Al Nakba and Canada

By: Mazin Al Nahawi.

It is a shame that John Baird and his boss Stephen Harper haven’t learned yet from Canada’s colonial past.

For over a century, the Palestine question has been described as the most complex political issue of our modern time. A very “complicated” equation that after a half of a century of Zionist colonization to set up and establish a colonial “Jewish state” in Palestine, a mathematician, none other than Einstein himself, had something to say about the crimes committed in his name as a Jew, and in the name of Judaism.

In a letter by Einstein to the Zionist, Shepard Rifkin, executive director for “American Friends of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel”, dated April 10, 1948 (the date is very important, it’s only a month before the illegal creation of the Zionist state in Palestine.)

Mr. Shepard Rifkin
Dear Sir:
When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations build up from our own ranks.
I am not willing to see anybody associated with those misled and criminal people.
Sincerely yours,
(Signed, ‘A. Einstein’)

It didn’t require more than three lines to solve this “complex” matter, and it seems that Einstein was very confident in naming the culprits for the “catastrophe in Palestine”, as he precisely described it.

One month after that letter, the Palestinian Arabs began to call the day of the creation of the Israeli occupation state, which consisted of the robbery of their homeland and existence as AL NAKBA (Cataclysm or Catastrophe). That was 65 years ago. Continue reading

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Canada and the Question of Palestine

Yves EnglerLester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt.

“In every country the powerful attempt to define history. Yves Engler’s books – The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, and Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt – provide an important counterweight to the dominant understanding of Canada’s role in the world, posing a challenge to citizens willing to take their fundamental responsibilities seriously” – Noam Chomsky.

This is a part of Yves Engler’s presentation of his latest book, and it was given in the university of Victoria on the 30th of March, 2012.

The full presentation is available on Vimeo.

The Practice of Neoliberalism: How Think Tanks, Foundations, Big Oil and the CIA Undermine Democracy. By David Livingstone

Via: Global Research.

Canada’s Fraser Institute

How American right-wing foundations, Big Oil and the CIA collaborate to undermine the social democratic systems of Canada and other countries around the world.

Since the early 1970s, there has been a broad international agenda led by right-wing American foundations to sway public opinion towards greater acceptance of an economic philosophy called Neoliberalism, of which Canada’s Fraser Institute has been a pivotal part.

It is by tracing the connections between the Fraser Institute and several prominent Canadian politicians, like Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and other far-right conservatives, including BC Premier Campbell of British Columbia, that we can identify the source of their disdain for democracy, a penchant for slashing social programs, their unconditional support for American foreign policy expeditions, and an utter refusal to condemn the gross human rights abuses of Zionism in Israel.

Every year, the Fraser Institute announces a Tax Freedom Day, the first day of the year when the country of Canada has theoretically earned enough income to fund its annual tax burden, and its “Report Cards” of schools and the health care system, designed to convince Canadians of the importance of reducing public spending and privatizing these and other social services.

As reported in The Tyee, Paul Shaker, dean of the faculty of education at Simon Fraser University, said recently:

“Part of the international movement of neoliberalism is to treat schools as simply another service that can be commodified and deserve no special place in society. This movement has been coming along since Thatcher and Reagan, and reached a fevered pitch over the last 10 years.” If you want to analyze why things have deteriorated in Vancouver, Shaker said, “it probably has to do with this global and political movement.” The premise of Neoliberalism, and that of Neoclassical Economic theories in general, is the pessimistic view that human beings are selfish creatures. It develops from a crass darwinian attitude, that deems that people aught to be responsible for their own “failings”, like poverty, and therefore, that governments should not provide services to assist them when they are in need.

Ultimately, the pursuit of self-interest is thought to create efficiencies that should be favored over any form of government activity. However, while the profit motive is certainly tolerable in certain cases, it is actually contrary to the public good in others, as in cases of essential human needs, like education, health, water, energy sources and so on.

