SACPA speaker’s views raise con­cerns

Lethbridge Herald - - READER'S FORUM -

I was sur­prised and dis­ap­pointed to see the South­ern Al­berta Coun­cil on Pub­lic Af­fairs (SACPA) hosted a speaker — Mo­hammed Abusha­ban — who, ac­cord­ing to The Her­ald, veered into con­spir­acy the­o­ries and mused about the end of Is­rael and its re­place­ment with a sin­gle, Mus­lim coun­try dom­i­nat­ing the Mid­dle East.

For an or­ga­ni­za­tion that prides it­self on fos­ter­ing con­struc­tive de­bate, it is be­neath the dig­nity of the SACPA to host a speaker with such bizarre and ex­treme views. Per­haps those who fan­ta­size about Is­rael be­ing wiped from the map are re­flec­tive of the very rea­son why peace re­mains elu­sive. While this may be the pre­vail­ing view in much of the Mid­dle East, it is ap­palling to hear it in Canada un­der the guise of in­tel­li­gent dis­course.

The Jewish com­mu­nity of Cal­gary and south­ern Al­berta cher­ishes mean­ing­ful di­a­logue and looks for­ward to the day when Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans will know peace, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and mu­tual ac­cep­tance. This is why we urge the SACPA to se­lect speak­ers in fu­ture who em­body these prin­ci­ples — rather than those who re­cy­cle a dis­torted, blame­ori­ented narrative that clouds the path to peace.

Jef­frey L. Smith

Chair, Com­mu­nity Re­la­tions, Cal­gary Jewish Fed­er­a­tion Lo­cal Part­ner, Cen­tre for Is­rael and Jewish Af­fairs Cal­gary

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