Black storm 1

Between friends. Black storms loom on the horizon.

As Napoleon Bonaparte said: “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

“Canada and the United States have one of the world’s unique relationships: two sovereign states, occupying the bulk of North America and sharing the world’s longest undefended border, each reliant on the other for trade, continental security and prosperity. Despite radically different beginnings, as well as a history of war, conflict and cultural suspicion, the two countries — one more powerful than the other — stand as a modern example of inter-dependence and co-operation that is a model to the world.”

John R. English, Historica Canada, 1999

by Alan Simons

It was Euripides who said “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” Unfortunately, at this time nothing is more certain than an acute awareness in Canada of a profusion of black storm clouds looming on our U.S. border. In times of storms one normally takes shelter with family and friends alike. We are one, so to speak. This time it is different.

Canadians in general have an admiration towards our friends living to the south of us, in addition to which many Canadians have close family ties in the U.S. going back generations. 

Yet, with the upcoming United States Presidential Election just a few months away we are seeing a shift away from admiration to a weltschmerz – a mood of sentimental sadness towards a society that politically seems to have lost its will and direction. Both presidential candidates are intensely disliked, with Trump on the top of the heap. He’s thriving to light the destructive match of hatred between Muslims and Christians, between blacks and whites, between the poor and the rich, between its Mexican population and those born in the U.S. The similarity to Dr Strangelove is unnerving. He embellishes all that is distasteful in an individual who could well be the next President of the United States.  He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put fear into people. If it wasn’t all so sad he probably could be a character right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!

And as for Clinton, to quote, “she enters the summer damaged by perceptions that she violated the law by using a private email system while serving as secretary of state, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds. More than half of Americans think the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee broke the law by using a private email account and server at the State Department and nearly 4 in 10 think she did so intentionally, according to the poll.”

As of Thursday, July 20 a variety of Presidential Polls show Clinton as having a spread of up to 4 points. So, if you’re a Democrat and feeling smug, be very careful. Don’t expect Republicans, who earlier this year said that they were against Trump, not to vote for him. Churchgoing Republicans, are a case in point. This past week Pew Research Center announced that “Churchgoing Republicans once skeptical of Trump, now support him.” God help America!

The bottom line is, this is politics at its nastiest and the game is to win by whatever means possible!

What is so painful, from the perspective of a Canadian, is to observe a presidential candidate being so negative towards his own country. Trump regards the U.S. as a barren doom and gloom economic wasteland, taken right out of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which, in general, is a contradiction to the recent Conference Board‘s, “consumers were less negative about current business and labor market conditions…”

In addition:

  • A report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that June’s increase reflected higher sales of motor vehicles and parts, food and sales in gasoline stations. In addition, sales of furniture, building materials and garden equipment bounced back from a contraction in May to an expansion in June. Meanwhile, the closely-watched core retail sales index (or control group) that excludes cars and car parts also showed a healthy increase in June.
  • FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 4.8% in 2016… For 2017, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 4.6%,” a remarkable achievement from the 2011 figure of 8.9%.
  • Consumer confidence rebounds and jumps to eight-month high in June 2016
  • Housing prices remain healthy. According to S&P, the home price increases reflect the low unemployment rate, low mortgage interest rates, and consumers’ generally positive outlook. One result is that an increasing number of cities have surpassed the high prices seen before the Great Recession. Currently, seven cities – Denver, Dallas, Portland OR, San Francisco, Seattle, Charlotte, and Boston – are setting new highs.

To quote Trump: “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me …” He’s right on this one. No other presidential candidate has done more to build a wall that has fractured American society than Trump.

In Canada, America’s largest trading partner, there is great concern of a Trump win. As reported in the Toronto Sun, “Canada’s economy would take a direct hit if Donald Trump were to be elected U.S. President and follow through on his anti-trade rants, trade experts say. ‘If he actually does what he says he’s going to do I think there would be a very significant impact on Canada,’ University of Ottawa Law Professor Debra Steger said. The presumptive Republican nominee has suggested he would end or at least renegotiate significant agreements including the Canada-U.S.-Mexico North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which took effect in 1994. ‘NAFTA was the worst trade deal in history,’ Trump says.”

 
The Government of Canada
has also seen the need to respond to the U.S.’s political shenanigans by saying:  

  • History has shown that trade is the best way to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
  • Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1989, Canada’s two-way trade in goods and services with the United States has more than tripled. Thanks to this agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trading relationship between our two countries is so strong that we exchanged approximately $2.4 billion in goods and services every day in 2015.

