Today’s world of the Trumptwit. A Canadian perspective.

(This Opinion piece in part has been updated from an earlier version)

– President Trump, take care. He who threatens us Canadians will find us deaf to your threats. We are willing to listen only to rational arguments.”

-To paraphrase Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel (1977 to 1983)

– We are watching a man whose political thirst for power is for many Canadians so repulsive it goes far beyond the pale. And, as it’s been said: His actions are outside the bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgment.

– Trump. He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put a culture of fear into people. If it wasn’t all so pathetically sad his character could be taken right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!

– Between friends. Black storm clouds have now become the norm on the Canadian-USA border.

by Alan Simons

There are many Trumptwits in this world. Some belong to the world of politics. Some to the corporate sector and some spend their lives trolling on social networking services and online social media. But, the bottom line is this: All Trumptwits must have a supreme leader. And now they certainly have one in the canicula figure of King Trumptwit the First.

It was Euripides who said: “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” 

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

Unfortunately, at the conclusion of last week’s G7 meeting, it became apparent that nothing is more certain today in Canada than of a profusion of black storm clouds that have loomed on our border with the U.S.A. In times of storms, one normally takes shelter with family and friends alike. We are one, so to speak.

Sadly today, President Trump said the unthinkable to the Canadian people. He came outright and stated his promise to punish “the people of Canada” economically because of  Prime Minister Trudeau’s criticism at the G7 meeting against his tariffs. “That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada,” Trump said.

Sadly today, with President Trump in control, we are seeing a shift away from admiration to a “weltschmerz” – a mood of sentimental sadness towards a vast section of the American population that politically seems to have lost its will and direction. This is a President who is intensely disliked by many, riding high on top of a vicious heap of dirty rags, who is thriving to light the destructive match of hatred between its primary neighbour Canada, 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.A. Trump falsifies credible and substantiated information with such downright bullheadedness and utter ignorance making President Warren Harding look like a genius!

President Trump, Napoleon Bonaparte said: “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” 

Sadly today, anyone who Trump believes doesn’t agree to follow his train of thought had better watch out. The similarity to Dr Strangelove is unnerving. Trump. He embellishes all that is distasteful in an individual. Trump. He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put a culture of fear into people. If it wasn’t all so pathetically sad his character could be taken right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!

“Le président Trump, avec respect, au nom du Canada, va te faire cuire un oeuf!”

To put it as succinctly as possible, we are watching a man whose political thirst for power is for many Canadians so repulsive it goes far beyond the pale. And, as it’s been said: His actions are outside the bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgment.

Let us not forget, Canada is America’s largest trading partner, and its 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. In addition, the USA is the most important destination for Canadian direct investment abroad, which totalled $448 billion (stock) in the U.S.A. in 2015.

Other than President Nixon, no other president has done more to build a wall that has fractured the Canadian-American alliance than Trump. In 1971 President Nixon once referred to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the father of Canada’s present Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as a “clever son of a bitch” and “an asshole,” comments that were caught on the White House recording system. Later, when these were revealed, Pierre Trudeau quipped: “I’ve been called worse things by better people.” 

Trumptwits have now become unable to differentiate between ignorance and conscientious stupidity and the ability to make intelligent decisions.”

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who was overheard to say that in politics, stupidity is not a handicap, a statement little Trumptwit subordinates in their eagerness to please their leader are making every effort to accept him as their leader. What this all boils down to is Trumptwits have now become unable to differentiate between ignorance and conscientious stupidity and the ability to make intelligent decisions.

Encouraged by their King, we are experiencing a frightening political infectious disease that contains no international borders. Trumptwit is a language common to many people, irrespective of what country one lives in.

It’s been said little Trumptwits are analogous to the zebra mussel, “a species originally native to the lakes of [Putin’s] southern Russia and accidentally introduced to numerous other areas. It has become an invasive species in many different countries worldwide, including the USA.”

Ordinary, decent Americans have become fearful of the political consequences now taking place in their country, a trait not particularly recognized by many of them before Trump.  But they sure understand it now. And so should you, whatever country you live in. If this is the way President Trump, his subordinates and America treats its congenial neighbour, your country could be next.

We are all dealing with a U.S. President who in a couple of days went from personally threatening citizens of Canada, to a handshaking piss-full of Trumptwit sarcasm love fest, with the leader of a country that is regarded as one the world’s most repressive countries. “A 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry found that the government committed gross, systematic and widespread rights abuses, including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence. North Korea operates secretive prison camps where perceived opponents of the government are sent to face torture, starvation rations, and forced labor. Fear of collective punishment is used to silence dissent.”

By all accounts,  looking at the body language of the North Korean leader, he was at a loss to understand Trump was ridiculing him, an impropriety we have become well-aware of in Canada.

