By Emma Teitel - Monday, January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
Sunday Times cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, the man who brought you the album art on Pink Floyd’s The Wall, erected another wall this past weekend. The new one looks a lot like the old one, except that it’s built atop dying Palestinians and their blood provides the mortar. Oh, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands in as architect, his caricature complete with oversized ears and (you guessed it) a formidable nose. His horns, they say, are vestigial.
The writing on the wall as inferred by the Anti-Defamation League?
We don’t need no Jewish Nation.
Here’s Michael A. Salberg, the ADL’s International Affairs Director:
“The Sunday Times has clearly lost its moral bearings publishing a cartoon with a blatantly anti-Semitic theme and motif which is a modern day evocation of the ancient ‘blood libel’ charge leveled at Jews.”
I wasn’t aware that the Times had moral bearings, but the ADL isn’t entirely wrong in their “blood libel” charge. Scarfe’s Netanyahu does look a lot like this, and this, and this. There’s also the awkward bit about the cartoon being published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Even Rupert Murdoch, who owns the newspaper, managed an apology. He called the cartoon grotesque.
But there remains a big gaping hole in this tale of anti-Semitism. For one, Scarfe isn’t an anti-Semite. Yes, to a lot of Jews (myself included) the cartoon appears anti-Semitic, but that has less to do with Scarfe–a man who has depicted several political leaders he abhors, most of them non-Jews, with exaggerated facial features in exaggerated ways—and more to do with context. Tony Blair, for example, (another one of Scarfe’s subjects) doesn’t belong to a religious group with a history of systemic discrimination. Or genocide. Neither does George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton–other leaders the cartoonist has taken aim at over the years. Netanyahu, on the other hand, does. Unlike Bibi, Blair, Bush, and Clinton don’t belong to a minority whose facial features were altered grotesquely throughout propaganda history, not for comic effect, but to instill fear and incite violence.
Scarfe has affirmed that he is not an anti-Semite—that he had no idea Holocaust Remembrance Day would fall on the same day the paper published his Bibi Netanyahu-architect-of-death cartoon. Here he is talking to the press, below:
“The Sunday Times has given me the freedom of speech over the last 46 years to criticize world leaders for what I see as their wrong-doings. This drawing was a criticism of Netanyahu, and not of the Jewish people…I was, however, stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust day, and I apologize for the very unfortunate timing.”
Anti-Zionists and ADL critics will of course say that the date on which the cartoon was published is irrelevant. If Scarfe’s beef is with a government, not a people, what does Holocaust Remembrance Day have to do with anything?
The answer, as he now knows, is everything.
The day has everything to do with the deed because it is, at this point in history, almost impossible to draw a sensational political caricature of a Jewish person without evoking images of Der Sturmer. The history is still too recent, the wounds still fresh.
If Gerald Scarfe is to learn anything from this, let it be that until further notice, like it or not, the only socially acceptable time to draw a Jewish caricature is at a Bar Mitzvah.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 6:16 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Harper government says it will be reviewing hundreds of millions of…
OTTAWA – The Harper government says it will be reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in Canada’s humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
That was the outcome of a 90-minute meeting in Ottawa involving Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino and four envoys who were called home for talks.
Canada strongly opposed the Palestinians’ successful effort last week to win elevated status at the UN, so Baird recalled senior diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva to discuss a response.
Along with the U.S. and Israel, Canada was one of only nine countries to vote against the Palestinian motion at the 193-country General Assembly.
Canada has since offered only the mildest, muted criticism of the Israeli response, which was to announce new settlements on Palestinian land and the withholding of $100 million in tax rebates and other funds it collects for Palestinians.
All of Canada’s major Western allies have taken a strong stand against the Israeli response, including the U.S., which broke from its earlier UN support to harshly criticize the settlement announcement.
A spokesman for Baird said Tuesday that Canada’s current funding will remain in place for now, but Fantino will review what happens next.
“Our $300 million over five years in support of security and humanitarian aid is important,” said Rick Roth in a statement detailing the meeting.
“We intend to, by and large, see these projects through. The relevant minister will, as a matter of course, as they do on all matters, review the path forward once the projects have been successfully completed.”
Canada’s five-year, $300-million commitment formally expires at the end of the current fiscal year in March.
The money goes toward strengthening the Palestinian justice system, private sector economic development, and health and education assistance.