America’s largest customer

  • Canada is the U.S.’s largest customer, purchasing US$338 billion in goods and services in 2015.
  • Canada buys more from the United States than does any other nation – including all 28 countries of the European Union.

Nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada

  • Canada and the United States are the world’s largest trading partners: more than US$670 billion in goods and services were traded in 2015.
  • The United States is the most important destination for Canadian direct investment abroad, which totalled $448 billion (stock) in the U.S. in 2015.

Numerous governments, friend and foe alike are preparing themselves, both economically and militarily for the likelihood- perhaps that’s a tad too strong – the possibility of a Republican victory. For Clinton, she’s not as strong as many expect at this stage of the game. Some might say she is somewhat losing it! And just remember what happened to her against Obama in 2008.

As Napoleon Bonaparte said: “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” Welcome to these United States of America.

 

Alan Simons is the publisher of jewishinfoNews. alansimons@jewishinfone.ws

(Featured image credit: lightstalking

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

“Who Do Bigots Blame for Police Shootings in America? Israel, of Course!”

Special Report

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on July 13, 2016.

by Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz credit jewishbusinessnews JIN July 13 2016In response to the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted the following on its Facebook page:

“In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police…. We must remember that many US police departments train with #IsraeliDefenceForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.”

Even in moments of national mourning such as these, SJP bigots cannot help but exploit the deaths of innocent Americans to further their own anti-Semitic political agenda, namely to delegitimize and demonize the nation state of the Jewish people.

By implicating Israel in these killings, SJP is engaging in the old trope of blaming Jews for systemic and far-reaching societal problems. This practice was anti-Semitic when some Christian communities used it to blame Jews for plagues, poisonings, and murders; it was anti-Semitic when the Nazis used it to blame Jews for the failing German economy; and it is still anti-Semitic today. There is no more evidence that any of the police who killed Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling were in fact trained in Israel than there was that Jews were responsible for any of the other crimes that formed the basis for traditional blood libels.

The oppression of black Americans long predates the founding of the state of Israel; contrary to the claims of SJP and like-minded groups, Zionism did not beget racism, nor is Zionism a reflection of racism. It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. But the twisted logic on the part of SJP should come as no surprise, given that the same organization blamed Zionism for rising tuition costs in the City University of New York college system. The essence of anti-Semitism is the bigoted claim that if there is a problem, then Jews — and now Zionists — must be its cause.

Addressing the structural causes of racism in the United States will take more than scapegoating Israel — it will require the type of far-reaching legislative action of which our current Congress seems incapable. By morphing the discussion about criminal justice reform and systemic racism in the United States into a polemic against Israel, SJP makes progress even more difficult.

That said, the reaction by SJP is reflective of a broader trend in hard left politics. Increasingly, groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), MoveOn, Code Pink, and Occupy Wall Street have embraced intersectionality — a radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked.

This radical concept has led to the linking of disparate left-wing causes, no matter how tenuous their connections. Some intersectional feminist activists, for example, insist that feminists must oppose drone strikes (and by extension, Hillary Clinton), because they negatively impact women in the developing world. Even more absurdly, Jill Stein — the Green Party candidate for president — has come out in favor of the bigoted Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, partly on the grounds that support for Israel furthers the interests of the military-industrial complex, and by extension the fossil fuel industry.

Those activists that do not sufficiently embrace the new intersectional orthodoxy, meanwhile, have been targeted by protests: the 2016 Gay Pride parade in Toronto, for example, was broken up by Black Lives Matter for including a police float, and for not sufficiently prioritizing the concerns of black trans women. Similarly, a gay rights event in Chicago was broken up by activists, who insisted on the exclusion of an Israeli organization, which they claimed was co-opting the gay rights agenda and “pinkwashing” Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Intersectionality seems to be driving hard left activists towards a “No True Scotsman” worldview: increasingly, they insist on a package of unrelated left-wing causes that must be embraced by anyone claiming the label of progressive — including the demonization of Israel as a racist, apartheid state.

Perhaps more worryingly, intersectionality tends towards the conclusion that the existing social, political, and economic system is flawed in so many profound ways, that any attempt at remaking it through democratic means is unacceptable. Activists have become increasingly obsessed with “Shut it Down” protest tactics, and a proud politics of “disrespectability,” that prioritizes resistance to a “corrupt,” “rigged” socio-economic system over respectful discourse and political compromise.

