Is a school lesson plan widely used across Canada aimed at fighting racism like its promoters say or is it also a clever cover for defending Jewish/white supremacy in the Middle East?
A recent 12-page Canadian Jewish News insert about Elizabeth and Tony Comper raises the issue. According to the supplement, in 2005 the Bank of Montreal head and his wife Elizabeth started Fighting Anti-Semitism Together (FAST), a coalition of non-Jewish business leaders and prominent individuals. FAST sponsored a lesson plan for Grades 6 to 8 called “Choose Your Voice: Antisemitism in Canada”. Over 2.4 million students in 19,000 schools have been through the FAST program. A year ago FAST added Voices into Action, an anti-racism lesson for Canadian high schoolers that devotes a third of its plan to the Nazi Holocaust in Europe.
Unfortunately, FAST does not appear to be an example of business leaders struggling for social justice. Rather, it’s part of what Norman Finkelstein dubbed the “Holocaust Industry”, which exploits historical Jewish suffering to deflect criticism of Israeli expansionism.
In its “What We Stand For” FAST calls on Canadians “to speak out against all forms of bigotry, racism and hatred”, yet the Compers’ were honoured guests at a 2009 Jewish National Fund fundraiser in Toronto. Owner of 13 per cent of Israel’s land, the JNF discriminates against Palestinian–Arab citizens who make up a fifth of Israel’s population. (What would we think of anti-racist activists who attend KKK meetings?)
In a 2006 article titled “BMO head slams one-sided Israel critics” the Canadian Jewish News reported on FAST’s Quebec launch: “Singling out Israel for blame in the Middle East conflict, even by those of good faith, is fanning anti-Semitism, Bank of Montreal president Tony Comper says. It may not be the intent, but the effect of condemning Israel alone is providing justification for hatred of Jews in Canada and internationally, Comper warned more than 400 business executives. … In underscoring the serious threat of anti-Semitism worldwide, Comper suggested that ‘a second Holocaust’ is possible if Iran acquires nuclear arms and attacks Israel.” In his speech Comper cited CUPE Ontario and the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada’s support for boycotting Israel as spurring anti-Semitism.
FAST supporters include a who’s who of the corporate elite: President TD Bank, Ed Clark; CEO of CN, Hunter Harrison; CEO of Manulife Financial, Dominic D’Allessandro; CEO of Bombardier, Laurent Beaudoin; president of Power Corporation, André Desmarais; President RBC Financial, Gordon M. Nixon and many others.
According to the Canadian Jewish News supplement, the Toronto couple also sponsored the Elizabeth and Tony Comper Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism at the University of Haifa in Israel. The Center operates an online Ambassadors Program, which reports the paper, “gives students intellectual material and technical skills to combat online the global boycott, divestment and sanctions anti-Israel movement.”
The supplement was partly sponsored by Larry and Judy Tanenbaum. Larry was one of a half-dozen rich right-wing donors that scrapped the hundred-year-old Canadian Jewish Congress in 2011 and replaced it with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. As the name change suggests, this move represented a shift towards ever greater lobbying in favour of Israeli nationalism.
The Compers provided over $500 000 to the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Established in 2008, Larry and Ken Tanenbaum gave the U of T five million dollars and helped raise more than ten million more for the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies.
Andrea and Charles Bronfman gave over $500 000 to the Anne Tanenbaum Centre, which has close ties with the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair in Israeli Studies. In 1997 the Bronfman family provided $1.5 million to create an Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair in Israeli Studies at the U of T. “Fifty years after its rebirth, the miracle of modern Israel is of broad interest,” said Charles Bronfman at the launch.
The long-standing Zionist family put up $1 million to establish a Jewish Studies program at Concordia two years later. An orchestrator of opposition to Palestinian solidarity activism at the Montreal university through the 2000s, Concordia Jewish studies professor Norma Joseph was also “instrumental” in setting up the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies. In 2011 multi billionaire David Azrieli gave Concordia $5 million to establish the first minor in Israel Studies at a Canadian university. After attending an Association for Israel Studies’ conference organized by the Azrieli Institute, prominent anti-Palestinian activist Gerald Steinberg described the Institute as part of a “counterattack” against pro-Palestinian activism at Concordia.
The Israeli nationalist tilt of McGill’s Jewish studies is actually inscribed in a major funding agreement. In 2012 the estate of Simon and Ethel Flegg contributed $1 million to McGill’s Jewish Studies department partly for an “education initiative in conjunction with McGill Hillel.” But, Hillel refuses to associate with Jews (or others) who “delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the state of Israel.”
The individuals driving Jewish studies and anti-Semitism lessons in Canada overwhelmingly back Jewish/white supremacy in the Middle East and encourage the most aggressive ongoing European settler colonialism.
Unfortunately, support for anti-Palestinian racism, along with colonialism and western imperialism, makes one question their “anti-racism” credentials.
Yves Engler is the author of Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
The simple way is by ignoring them. Stop buying their publications – newspapers, magazines and other material.
Why waste good money on rubbish. Tune out their fake news broadcasts. Why put up with their antics?
If enough people follow this advice, they’ll wither, die and disappear. They feature managed news misinformation deception, not full and accurate coverage of what’s vital to know.
So far, it’s readily available from reliable independent sources, mostly online. Go there exclusively. Walk away forever from rubbish not fit to print or broadcast.