Roth declined to say whether any of the envoys argued for keeping the funding in place after it expires.
He said the diplomats and the two ministers had “a healthy exchange on where we are and where we want to go.”
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said he was reassured by the decision, but he criticized Baird for not speaking out against the new Israeli settlement plan.
“I’m not sure we needed to go to all the trouble of recalling all the four ambassadors to come to that very simple conclusion,” said Rae.
“I think the issue of the day now is what is the position of Mr. Baird with respect to the decision of the government of Israel to go ahead with the construction of 3,000 new homes on the West Bank,” he added.
“This clearly represents a problem. It is not within the policy framework that Canada has had since 1967 under Mr. Mulroney, under every Liberal and Conservative government since that time.”
Roth’s statement on the meeting reiterated the government’s stance on the Palestinian recognition issue.
“Unilateral action on either side is unhelpful,” he said. “The Palestinian Authority’s actions and provocative rhetoric at the UN General Assembly would obviously elicit a response from Israel. Neither is helpful to advance the cause of peace.”
Tensions were ratcheted up further Tuesday after a warning from a Palestinian official that his government could pursue war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court if Israel doesn’t stop settlement construction.
The UN’s recognition last week of the state of Palestine as a non-member observer in the general assembly opened the door for the Palestinians to gain entry to the ICC.
A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said late Monday that Israel’s continuing settlement plans and “stealing our money” could force a move to the ICC.
“We still don’t recognize the PA/PLO as a state. We will work with the Obama administration on our approach at the UN, in New York and in Geneva. We’re concerned about what’s next — other UN bodies, especially the ICC,” Roth said Tuesday.
The Obama administration has said it does not want to see the Palestinians go after Israel in the ICC.
Canada would do “everything we can” to get the two sides back to the negotiating table, Roth added.
Australia, Brazil and Egypt summoned their local Israeli ambassadors Tuesday to protest the continued settlement construction, joining the actions of five European countries a day earlier.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday that further diplomatic steps would be taken against Israel if the settlement building continues.
But he said cutting diplomatic ties and sanctions were off the table. Of the latter, he said: “I do not think there is enthusiasm around the European Union for that.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae laments for the Harper government’s approach.
Canada is in the process of isolating itself — and only putting forward monologues that are fuelled by polls and short-sighted partisanship, and which abandon our basic values of dialogue, peace and unity.
This is not where most Canadians want us to be as a country. David Cameron and President Obama were on the phone with President Abbas, and are reaching out to Arab and Israeli leaders in the hopes of finding a solution. Canada should be picking up the phone as well, but it may be a while before we get an answer. It’s not always what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
The chief negotiator for the Palestinians says Canada has disqualified itself from the peace process. And while Britain and others react strongly to news of new Israeli settlements, the Globe reports a more muted response from the Harper government.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM - 0 Comments
Accordingly, only an immediate return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians – and one based on the principle of mutual recognition of two states for two peoples – will invite the establishment of the just and lasting peace that we all seek. Indeed, it would be the supreme irony if the UN General Assembly were to circumvent the legal and political imperatives of direct negotiations leading to such an outcome precisely on the 65th anniversary of its earlier UN partition resolution, which the Arab leadership rejected then, and the Palestinian leadership, regrettably, is undermining now.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM - 0 Comments
John Baird is in New York today to vote against a resolution that would recognize Palestine as a non-voting observer state at the United Nations. The Prime Minister referred to the resolution as a “shortcut” yesterday and has reportedly pressured Mahmoud Abbas to drop the bid. Campbell Clark now considers what Canada might do in response to the resolution passing.
Michael Petrou makes the case that Canada should support Palestinian membership.
After QP yesterday, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler explained why he doesn’t support the resolution.
This démarche by the Palestinians, I’ve said this to Mr. Abbas, I’m not saying anything to [you], ’ve not said to him, I met with him over the past year several times and the Palestinians leaders and I said that this is a breach of Israel-Palestinian agreement. It’s a breach of international agreements, UN Security Council resolutions, etc., calling for direct negotiations between the parties as a basis for just and lasting peace. It’s a breach of a whole series of bilateral agreements with as a result of this mega-rupture, so I think it’s a mistake as a matter of law, as a matter of policy and a mistake in terms of seeking, on the 65th anniversary of that initial resolution, the same two states for two peoples…
Our position should be to bring the parties together for direct negotiations without preconditions, with a view to addressing all of the standing issues that remain on the agenda and with a view to securing, as I say, a just and lasting peace. I think that should be our approach. I think that the extent that we object, our objection should be that this unilateral initiative is in breach of the UN’s own resolutions and in breach of Israeli-Palestinian bilateral agreements and international agreements.
