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drive-by planet: Israel, Harper back unelected Kiev government: anti-Semitism and far-right nationalism downplayed

  Top: Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok in group shot with Canada’s John Baird / Lower left: Tyahnybok in action / Lower right: Svoboda parade

Stephen Harper’s visit to Ukraine this week is the first by any G7 leader since the coup that saw the overthrow of Yanukovych. Harper is a big backer of the unelected government in Kiev with its cast of sketchy characters. The ultranationalist Svoboda Party heads up major ministries in the new government. It is a coalition that includes closet neo-fascists who haven’t changed their stripes despite fronting a more moderate image for reasons of political convenience.

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Is the U.S. Working to Sabotage Its Nuke Deal with Iran?

According to Asia Times, the U.S. is adopting an Israeli policy platform that could scuttle the prospects of a nuke deal with Iran.

The Barack Obama administration’s insistence that Iran discuss its ballistic missile program in the negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement brings its position into line with that of Israel and senators who introduced legislation drafted by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC aimed at torpedoing the negotiations.White House spokesman Jay Carney highlighted the new US demand in a statement Wednesday that the Iranians “have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program”.

Carney cited (Read more…)

Art Threat: Mars at Sunrise is a Cinematic Tone Poem

In times of stress we turn to torn fragments of ourselves and worship them as if they were whole nations (From Mars at Sunrise).

Mars at Sunrise (2014) is director Jessica Habie’s first feature. Billed as “A story of a war waged on imagination,” the film tells the story of Khaled, a working artist arrested in his Ramallah home and interrogated by Eyal, himself a frustrated Israeli artist completing his military service.

Habie uses lush cinematography, precisely deployed editing and fantastic sound design as well as a non-linear narrative structure and a poetic voice over to manifest Khaled and (Read more…)

drive-by planet: ‘Zionism is the problem’: new Presbyterian study guide takes a criticial look at Zionist ideology

A recent post on Electronic Intifada discusses a new study guide published by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. titled Zionism Unsettled. It takes a critical look at Zionist ideology that has influenced many of the unjust Israeli policies targeted by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In an upcoming General Assembly in Detroit, the Church will consider divesting from three U.S. companies with Israeli military contracts.

The Presbyterian Church may not have acted as assertively as many of us would have liked when it comes to boycott and divestment initiatives, but to its credit it has (Read more…)

drive-by planet: A symbolic gesture

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: It’s About Recognizing The Realities

Over at Huffington Post, one of their columnists, JJ McCullough, is pontificating on Harper’s trip to Israel.  In the comments, we find HP blogger Mitch Wolfe making the following daft statement:

This article is an excellent summary of Harper’s pro Israeli policies. It also provides an excellent summary of the so-called pundits’ views of Harper’s pro Israeli position. The pundits, the Laurentian Consensus, Tony Burman of the Star and Simpson of the Globe, all fail to deal with Hamas, ” the camel in the room”. This is a terrorist organization that rules by violence and intimidation. There is no democracy, (Read more…)

Left Over: Oh, RoFo, Oh Harpo…….(with apologies to John Lennon)

New Rob Ford video leaves council members frustrated, stunned Toronto mayor should step down for the good of the city, Coun. Michael Thompson says

CBC News Posted: Jan 22, 2014 9:28 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 22, 2014 5:33 PM ET

Personally? LMAO, sorry, but this latest RoFo Rant knocked Harpster off the front page of Canada’s fawning press…in all it’s dreariness…they can’t seem to help themselves, pushing each other aside, like papparazzi after a B grade starlet, trying to be the ones with the longest, most boring coverage of Great Leader droning on and on in Israel, where the media (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Palestinian legislator Ahmad Tibi slams Harper’s postion on Israel as "unbalanced" and "right of Likud": why Tibi gets it right

Ahmad Tibi, the Palestinian legislator who walked out of Stephen Harper’s Knesset speech said in an interview with CBC’s Evan Solomon that Harper’s views on Israel were “unbalanced” and “right of Likud.” Sounds pretty accurate. Harper’s views are indeed extreme even by some Israeli standards and certainly more extreme than most average Canadians on the subject of Israel.