Western media never were reputable and trustworthy. In recent years, they’ve sunk to lower than ever depths – especially coverage of Washington’s geopolitical agenda, its imperial wars of aggression called humanitarian intervention and democracy building, its toppling of independent foreign leaders for pro-Western puppets, and the 2015-16 US presidential campaign, one-sidedly supporting Hillary over Trump, a disgraceful display of partisanship over unbiased reporting.
These events and numerous others display deplorable advocacy and willful deception, legitimate journalism abandoned entirely, “the media” exclusively serving powerful interests at the expense of truth and full disclosure on vital world and national issues.
One of Gerald Celente’s top 10 trends for 2017 is the fourth estate’s death, saying “(t)he daily newspaper dies in 2017. (Polls show) trust rates well below 10 percent.”
US presidential race coverage perhaps lost them all credibility. Their revenues are down, Celente explained. They’re losing money, laying off staff, dying a slow death.
Celente: “The industry is closing in on a decade of dramatic cutbacks in reporting and editing power.”
“According to estimates from The American Society of News Editors and Poynter Institute, those reductions add up to about half of all newsroom jobs being eliminated in less than 10 years.”
Expect more cutbacks, continued abysmal reporting – truth, accuracy, integrity and journalism the way it’s supposed abandoned entirely.
Celente added “when when upstart or existing alternative-news sites begin to make news, the mainstream media, taking their last breaths, will label it ‘fake news.’ “
Truth-telling today is called “fake news” or Russian propaganda. Managed news misinformation masquerades as the real thing in print and through the electronic media.
Why put up with it any longer! Walk away. Make a clean break and feel the refreshing difference – the way ex-smokers feel after licking the habit, never wanting to be hooked again.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
US President-elect Donald Trump has announced ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state. Tillerson, who has close ties to Russia, spoke to RT back in 2012 after signing a landmark deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft.
Back then, Tillerson said that bolstering ties with Russia was vital for business. In 2012 he oversaw the singing of a partnership deal between Exxon and Rosneft to develop the Arctic’s rich untapped reserves.
“With these agreements we have a lot on our plate. But we will continue to evaluate other opportunities that might present themselves,” he told RT.
The witch-hunt against University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall may have just ended not with a bang but with a whimper. And it is the Israel lobby group B’nai Brith Canada, and its flunkies at the University of Lethbridge, who are whimpering.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) just issued a stinging reprimand for University of Lethbridge president Mike Mahon, a glorified gym teacher who unilaterally suspended Professor Hall without pay because he disagrees with Hall’s political views. See:
Here is CAUT’s statement:
CAUT is using extremely strong language. The statement accuses Mike Mahon of violating “all principles of due process and natural rights” and “denying… legal rights” i.e. violating the law.
CAUT is not only threatening all-out legal action, but also “imposing censure” on the University of Lethbridge. This is a formal process that amounts to a complete boycott of the University of Lethbridge by the entire Canadian academic community – a sort of scholarly BDS action. Professors would refuse to work there, students would refuse to study there, and all Canadian academicians would essentially consider that the “University of Lethbridge” no longer existed.
How could the University of Lethbridge resolve the situation? I spoke to Professor Hall this morning. He was optimistic about the long-term prospects of his academic freedom struggle, and grateful to CAUT for doing the right thing. But he also hastened to point out that Mike Mahon and others at the University had created an extremely hostile work environment for him, and that the University of Lethbridge needs to do much more than merely allowing him to return to teaching in the horrendous environment they have created for him.
By suspending Professor Hall without pay, without any form of due process, the University essentially endorsed the outrageous, libelous lies concocted by the B’nai Brith and its suspected confederates. The biggest lie, the one that launched the entire witch hunt, was a Zionist-fabricated “kill all Jews” image that was mysteriously planted on Professor Hall’s Facebook page without his knowledge. B’nai Brith and Facebook conspired to create a media scandal about the image, and despite Hall’s complete innocence, media outlets including the Lethbridge Herald and CBC labored to fabricate a spurious link between the horrific, genocidal image and Professor Hall in their coverage of the incident. Rather than reporting the truth – that Professor Hall was the innocent victim of a smear campaign – they absurdly implied that Professor Hall himself wanted to “kill all Jews” !
The genocidal image was created by a Florida-based Jewish Zionist false flag terrorist named Joshua Goldberg (who has been arrested for plotting fake “Islamic terrorism”) and then planted on Professor Hall’s Facebook page by persons unknown. Though the planted image was credited to “Glen Davidson,” an Alberta resident, Davidson says he was not the source of the image, and does not know how it came to be surreptitiously planted, under his name, on Professor Hall’s Facebook page. See:
Why would B’nai Brith and its accomplices target Professor Hall for this kind of slander operation? Presumably they disapprove of Hall’s research and public statements on various controversial issues, especially his work on false flag terrorism. (Hall has interpreted such events as 9/11 and the Ottawa capitol shooting as apparent false flag public relations stunts designed to further the Zionist war on Islam and Muslims.)
The University of Lethbridge, by implicitly endorsing B’nai Brith’s libelous big lie, has managed to tarnish Professor Hall’s reputation on campus to the point that many students and colleagues have accepted the false notion that Hall is a “genocidal anti-Semite.” Hall has suffered hostile treatment on and off campus as a result of the University’s going along with the B’nai Brith’s witch hunt.
