This article was originally published on September 4, 2017 on Rabble.ca.
For years, Israel's apologists have made headlines accusing the Palestinians of using anti-Semitic textbooks. Recently, the battle came to Canada when B'nai Brith attacked the government's decision to fund the UN aid organization for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), suggesting UNRWA school textbooks demonized Israel. It is a cynical strategy which grabs headlines when announced, but fails to make the news when such allegations are debunked.
When exploring the most recent incarnation of these accusations, it's important to mention a few realities conveniently omitted by Israel's champions. First, UNRWA has never been in the business of producing textbooks. Instead, UNRWA schools use the textbooks and curricula of the countries which host the refugees, i.e. the textbooks of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Gaza; and the textbooks of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in those countries. This is because students who advance in their studies must inevitably sit for local exams.Read more
This article was originally published on August 28, 2017 on Huffington Post Canada.
Last Thursday, the Trudeau government announced another $25 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees. Within hours, Canadian pro-Israel lobby groups had criticized the decision, dredging up spurious arguments to subvert any potential public sympathy for Palestinians, refugees or otherwise. But average Canadians can reasonably be excused for asking, "Why should Canada support Palestinian refugees?"
This article was originally published on July 13, 2017 on Huffington Post Canada.
This article was also published on July 14, 2017 on Rabble.ca.
It’s official. Canada is now a hawk when it comes to the proliferation of nuclear arms. If any additional confirmation were needed, it was Canada’s absence at last week’s UN vote to ban nuclear weapons. But for those who have been following this file, this is only the latest of Canada’s hawkish gestures.
Canada’s failure to step up for last week’s nuclear weapons ban was criticized from many corners. “It’s shocking that Canada is not going to participate,” asserted former Canadian ambassador for disarmament, Douglas Roche back in March. Paul Meyer, another former Canadian ambassador for disarmament described Canada’s absence as “pathetic.” Project Ploughshares’ executive director Cesar Jaramillo considered it a hypocritical contradiction of the Trudeau government’s stated commitment to multilateralism.Read more
This article was originally published on July 11, 2017 on Huffington Post Canada.
For years, Lebanese Canadians flying to Beirut have had to endure exhausting layovers in Europe. But recent hopes that the Trudeau government would approve direct flights to Beirut were dashed with a tweet from an Air Canada executive early Monday. Duncan Bureau, VP Global Sales for Air Canada tweeted that the government had rejected their application, commenting, “Huge disappointment for us and [the] Lebanese community here.”
Bureau’s comments were echoed by the Lebanese community on social media. Comments to a post about the refusal on Facebook were both sceptical and critical. One individual wrote, “Trudeau will not be re elected in the next election. […] Pathetic decision Justin.” On Twitter another wrote, “Shame on @JustinTrudeau & @liberal_party for discriminating against the Lebanese-Canadian community.”Read more
This article was originally published on April 17, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
If only it were so easy. The leader of a war-torn Middle Eastern country commits an atrocity; the West removes him; problem solved. At least, that’s the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to see the future in Syria. Last week, Trudeau asserted that Syrian president Bachar al-Assad must be excluded from any final peace agreement for that worn torn country. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland put it more bluntly, “Assad must go.”
The only problem is, in addition to the support that al-Assad enjoys among certain groups within Syria, Trudeau has also forgotten about Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and the many other players who have a stake in what happens in Syria. What began with a boy writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa in 2011 is a full blown global crisis today.
This article was originally published on April 10, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
Nobody would argue that the gas attack last week on the Syrian town of Khan Sheykhoun was anything but horrific and inhumane. But it’s hard to see how Trump’s recent missile strikes on an airfield of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad will do anything but aggravate an already intractable situation. Worse, the Trudeau government’s acquiescence to Trump’s belligerence weakens our own position as a country, and the checks and balances of the UN system. Some proponents of Trump’s strike argue that it will handicap al-Assad’s ability to carry out more strikes. Others argue that the strike has symbolic value, demonstrating to al-Assad and his opponents that the international community is watching, and has the will to act. But far more sustained intervention will be required before there will be any real dent in al-Assad’s military capability, as evidenced by yet another strike on Khan Sheykhun on Saturday.Read more
This article was originally published on March 7, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
Most Canadians have no idea, but our government currently sanctions 21 different countries around the world. Perhaps most well-known, Canada maintains sanctions against Iran because of Canadian government suspicions around Iran’s nuclear weapons intents. But Canada also has a general export ban on Belarus for the abuses of President Alexander Lukashenko, as well as various sanctions on 19 other countries.
Government leaders might be reassured by the results of an EKOS poll last week which indicated that 91 percent of Canadians believe that sanctions are a reasonable way for Canada to censure countries for violations of international law or human rights. But such “support” for sanctions may also obfuscate some problematic aspects of Canada’s sanctions policies.Read more