I was asked to observe by The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), an organization that advocates for tolerance and provides education about the Holocaust and other examples of the horrors that befall civilization when the basic rules of human behavior break down. I do some work for FSWC on occasion and they wanted me to check out a lecture by Eva Bartlett, a member of the extremist anti-Israel organization, the International Solidarity Movement.
|Some of the propaganda art on display|
With a backdrop of an exhibit called “A Child’s View of Gaza,” a handful of drawings depicting Jews as bloodthirsty killers and Palestinians as innocent victims, Ms Bartlett narrated a slide show that duplicated the message of the artwork. The Canadian Arab Federation’s former President and Vice President Khalled Muammar and Ali Mallah, Sea Hitler Gaza boat hysteric David Heap, anti-Israel zealot Karin Brothers and a smattering of familiar faces from the local anti-Zionist scene made up the whole of the audience. The room resembled a residents’ dietary committee meeting at a geriatric centre but with worse fashion-sense; the average age of the attendees being about 68.
The anti-Israel community in Toronto is relatively small and close-knit, characterized by a paranoia and narcissism which makes for a curious conflict of needs. On one hand they relish attention, but on the other, they deplore being made to look ridiculous, which given what they say and do is a frequent outcome. It was therefore a little amusing and not unexpected when, prior to Bartlett beginning her talk, she and a frumpy, white-haired woman wearing a Canadian Gaza Boat t-shirt gave me the distinction of approaching to ask my identity. I told my name to Bartlett, who is wispy, high-strung and appears to be in her mid 30's,and she further inquired, "are you Blazing Cat Fur?"
Blazing Cat Fur is a conservative, pro-Zionist Toronto blogger who has been responsible for breaking a number of stories about Islamic extremism and abuse of authority by government and unions at the local, provincial and federal levels. A soft-spoken fellow, he does this all on his own time and expense and his work has often attracted international attention, as in the case of the Valley Park Middle School Mosqueteria. That the coterie of kooks at Beit Zatoun would be so intimidated at the possible presence of that lone, mild-mannered, independent citizen journalist tells volumes about their neurotic fear of being deprived of approbation.
The message of Bartlett’s talk was as vicious as it was facile, saying, “all of the problems in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria are because of the Zionists.” The so-called peace activist stated that “violent resistance is legitimate,” while making continual reference to Palestinian “martyrs.” What made this all the more ironic was that the lecture was sponsored by an organization that deceptively calls itself Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East .
Photographs of one Palestinian family after another appeared on the screen with Bartlett describing each as “desperately poor.” These families had two, three, six, eight children or more with most about to expect another soon. Without her realization, Bartlett’s lecture undermined the message she was trying to convey, that Israel is the sole cause of the Palestinians' problems. Any middle class North American family would also be desperately poor if they were to continue to have households of up to a dozen children without the means of supporting them. Bartlett provided the additional example of the family of her husband, a Palestinian from Gaza, who she said had fifteen (15) siblings and also grew up “desperately poor.” This brought to mind the saying of Israel's Prime Minister Golda Meir, that "peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us." The lack of responsibility in producing multitudes of children they cannot properly care for reiterated that in Palestinian society, children are often just another weapon for propaganda and fodder for jihad. With their pathological fixation on Israel being the cause of all the world's ills, such obvious insights eluded Bartlett and her cultish audience.
She blamed the traumatisation of children in Gaza on Israel while not once mentioning Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel or the Palestinians' own traumatisation of their children by encouraging them to hate and be killers and suicide bombers from kindergarten age.
The tragedy of events like Bartlett’s speech, as uninfluential and unimportant as they are, is that by investing all their energies into trying to delegitimize Israel under the guise of peace activism, such people merely entrench lies and polarize fanatics into postures that make achieving peace in the middle east an even more difficult prospect.
|David Heap with Eva Bartlett (left)|
An unusual addendum to the evening came about in the question and answer period following Bartlett's presentation in a furious tirade by Sea Hitler organizer David Heap. A pudgy, slovenly-looking man with a double-chinned face and neck perpetually full of stubble suggesting an impersonation of the late Yasser Arafat, were you to see Heap while driving past a street corner, your immediate concern might be that he would try to wipe your windshield with a greasy rag. Like so many of his cohorts, he comes off as unrelentingly bitter and aggrieved.
On this occasion, when considering why the media didn't give nonentities like him and Bartlett more attention, Heap angrily railed against a small but effective organization called Honest Reporting Canada. Run almost single-handed by a thoughtful young man named Mike Fegelman, Honest Reporting Canada (HRC) monitors media for distortions and falsehoods they broadcast about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and publicizes them.
Heap indignantly alleged that Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reporters had privately told him they would like to do more stories on Palestine, but the focus from HRC had made their editors wary of it. The attention has compelled the CBC to have to apologize and correct a number of erroneous reports. If Heap's account was true, then having to ensure accuracy in their reporting on a subject must have been a daunting enough prospect for the frequently inept news service of Canada's state broadcaster to make them reluctant to approach it.
Thus Heap's confession of frustration at an evening of bias confirmation, like Bartlett's lecture itself, provided an unintended value; not to them, but to others. The truth that emerged from their huddle of self-affirmation and self-congratulation is not of how much they have accomplished, but of how little and how self-discrediting they are in the process.
|I'll get you, you Zionist antagonist!|
And your little dog too!
"Peace" activist Bartlett, who is a big fan of the terror group Hezbollah, cites discredited 9-11 conspiracist Richard Falk as a "respected" source along with other equally vapid and dishonest attempts to obfuscate an obvious truth. If the leadership of Gaza would explicitly recognize Israel's right to exist and unequivocally commit to a cessation of violence, there would be peace. But we never hear that from these fake "peace" activists, do we?
Oh, and here's an important video about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, home to one of the fattest populations on Earth:
More "human rights abuses":