At a very minimum, the University needs to:
*Fire president Mike Mahon and Board Chairman Kurt E. Schlachter;
*Apologize in the strongest possible terms;
*Vow to support Professor Hall’s academic freedom to study, write, and speak about any and all issues;
*And make it absolutely clear that Professor Hall has done nothing wrong, but has in fact been doing exactly what all tenured professors are implicitly required to do by virtue of their tenure: Investigate the most controversial issues and pursue the truth wherever it leads, no matter how much powerful interest groups may be displeased.
Ringed seal biologist Steven Ferguson, in a statement to a reporter from the Winnipeg Free Press, made one of the boldest predictions I’ve ever heard:
“Hudson Bay could experience its first free winter within 5-10 years.”
You heard it here, folks. It appears Ferguson thinks Hudson Bay was never ice-free in winter even during the Eemian Interglacial, when the Bering Sea was ice-free in winter – something that has not come close happening in recent years (Polyak et al. 2010:1769).
Sounds like a bit of ill-advised grandstanding to me.
The Winnipeg Free Press reported Ferguson’s claim yesterday that ringed seal numbers in Hudson Bay declined by almost 80% the spring after the late freeze-up year of 2010, as part of a non-peer reviewed conference paper he gave (so no one can see the data he’s talking about).
However, polar bear surveys were done that summer and found no decline in numbers. The mark-recapture study (Lunn et al. 2016), you will recall, surveyed only about 1/2 of Western Hudson Bay territory so their estimate of about 800 bears was invalid for comparison to previous years. An aerial survey of the entire subpopulation the same year (Stapleton et al. 2014) found about 1030 bears – statistically, no change since the last estimate in 2004 (the IUCN PBSG uses 1030 as the official population size).
Southern Hudson Bay bears also showed no decline in numbers after 2010, as indicated by a survey undertaken in 2011 and 2012 (Obbard et al. 2015, 2016). The most recent Foxe Basin survey (Stapleton et al.2015) was done just before (summers of 2009 and 2010) the supposed decline of seals in the spring of 2011.
So, if Hudson Bay ringed seals suffered a “near-catastrophic” decline in numbers in the spring of 2011 after the late freeze-up in fall 2010, there must still have been plenty of seals left to feed the polar bears that depended on them for survival.
Apparently, ringed seal numbers rebounded after the spring decline of 2011 but Ferguson either failed to say to what levels or the reporter failed to mention it.
Well yes, I guess they did recover because how else could polar bears have come ashore this summer in such spectacularly good condition if seal numbers were still profoundly low?
For perspective, have a look at this previous post on Hudson Bay seals and the effect of variations in snow cover (for which Ferguson provided much of the data).
Quotes from the WFP article:
Ringed seal population in the Hudson Bay is declining.
A near-catastrophic plunge in the population of ringed seals in Hudson Bay is being blamed on melting sea ice caused by global warming, says a study led by a Manitoba researcher.
The population has been diminished by 75 per cent since aerial surveys started 20 years ago, according to data that will be presented to the ArcticNet conference of scientists in Winnipeg this week.
Lead researcher Steve Ferguson, a scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Manitoba, said global warming is causing sea ice to disappear earlier in spring and form later in the fall, and there is less of it in Hudson Bay.
And in turn, the polar bear population will suffer because seals are the main component of their winter diet. The problem is compounded, as less sea ice means the bears have less area to hunt.
Hudson Bay could experience its first ice-free winter within five to 10 years, Ferguson said
“I don’t think polar bears and seals will be able to adapt. I think they’ll just die out in places like Hudson Bay. There’s little to stop the trend in loss of sea ice, even if we stop producing greenhouse gasses,” he said.
The study’s findings portend disaster for the Arctic generally.
“Hudson Bay is the early warning area of climate change because it is so far south,” Ferguson said. “We’re seeing the changes more dramatic in Hudson Bay, and it’s showing us how the rest of the Circumpolar Arctic will be impacted.”
Ferguson said while many people believe climate change is gradual, aerial surveys reveal mammals can disappear in huge numbers in a short period of time.
After a particularly warm 2010, the seal population plunged almost 80 per cent. Seal immune systems seemed to weaken, making them more susceptible to pathogens. Some of that loss has been recovered, he said.
Aerial surveys are not really “population surveys,” but are the most accurate available indicator, and they show a definite trend. They’re done each spring by counting seals on the ice.” [my bold]
Lunn, N.J., Servanty, S., Regehr, E.V., Converse, S.J., Richardson, E. and Stirling, I. 2016. Demography of an apex predator at the edge of its range – impacts of changing sea ice on polar bears in Hudson Bay. Ecological Applications, in press. DOI: 10.1890/15-1256
Obbard, M.E., Stapleton, S., Middel, K.R., Thibault, I., Brodeur, V. and Jutras, C. 2015. Estimating the abundance of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation with aerial surveys. Polar Biology 38:1713-1725.
