Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sometimes I really got to wonder if there really isn’t a diversity lottery pool in Canadian newspaper journalism...

Otherwise how does one explain this from the Toronto Star?

In Canada, Gaza energized the pro-peace camp and breathed new life into this month's Israeli Apartheid Week on university campuses.

Despite the political and media establishment's consistent efforts at censoring or suppressing criticism of Israel and demonizing its critics, many Canadians are finding ways to have their voices heard. They are going beyond street marches to Barack Obama-like grassroots mobilizing through Web networking, seminars and teach-ins with prominent speakers. This emerging movement is increasingly multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-faith, motivated mainly by secular, humanitarian and human rights concerns.

If the ‘media establishment’s consistent efforts at censoring or suppressing criticism of Israel and demonizings its critics’ is such an issue how do you explain this opinion piece or any number of anti-Israeli the pieces the Toronto Star’s pages over the last 9 years? Nor am I sure I would call shouting ‘death to the Jews’ or threatening the lives of Jewish children in street demonstrations an energization of the peace camp. Nor would I think punching a videographer in the head for asking a ‘anti-Israel protestor’ to explain what he meant when he stated, “Hitler didn’t do a good enough job’ acts particularly energizing.

In fact, demonstrations against Israel in Canada have taken a nasty turn for the worse in a decidedly ‘uncanadian’ fashion. Of course, death threats against the Jews were issued in not just English, but Arabic and French too so I gather this is the multilingualism the Toronto Star is celebrating. And of course, there is always the Catholic peace camp to make common cause with the ‘Jew-haters’ - nothing new about that except I fail to read it as a cause to celebrate. Nor do I see Jewish students being swarmed by unruly mob of ‘pro-palestinian’ supports as breathing new life into Israeli Apartheid Week campaign.

In January, more than 80 professors and other staff at Quebec universities and colleges placed an ad in Le Devoir, criticizing Harper for condemning "Hamas, an elected government, as a terrorist organization yet consistently supporting Israel, which has used weapons causing mass destruction on a mainly civilian population, including attacks on children and schools."
Well, I dare say 80 professors and other staff members at Quebec universities and colleges placed the ad, and probably just as the Toronto Star reported but I would expect the an editor to point out this pertinent fact. Hamas was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah but consolidated its control over the Gaza Strip in a bloody violent military coup. There is nothing democratically elected about the terrorists thugs running the Gaza Strip. Just ask Fatah or check their charter. Lobbying missiles over a border will eventually bring military consequences from a neighboring state as there is no human right to shot missiles at Jews – well at least not yet. We can talk again after Durban 2.

A Feb. 18 open letter, signed by more than 350 professors from 40 universities across Canada under the banner F4P (Faculty for Palestine), defended freedom of speech and assembly on campuses. Alan Sears, professor of sociology at Ryerson University, said the signatories wanted to "defend the right of people to hold and speak during Apartheid Week, even if they themselves wouldn't use that term." He was gratified that "the university administrators, to their credit, didn't buckle."

A combative declaration was issued last week by 160 Jewish Canadians, including Anton Kuerti, Ursula Franklin, Naomi Klein, Meyer Brownstone (recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal) and Judith Deutsch, president of the Canadian group, Science for Peace. "We are appalled by recent attempts ... to silence protest against Israel. We are alarmed by the escalation of fear tactics (which) bring the anti-Communist terror of the 1950s vividly to mind." But both Deutsch and Sears say they feel far less lonely these days than they used to. "There has been a real shift over the last few years where being a marginalized troublemaker is less marginalized and more acceptable," Sears said.

That seems in tune with broad Canadian sentiment.
Although, I will grant you Sears has a point in that a marginalized troublemaker now has more buddies firmly standing beside him than ever before, and with people like Siddiqui on the editoral board of the Toronto Star leading the choir and singing his praises, it has indeed become ‘quite acceptable’. Of course, living in the ratified air of One Yonge Street I am not sure Siddiqui is even remotely qualified to discuss tunes of broad Canadian sentiment. Most of the ordinary Canadians I met across the country were quite shocked by the antics of the anti-Israel loons.

The thing that really irks me is that op-ed pieces like this one make Siddiqui out to be a ‘pro-palestinian’ supporter, and yet, when was the last time he demanded the illegimate Hamas coup of the Gaza Strip be called to account for their summarily executions? When was the last time he made demands of the Palestinian Authority or even Hamas to open their respective fiefdoms to admit the Palestinian wretched of the Lebanese refugee camps? Where was he when the Lebanese Army cut the power and water in a Palestinian refugee camp? When was the last time an opinion piece was delivered supporting the rights of Palestinian refugees from the camps get the right to vote in Palestinian elections. When was the last time Siddiqui wrote an article supporting the protests by Gazan journalists against the bloody Hamas reign? When was the last time Siddiqui wrote an article taking the Lebanese government to task for their own bit of legislative discrimination banning Palestinian refugees from the right to aspire to a higher education or even entrance to a most professions?

Yes, I realize no Jooos were involved but so what - should it even matter? But remember, I am not only the hater but anti-Palestinian to boot.

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