|Headline: Is Toronto Film Festival Protest Organized by Palestine House? An Investigative Report|
|Posted at: 02:51 PM - 10 Sep 2009|
A press release went out today in the name of the group that published the protest/boycott open letter to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It expresses satisfaction that they have hundreds of new signatories to their online letter. The letter begins:
In other words, the people who have sent out the press release are the organizers of this campaign to protest TIFF. Keep that in mind for a second.
The letter goes on to say that they don’t mean to boycott TIFF, just to protest the political nature of the City to City program for using Tel Aviv as its first city. Of course, that’s a ridiculous claim since John Greyson, who is one of the letter’s authors, wrote:
Another of the letter’s authors is Naomi Klein who recently visited Ramallah and publicly apologized to the Palestinians for only joining their boycott movement against Israel now.
In my posts, I’ve shown that the letter relates South Africa and Israel and equates Israel’s actions with South Africa’s past immoral behavior. Of course, it took boycotting to kill SA’s apartheid, and it is clearly implied in the letter to TIFF that Israeli apartheid is just as immoral. To deny that the protest letter isn’t a boycott letter is nothing more than a clever semantic game. The intent is clear, as John Greyson informs us in his open letter.
Now to the interesting part of this post. The press release from the “organizers” conveniently provides a media contact phone number for reporters or others wishing to make contact. The number is 416-890-3703 and a very pleasant woman answers when you call. She does not identify the place you are calling or the organization.
Interestingly, the same number was provided in a press release publicizing John Greyson’s open letter. There too it was labeled “media contact.”
A Google search on that number also brings up a number of letters promoting “Apartheid Week” in Toronto.
The phone number is the phone number to Palestine House in Toronto. You can see evidence of this in the contact number offered here.
Hmmmm…a protest against TIFF, that is headlined by Canadian artists and writers and without a single Arab name signed on to their open letter (the letter is signed, “Udi Aloni, filmmaker, Israel; Elle Flanders, filmmaker, Canada; Richard Fung, video artist, Canada; John Greyson, filmmaker, Canada; Naomi Klein, writer and filmmaker, Canada; Kathy Wazana, filmmaker, Canada; Cynthia Wright, writer and academic, Canada; b h Yael, film and video artist, Canada), is being organized at or with Palestine House in Toronto.
But their media center on site Two tells a different story. Here are the first few press releases provided by their media center:
Sept. 2nd, 09: Toronto International Film Festival
The Dead Sea Scrolls letters are related to the attempt by the Palestinians to claim the Dead Sea Scrolls are actually Palestinian artifacts and stolen by Israel. That’s right, Hebrew religious scrolls from 2000 years ago are actually Palestinian. Who knew?! There was an exhibition of the scrolls in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum and these letters from Palestine House are attempting to have the show cancelled. First Dead Sea Scrolls, now Tel Aviv movies. Anybody see a pattern emerging?
Now what is also interesting is that the Palestine House Media phone number listed on the CAF press release, which is the same one on the Greyson press release and the press release by the “organizers” of the TIFF protest nee boycott, and which is also the same phone number provided for Apartheid Week activities in Toronto, is NOT listed on the Palestine House website. Its inclusion in the press releases and the Apartheid Week activities also don’t identify it. Nope, the only way to find out that the phone number belongs to Palestine House is to search on Google and find the originals of the January 2, 2009 press release by the Canadian Arab Federation that list the number as Palestine House Media.
Palestine House is, by the way, funded in part by the Canadian government. There is a note on site One that says “Programs funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.” Why is the Canadian government funding a clearing house for Palestinian activism against Israel? Who knows. But they are.
I bet the Canadian government doesn’t know they are funding an organization that supports boycotts and protests against cultural activities that involve Israel. I bet the Canadian government doesn’t know that their funds – Canadian taxpayer funds – are being spent defaming the Toronto International Film Festival and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Now for the best part, something which an acquaintance of mine pointed out to me and I have taken the liberty of using some of the information he provided. Let’s compare the first press release attacking the Royal Ontario Museum’s Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition with Greyson’s “open letter” and the “protest letter” written to TIFF.
“Canadian Artists” “Protest” Letter:
John Greyson Open Letter:
“Canadian Artists” letter:
John Greyson asks a pertinent question in “his” “open letter.” He asks, “Why does this feel like a propaganda campaign?”
Excellent question and one that has to be thrown right back at the
Another question I have is, was this entire campaign against Toronto International Film Festival and before it, the Dead Sea Scrolls show at the Royal Ontario Museum, run and choreographed by Palestine House? This newspaper article indicates that the Palestinian Authority first attacked the Dead Sea Scrolls show in April, and that is precisely when the first letter to the ROM from Palestine House is dated.
Is Palestine House directly connected to the Palestinian Authority or taking guidance from the Palestinian government?
Aside from taking Canadian taxpayer money, there is nothing wrong with what they’ve done if their role is indeed to actively pursue the Palestinian propaganda agenda (I have no idea what their tax-exempt status declaration states). But if this is the case, why are they not being up-front about it? Why are they silent partners to the “Canadian” signatories on the letter to TIFF? I mean, there I was thinking I was reading the fruits of Naomi Klein’s and John Greyson’s pens but now I have to wonder whether I’m actually reading the impressive craftsmanship of Samir Jabbour, the “spokesperson” for Palestine House.
To conclude…the press release from today states:
There is no “campaign” of misinformation against the “protest letter” or its signatories, unless you count individuals such as me who have no affiliation with any group, government or organization, or the many commenters in blogs and discussion groups on the internet (such as the acquaintance who pointed out the similarities in the letters to me), who have attacked these letters, as a “campaign.” There is certainly no “misinformation” on my part at least and I challenge any readers of my posts to find “misinformation.” Rather, I believe it has now been shown that the misinformation and the campaign are coming from the organizers of these letters and protests and boycotts, organizers who may actually be from Palestine House and who may be guided by the Palestinian Authority.
For more Jewlicious reading about this:
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