Obbard, M.E., Cattet, M.R.I., Howe, E.J., Middel, K.R., Newton, E.J., Kolenosky, G.B., Abraham, K.F. and Greenwood, C.J. 2016. Trends in body condition in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Southern Hudson Bay subpopulation in relation to changes in sea ice. Arctic Science, in press. 10.1139/AS-2015-0027
Polyak, L., Alley, R.B., Andrews, J.T., Brigham-Grette, J., Cronin, T.M., Darby, D.A., Dyke, A.S., Fitzpatrick, J.J., Funder, S., Holland, M., Jennings, A.E., Miller, G.H., O’Regan, M., Savelle, J., Serreze, M., St. John, K., White, J.W.C. and Wolff, E. 2010. History of sea ice in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews 29:1757-1778. http://bprc.osu.edu/geo/publications/polyak_etal_seaice_QSR_10.pdf
Stapleton S., Atkinson, S., Hedman, D., and Garshelis, D. 2014. Revisiting Western Hudson Bay: using aerial surveys to update polar bear abundance in a sentinel population. Biological Conservation 170:38-47. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320713004618#
Stapleton, S., Peacock, E., and Garshelis, D. 2015. Aerial surveys suggest long-term stability in the seasonally ice-free Foxe Basin (Nunavut) polar bear population. Marine Mammal Science 32(1):181-201.
Over the past 48 hours, up to 50,000 people have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov has reported.
“More than 20,000 residents left eastern Aleppo in the first part of Saturday, and 1,217 militants laid down their weapons,” Konashenkov said.
“The Russian Center for Reconciliation, through humanitarian corridors near Karim El-Hun and Mahayar, has organized the evacuation of civilians from the eastern parts of Aleppo to the safe areas of the city,” Konashenkov added.
“We warn terrorists and militants of the so-called ‘moderate opposition,’ and also their patrons: Do not attempt any provocations, especially attacks on civilians leaving through humanitarian corridors,” the Russian Defense Ministry statement says.
Konashenkov also addressed those who, over the past few months, have declared their readiness to send humanitarian aid to Aleppo.
“Representatives of the US, UK, France, Canada, the European Union, and international organizations: Over the past two days, nearly 50,000 civilians have been evacuated by the Russian Reconciliation Center from the eastern parts of Aleppo. They are in need of the humanitarian assistance you promised. It is time to check the validity of your intentions.”
The statement added that the Syrian government now controls 93 percent of Aleppo, and the civilians who exited eastern Aleppo have been placed in special humanitarian centers where they are provided with hot food and medical help.
The Russian Reconciliation Center is monitoring the evacuation of civilians from the blocked districts round-the-clock with the use of drones.
Earlier this week, Moscow slammed a statement by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who said the EU was the only party providing aid to Syria.
“It’s outrageous twisting of facts which ignores what Russia has been doing for a long time,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Russia, “unlike other international players, has been actively supplying thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to various regions across Syria, including the liberated areas in eastern Aleppo, at the risk of Russian military lives.
“If the high representative [Mogherini] means providing assistance to terrorists and extremists, then we don’t participate in this, indeed,” the statement added.
Last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman claimed that Russia was blocking aid intended for Aleppo’s civilian population.
“The Syrian regime and their influencers [Russia, among others] are preventing aid” from reaching the city, the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
“It seems that the UK government has lost an objective view of what is happening in Syria, including Aleppo, due to Russophobia,” Konashenkov responded, noting that the UK has not sent “a single gram of flour, any medicine or blankets to help” civilians in Aleppo during the entire Syrian conflict.
“If the UK government really wants to send humanitarian aid to residents in the eastern neighborhoods [of Aleppo], it has all the conditions for doing this, just tell us where it [the aid] has been held up,” he added.
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) reiterated its demand that Israel comply with the Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution no. 497 for 1981 which declared Israel’s decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws and jurisdiction on the Syrian Golan as “null and void and without international legal effect”.
During a session on Tuesday, the UNGA adopted a resolution titled “Occupied Syrian Golan” after it was endorsed by the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (the Fourth Committee).
The resolution was adopted with 163 in favor out of 193 countries, 1 against (Israel), and a number of abstentions, including the US and Canada.
The resolution called upon Israel to rescind its decision of annexing the occupied Golan, and to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, as these measures are null and void, asserting that all relevant provisions of the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907, and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, continued to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
It also called upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on Syrian citizens and to stop its provocative measures against them.
The resolution called upon the UN member states to not recognize the Israeli measures and procedures adopted in the occupied Syrian Golan as they constitute a breach of the international law.
Is “remembering the Nazi Holocaust and where anti-Semitism can lead” a good thing? Unfortunately, thanks to people who constantly cite this horrible genocide in order to justify the illegal, immoral and anti-human behaviour of the Israeli state, one must answer, “it depends.”
Drawing attention to the Nazi Holocaust and anti-Semitism in Canada today often reinforces, rather than undermines, oppression and discrimination. This perverse reality was on display at two recent events in Toronto.
At a semi-annual Ryerson Student Union meeting, a Hillel member pushed a resolution calling on the union to promote Holocaust Education Week in conjunction with United Jewish Appeal-Toronto, which marked Israel’s 2014 slaughter in Gaza by adding $2.25 million to its annual aid to that wealthy country. The motion stated, “this week is not in dedication to anti-Zionist propaganda” and called for the week to focus “solely on the education of the Holocaust and not on other genocides.”
Objecting to this brazen attempt to use the decimation of European Jewry to protect an aggressive, apartheid state many students left the meeting. When quorum was lost before the vote, pro-Israel activists cried — wait for it — anti-Semitism.