Tibi and a fellow legislator raised objections from the floor when Harper dismissed the idea that  apartheid exists in Israel. Anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of the Israeli system knows that segregation lies at very heart of daily life (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Mr. Harper’s pilgimage to Israel—more Canterbury Tales than trade mission

Trade missions have always been questionable vehicles for boosting the Canadian economy. Nonetheless, some can be justified by, if nothing else, the trade potential of the host country. For example, Jean Chrétien’s Team Canada mission to China in 2011. China is now our second most important trading partner and the world’s largest market. Huge potential there.

But Israel? Israel is a minor

ParliamANT Hill: PM heckled in Israel

Inspired by these headlines:

The Canadian Progressive: Why Arab-Israeli politician protested Harper’s speech to the Knesset

by: Obert Madondo “When you are controlling, discriminating, confiscating, occupying lands from one side and putting them in the corner without any basic rights, you are by this way ruling and committing apartheid in the occupied Palestinian Territories.” The words of Arab-Israeli legislator Ahmad Tibi as he explained to the CBC why he stormed out during… Read More

The post Why Arab-Israeli politician protested Harper’s speech to the Knesset appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Excited Delirium: Stephen Harper Declares War on Canada?

Why is Stephen Harper pushing Canada in the wrong direction when it come to Middle Eastern policy?

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Harper Overseas

Harper took some good buddies along on our dime.

Julius Suraski, the guy behind Highway 400's giant "FORD NATION" sign, is with Stephen Harper in Israel right now:…— David Topping (@dtopping) January 20, 2014

@stphnmaher How weird is it when someone from Sun News has the better credibility?— CC (@canadiancynic) January 19, 2014

If Canada continues running smoothly in the absence of the 150 "VIPs" over in Israel right now, I vote they stay there.— Steve Patterson (@patterballs) January 20, 2014

MT @kimmackrael @josh_wingrove "Harper says sanctions against Iran will remain" #cdnpoli (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Graeme Wearden reports on Oxfam’s latest study on inequality and the outsized political influence of the wealthy few: The Oxfam report found that over the past few decades, the rich have successfully wielded political influence to skew policies in their favour on issues ranging from financial deregulation, tax havens, anti-competitive business practices to lower tax rates on high incomes and cuts in public services for the majority. Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, said the report.

This (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Bromance From Hell

When I saw this picture published tonight by the Con Ministry of Propaganda and Disinformation, I have to admit I was conflicted eh?

On the one hand I despise both Stephen Harper and Benjamin Netanyahu for being vicious Cons and demagogues, who would lead their countries to disaster, and the world to war.But on the other hand I can't deny that any man who would praise Harper for his "moral leadership," must be madly in love with Great Leader.Read more »

LeDaro: Stephen Harper and Benjamin Netanyahu: Love Affair

Both Harper and Netanyahu are singing songs for each other. I could not find the video where Netanyahu talks about his love for Stephen Harper and Canada. Below is a video about Harper’s love affair with Zionism and Israel. According to CBC News Harper is taking some 200 business people with him to Israel on taxpayers’ expense.

The Middle East is a particularly troubled region of the world, and this is where Harper’s most egregious double standards come to the fore. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which lies at the heart of the broader Middle East crisis, is an issue where Harper (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Outrageous Middle East Junket

When I first heard that Stephen Harper was going to visit Israel, his spiritual homeland, at first I was amused.I figured it was just another excuse to escape the Senate scandal. And I couldn't wait to see him driving his getaway burro through the streets of Jerusalem.Trying to look like a Canadian Messiah. Instead of just a corrupt leader on the lam.But then when I saw how many people were going with him I was shocked.Read more »

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper Is A Boy In Short Pants On Foreign Policy

When it comes to matters of Foreign Policy, Harper is neither subtle or particularly smart.  As with all things in Harper’s world, it’s all about partisan position and absolutes.

Yesterday’s announcement of Vivian Bercovici’s appointment as Canada’s new ambassador to Israel fits that pattern exactly.

