The Radical Right has always been on the Radar, just not in the Media

This article was originally published on Feb. 2, 2017 in Rabble.

RightWing.png

When radicalization is publicly discussed in Canada, it is almost always with a reference to Islamic extremism or terrorism. It’s as if this phenomenon is strictly confined to individuals who have adopted extremist Islamist ideas like those of ISIS. Yet, this narrow conception of radicalization has, without a doubt, allowed for the atrocities in the Quebec City Mosque to take place. By failing to acknowledge the threat coming from the radicalization of individuals and the presence of more than 100 right-wing groups throughout Canada, we have blinded ourselves to the possibility of something like this ever happening.

There is no question that Islamic radicalization and violence is a threat that must be addressed in Canada.  Governments at all levels have mobilized to address the risk posed by international Islamic extremist groups, and the academic study of the phenomenon has exploded

Read more
1 reaction Share

Quebec Mosque Attack Should Cause Leaders on Political Right to Reflect

This article was originally published on Jan. 30, 2017 on the Huffington Post.

While details are still unfolding on the Quebec City mosque attack Sunday night, there is little question that the shooters were motivated by hate for Muslims.  As such, Quebec and Canadian political leaders should take a long hard look at how their statements and actions may exacerbate such hate.

Quebec Muslims rightly see the Quebec City mosque killings as just the latest escalation in a trend of growing harassment against Canada’s Muslims.  “The Muslim community in Quebec is suffering from a flood of hate attacks, […] and now the attacks are escalating and bringing […] the death of innocent people,” lamented Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Security Council Censure of Israel Is Highly Significant

This article was originally published on Dec. 28, 2017 in the Huffington Post.

Friday’s UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution censuring Israel will not resurrect dead Palestinians or Israelis from wars past, nor will it change the near-term prospect for peace.  But despite cynical criticism from the left, the UNSC resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements (a.k.a. colonies) is still very significant.  

One cannot discount the symbolic importance of such a resolution – foremost for Israel.  Israel’s right-wing government can have virtually everything it wants via military might… except legitimacy for its actions.  Netanyahu is furious, not because the resolution will slow the construction and expansion of Israel’s provocative settlements, but because the legitimacy of Israel’s actions has been rejected by the world’s community of nations.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Greens Finally Agree on Economic Sanctions on Israel

This article was originally published on December 8, 2016 on Rabble.

The Green Party convention this past weekend offered a win for everyone. Sort of. The convention was held to clarify the Greens’ position vis-à-vis economic pressure on Israel for its human rights abuses.  Green leader Elizabeth May was so opposed to an August resolution condemning Israel’s human rights abuses that she had threatened to resign.  Influential party activists sought to preserve their August win while maintaining party unity.

A “compromise” resolution endorsed in advance by both party brass and influential grassroots activists suggested that everyone could have what they wanted. Green leader Elizabeth May got her wish to remove reference to the international “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement, while human rights activists were able to retain strong language censuring Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Postmedia, Paul Godfrey and the demise of journalism

builh.png

This article was originally published on December 15, 2016 on Ricochet Media.

As Olive noted, Godfrey took the unprecedented step in Canada’s 2015 federal election of ordering all 16 major Postmedia newspapers across Canada to endorse Harper. Mercifully, voters were so appalled by Harper that they turfed him out of office anyway.

The managerial equivalent of the bubonic plague

Godfrey became CEO of Postmedia in 2009. Since that time, he has laid waste to its business while earning millions in compensation. According to the corporation’s most recent proxy circular, $100 of its shares purchased in June 2011 (when Postmedia became a TSX-listed company) had a market value on Aug. 31, 2016, of less than one dollar. During that same period, Postmedia paid Godfrey over $8 million.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Green Party members to decide on new Israel-Palestine resolution

flag2.png

This article was originally published on November 23, 2016 on Ricochet Media.

The reaction of pro-Israel groups and the mainstream media was strident and unabashedly biased. B’Nai Brith Canada’s CEO Michael Mostyn berated Greens for embracing “the policy position of shills for 9/11 conspiracy theories and terror apologists.” The Globe & Mail mischaracterized the BDS policy as an “Israel boycott” even though the policy is explicitly confined to those sectors of Israel’s society and economy that profit from the illegal occupation. The National Post quoted multiple critics of the BDS policy, but not one supporter of BDS. Even the supposedly progressive Toronto Star piled on, and thundered that “rather than fleeing the scene of its political car-crash over policy on Israel, Elizabeth May should stick around and save her party from itself.”

In all of the anti-BDS hysteria that ensued, there was scarcely a mention of Israel’s appalling human rights abuses.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Dubious Prognosis for Canadian aid to Palestine

This article was originally published on Nov. 16, 2016 on the Huffington Post.

palestinian.png

Until I looked more closely at Governor General David Johnston’s recent trip to the Middle East, I was totally oblivious to the fact that Canada funds programs to help Palestinian women. Long concerned about the plight of women in the Middle East, I was thrilled to learn that Canada funds a CARE International program to increase Palestinian women’s access to the labour force.  

Admittedly, I wasn’t fully aware of the plight Palestinian women workers until recently, as this topic doesn’t get much attention in academia or Western mainstream media.  What I learned was sobering.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Green Party Finds Compromise Position on Boycott of Israel

This article was originally published on Nov. 16, 2016 on the Huffington Post.

bds.png

The naysayers on both sides of the issue have been proven wrong.  When the Green Party passed a motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Israel in August, conservative voices felt Elizabeth May would be justified in stepping down as party leader.  Progressive voices, however, urged her to stay on, and not to disavow the BDS movement.  

May and the federal Greens may do both. 

With the release of a draft “compromise” resolution last week, the Green Party of Canada (GPC) seems poised to advocate economic pressure on Israel – while not endorsing the BDS movement – and May seems comfortable leading the party forward with this position.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Let’s Enable a Real Canadian Debate on Israel-Palestine

This article was also published on Nov. 24, 2016 on Rabble.

debate.png

Last week, the Vancouver Sun printed a remarkable apology to Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada.   The Sun editorial board had published a piece in August claiming that IJV – a Jewish organization – had denied the Holocaust and encouraged terrorism against Israelis.  The only problem was, they were dead wrong.

The Vancouver Sun produced the apology after IJV contacted Postmedia through its lawyer.  In its retraction and statement of apology, the Sun suggested it had been influenced by certain “advocacy groups,” and indeed, their false accusations did resemble allegations made on an undated pro-Israel lobby Website.  The Sun’s remorse seemed short lived, however, as the apology came off their Website after only about a week.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

In Case You Missed it, Canada passed an anti-Islamophobia Motion

This article was originally published on Feb. 22, 2016 on the Huffington Post and on Rabble.

house_of_common.png

Canadians can’t be blamed for missing the anti-Islamophobia motion that passed in parliament last week.  If you Google it, you won’t get a single hit in mainstream media: not in CBC, not in Postmedia, not in the Globe and Mail, nowhere.  In fact, when this piece is published, it may be the first media piece talking about Canada’s successful anti-Islamophobia motion.

While you won’t find any coverage of the anti-Islamophobia motion that passed on Oct. 26, you will find articles about a similar motion that was defeated on Oct. 6.  Personally, I find it curious that a motion condemning Islamophobia that fails is news, while an identical motion that passes is not. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share