Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Politics and its Discontents: We Should All Be Outraged

My father lived to be almost 91 years of age. Should I enjoy such a long life, there are many things that I hope not to lose along the way. Near the top of the list is my capacity for outrage. This morning brought confirmation that at least for the tim… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: We Should All Be Outraged

Politics and its Discontents: UPDATE: We Should All Be Outraged

My father lived to be almost 91 years of age. Should I enjoy such a long life, there are many things that I hope not to lose along the way. Near the top of the list is my capacity for outrage. This morning brought confirmation that at least for the time being, it is alive and well.

Some may remember a post I made in July about Nadia Shoufani, the Mississauga, Ontario Separate School Board teacher who participated in a rally protesting Israel’s brutal abuse of the Palestinians and the occupation of their land. At the time, the Jewish lobby demanded her head, conflating her criticism of the Jewish State with antisemitism, as they are wont to do.

It appears their efforts have paid off.

The CBC reports the following:

A Greater Toronto Area elementary school teacher has been suspended following a school board investigation after she was criticized for appearing in and speaking at what advocacy groups have called an anti-Israel rally.

Nadia Shoufani, a teacher at St. Catherine of Siena school in Mississauga, Ont., has been suspended with pay pending further investigation by the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the board said in a statement.

The school board said concerns raised by the public about Shoufani’s professional conduct have been referred to the Ontario College of Teachers for review.

We should all be outraged over this craven capitulation of the Dufferin-Peel Board to the political pressure exerted by those who will brook no criticism of Israel, despite its well-documented record of human rights abuse and atrocities. Human Rights Watch notes the following:

Israel enforces severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights, and it builds and supports unlawful settlements in the occupied West Bank. Its security forces appear to use excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators and suspected attackers, raising the specter of extra-judicial killings. It has renewed the practice of punitive home demolitions. The Palestinian Authority has arrested students and activists allegedly for their political affiliation or because they expressed criticism. Hamas security forces also engage in torture and ill-treatment of people, including journalists. Israel’s closure of Gaza, supported by Egypt, amounts to collective punishment and has impeded reconstruction.

Says Amnesty International:

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity.

The facts are not in dispute here, but thanks to those public officials working in Dufferin-Peel who have neither backbone nor a belief in freedom of speech, only the kind of cravenness seen in the worst of our politicians, Shoufani is being made an example of. That the board lacks even a scintilla of integrity is evidenced by their refusal to acknowledge they are succumbing to outside pressure, instead hiding behind another excuse for her suspension, as revealed by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), which is representing the beleaguered teacher. They said,

the teacher wasn’t suspended for her conduct, but instead for appearing to not comply with the investigation. However, OECTA said the teacher has provided all of the information the board has asked for and met its timelines.

But not everyone is unhappy about this witch hunt:

Amanda Hohmann, the national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s league for human rights, praised the board for suspending the teacher this week.

“It is heartening to see the school board treating this matter seriously,” Hohmann said in a statement.

While Hohmann and her group may be gratified by Shoufani’s suspension, I expect and hope that fair-minded people everywhere will be appalled by this indefensible curtailment of one of our most valued Charter rights: freedom of expression.

UPDATE: Thanks to Marie for this video that clearly addresses the kinds of conditions that Nadia Shoufani was protesting against. Even if you watch even five or ten minutes, you will get the picture.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: UPDATE: We Should All Be Outraged

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Elizabeth May Regarding BDS

Dear Elizabeth May, Please don’t resign over Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Far from being “polarizing, ineffective and unhelpful,” the BDS movement seeks to employ moderate, non-violent means (i.e. boycotts and other economic measures) to pressure Israel to end its decades-long … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Elizabeth May Regarding BDS

Politics and its Discontents: Free Speech Is Fine

…. except when it is used to criticize Israel, as Mississauga, Ont. teacher Nadia Shoufani is learning. She addressed a downtown Toronto rally on 2 July, marking al-Quds Day, an annual event held around the world to support Palestinian rights and to … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Free Speech Is Fine

Politics and its Discontents: A Double Standard?

Under normal circumstances, a court of last resort would be welcomed in the pursuit of justice, but it is apparently an entirely different story when it involves holding Israel to account Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Would You Hug A Terrorist?

There is no question that here in the West, we like to treat almost as an embarrassment; we sanitize it, hide it away in hospitals and palliative care units, and conduct our lives with a kind of cognitive dissonance, believing on some level that while it happens to others, somehow an exception will be . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Would You Hug A Terrorist?

Politics and its Discontents: Israelis Of Conscience

I reproduce the following story without comment, except to state the obvious. It is a testament to the courage and integrity of those described therein, who will likely face all manner of vitriol at home for their principled decision:

Forty-three reservists from Israel’s elite army intelligence unit have announced their refusal to serve, accusing . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Israelis Of Conscience

Politics and its Discontents: Joan Rivers

I was never a fan of Joan Rivers, though I take no pleasure in the fact that she has died. However, you can call me churlish and insensitve, but I doubt that the celebrity hagiography likely to ensue will include this outburst from last month:

Recommend this Post . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Joan Rivers

Politics and its Discontents: Cowardly Leadership: We All Pay A Price

As I have written in the past, poor leadership costs all of us dearly. Whether looking at local provincial, federal or international politics, the price we pay for leadership that has too high a regard for itself and too little for the people is moral, social, economic and military disarray. Whether we are talking . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Cowardly Leadership: We All Pay A Price

Politics and its Discontents: Praising Stephen Harper

Now that I have your attention, let me assure that I am not the source of that praise. No, a site called Breaking Israel News is. Drawing heavily upon a piece written by the Ottawa Citizen’s Mark Kennedy, it offers the following effusive approval of Stephen Harper:

The support he has shown for Israel . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Praising Stephen Harper

Politics and its Discontents: Justin Trudeau Speaks

But, unfortunately, says nothing.