This helps to explain the sympathetic attitude of Black Lives Matter activists towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of “resistance” (in their view) against Israel. Indeed, Black Lives Matter activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures. While Black Lives Matter claims to disavow violence in securing its political objectives, many of its most prominent members are far more eager to criticize the “Israeli genocide of Palestinians” than to criticize Hamas for using rockets to target Israeli civilians. Black Lives Matter and other hard left groups have been notably silent about other oppressed ethnic groups such as Tibetans, Chechens, and Kurds. The only alleged “oppressors” they single out for condemnation are the Jews. This double standard raises legitimate questions about their real motivations.

Black Lives Matter activists have a sympathetic attitude towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of resistance against Israel. Indeed, BLM activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures.

Moreover, the conflation of police actions in American cities with Israeli military actions in Gaza raises a disturbing question: if the so-called oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the oppression of people of color in the United States are two sides of the same coin — as the SJP implied in its tweet — are the violent tactics employed by Hamas, and perversely supported by many on the hard left, an appropriate model to emulate in the United States? One hopes that the answer is no, and that the intersectionalist radicals will make that clear to their followers.

Professor Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus and author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law.

(Photo credit of Alan Dershowitz- Jewish Business News)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

Children of Syria Pinterest JIN July 11 2016

For the Love of God!

Opinion

Entrenched apathy and helplessness at its worst

by Alan Simons

Hisham Melhem is Washington DC bureau chief for Al-Arabiya. Last year he wrote an opinion piece titled, “Middle Eastern Christians; death, exodus, betrayal and silence.” 

He wrote: “Those of us who have been sounding the alarm about the death of cosmopolitanism, pluralism, inclusiveness and the imperative of maintaining what is left of the once rich human mosaic that was at the heart of what made some of the great cities of the region beacons of culture, are stunned at the general silence, and yes the betrayal of Western societies – particularly the United States – of these communities.”

Last week in an article published on line by Canada’s CBC. “Ramadan attacks leave Muslims wondering: Where is the public outpouring of grief and solidarity?” The article referred to the evil murderers and terrorists who have committed sickening and unspeakable acts of violence and hate towards children and adults this month alone. These include attacks in Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen.

“We tend to pay a lot closer attention to atrocities that happen in Europe or the U.S.,” Qasim Rashid, visiting fellow at Harvard University’s School of Islamic Studies and spokesman for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, told CBC News. Rashid and many other Muslims have taken to social media to express dismay at this seeming indifference.”

The article goes on to quote Anne Barnard writing in the New York Times, “… desensitisation to turbulence in Iraq does not explain the relative indifference to attacks in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh.”

Both Christian and Muslim communities it would seem, are actually stunned by the apathy and indifference towards each other’s horrors.

Indifference? Well, we can look no further than in Israel. Where is the international outpouring of grief for the wave of terror happening there? Palestinian violence and terrorism, since September 2015, has targeted Israelis in 156 stabbings, 96 shootings, 46 vehicular attacks, 1 vehicular bombings, including 40 killed and 517 wounded? (Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).

For the Muslim, Christian or Jew, the apathy and helplessness we share for each other’s lives has reached a level that is having a resounding affect on our daily life.   

With 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims, together with a mere 16 million Jews in this world, for the love of god surely one would think there might be enough people on all sides willing to come together in solidarity, a solidarity to fight the evils perpetrating amongst us. Yet, for the most part, we watch with careful restraint, avoiding the need to cross that fine line which will bring us in close proximity to each other.

Perhaps this Jewish proverb sums it all up: “Kal yoter lishmor al sak parosheem me’asher al bat m’uhever. It’s easier to watch over a sack of fleas than over a daughter in love.”

Is it too simplistic to say we all have to find a common denominator in which to to quell the passionate dislike we have for each other? Egged on by both right-wing and left-wing political misfits and their minions in Europe and in North America, Islamophobia, Judaeophobia, and hatred towards Christianity, are all finding new breeding grounds with societies that have a loathing for anything that is unlike their own.

The late Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Let us all rise up to this indifference. Surely, it would be a befitting memorial to the life of Elie Wiesel.

(Feature image credit: Pinterest)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”