Essentially, Neoliberalism draws support from the philosophy of Adam Smith, who maintained it was not necessary for governments or any other social organizations to enforce a redistribution of wealth, because the free pursuit of self-interest would create enough surplus to benefit all. The disguised intent is to induce societies to expose what should be publicly held assets or industries to exploitation by private interests, and to then prevent governments from taxing these corporations, or regulating their activities in ways that might restrain their lust for profits.

The chief propagandists of Neoliberalism, were Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, who, in 1947, founded the Mont Pelerin Society, to coordinate the creation of an international network of think-tanks and foundations, to spread their philosophy of corporate greed. The basis of their propaganda was a scare-tactic of equating “big government” with totalitarianism. In Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Milton Friedman proposed that centralized control of the economy was always accompanied with political repression. Similarly, in The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek argued that “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.” Continue reading

Canada’s Israel Lobby. By Peyton Vaughan Lyon

Via: The Progressive Mind.

This article is an update of a study of the Canada Israel Committee (CIC) published in the Journal of Canadian Studies, 1992-3. It benefited by extensive comments from Professors John Sigler, Joseph Debanné, David Farr and Diana Ralph, and Rt. Hon Robert Stanfield, Ian Watson, and Bahija Reghai. I have discussed the Israel Lobby with about 20 foreign affairs officials, 2 former Prime Ministers, 3 former Secretaries of State for External Affairs, 8 Members of Parliament, 6 Senators, and 3 officials of the Canada-Israel Committee.  –  3 March 2010

Dr. Lyon is Professor Emeritus Political Science, Carleton University. He was a Rhodes Scholar, and obtained his D.Phil. from Oxford University. He served in the RCAF from 1940 to 1945.

He held posts as Foreign Service Officer, Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, Canada and in Bonn, Germany. He is the author of five books on Canadian foreign policy, trade and defence.

Mailing Address:
Peyton V. Lyon
43 Aylmer Ave
Ottawa, ON K1S 5R4

Canada’s Israel Lobby

Canada’s relations with the Arab/Muslim world are second in importance and difficulty only to its relationship with the United States. The one serious threat to Canadian citizens now stems from the mounting anger of Arabs and other Muslims, fomented largely by Israel’s long-standing occupation of Palestine. The Mid-East conflict has for sixty years been the principal issue on the agenda of the UN General Assembly, a body in which Canadians like to shine. Trade with the Middle East, while modest, is largely in manufactured goods, the sort favoured by Canadian exporters.

Canada’s foreign policy, however, fails to reflect these concerns. Its votes in the UN General Assembly and other international bodies are closer in support of Israel than those of any other nation apart from the United States and its five Pacific satellites. Prime Minister Harper’s personal statements are more biased towards Israel than those of any other leader. (1) This imbalance does not accord with the advice of the men and women employed by Canada to determine and implement its interests in the Middle East. It is also opposed by an increasing number of churches, unions, and other bodies concerned with peace and justice in Palestine.

Who makes Canada’s Mid-East policy? A ranking of influence by a panel of foreign affairs officials placed the Canadian Jewish Community first at 5.85 compared to 5.40 for each of the Prime Minister and the Department of External Affairs. The Canadian/Arab Community at 1.80 was ranked sixteenth out of the eighteen estimated influence inputs. (2) Although the Arab Community has become better organized in recent years, interviews with senior officials and case studies suggest that there has been little change in this ranking.

There is of course nothing illegal or immoral about lobbies, even those operating in the interest of foreign entities. A significant number of ethnic groups do in fact lobby for their countries of origin. (3) Canada’s Israel lobby is simply by far the most powerful and effective. It has become customary to refer to it as “the Lobby”, and I shall follow that practice. The Lobby claims to act on all Canada-Israel matters on behalf of an estimated two thirds of the three hundred and fifteen thousand Canadians of Jewish origin.(4)

For obvious reasons, the American-Israel lobby is far larger, more powerful, and better known than its Canadian counterpart. (5) There are further significant differences and I shall begin with them. Continue reading

Netanyahu in Canada – the New Republican Stronghold. By Jim Miles

Via: The Palestine Chronicle.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected to a minority government in 2006. Since then he has done his best to set up what could be considered a Republican government for the state of Canada. Except that Canada is not a state of the United States (just a weak willed wimpy ally) nor are there any Republican parties in Canada. Stephen Harper however is as close as it gets.

