfortably full, especially for a midday on a Monday, thanks to the efforts of Denman4Palestine, the organizers who placed articles in The Islands Grapevine, The Flagstone, on social media, and in the new bi-monthly publication that insisted on attaching a disclaimer to the article it published on the event, claiming it wasn’t taking sides and that it supported dialogue. Really? Not taking sides on an issue of ethnic cleansing and genocide? And for what other reason might we all meet in the Back Hall, if not for dialogue? 

Donald J. Trump took the same position when it came to an anti-fascist event protesting white supremacy, where an innocent woman was killed by a member of a far right extremist mob, claiming, “There are good people on both sides.” Where are our ethical compasses? Can one credibly argue “bothsidesism” in this case? In the cruelest of ironies, while invoking the memory of 6 million brutalized and murdered Jews by fascists, we have a far right Israeli government perpetrating a holocaust on Palestinian civilians. The Geneva Convention, the International Criminal Court, and the United Nations all consider the collective punishment of a civilian population as a major war crime. And many, many Jewish people say, “not in my name.” 

We don’t need the Tone Police. We need an end to the slaughter.