Ms. Bercovici is one of those who is completely uncritical of the regime in Israel, and about as nuanced as Harper himself in her musings on the subject. In a Jan. 28, 2013, column in the Toronto Star, Bercovici praises Netanyahu and criticizes Palestinian leaders. 

“Many western governments, judging from their comments, hold (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Voice for the exiled: the powerful and moving poetry of Susan Abulhawa

If you’re considering a gift for anyone in the new year I strongly recommend a wonderful poetry collection entitled My Voice Sought the Wind by Susan Abulhawa.

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian-American writer and activist. Her highly acclaimed novel Mornings in Jenin has been translated into 32 languages since it was published in 2010.

The publisher’s description of My Voice Sought the Wind includes the following:

My Voice Sought the Wind represents five years of her [Abulhawa's] best poems on the timeless themes of love, loss, identity, and family, brought to life through her vivid observations and intimate personal reflections. (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Merry Christmas!

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and/or the joy and warmth of the holiday season. Make 2014 a year of more love, more compassion, more sharing and more service.

Three things to mark this day:

Some pictures. Here are 75 amazing pictures from 2013. Some more pictures. Here are 100 of the best street are photos from 2013. A political picture. Some thing about Israel.

Another brick.

October 7, 2011 Occupy the Church, Occupy Together (1) July 29, 2013 The Red Wings Fiddle While Detroit Burns (1) April 18, 2012 Boycott the National Headshot League (#NHL) (3) (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Merry Christmas!

Politics, Re-Spun: ACTION: Illegal Israeli Settlement Goods Sold at London Drugs

SodaStream boycott informational picket

Saturday, Dec. 21, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

London Drugs, Broadway @ Cambie, Vancouver

Below is a notice of an important event happening on Saturday in Vancouver. If something is labelled as “Made in Israel” but is really made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank of Palestine, where does it really come from? Nowhere that I would want to buy from. You?

I’m only as free as everyone is free. Don’t tolerate occupation. The boycott alternative information is here.

Nelson Mandela has died, but the memory of his commitment to universal freedom and (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: National Post Letter

Should any readers take a look inside today’s National Post, they might find a letter of mine defending Canada’s United Church and its boycott of goods from Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Click here to read my letter and scroll down to the heading “… or is it just?”

Filed under: Letters to the Editor, Middle East Tagged: boycott, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, National Post, Palestine, settlements, United Church

drive-by planet: The face of Israel we don’t see in Canadian mainstream media

In the light of Stephen Harper’s announcement of an upcoming visit to Israel, it might be worth taking a closer look at the country he will be visiting. Coverage of Israel’s apartheid-like policies isn’t readily available via Canadian mainstream media outlets. Instead we get stories such as the report in today’s Toronto Star about Netanyahu’s spending and liking for scented candles and flower arrangements.

Due to the pro-Israel bias in much mainstream media in Canada, MSM is not a reliable source when it comes to the hard facts on the ground, especially as they pertain to the ugly underside of (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Israeli Prawer plan to expel Bedouin: Day of Rage protests: open letter signed by 50 UK public figures

Day of Rage protests against Prawer Plan

A group of 50 public figures in the UK have written an open letter to the Israeli government opposing the Prawer Plan that will involve the forced expulsion of the Bedouin from their ancestral land. The signatories characterize the plan as “systematic discrimination and separation.” The letter also adds: “It is time for the UK government to make its relationship with Israel conditional on respect for human rights and international law and take concrete action to hold Israel to account.”

The letter was published by The Guardian on Friday along with (Read more…)

drive-by planet: The New Yordim – Jews who are fleeing Israel for Europe and the U.S.

A different kind of exodus has been underway in Israel for a while. This time “the promised land” features destinations such as Berlin, London and New Jersey.

Well educated Jews have been leaving Israel in what has been described as a brain drain although the incentives to move abroad aren’t only about improved career prospects. Upwards of a million Israeli Jews have departed Israel over the past two decades for reasons related to the economy, the occupation, the ever-present rumblings of war and rumors of war with all the attendant security concerns. Some emigrants have also expressed dissatisfaction with the (Read more…)