True to form of Israel's detractors, the Toronto Star published a commentary this month which engaged in historical revisionism and outright lies by claiming that Israel has no legal claim to Jerusalem and areas of the West Bank, called until a few decades ago "Judea and Samaria", and now referred to by writer Carol Trainor as "occupied territories."
At the interfaith vigil in Connecticut, U.S. President Obama, fighting back tears, expressed overwhelming grief, as a parent, on the killing of 20 innocent little children. In contrast, columnist George Monbiot noted that President Obama has remained silent over the 168 children killed by American drone attacks along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. President Obama has stated that, even if there were one step to be taken, there is an obligation to try to save another child from harm. When will Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders go beyond themselves and truly express concern not just for their own children but also those of "others"?
The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that of the 158 Palestinians killed in the November Israeli assault on Gaza, 103 were civilians. Israel's deputy defence minister indicated that Palestinians would bring upon themselves a bigger "shoah" -- holocaust. Unitarian Chaplain Reverend Audrey Brooks questioned how Israel could inflict the horror of the Holocaust on the Palestinians. Time and again, Jews and Muslims, notwithstanding the narrative of bigots in their respective faiths, have reached out to each other.
One of the most interesting fallouts from the recent Palestinian victory at the United Nations is the spotlight on the International Criminal Court. Many view the prospect of Palestinian membership in the ICC, which it is now entitled to seek, as unleashing a Pandora's box of "lawfare." This premise is based on a flawed understanding of how the Court functions.
Whenever Hamas attacks Israel, who responds with the bombing of Gaza, opinions are wide spread. Often they are tainted by racism, xenophobia, and all out insanity. That is a huge problem when you look at America's relationship with Israel, and how many in Washington, and the media, side with the 62-year-old country.
Writing in The Jerusalm Post, Israeli Sharon Udasin quoted Nofar Gal, who lives near the border with Gaza: "The situation in the South has been very difficult not only for us humans but also for our pets." Predictably, her writing about an Israeli's pet dog triggered outrage in sensitive non-Israelis. The professionally sensitive -- liberal reporters -- were especially incensed.
This week has seen an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians. In 24 hours, 79 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Arsen Ostrovsky asks, "My country is under attack, do you care?" The responses to his piece have been disturbing. Israel's occupation of Palestine is wrong. But a denunciation of illegal-Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians need not be prefaced by a resuscitation of each ill that Israel has inflicted on Palestinians. Victimhood must be inclusive.
In the face of international condemnation of Iran's destructive pursuit of nuclear weapons and its repeated calls for Israel's destruction, filmmaker Alexandre Trudeau reports that Iran's atomic ambitions are for "defensive" purposes only, serving as an effective "deterrent" against Israeli "aggression" and belligerence. That is at least the way Trudeau framed the second instalment of his three-part documentary that aired on CBC's The National on October 14.
I was one of the lucky few who was invited to attend a rare opportunity to have a roundtable discussion with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who was in Toronto for an exclusive speaking engagement as part of an ongoing speakers series. Annan answered our questions which covered various hot button topics including the ways towards a successful society, Iran, Romney and China. Here is what he said.
Water is an invaluable commodity in the Middle East. Due to the region's scarcity of this vital natural resource, water can be used to perpetuate conflict, fuel wars, and even procure peace. Contrary to claims made by Dr. Shaddad Attili, the Minister of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), in his Huffington Post Canada commentary, Israel exports volumes of water to the West Bank greatly in excess of what the Oslo Accords had mandated.
Politics is to religion, like oil is to water, they just don't mix. Recently, UNESCO politicized religion by labelling Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity as an endangered world heritage site, despite the fact that the UN's own experts investigating the state of the Church's premises concluded that the building is not in any urgent danger and that PA hype is just hot political air.