The NDP questioned Mr. Baird on the government’s approach during QP yesterday.
By macleans.ca - Friday, November 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM - 0 Comments
One of the most powerful Arabs, Ashrawi is the Middle East’s version of the Unsinkable Molly Brown
According to Arabian Business, Hanan Ashrawi is No. 353 on its list of the world’s 500 most powerful Arabs. This is a drop from last year when she was No. 100 but don’t count the lady out. Ashrawi is imperishable, the Middle East’s version of the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She is a professional Palestinian, the Western’s media’s go-to person for the weekly update on Israeli-American perfidy. Actually, I’m not being fair. She has spoken warmly about an American diplomat once, ambassador Christopher Stevens, but he had to be assassinated first. De mortuis nil nisi bonum etc.
Rockets over Beersheba sounds cinematic and in that film Ashrawi would play the part of the cunning female spy beguiling Israeli intelligence. She doesn’t beguile anyone with actual knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but she’s catnip for American TV. This week CNN’s Piers Morgan found himself rear-ended by Ashrawi’s collision with truth. “What’s an Israeli supposed to do when showered with rockets?” he asked a few times. Hanan’s eternal answer: “The real issue is the brutal occupation.” One might have thought Israel occupied Gaza, not Hamas.
Hanan Ashrawi burst into view on ABC-TV in 1988 when Ted Koppel went to Jerusalem to cover the first intifada. Ashrawi was a minor player on his show but stole it with her perfectly nuanced English and her sorrowful, powerful, just plain wonderful sense of outrage at the al-Nakbah (Arabic for “the disaster,” now referencing the day Israel was created as a Jewish state) plus her smart suits and inspiring reasonability. She modestly describes herself as “essentially a human being with a multi-dimensional mission,” which, I suppose, is reassuring because I have often wondered if she was actually a figment of my nightmares. Continue…
By Hamida Ghafour - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 2:29 PM - 0 Comments
Later this year, the country’s Jewish population will hit six million—the same number of Jews killed by Nazi Germany
They look like typical senior citizens at any drop-in centre as they gather around small tables and drink tea, occasionally chuckling at a joke or observation. They are dressed formally, as people of their generation often are, the women in blouses and tasteful makeup and the men in suit jackets.
There is nothing obvious that gives away the fact that they are among the last living witnesses to perhaps the greatest crime in history, the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Survivors such as Freddie Knoller, 91, have dedicated a large part of their lives to testifying against what happened to them during the Holocaust when approximately six million Jews were murdered.
Yet the gas chambers, death camps and mass deportations offered another lesson for Austrian-born Knoller. “What kept me alive was optimism,” he said, sipping a cup of tea in a simply furnished room inside Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre in London. “I was an eternal optimist. I knew I would get out.”
Knoller’s parents died in Auschwitz, he survived Nazi-occupied France, and he watched prisoners eat dead bodies to stay alive in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Physical scars also remain. He rolls up his left sleeve to show the faded blue numbers 157103 tattooed on his forearm.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, July 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM - 0 Comments
It’s the West Bank equivalent of the John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories
In one of the last photographs of Yasser Arafat, who succumbed to a mysterious illness in 2004, the Palestinian leader is being hustled into a helicopter that would shuttle him to a Paris hospital for treatment. It was the last time he was seen alive in the Middle East.
