Ilan Goldenblatt was the Israel-born Chief of Staff to Canadian former Member of Parliament Paul Manly. Manly shared a blog post written by Goldenblatt to describe his stance on Israel-Palestine: based on his experience as a Jewish Israeli, he recognized Israel’s actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) as ethnic cleansing.
Ilan Goldenblatt was born and raised in Haifa, Israel, the son of Montreal Jews who emigrated to Israel (made “Aliya”) in 1972 as Zionists. His childhood home was full of books about antisemitism and the Holocaust. He went attended Israeli K-12 public education system, stood in silence on Remembrance Day and Holocaust Memorial Day, went to Poland on a high school tour of the Nazi death camps, and served in the intelligence service of the Israeli military. His family still lives in Israel.
Given his Jewish perspective, he sees what is happening in East Jerusalem as ethnic cleansing. He asks, “How can anyone justify having these Palestinian families now lose their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, without having the right to claim their lost homes and lands in Israel?” He reports seeing with his own eyes the apartheid treatment of Palestinians.
“Criticizing Israel’s government and its actions does not equal antisemitism. Equating the Israeli occupation with apartheid does not equal antisemitism. Calling what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah ethnic cleansing is not antisemitism.” He goes on to say, “It is important to call out racism and antisemitism any time they raise their ugly heads. It is critically important to root out antisemitism from advocacy for Palestinian rights. Those who attack Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and organizations in the name of protest against the Israeli occupation are engaging in hate crimes and are also doing a terrible disservice to the cause of Palestinian rights. They should be called out by friends of Palestinian rights and dealt with by police and the courts. Standing up against Israeli provocations, against Israeli violations of international law, and against a hard right Israeli government is the right thing to do morally, as a stand for human rights, justice and in hopes for peace. We lose moral ground by being neutral on this issue. BLM activists, Indigenous activists and feminist activists are standing up against occupation and for Palestinian rights.”