“Tonight, I experienced true and evil anti-Semitism,” complained Tamar Lyons, vice-president of communications for Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson University, in a social media post republished by B’nai Brith. In it, the Emerson Fellow of StandWithUs, an organization that trains university students to advance Israel’s interests, bemoaned how “a Muslim student ‘goy-splained’ me.”
After the meeting, Lyons linked the purported anti-Jewish incident to the Ryerson Student Union endorsing the BDS movement two years earlier. She told the Canadian Jewish News it was “a direct result of [the] boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and the anti-Israel sentiment that’s so prevalent on campus.”
Taking place on the eve of an Ontario legislature vote to condemn BDS activism, the national director of B’nai Brith jumped on the Ryerson affair. “What starts with BDS does not end with BDS,” said Amanda Hohmann. “More often than not, BDS is simply a gateway drug to more blatant forms of anti-Semitism.”
(Yup, take a toke of that leftist–internationalist “pressure Israel to follow international law” bud and soon you’re longing for some Neo-Nazi ‘get-the-Jews’ smack.)
As B’nai Brith hyped the Ryerson affair, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs pushed the Ontario legislature to pass a motion in support of the spurious “Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism” and to reject “the differential treatment of Israel, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
Passed 49 to 5 (with 53 absent), motion sponsor Gila Martow told the legislature: “We would not be here supporting the Ku Klux Klan on our campuses, so why are we allowing [the] BDS movement and other anti-Jewish and anti-Israel organizations to have demonstrations and use our campuses, which are taxpayer-funded?”
In an interview with the Toronto Sun after the vote the Thornhill MPP described BDS as “psychological terrorism on the campuses….The motive behind BDS is to hurt the Jewish community by attacking Israel.”
The only MPP who spoke against the motion was the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh. But, even this defender of the right to criticize Israel spent much of his speech talking about how anti-Semitism “must be denounced.”
Notwithstanding the anti-Semitism hullabaloo, the BDS vote and Ryerson affair have little to do with combating anti-Jewishness. As is obvious to anybody who thinks about it for a second, comparing internationalist and social justice minded individuals to the KKK will elicit, not lessen, anti-Jewish animus. Similarly, labeling a non-violent movement “psychological terrorism” and writing about “Muslim goy-splaining” isn’t likely to endear Jewish groups to those concerned with Palestinian dispossession and building a just world.
The major Jewish organizations and trained Israeli nationalist activists scream anti-Semitism to protect Israel from censure, of course. But they also do so because few are willing to challenge them on it. As such, the anti-Semitism smears should be seen as a simple assertion of CIJA and B’nai Brith’s political, economic and cultural clout.
Possibly the best placed of any in the world, the Toronto Jewish community faces almost no discernable economic, social or cultural discrimination. Describing it as “the envy of the UJA federation world,” Alan Dershowitz told its 2014 Toronto Major Gifts dinner: “You mustnever be ashamed to use your power and strength. Never be afraid that people will say, ‘You’re too strong and powerful.’ Jews need power and strength. Without this strength — economically, morally, militarily — we can’t have peace.”
But, UJA-Toronto, CIJA, B’nai Brith, etc. aren’t seeking “peace.” Rather, they’re working to strengthen a Sparta-like, Jewish-supremacist state in the Middle East.
The Ryerson affair and vote at the provincial legislature reflect a Toronto Jewish establishment drunk with its power. But the sober reality of constantly justifying oppression by citing the Holocaust/anti-Semitism is that it undermines the power of that memory and is an insult to all those who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries.
Published on Thursday, the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s “views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy” are stated in the document of almost 40 pages.
Saying that Russia pursues an independent foreign policy based both on national interests and respect for international law, the concept states that Moscow’s policy is “open, foreseeable” and “shaped by centuries” of Russia’s historic role in the development of global civilization.
“Russia is fully aware of its special responsibility for maintaining security in the world both on global and regional levels, and is aimed at cooperative actions with all concerned states in the interest to solve common issues,” the document says.
Moscow calls for “creation of a broad international anti-terrorist coalition, firmly based on a legal framework, and effective and systematic cooperation among states,” the document says. No “double standards” should have a place in such a coalition, which should become the main force to fight global terrorism.
Nuclear war hazard low, but US missile shield threatens Russia’s national security
Moscow stands for the creation of “zones free of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction, especially in the Middle East,” the concept states, adding that “fighting international terrorism is key priority in international security.”
No country should use terrorist organizations to pursue its “political, ideological and other aims,” it says. Political and legal framework for nuclear and other weapons nonproliferation course is key, to avoid risks of such weapons landing in the hands of terrorist organizations.
Russia stays true to its international obligations in the arms control, and expects the same from its partners. Washington’s development of its global missile defense system is viewed as a “threat to national security,” with Moscow “reserving the right to take relevant counter measures.”
“Russia stands for constructive cooperation with the US in the field of arms control, with a compulsory allowance for an inseparable correlation between strategic offensive and defense weapons,” the document says. Global strategic stability should be the key factor in possible further arms reduction, it adds.
“Despite [the fact] that a threat of a large-scale war, including nuclear war, initiated between key states remains low, risks that [such states] may be involved in regional crisis, escalating them, are growing,” the new Foreign Policy Concept warns.
