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Media Bites: No Worries Israel, Canadian Media's Got Your Back

11/22/2012 08:37 EST | Updated 01/22/2013 05:12 EST
REUTERS

As I'm sure you've heard, things have been pretty bang-bang boom-boom in the Middle East lately. Unusual, I know, but these are tragic times.

Frankly, I've been more preoccupied with lesbian haircutgate myself, so apologies if my summary is a bit like that girl who hasn't seen Star Wars.

Basically, there's a thing called Hamas running Gaza, which comprises half the Palestinian territories in Israel (or "Palestine" if you prefer), and it's been feuding with a thing called "Benjamin Netanyahu" which runs the Israeli part of Israel (or "Palestine" if you prefer). Anyway, a few days ago they started shooting missiles at each other hoping to settle grudges dating back to early November at best or the Old Testament at worst.

In any case, the only real important question is who do the Canadian editorial pages support?

Here's a hint: not Hamas.

"When the Toronto Sun was founded in 1971, one of our founding principles was fairness to Israel," says that paper's editorial board, so don't expect us to just roll over when our buddy has "rocket attacks fired at its major cities by Hamas terrorists." I mean, "if terrorists holed up in the North York Civic Centre were firing rockets at Toronto City Hall" we'd be outraged too. At least during a Rob Ford administration.

True, the Israeli/Gazanian body count has not exactly been equal, concedes Rosie DiManno in the Toronto Star, but it'd be "downright absurd" to use "casualties as a yardstick for measuring the misery" of the two sides." Israel, after all, is a sunny happy democracy where people have jobs and stuff, while Hamas-controlled Gaza is just a "cesspool" of anti-semitism and stale falafel.

If anything, Hamas' crappy missile kill score just proves their "war performance was pathetic" quips National Post overlord Jon Kay. Only five dead Israelis? That's a "a 1:240 fatality-per-launch ratio." C'mon Hamas, are you a murderous Islamist terror sect or my little sister playing Duck Hunt?

But folks beyond our usual chorus of ornery pundits have been weighing in, too, which is good, because for thorny topics like Mideast wars it's crucial our newspapers recruit some scholarly, impartial voices. The Montreal Gazette, for instance, got the, uh, Israeli Consul-General.

Shalom Quebeckers, he says, I'm the Israeli Consel-General and I'm opposed to terrorists who make "rockets rain down from our skies." Sure, some might harp on the "lack of proportionality in the death toll," but in my unbiased opinion, the reason more Gaza people are dying is because "Israel goes through extraordinary measures to protect each and every one of our civilians" while Hamas makes theirs hide in shelters made of paper bags and orphans. Be sure to consider Israel for your next Victoria Day long weekend!

Way on the other side, meanwhile, sits noted anti-Israel professor Patrick Seale in the Star, writing a fun summary of some recent Q and A with his Muslim pals. Surprise! Turns out they felt the "cruel fate of the Palestinians was a badge of dishonour for every Arab." Now I obviously don't want to cast aspersions on the prof's impartiality here, but considering one of his questions was "How did Arabs react, I wondered, when Israel's minister of interior, Eli Yishai, said that 'The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages?'" I think there might have been some slight witness-leading.

In any case, the war is over now or something, so it's time for everyone to move on, and ditch the embarrassing single-mindedness with which you supported your chosen side.

That's what domestic politics is for.

 

***

So, some time ago, the Conservative Party of Canada evidently decided they were done with this whole "being conservative" thing. Maybe it was after their fourth consecutive budget deficit, maybe after they started bragging about the highest transfer payments in Canadian history, either way: it happened. The Tories are quite objectively not the party of fiscal discipline anymore. It is a dead parrot.

To the Canadian pundit brigade, this then begs an obvious question: uh, what exactly makes our parties different again?

Well, incumbency, for starters, answers the Post's Jon Ivison. By 2015, he posits that "enough centre-right voters will have been turned off by nine years of Mr. Harper" that they'll swing to the Liberals simply because they'll appear to be a somewhat "acceptable, progressive face of fiscal conservatism," based on the Tories' own low standard.

And the NDP? Well, doy, they should merge with the Liberals, says unauthorized Jon Ivison knock-off Jon Ibbitson at the Globe, adding that if the Tories win a narrow victory in Calgary next week it will very, very obviously be because "the centre-left vote was split." Hear that, Liberal leadership candidates? Spliiiiiiiiiiit!

Yeah, the message could not be clearer if was shouted by the two-headed ghost of Pierre Trudeau and Tommy Douglas, agrees Postie Chris Selley; the future for Canada's pragmatic left is, "if not a merger in itself, then at least parliamentary co-operation."

Ever since Mitt Romney's big loss way back when, the North American commentariat has spent much time debating the future of continental conservatism, with the Canucks constantly insisting that the surest path to power entails emulating the style and substance of our  brilliantly moderate only-barely-right-of-centre party.

More than a little ironic, theretofore, that toppling the mighty Tory empire is apparently just a matter of parliamentary arithmetic and running out the clock.

Israel-Gaza conflict