“It seems cynical, disingenuous and tragically ironic that Arabs turn to the very organization that helped create Israel to seek the legitimacy they have always denied Israel and so, I will close by repeating my assertion – as a simple former peacekeeper – that allowing the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state which has not renounced the use of violence against innocents would be a terrible crime against all of humanity.”
Mark Vandermaas, Israel Truth Week
Israel Truth Week Conference, March 21/12
On Sept 26/12, the most sacred day in Judaism – Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) – the United Nations allowed the most dangerous anti-Semite in the world to speak to the General Assembly. The only two nations with the moral courage to stand with Israel by walking out on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the genocidal president of Iran, were the United States and Canada. New York Daily News writer Dennis Hamill wrote, “Inviting Ahmadinejad to the UN on Yom Kippur is a treacherous piece of stagecraft…that desecrates the memory of 6 million murdered Jews with the histrionic antics of the world’s best-known anti-Semite on the holiest day of the Jewish year. […] The United Nations loses what little credibility it had left with this latest affront to human decency.” Sadly, Mr. Hamill was wrong…
On November 29, 2012 — the 65th anniversary of the 1947 UN General Assembly’s resolution to partition land set aside by the League of Nations’ British Mandate for a Jewish state into separate states for Arabs and Jews — the United Nations voted to admit ‘Palestine’ as an observer state. Save for Canada, the United States, the Czech Republic and several other small states who voted against, the world community, through another treacherous piece of UN stagecraft not only betrayed the people of Israel, but all of humanity on the anniversary of the vote that helped bring the modern state of Israel into existence.
In my evening presentation at the inaugural Israel Truth Week conference held in London, Ontario, Canada on March 21/12 I explained why this former peacekeeper believes any recognition of a Palestinian state that has not renounced violence would be a stain on the United Nations that could never be erased…
Why I Carry a Palestinian Flag in my Pocket: A UN Peacekeeper’s Case for Israeli and Palestinian Victims of Hamas
During this afternoon’s session I explained the circumstances that led to the Israel Truth Week concept, and showed you why Jews and those who care about Israel should be very much concerned about not only the racial policing in Caledonia, but the key role anti-Israel groups have played in fomenting the extreme lawlessness there by native militants.
Tonight I would like to tell you more about the Summer of 2011 when Jews and non-Jews, many of whom are in this room tonight, came from as far away as Hamilton to support what I called my ‘Blue Beret’ vigil.
In 1978 I served as a United Nations peacekeeper in the Middle East where I climbed Mt. Sinai to watch the sun come up on Easter Sunday – before Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in a ‘land for peace’ deal. I saw the burnt out tanks in the desert and drove through the minefields. That road took me through the Gaza Strip –before Israel withdrew in yet another effort to achieve peace. Her reward was, of course, thousands of Hamas rockets targeted at innocent civilians – attacks that continue to this day.
Last summer I discovered that a London mosque had held a fundraising dinner to support the Canadian Boat to Gaza, and its Operations Manager was travelling as a so-called ‘delegate’ on this shameful expedition, an expedition which, if successful in breaking the blockade of weapons against Hamas, would make it possible for terrorists to obtain more weapons with which to kill more Jewish civilians, and would result in death and injury to more innocent Palestinians due to the need for Israel to defend itself against these war crimes.
For one hour a day for 26 days I stood – almost always with supporters – with my UN flag wearing the blue beret I wore as a peacekeeper in the Middle East back in 1978…while holding a sign reminding passersby of the 1947 UN vote that led to the creation of the modern State of Israel. On the base of my UN flag I placed a small Israeli flag.
Someone asked why I didn’t have a Palestinian flag, so I created a handout to help people understand. It was called, ‘Why I carry a Palestinian flag in my pocket.’ Here is an excerpt:
Some of you on the anti-Israel side might wonder why I don’t have a Palestinian flag. After all, if I’m claiming to be conducting my Blue Beret protests for the benefit of both Jewish and Palestinian victims, why not put their flag there, too? And, you might argue, am I not supposed to be neutral as a former peacekeeper?
The UN’s primary mission during peacekeeping is to protect civilians and work to restore the rule of law. I will never be neutral in the face of people like Hamas who intentionally target innocents as part of a deliberate plan to exterminate a race of people and destroy a member state of the world community, especially when that state was created by a U.N. vote.