Russia-US dialogue possible, but only if US abandons its ‘restraining’ course
Washington and its allies have been pursuing a “restraining course” against Russia, aiming to “pressure” it both politically and economically, the document says, adding that such policy “undermines regional and global security.” It also harms long-term interests of both sides, and goes against a “growing necessity for cooperation” and joint counteraction to global threats.
Russia reserves the right to “harsh” retaliatory measures to “unfriendly actions,” including measures in toughening its national defense.
Moscow “is interested in building mutually beneficial relations with the US, taking into consideration the two countries’ responsibility for global strategic stability and the state of international security in general,” the concept stresses, adding that the two nations have significant opportunities in trade, investment, scientific and other forms of cooperation.
The development of dialogue on bilateral relations, as well as on other international issues “is only possible if based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference in one another’s internal affairs.”
In regard to contacts with NATO, Moscow plans to build its relations with the alliance based on its eagerness to be engaged in equal partnership. So far, Russia negatively regards NATO’s expansion, with its military infrastructure getting closer to the Russian borders. Such actions are considered as “defying the principle of equal security” and might cause new “division lines in Europe.”
Meanwhile, Moscow praises the role of the United Nations in “regulating international relations and coordinating world policies,” saying that there are no other options to replace the organization in the 21st century.
Relations with EU among Moscow’s priorities, abolishing visa regime will strengthen ties
Stepping-up mutually beneficial bilateral ties with European countries is named among one of Russia’s key priorities in the new Foreign Policy Concept.
The EU is Russia’s important trade and economic partner, the document says, adding that Moscow also regards Europe as its associate in foreign policy and is looking for “stable cooperation” based on mutual respect. Relations with Germany, France, Italy and Spain are mentioned as being key for the Kremlin in promoting its interests on the international arena.
“The strategic task in relations with the EU is forming a broad economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean,” that will unite and “harmonize” the European continent, the concept says.
“The visa regime remains one of the main barriers in the way of development of contacts between Russia and the EU. The gradual cancellation of the visa regime on a reciprocal basis will become a powerful impulse for strengthening cooperation between Russia and the EU in economic, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other spheres,” the document says.
Russia to strengthen ties with the East, presence in the Antarctic
Among Moscow’s other foreign policy priorities, the concept mentions developing further relations with its eastern neighbors. “Full-scale” partnership and cooperation with China is on the agenda, as well as “further deepening” of strategic partnership with India. With the latter, Russia has always had “privileged” relations, according to the document, which says that the two nations’ cooperation is based on corresponding foreign policies, “historic friendship and deep mutual trust.”
Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region are also mentioned as important partners to work with in the near future.
“Russia will also continue its work on preserving and widening its presence in the Antarctic,” the concept states, adding that Moscow is as well “open for building relations with Canada” to cooperate in the Arctic and other regions.
Russia’s position on Syria is also mentioned in the new Foreign Policy Concept, with Moscow standing for the Middle Eastern country’s “unity, independence and territorial integrity.” Representatives of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria should be provided with equal security and peace, and enjoy “equal rights and opportunities,” the document says.
Imagery date refers to Google Earth capture of land forms. Ice extent is for August 31, 2016 from MASIE. Serenity is docked at Devon Island.
Researchers found that ice conditions in the 19th century were remarkably similar to today’s, observations falling within normal variability. The study is Accounts from 19th-century Canadian Arctic Explorers’ Logs Reflect Present Climate Conditions (here) by James E. Overland, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory/NOAA, Seattle,Wash., and Kevin Wood, Arctic Research Office/NOAA, Silver Spring, Md. H/t GWPF
This article demonstrates the use of historical instrument and descriptive records to assess the hypothesis that environmental conditions observed by 19th-century explorers in the Canadian archipelago were consistent with a Little Ice Age as evident in proxy records. We find little evidence for extreme cold conditions.
It is clear that the first-hand observations of 19th-century explorers are not consistent with the hypothesized severe conditions of a multi-decadal Little Ice Age. Explorers encountered both warm and cool seasons, and generally typical ice conditions, in comparison to 20th-century norms.
There were more than seventy expeditions or scientific enterprises of various types dispatched to the Canadian Arctic in the period between 1818 and 1910. From this number, we analyzed 44 original scientific reports and related narratives; many from expeditions spanning several years. The majority of the data come from large naval expeditions that wintered over in the Arctic and had the capacity to support an intensive scientific effort. A table listing the expeditions and data types is located at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/arctic/history. The data cover about one-third of the possible number of years depending on data type, and every decade is represented.
Our analysis focuses on four indicators of climatic change: summer sea ice extent, annual sea ice thickness, monthly mean temperature, and the onset of melt and freeze as estimated from daily mean temperature. Historical observations in these four categories were compared with modern reference data; the reference period varied, depending on data availability. Both sea ice extent and the onset of melt and freeze were compared to the 30- year reference period 1971–2000; monthly means are compared to the 50-year period 1951–2000. Modern sea ice thickness records are less continuous, and some terminate in the 1980s; the reference period is therefore based on 19 to 26 years of homogeneous record.
(a) Proxy record of standardized summer air temperature variation derived from ice cores taken on Devon Island. This proxy record suggests that a significantly colder climate prevailed in the 19th century. Shading indicates temperatures one standard deviation warmer or colder than average for the reference period 1901–1960 [Overpeck,1998].