In the nine years since, rumours that Arafat’s death was the result of foul play—either at the hands of Israeli enemies or Palestinian rivals—have never really gone away. A potentially explosive new Al Jazeera documentary, What Killed Arafat?, the result of a nine-month investigation, has reignited the conspiracy theories with a bang. The Qatar-based broadcaster is suggesting Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210, the same radioactive element that killed Russian KGB-agent-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
In October 2004, three years into a Palestinian uprising, Arafat collapsed from what was initially thought to be a severe flu. The 75-year-old, weakened and thin, was quickly flown to a French hospital specializing in blood disorders. On Nov. 11, two weeks after his arrival in Paris, he died, leaving behind his wife and a daughter, as well as myriad questions about his rapid decline.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM - 0 Comments
But a lengthy paragraph that expressed positive Canadian sentiments toward the Palestinians was eventually trimmed over the course of a handful of early revisions and was eventually cut altogether. ”Canada is a leading supporter of the Palestinian people, having committed $300 million over five years to assist the Palestinian Authority to build capacity in the key areas of justice sector reform, security, and sustainable economic growth, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza, including refugees,” the first draft stated.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Ottawa next week to meet with Mr. Harper. The Star suggests Mr. Harper might subsequently announce a trip to Israel.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
“Mr. Harper wants us to believe that grandstanding is more important than being an honest broker,” said Dewar. “His unbalanced approach to the Middle East is harmful to the prospect of peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians…
“The government’s approach is unbalanced when it’s equating a request from Palestinians through legitimate diplomatic channels with Israel’s settlement policy, which is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” said Dewar. “The government is now calling for negotiations, but in May it did everything it could to undermine consensus for President Obama’s peace initiative.”
By Anne Kingston - Monday, December 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
From Arcade Fire, through Mark Carney to the Palestinians–whatever they did, this year they played by their own rules
The once-fringe Montreal band was handed a scad of mainstream music hardware for their third studio recording, The Suburbs, which was praised for expressing familiar big themes with greater bounce and lightness. The multi-talented ensemble was rewarded with Album of the Year at the Junos and the Grammys and International Album and Best International Group at the Brit Awards.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane—it’s Solvency Man, a.k.a Mark Carney, newly named chairman of the Financial Stability Board, the international body that oversees the global economy. The 46-year-old Bank of Canada governor is an ideal fiscal superhero—a Ph.D. economist and former investment banker, he’s also a disciplined, fit marathon runner. Who knows better that slow and steady wins the race?
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM - 8 Comments
Speaking with reporters after QP yesterday, John Baird explained the Harper government’s response to UNESCO’s decision to accept Palestine as a member.
Canada is deeply disappointed by the decision taken by UNESCO. Canada believes the only solution to this issue is a negotiated settlement between the two parties. Under no circumstances will Canada cover the budgeting shortfall as a result of this decision and Canada has decided to freeze all further voluntary contributions to UNESCO …
We believe that statehood is the product of peace negotiations. And a significant number of UN Security Council resolutions have said that. The last peace accord said that. We believe the two parties should negotiate a peace agreement and not seek unilateral action at multilateral institutions. We think that is the wrong way to go and we cast our vote against and we’ve signalled our disappointment and our displeasure by the two actions we’re taking.
Campbell Clark explains the math.
By Jane Switzer - Monday, October 17, 2011 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
The Palestinians don’t like him and his business dealings are under scrutiny
Tony Blair can’t catch a break. Days after the former British prime minister defended his jet-set lifestyle and denied allegations that he used his role as a Middle East peace envoy to secure private business contracts, senior Palestinian officials declared that his “bias” toward Israel casts doubt on his impartiality and called for his removal.
Mohammed Ishtayeh, a senior official and confidant of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told Voice of Palestine radio on Oct. 5 that Blair was no longer trusted as an envoy for the Middle East Quartet, for which he mediates on behalf of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. “He has developed a large bias in favour of the Israeli side and he has lost a lot of his credibility,” Ishtayeh said. “We hope the Quartet will reconsider the appointment of this person.”
On Sept. 29, London’s Daily Telegraph disclosed that senior Palestinian officials had privately stated their intention to declare Blair “persona non grata” in Palestinian government offices over his role in renewing peace talks between Israel and Palestine. And senior official Nabil Shaath told the Guardian that Blair, who was appointed to the Quartet post soon after he resigned as prime minister in 2007, effectively acted as a “defence attorney” for Israel during a debate within the Quartet in July. The group had proposed in June that peace talks should resume within a month and that both sides should complete a deal by the end of 2012, but its partners were unable to agree on the terms necessary to end the year-long deadlock.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM - 0 Comments
Committee on new admissions to meet Friday
The UN Security Council has forwarded the Palestinian application for statehood and full membership to the committee on new admissions. The committee is set to discuss the issue in meetings on Friday, the CBC reports. It is expected to be weeks before the application is put to the 15-member Security Council for a vote. Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour told reporters in New York that he appreciates the speed with which the application was sent to committee, adding that he hopes to see “positive action” taken by the international body. The U.S. has promised to veto the Palestinian statehood application if it wins support in the Security Council. In a speech last week, President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that the best route to statehood was through bilateral negotiations with Israel. But the Palestinian Authority that governs the occupied West Bank says it will not return to talks with the Israelis until all settlement construction in Palestinian territory is frozen—a condition Israel rejects. Earlier this week, the government approved the construction of 1,100 new housing units in East Jerusalem, the prospective capital of a future Palestinian state.