One of the signs is the economy. The current conservative government has applauded itself many times for the stability of the Canadian banking system in face of the world economic decline. Fortunately for Canada, Harper has only had a minority government, otherwise deregulation as per the U.S. style of handling its finances could have been introduced well before the bubble burst. Canada only looks good because the conservatives did not have the power to implement its U.S. model of finance liberalization.

Harper followed the U.S. lead in giving out large sums of money for infrastructure projects, many of which had already been announced ahead of the budget, many of which had already been finished (if the many road signs bragging about moving Canada forward by building infrastructure are any indication), and most of the money made its way into corporate pockets rather than the pockets of the average consumer. I would hazard to surmise that the deficit thus created serves the same purpose as that in the U.S. and Greece: to help limit or eliminate government pension funds and funding of health and welfare structures. We will be told that with the current huge deficit that we should all tighten our belts and the government must do the same, yet the poor corporations receive nothing but government largesse following the same track as our U.S. neighbours.

Harper has two degrees in economics, a sign in my mind for certain that he does not know what he is talking about, as economists generally are versed only in idealistic theories within falsely created models and falsely contrived mathematics of market perfection.

Another sign is the environment. Harper and his colleagues have been extremely weak on environmental issues, preferring not to use the principle of scientific uncertainty, but the deniers principle of no action without absolute proof. Even with the current BP disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, the Harper government has recently put forward a law that allows corporations drilling in the Arctic to not have to drill a secondary ‘rescue’ well in case of an accident as was in the books up until now. Imagine an oil spill as deep as the Gulf of Mexico but under winter pack ice and howling blizzards…. Continue reading

Challenging Canada’s Myths about its Role in Palestine. By Sean F. McMahon

Via: The Electronic Intifada.

(EI Illustration)

At the end of March, the Liberal Party of Canada staged a conference exploring the challenges Canada will face in 2017, the state’s 150th birthday. Robert Fowler, Canada’s longest-serving ambassador to the United Nations and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s former special envoy to Niger, caused a fervor on the final day of the conference by contending that Canada’s reputation and foreign policy effectiveness in the Middle East have been diminished as a result of domestic pandering to Jewish voters — because foreign policy has been put in the service of domestic electoral concerns.

Fowler’s comments have been read as critical by the corporate media, a reading sure to be reinforced by Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff’s rejection of them and the predictable responses that followed from Israeli apologists. This is a perfunctory reading. Fowler’s comments are hardly remarkable for their muted critique. Instead, they are notable for their larger political function — for the manner in which they mythologize Canadian policy to the Middle East.

Fowler is not alone in claiming that Canada has a reputation for being fair, just and objective as regards the Middle East. He is, in fact, only one of many reproducing this fantasy. Canada’s policy has always been markedly tilted toward Israel in a way that has compromised Palestinian rights and damaged prospects for peace and justice.

Fowler’s substantive remarks began with the observation that Canada has turned inward and its “reputation and proud international tradition have been diminished as a result.” From this global observation, he moved to a regional focus and the challenges the Middle East poses, and put forward several rhetorical questions:

“Where is the measure which for so long characterized Canada’s policy toward [the Middle East]? Before, that is, Canada’s politicians began using foreign policy exclusively for domestic purposes; before the scramble to lock up the Jewish vote in Canada meant selling out our widely-admired and long-established reputation for fairness and justice in this most volatile and dangerous region of the world?” Continue reading