Ideas, Reaction, and Action in Canada
September 30, 2011 · By Phyllis Bennis
Efforts to restrict my commentary on the Palestinian statehood bid show that when ideas can still turn into action even - or especially - when someone tries to squelch them.
When the issue of Palestinian statehood and UN recognition finally came to the United Nations, CTV, Canada’s largest commercial television network, invited me to comment. A CTV regular, I watched Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas address the General Assembly at the CTV studio, and went on the air moments after his speech. As usual, my comments were framed by international law, human rights and equality. I focused on the 20-year-long failure of the U.S.-backed “peace process,” Israel’s continuing violations of the Geneva Conventions and other international obligations of an occupying power, and the centrality of the United Nations.
Shortly after the live interview, the B’nai Brith of Canada launched a public campaign against CTV, urging their supporters call the network to say that “biased reporting against Israel is unacceptable” despite their inability to identify a single error of fact in my commentary. In response, CTV removed the interview from their website, replacing it with an interview with the head of B’nai Brith who views Israel’s occupation as completely acceptable.
But then, following an immediate push-back by a number of Canadian organizations, including Canadian Friends of Sabeel, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East and others, CTV quickly restored the on-line version of my commentary. Watch it yourself (scroll down on the CTV News Video section on the right) – see why we need places like IPS that encourage independent ideas, and why IPS has friends in social movements in the U.S., Canada (and beyond) to turn them into action!
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