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM - 0 Comments
Israel and U.S. stand firmly against statehood bid
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas formally requested UN membership from the Security Council on Friday, despite protestations from Israel and the U.S. that such status would be symbolic and would not substitute for Middle East peace negotiations. Abbas said UN membership is a crucial stepping stone towards Palestinian statehood, which he called “the realization of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke following Abbas at the UN General Assembly in New York, called the UN a “theatre of the absurd,” and accused Palestinians of seeking “a state without peace.” The Security Council is expected to vote on the issue next week.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM - 36 Comments
We can be friends of the friends of peace, on both sides. In stark contrast to the policy of the Harper government, which currently aims in the opposite direction. Which brings us to the question of the recognition of Palestine in some form by the United Nations.
The details will matter. Perhaps the Palestinians will overplay their hand at the United Nations in coming weeks or months, and make it impossible to help them – not for the first time.
But on the fundamental issue of recognition of a Palestinian state, as a step towards a peace in which both it and Israel live free from terror and violence, in recognized borders and at peace with all of their neighbors, it would be right for Canada to stand with most of the world. And to recognize Palestine.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM - 1 Comment
The Prime Minister and Benjamin Netanyahu exchange greetings in New York.
During the brief photo op, the two men both said the solution to the Israel-Palestinian impasse lies in a resumption of two-way peace talks, not a United Nations declaration of statehood for Palestine.
“We know that nobody wants this more than our friends in Canada and our friend, the prime minister of Canada,” said Netanyahu. “I want to say Stephen, we have a lot in common.” The Israeli leader added: “Same heart and same values. And that I say with great appreciation for your stance, for your conviction, for your friendship.”
Despite some previous consternation over Lawrence Cannon’s choice of words, Canada still officially opposes Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Embassy magazine looked at that and other issues last year in a fairly extensive review of Harper government policy in regard to Israel.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 12:46 PM - 1 Comment
U.S. president calls for a return to negotiating table
Barack Obama formally declared the U.S. would not support the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehoood in a speech before the U.N.’s general assembly. The U.S. president urged the international community to pressure Palestinians and Israelis to re-open peace talks. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has already rejected Obama’s proposal and called for the General Assembly to grant the Palestinian Authority observer status. “Let us cease our endless debates on the parameters,” Sarkozy told the U.N. less than an hour after Obama spoke. “Let us begin negotiations and adopt a precise timetable.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:45 AM - 64 Comments
“I think there’s no likelihood of this initiative by the Palestinian Authority doing anything to further the peace process. I think it’s possible that it could be counter-productive,” Mr. Harper told reporters outside the UN meeting on Libya. “But I would say, if the Palestinian Authority is serious about establishing a sovereign state, the method to do that is not a declaration here at the United Nations. It’s to get back at the negotiating table and negotiate peace with Israel.”
By macleans.ca - Monday, September 19, 2011 at 11:04 AM - 0 Comments
Leaders descend on New York ahead of possible Security Council veto
Palestinian officials are gathering in New York in preparation for their anticipated bid for statehood at the United Nations. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority may face a U.S. veto in the Security Council if he submits a bid for full UN-membership on Friday. Abbas has indicated he will seek recognition for a Palestinian state that comprises the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Already, police in the West Bank are preparing for the possibility of violence if the statehood bid fails, while Abbas is cautioning Palestinians against high expectations. Being recognized by the UN as a state would be largely symbolic, as Palestinian territory remains occupied by Israel. However, Abbas and other Palestinian leaders hope it will give them a stronger position in peace negotiations. The U.S. and Israel are opposing the bid for statehood, arguing that bilateral negotiations are the best route to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Abbas, however, sees no contradiction between seeking recognition at the UN and negotiating with Israel.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 11, 2011 at 5:08 PM - 19 Comments
John Baird dismisses a Palestinian bid to have statehood recognized by the United Nations.
“We think it’s distinctly unhelpful to seek a public-relations declaration within the UN General Assembly. Obviously, it would be without any meaning,” Baird said Monday … “We believe that statehood should be the product of a negotiated permanent peace with security for both the Palestinian and Israeli people.”
