On June 30, 2023, The Canadian Mennonite published a letter by CJPME Director Media Advocacy Jason Toney in defence of a June 15 article entitled “Not talking politics in the Holy Land.” Columnist Randy Haluza-DeLay faced an avalanche of blowback from a pro-Israel lobby group for describing his experiences during an organized tour of Israel and Palestine and drawing comparisons to the oppression of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Toney wrote:
I’m aware that the article has come under attack by HonestReporting Canada. Our organization firmly disagrees with, and contests, their characterization of the article.
I believe Haluza-DeLay’s piece is an honest, fair assessment of his experience and I applaud his courage in speaking openly about it.
I was particularly struck by the conclusion of the article, which compares Canada’s settler-colonial history with Israel’s: “We Canadians are familiar with our own history claiming terra nullius (empty land), and the Doctrine of Discovery, that legitimized oppression of Indigenous residents.” Perhaps, in a similar vein, Canadian Mennonite would be interested in covering CJPME’s recent report “Heartbreaking Disparity: Child Detainees in Canada vs. Israel.”
The erasure of Palestinian narratives should be challenged. We applaud this effort, which succeeds in raising the Palestinian perspective in a critical context.