(b) Historical monthly mean temperature observations compared to the 20th-century reference period 1951–2000. Sixty-three percent of 343 monthly mean temperatures recorded on 19th-century expeditions between 1819 and 1854 fall within one standard deviation of the reference mean at nearby stations (reference data from Meteorological Service of Canada,2002; and National Climatic Data Center,2002).
(c) Onset of melt observed by expeditions between 1820 and 1906 expressed as departures from the mean for the reference period 1971–2000. The period of melt transition observed by 19th century explorers is not inconsistent with modern values.
(d) Onset of freeze observed between 1819 and 1905 compared to the reference period 1971–2000. The onset of freeze transition is frequently consistent with modern values,but in some cases occurred earlier than usual. The incidence of an early onset of freeze represents the largest departure from present conditions evident in the historical records examined in this study. Melt and freeze transition dates for the reference period 1971–2000 were calculated from temperature data extracted from the Global Daily Climatology Network data base (National Climate Data Center, 2002).
Fig.2. The ship tracks and winter-over locations of Arctic discovery expeditions from 1818 to 1859 are surprisingly consistent with present sea ice climatology (contours represented by shades of blue). The climatology shown reflects percent frequency of sea ice presence on 10 September which is the usual date of annual ice minimum for the reference period 1971–2000 (Canadian Ice Service,2002). On a number of occasions, expeditions came within 150 km of completing the Northwest Passage, but even in years with unfavorable ice conditions, most ships were still able to reach comparatively advanced positions within the Canadian archipelago. By 1859, all possible routes comprising the Northwest Passage had been discovered.
As stated here before, Arctic ice is part of a self-oscillating system with extents expanding and retreating according to processes internal to the ocean-ice-atmosphere components. We don’t know exactly why 19th century ice extent was less than previously or less than the 1970s, but we can be sure it wasn’t due to fossil fuel emissions.
Explorers encountered both favorable and unfavorable ice conditions. This drawing from the vicinity of Beechey Island illustrates the situation of the H.M.S.Resolute and the steam-tender Pioneer on 5 September 1850 [from Facsimile of the Illustrated Arctic News, courtesy of Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks].
According to Reuters, about 200 Canadian commandos are actively involved in the ground operation to recapture Mosul from ISIS rule. According to Michael Rouleau, Canadian Special Forces Commander, troops are engaged in a ‘substantial’ number of clashes with terrorists which continues to rise.
Why is Canada sending troops to Iraq? What are the results desired by the Canadian government? And what is it willing to sacrifice?
First, Ottawa claims that by doing so it protects itself against terrorism. Former foreign minister Rob Nicholson stressed the need to weaken and destabilize ISIS in 2015. However neither airstrikes in Iraq and Syria nor coalition’s participation in Mosul mincing machine will lead to eradication of terrorism. The example of the Taliban in Afghanistan clearly demonstrates that large-scale fighting will be followed by long and bloody guerrilla war, in which Canada could get stuck with no end in sight.
Second, we should analyze the aftermath of ISIS defeat in Iraq and Syria. This question has no clear-cut answer. In theory the Canadian military presence in Iraq helps the Iraqi government to regain control over the country. In practice Ottawa is cooperating with the Kurds, who are planning to establish their own independent state on the territory of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. These aspirations could further destabilize the region.
Third, it is unclear whether Canada is ready to confront the Islamic State on a global scale. ISIS is conducting subversive activities in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, as well as in the countries of Southeast Asia in addition to Syria and Iraq. Consequently, it will require much more effort than just sending a few hundred soldiers to take part in an operation with controversial results for the complete elimination of the Islamic State.
Fourth, the situation in Syria and Iraq resembles a scenario that has repeatedly led to disastrous consequences in the Middle East. For example, the Western overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in fact led to the creation of ISIS. NATO’s invasion in Libya has practically ruined the country, led to fierce carnage over Muammar Gaddafi and contributed to the rapid spread of terrorist groups throughout North Africa not mentioning numerous victims among the civilian population.
Fifth, judging by the events in Mosul, one could argue that the operation would require a considerable amount of money. Despite the fact that the military operation in Iraq has already hit the budget of the country, Canada is going to allocate approximately $305.9 million extra towards extension, refocusing and carrying out the mission. This includes $41.9 million to be allocated for redeployment of personnel and equipment in 2016-17.
In addition, Canadian military’s participation in missions abroad comes with casualties. According to The Department of National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces, 162 soldiers were killed in Afghanistan with more than two thousand injured. During the ten years of military presence in Afghanistan the Government invested more than $11 billion in the operation.
It is obvious that in the absence of a clear military strategy and achievable goals the situation in Iraq can become a second Afghanistan for Ottawa. Instead of solving internal problems, by supporting the international coalition Canada dared to get involved in another endless armed conflict. The leadership of the country once again has not consulted the opinion of its citizens sending dozens of soldiers to death and destroying the state budget.
“Sweep away the community of honest brokers in America [and] we’ll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.”
While you were going about your daily routines this week, the Trudeau Sunny Ways government was rushing Bill C-30 (the act to implement the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement — CETA) through the House. Thirty of its 140 pages are devoted to amending The Patent Act, amendments which will increase annual drug costs for Canadians by up to 13 per cent. We already pay more for drugs than any other country except the U.S. Unless the rewards of CETA are very impressive, this “free trade” zealotry qualifies as a special kind of madness.