He said he’d be thrilled to welcome a new Palestinian state, but only after peaceful negotiations with Israel. Baird also affirmed the Harper government’s unwavering support for the Jewish state, which has sparked criticism in the past. ”Canada has taken strong, principled stands with respect to supporting liberal democracies, and with respect to this issue,” he said. ”There has been certainly a change under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and I certainly wouldn’t see us changing on that regard.”
By Cigdem Iltan - Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 8:05 AM - 0 Comments
A University of Regina lecture series has sparked controversy and accusations of censorship
The University of Regina was buzzing this month with talk of academic muzzling off-campus. Emily Eaton, an assistant professor of geography, was a week away from presenting “Solidarity with Palestine: The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel,” the second of 12 lunchtime talks scheduled over the summer in Regina’s Victoria Park, when she says the coordinator of the series told her the topic was under scrutiny and asked to know more about it. The lecture series, titled “Profs in the Park,” was to be produced in partnership with the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID).
The next day, she says, the university told her the RDBID had cancelled her event. “This is a clear case of a city-level administration stepping in and saying what its citizens should and shouldn’t be able to hear, and therefore defining the terrain of public debate,” says Eaton. All the professors scheduled to present—on everything from “Gardening with Native Plants” to “Current Trends in Policing”—withdrew from the series. “The profs and the dean collectively decided we’d rather pull all the presentations than be subject to censorship,” says Eaton. (The lecture series has since taken on a new name, “Profs in the City,” and has been relocated to a private space: Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum. Eaton presented her lecture to a packed house on June 14.)
Judith Veresuk, executive director of the RDBID, says her organization isn’t to blame for pulling the plug on the original series. She claims that RDBID contacted the university to clarify the content of the talk after the city and her organization received complaints about its subject matter. And instead of providing more info, says Veresuk, the university pulled the lecture. “The next thing I know,” she says, “the university is crying censorship and cancelled the series.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 12:40 PM - 1 Comment
A wrongfully convicted woman regains her freedom, while a Boston player gets knocked out of the playoffs by a vicious hit
Boots on the ground
Canada’s combat tour in Afghanistan is entering its final few weeks, but the military is already preparing for its next deployment—wherever it may be. Months after being forced out of their secret staging base in Dubai because of a diplomatic spat, the Canadian Forces have reportedly reached deals to open new bases in Germany and Jamaica, and are in talks with Senegal, South Korea, Kenya and Singapore. As Defence Minister Peter MacKay said, Canada has become a “go-to nation” when it comes to responding to natural disasters and other NATO missions—requiring a much bigger bootprint on foreign soil.
A revamped battle plan
Forty years after Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” a new report has confirmed what police, prosecutors—and traffickers—have long known: we’re losing. Released by a consortium of world leaders, including Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, the report says it’s time to start treating drug abuse as a public health problem, not a criminal one, and consider legalizing certain substances to undercut criminal gangs. The war on drugs has cost billions of dollars and countless lives. But, to borrow a phrase, admitting the old strategy is broken is the first step to recovery.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 7:53 AM - 11 Comments
Amid all else last week, Israel’s foreign minister called to thank Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and opined publicly that “Canada is a true friend of Israel … It understands that the 1967 borders do not conform to Israel’s security needs and with the current demographic reality.”
But yesterday, Mr. Baird apparently stated the following.
“We support, obviously, that that solution has to be based on the ’67 border, with mutually agreed upon swaps, as President (Barack) Obama said,” Baird said Wednesday.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 8:56 AM - 95 Comments
The Israeli foreign minister calls John Baird to thank Canada for its support and a senior Israeli government official says Benjamin Netanyahu asked Stephen Harper to help exclude any mention of 1967 from the G8′s final statement. Mr. Harper’s office says the two leaders spoke, but the G8 summit was not discussed. Mr. Netanyahu’s office concurs, but the Israeli government thanks the Canadian government all the same.
In cabinet Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu made a point of stating the importance of Israel’s friends. “We have friends around the world, more than many think,” said the Israeli Prime Minister, “and I am pleased to see that on various continents, in various meetings, they rebuffed matters that were not desirable to us.”
“It would not be a mistake to conclude he was referring to Canada,” the Israeli official said. “There is no doubt we view Canada as a great friend of Israel.”