As I have noted elsewhere in this blog and in comments on others’, I have grave misgivings about the Liberal Party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. Despite the latest EKOS poll showing the party with a commanding lead while the Conservatives continue to sink under the heavy hand of Herr . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Justin Trudeau Speaks

Politics and its Discontents: Chris Hedges, Gaza Rally in NYC: God’s Covenant in the Promised Land

Here is the note written by Leigha Cohen as an introduction to the following video on You Tube featuring Chris Hedges:

On August 9th, 2014 a rally supporting the people in Gaza took place at Columbus Circle in NYC. The rally lasted for 2 hours which was followed by a march to the United Nations.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Chris Hedges, Gaza Rally in NYC: God’s Covenant in the Promised Land

Politics and its Discontents: Thomas Mulcair Speaks

Noted recently is the widespread criticism that both Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair have earned by either their silence or their very timid comments about the slaughter in Gaza. While most Canadians have probably come to expect the reflexive uncritical endorsement of all things Israeli by the Harper regime, many have been disappointed to . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Thomas Mulcair Speaks

Politics and its Discontents: Scotian Responds To A Post

The other day I posted a video showing an Irish Senator and internationally recognized human rights activist, David Norris, speaking impassionately about the Israeli-Gazan situation, sparing no criticism of Israel’s disproportionate response to Hamas’s aggression that has cost so many lives. I wondered what things would be like if we had politicians with that . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Scotian Responds To A Post

Politics and its Discontents: Our Politicians Serve Nothing But Their Own Ambitions

Given the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, many in Canada have been dismayed, not by the predictable and uncritical enthusiasm for all things Israeli from the Harper regime, but by the relative silence or complicity demonstrated by the two major opposition leaders, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair; both have amply demonstrated that political expedience . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Our Politicians Serve Nothing But Their Own Ambitions

Politics and its Discontents: Imagine If Our Politicians Had This Kind Of Honesty And Integrity

The Irish Senator and internationally recognized human rights activist, David Norris, delivered an eminently powerful speech concerning Gaza in the Irish Parliament on, July, 31st. In his speech Norris criticizes human rights violations of Israel carried out with the support of the United States and complacency of the international community.

Said Norris:

“I am not . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Imagine If Our Politicians Had This Kind Of Honesty And Integrity

Politics and its Discontents: John Oakley Hosts Harper Clone

Many thanks to The Salamander, who, in his response to a post from last evening, sent along this link to the John Oakley Show. On the show, the Reverend Charles McVetey, as unhinged and extreme an evangelical you are ever likely to encounter, explains the evangelical Christian validation for Stephen Harper’s need to support . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: John Oakley Hosts Harper Clone

Politics and its Discontents: Part 2- "They Didn’t Get Back To Me"

Yesterday I wrote about the plight of Salma Abuelaish, the eight-year-old girl whose family moved to Canada from Gaza and became Canadian citizens five years ago. Having accompanied her father, a physician, back to Gaza this summer so he could render medical assistance and she could visit with her cousins and grandparents, she became . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Part 2- "They Didn’t Get Back To Me"

Politics and its Discontents: The Obscenity Called Gaza

The New York Times’ columnist, Richard Cohen, offers some brilliant insights into the Gaza conundrum, a place he calls, “an open-air prison for 1.8-million people.”

“…more than 300 children are dead, killed in a month-long Israeli bombardment. Each of those children has a name, a family. Several were killed in a recent shelling of a . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Obscenity Called Gaza

Politics and its Discontents: How Not To Answer A Question

Texas Governor Rick Perry provides an expert technique lesson in the following video:

Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Searing Moment of Clarity

I hope you didn’t miss it. The events of the past month in that distant corner of the world, the mid-east, shone a light of fierce brilliance on our own Canada that exposed an ugly side of our country for all to see who would not look the other way.

What was laid bare . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Searing Moment of Clarity

Politics and its Discontents: The Truth No Amount of Propaganda Can Hide

The following pictures of the devastation in Gaza wrought by the Israeli onslaught are all from Al Jazeera:

Recommend this Post . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Truth No Amount of Propaganda Can Hide

Politics and its Discontents: Is the Washington Post Even Trying Anymore?

My brother sent me a link to a photo-essay in The Washington Post said to depict an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

It’s a nice story as these things go. The homeowner receives a friendly call from Israelis telling him to get out of the building immediately as it’s about to be attacked. The fellow . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Is the Washington Post Even Trying Anymore?

Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s Policy On Gaza: The Canadian Toll

While the cost of the Israeli invasion of Gaza is almost incalculable in turns of human suffering and loss of life, there is another casualty in all of this, one that is far less obvious and, in the eternal scheme of things, I suppose, of lesser consequence: Canada’s psyche and reputation, both of which . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s Policy On Gaza: The Canadian Toll

Politics and its Discontents: Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair – Soft on Terrorism

Let’s begin with the definition of “terrorism.” Merriam-Webster offers up a fairly standard definition: “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”

That sounds exactly like what is going on in Gaza right now. That is exactly what is going on . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair – Soft on Terrorism