Neutrality in the face of violence directed at innocents can never be neutral. It is siding with evil. In fact, neutrality demands that one take a side – on the side of truth, on the side against those who believe such violence is an alternative to the rule of law.
The UN Human Rights Commision [in 2006] condemned the Hamas charter [LINK, PDF, VoC download PDF] for its call to kill Jews and “obliterate” Israel, but the Palestinian Authority is just as guilty of inciting Jew-hate among its citizens on a daily basis.
In my recent letter to the editor of the Hamilton Spectator I said, “
“History proves that ‘land’ is not the issue. Rabid, genocidal, anti-Semitism is the issue. If readers have any doubt of this I suggest they visit the site operated by Palestinian Media Watch (www.palwatch.org) and review the day-to-day glorification of violence against Jews and Israel – even in children’s programming. It is nothing short of nauseating.”
I argue that, for Palestinians to be recognized as a state by the UN, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority need – at the minimum – to demonstrate by their words and actions they have completely renounced the use of violence against Jews; acknowledged Israel’s right to exist in peace as a Jewish state; and ceased teaching Jew-hate to their citizens..
Unfortunately, the so-called ‘moderate’ Mahmoud Abbas made it clear to the Arab League in 2010 that he was completely in favour of another war to destroy Israel – as long as other Arabs joined in:
“If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favour. But the Palestinians will not fight alone because they don’t have the ability to do it.” – P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to Arab League Summit, March 2010.
In my opinion, if the UN declares a Palestinian state created on the backs of Palestinian war crimes, a genocidal Hamas charter, and the wistful dreams of war against Israel by the Palestinian Authority before these conditions are met, it would represent a crime against all humanity for the future victims it will create by legitimizing the use of violence against innocents as a tool of politics.
Even if Palestinians are successful in convincing the UN to declare a state for them without clear proof they have renounced violence, it will be a hollow victory, it will precipitate more violence, and it will be an eternal stain on the United Nations that can never be erased.
This week I purchased a small, desktop Palestinian flag that I now carry with me during my protests in my pocket. When Palestinian leaders do make the historic decision to reject violence and hate against their Jewish neighbours, I will be very proud to place their flag beside the Israeli one underneath my UN flag.
Since writing these words I have had the privilege of meeting Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the book, ‘Son of Hamas,’ which tells the remarkable story of how he, the son of a Hamas founder, rejected the hatred of his Islamic environment to eventually become a Christian, and how he worked to save Palestinian and Israeli lives as an informer for Israel’s Shin Bet security service.
In his remarks, Yousef made a most astute and pithy observation when he pointed out the naïve approach to the Middle East taken by those who refuse to acknowledge the root of the issue when he said, ‘The West is looking for a political solution to a religious problem.’
The Son of Hamas, a man who should know better than any of us, confirms the view that the Arab-Israeli conflict is actually a very simple one to understand: Palestinian leaders fervently believe in genocidal, supremacist violence founded in Islamic teachings and are engaged in the wholesale inculcation of this hateful ideology into the Palestinian people with the goal of destroying the Jewish state and its people.
It seems cynical, disingenuous and tragically ironic that Arabs turn to the very organization that helped create Israel to seek the legitimacy they have always denied Israel and so, I will close by repeating my assertion – as a simple former peacekeeper – that allowing the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state which has not renounced the use of violence against innocents would be a terrible crime against all of humanity.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird deserve great credit for standing on the right side of world history (as does the Czech Republic and the others who voted against). Thanks to them Canada will not have the stain of blood on its hands when other murderous thugs are inspired to seek world approval for their own brands of historical revisionism and political terrorism against civilians.
What you can do…
Please take the time to send your messages of appreciation to Prime Minister Harper and Minister Baird for standing up for Israel, the only democracy in the region, a country that shares so many values with Canada – free speech, human rights, and the rule of law:
- The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs: Baird.J@parl.gc.ca
- The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister: firstname.lastname@example.org
- New York Daily News, Sept 24/12: Ahmadinejad’s Yom Kippur UN speech an outrage for New York City
- YnetNews.com, Sept 26/12: PM: On Yom Kippur, Iran tyrant called for our demise
- CBC News, Sept 26/12: Canada boycotts Iran leader’s UN speech
An Israeli perspective from former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger:
- The Ettinger Report, Dec 03/12: Israel’s response to the November 29, 2012 UN Vote
Mark Vandermaas, Founder
Israel Truth Week