This is Trump’s way of communicating.  As adults, we had better get used to it.

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Alan Simons is the publisher and founder of jewishinfoNews.

Sources: Photo credit Strangelove, sillyfunda. Financial data, Canada-USA trade & Investment source: Global Affairs Canada.

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Antisemitism in Canada and the Ontario Provincial Election. A dangerous route ahead!

“History teaches us that difficult conversations about religion must start from respect and inclusion, not hate and division.”

      by Alan Simons

“Jewish Canadians have long been subjected to legalized forms of antisemitic discrimination.  ‘None is too many’ was the response of a high-level Canadian government official when asked how many Jewish people should be accepted as immigrants, at the time of the Nazi persecution of Jewish people. Signs posted along Toronto beaches stated ‘No Dogs or Jews Allowed.’ Many hotels and resorts had policies prohibiting Jewish people as guests. There were restrictions on where Jewish people could live or buy property. In 1951, a Jewish man challenged a restrictive covenant preventing property from being sold to anyone of ‘the Jewish, Hebrew, Semitic, Negro or coloured race or  blood.’ The Supreme Court of Canada declared the covenant void because, among other reasons, it was unclear.’”

– The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) 

CTV News reported this past April: “Incidents of antisemitism were on the rise for a fifth straight year in Canada, despite an overall decline in the number of incidents worldwide, according to a Jewish advocacy group.

“The analysis, which was conducted by Amanda Hohman and Aidan Fishman of B’Nai Brith Canada, suggests antisemitism ‘is becoming mainstream,’ based on a number of highly public incidents that occurred in 2017. “While final numbers for 2017 have not been compiled, there is no doubt that the five-year trend of elevated levels of antisemitism is continuing,” Hohman and Fishman write. Their perspective on Canada is included in a draft analysis of worldwide antisemitism in 2017, which was released by Tel Aviv University’s Kanton Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

“Hohman and Fishman say Canada has seen a rise of antisemitism in all its forms online, at public protests, in politics, on university campuses and in several ‘brazen’ public assaults. Anti-semitic incidents and attacks spanned the political spectrum, ranging from the far-right to the far-left, with significant contributions from Islamic and Arab nationalists as well.

“The report also cites a number of antisemitic messages at protests over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move his country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“Hohman and Fishman also highlighted problematic incidents at McGill University, Ryerson University and McMaster University.”

“All levels of government need to do better in order to stem the tide of anti-Semitism, which remains one of the most pervasive forms of hatred and discrimination in Canada,” Hohman and Fishman write.”

What has this all to do with the upcoming Ontario Provincial Election?

This Thursday, June 7, 2018, in the Province of Ontario people will head to their polling stations to cast their vote. The three primary political parties are The Progressive Conservatives (PC); the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the Ontario Liberal Party (LP) which, since 2003 has formed the government of Ontario.

However, the Liberal’s under the leadership of Kathleen Wynne, the party that won 58 seats in the Legislature at the last election and had formed a majority government, Wynne last week astonishingly conceded defeat and threw in the towel, five days before the election, much to the chagrin of the vast number of volunteers who are utterly demoralized after having spent an inordinate amount of time working feverishly to support their local riding Liberal candidate.

As of now, the consensus is the Ontario Liberals will be thoroughly annihilated and might only be fortunate enough to get five seats.

What does this all mean for Ontario Jews?

Well, the choice is now basically between the left-wing NDP, and the right-wing Conservatives whose leader Doug Ford, the brother of Toronto’s infamous Mayor Rob Ford, has in the past come out strongly as a (Canadian) Trump supporter.

This is the same Doug Ford who The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) in 2014 reported, “tried to show his family’s affinity for the Jewish people, but ended up doubling down on Jewish stereotypes by saying:  ‘You know something? My doctor – my Jewish doctor, my Jewish dentist, my Jewish lawyer – hold on, my Jewish accountant.” The crowd erupted into loud boos.

“This was not the first time that Ford engaged in racial stereotyping. A year earlier, in an interview with the Toronto Sun, Ford tried to engage the Jewish community by reminding the reporter that “they’re supportive, very supportive – they’re business people.”

The CJN also reported in reference to the current provincial election:

“There is more to Ford’s intolerance than the manner in which he sees racial minorities. Only a few weeks ago, he welcomed Tanya Granic Allen, possibly the most regressive and backward Progressive Conservative candidate, into the fold. And while Ford was forced to “fire” her a few weeks later, he can hardly claim not to have known about her bigoted proclivities, which were widely disseminated on social media.

“Allen has lamented same-sex marriage as society’s demise. She once characterized Muslim women wearing niqabs and burkas as ninjas and bank robbers. She also claimed that she survived the “abortion Holocaust” and has compared both the founder of Planned Parenthood and Canada’s first female magistrate, Emily Murphy, to Hitler.”