Faith over fact
In observing the Trudeau government and its media cheerleaders regarding CETA, I am reminded of U.S. journalist Ronald Suskind’s revelations about how the George W. Bush administration justified their decisions. One of Bush’s senior aides chastised Suskind for being part of the “reality-based community” in contrast to Bush’s “faith-based community.” He told Suskind:
“[You] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. … when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality …we’ll act again, creating other new realities.”
If those contrasting realities ring a bell, they should, because we have lived for 10 years with such thinking under Stephen Harper and there has been an almost seamless transition to the Trudeau government’s dissembling on international treaties. When it comes to trade and investment deals, the facts mean nothing. Chrystia Freeland simply refuses to answer questions and calls the deal “the gold standard” of trade agreements — full stop.
As in the U.S., we have assertion rather than authenticity, claim rather than fact.
The federal government makes its own “reality” by crafting “facts” to fit its policy objectives — no matter how outrageous they are when put to the test. Three numbers stand out in the talking points of federal governments under both Harper and Trudeau: that CETA will increase GDP by $12 billion, that it will create 80,000 jobs and that the newly created wealth will boost income by $1,000 per family.
But economist Jim Stanford debunked these numbers long ago — pointing out in 2012 that the federal trade department simply took the $12-billion figure (itself a highly dubious figure) “[a]nd divided it by the number of families in Canada. That assumes that every additional dollar of GDP translates directly into family income. In fact, higher GDP never fully trickles down into income…” The money that does find its way into income goes mostly to the wealthy.
The $12-billion figure came from a study commissioned by Canada and carried out by three EU economists. Stanford pointed out that the model used made some outrageous assumptions:
“[c]onstant full employment (so no one can be unemployed due to imports), balanced trade (so a country’s total output cannot be undermined by a trade deficit), no international capital flows (so companies cannot shift investment abroad), and no impact from fluctuating exchange rates.”
Stanford called the study “outrageous.” He was being far too polite. It was outright fraud. Anyone paying even cursory attention to the Canadian economy knows that not one of these assumptions holds. We haven’t had full employment for decades, we have been experiencing trade deficits for years, NAFTA resulted in the shifting of billions of investment dollars to Mexico and China, and our exchange rate has been all over the map.
Faith gets a reality check
But while the Harper/Trudeau axis trots out its faith-based “reality” others are thankfully stuck in the “fact-based” one. The latest are researchers from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute (GDEI) who in September produced the aptly named study “CETA Without Blinders.” The Tufts researchers used the Global Policy Model developed by the United Nations. That model, unlike the one commissioned by Ottawa, examined the likely impact of CETA on jobs, wages and inequality. It’s not a pretty picture:
- “CETA will lead to a reduction of the labour income share. Competitive pressures exerted by CETA on firms and transferred onto workers will raise the share of national income accruing to capital and symmetrically reduce the share of national income accruing to labour.
- By 2023, workers will have foregone average annual earnings increases of €1776 in Canada and between €316 and €1331 in the EU depending on the country.
- CETA will lead to net losses of government revenue. Competitive pressures exerted by CETA on governments by international investors and shrinking policy space for supporting domestic … production and investment will reduce government revenue and expenditure.
- CETA will lead to job losses. By 2023, about 230,000 jobs will be lost in CETA countries, 200,000 of them in the EU, and 80,000 more in the rest of the world [the study projects a loss of 23,000 Canadian jobs due to CETA in the first seven years].
- CETA will lead to net losses in terms of GDP. [D]emand shortfalls nurtured by higher unemployment will also hurt productivity and cause cumulative losses amounting to 0.96 per cent of national income in Canada…”
As if to highlight the predictions of the Tufts University’s report, a recent Canadian study underlined just how grim things are already getting for Canadian workers and their families. Researchers at the University of Waterloo just released a national index of well-being which shows economic growth has not resulted in an improved quality of life since the 2008-2009 recession:
“The index shows the Canadian economy expanded 38 per cent between 1994 and 2014, while improvements in Canadians’ well-being grew just 9.9 per cent. … The biggest decline in that time is in leisure and culture — areas that can enrich lives, alleviate stress and build connections with others, such as socializing with others or taking a holiday.”
The start of this two-decade period coincides precisely with federal governments’ (starting with the Chretien/Martin regime) complete abandonment of enormously successful post-war industrial policies aimed at high wages and value-added manufacturing, and putting literally all their economic policy eggs in the external trade basket.
Why any reputable economist would expect a different result from signing CETA is inexplicable — unless you remember that it’s all about faith. Beginning with the original Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA), its promoters saw it as a leap of faith. Peter Nicholson, a former Scotiabank vice-president and later a personal adviser to Paul Martin, was one of free trade’s gurus. He acknowledged that supporters of the free-trade agreement thought it would “cause Canadian firms to pull up their socks … and compete in the North American market.” Instead, bemoaned Mr. Nicholson years later, many companies adjusted to the FTA “by simply moving across the border… taking the path of least resistance.”
Welcome to CETA, back to the future.
Murray Dobbin has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for 40 years. He writes rabble’s State of the Nation column.