Jewish Israeli activist to speak in Duncan next Tuesday

On Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m., Amos Gvirtz, Jewish Israeli activist for justice, will speak in the Sanctuary of Duncan United Church, 246 Ingram St. in Duncan.

Gvirtz is a pacifist who has spent decades publicly struggling for an end to Israel’s military occupation over Palestinians. He was for many years the Israeli representative for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and has been chairperson of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, the organization directed by Jeff Halper (who spoke in Duncan on Feb. 11).

In recent years Gvirtz has been concentrating his efforts on the predicament of Bedouins within Israel, highlighting and opposing Israel’s oppression of Bedouin communities. One village, el-Araqib has had its homes demolished more than 80 times, said Harry Berbrayer, one of the organizers of the Duncan event.

Israel classifies many such Bedouin villages as illegal, equivalent to shantytowns, and bulldozes them, Berbrayer said. Since the 1970s the Israeli state has been trying to forcibly relocate Bedouins to seven planned towns, where the people will be unable to live in traditional ways, he explained. However, the Bedouin were there long before the creation of modern Israel.

Admission is free, but there will be a collection to help contribute to Gvirtz’s travel expenses, and to the costs of the legal challenge by the village of El-Araqib. For those who want to contribute in advance of the event, contact Harry Berbrayer at 250-746-7426; before 10 p.m.