As to the NDP, a left-wing social democratic political party, they also have their party demons. CBC News reported on May 25, 2018, “Ontario NDP under fire for candidate’s Hitler-themed social media post.”

They added, referring to a 2013 social media meme shared by the NDP candidate in Toronto’s Scarborough–Agincourt, Tasleem Riaz:

“The Facebook post features a quote that is commonly attributed to Hitler overlaid over a photo of the tyrannical despot giving a Nazi salute to a gathered crowd. A title above the image reads, ‘The Ruler said about Rule.’ The phrase below it — “If you don’t like a rule … just follow it … reach the top … and change the rule,” is attributed to Hitler, though there’s no direct historical evidence the Nazi dictator ever uttered it.”

To which NDP candidate Tasleem Riaz replied:

“I am an interfaith advocate, and I have devoted my life to interfaith religious tolerance and freedom. I work closely with the Jewish, Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Muslim communities in my neighbourhood. In every way, I find Hitler, the hate he spewed, and the genocide he committed to be abhorrent.”

      Bernie Farber

Bernie M. Farber is a Canadian writer, commentator, and the former chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress and a social activist. On his Facebook site this morning he had this to say about the upcoming Ontario Provincial Election:

“I have been sickened over the last 500 days watching the slow erosion of ethics, morals and decency in the United States that is Donald Trump. Many of us here in Ontario have sat back, perhaps a bit too smugly, thanking our lucky stars that we don’t live in America. Yet in two days this could all change!  While it’s a very close election here, there remains a possibility that Doug Ford, a strong follower and supporter of Trump could become Premier. To be sure there are differences in a very Canadian way but the similarities are too stark and frankly too scary. When Trump was running for office he had the backing of all the white supremacist Neo-Nazis and White nationalists from former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke to other less well-known extremists. Ford has the same white supremacist support in Ontario.

“Trump was also supported by the hard right racist rump of the Republican Party, bigots, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes and antisemites. Ford has that same rump support here in Ontario. When he ran for office scandals began to emerge about Trump that should have torpedoed his campaign. We are seeing a similar scandal scenario playing itself out now here in Ontario with Doug Ford. If the nightmare plays itself out that Ontario smugness will be quickly wiped from our faces. And sadly as in America, we will only have ourselves to blame.”

I don’t know if Ontarians have recently been sitting back with a smug look on their faces. Certainly, there was a time. But now the vast majority of those smug faces who have suffered from potential potty accidents since Trump was elected and who equate Ford with Trump and who regard this election as their last hurrah to express their personal racially inspired vindictiveness towards anything left or right of centre, will somehow get their reckoning. I would like to believe that.

Yes, Ford in striking the first match, with a large ‘C’ for right-wing Conservatism, has shown within all political parties in Ontario there’s a society out there that’s utterly alarming, who now aren’t frightened to outright express their racially inspired and antisemitic views. These are the people in our society who we should focus on and should have been for years. This election has merely driven them out of their hibernated state. They have been looking for all the food they can eat and this election has supplied it to them, lock, stock, and barrel.

* * *

Photo credit: Bernie Farber – Sassy Wire.
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A Message to our Muslim Neighbours

رسالة لجيراننا المسلمين

یک پیام به همسایگان مسلمان ما

ہمارے مسلم پڑوسیوں کے لئے ایک پیغام

    by Alan Simons

Some years ago, Frank Luntz, the US-based political and business pollster stated in reference to Jews: “We have developed some very destructive communication habits that have seriously undermined our efforts and the causes we believe in. Our words lose their resonance and our style and tone offend… We push people away when we should pull them in.”

Religious hate is hate, irrespective of one’s religion. Sunni or Shia, Traditionalist or Secular. Regardless of what country you live in,  Frank Luntz’s words can apply to both Jews and Muslims. Antisemitism and Islamophobia are the curses of the earth that only the extremists prosper on.

The following video is further proof that moving aside politics, ordinary Jews and Muslims can share a common belief.

According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammed said, “Charity is a proof of faith” and “The best charity is that which is given in Ramadan.” 

In Judaism Tzedakah is the “Hebrew word for the acts that we call charity The word tzedakah is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness.”

Ramadan Kareem. Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair!

Through charity, may the future of your children’s lives find peace, happiness and a feeling of belonging amongst you.

Through charity may your children and ours share a common belief in living as neighbours in peace as Renee Rachel Black, a Jew and Sadiq Patel, a Muslim both have done.

Shalom!

>>>Click here to watch this video<<<

Video credit source: BBC Breakfast Television. No copyright infringement intended.

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