Between friends: Folks, black U.S. presidential storms have arrived in Canada.

Opinion

This article contains content that was originally published in the October 16, 2016 edition of jewishinfoNews.

“A president who politically acts like a leader of a tin-pot country.”

by Alan Simons

Was it not Euripides who said “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness?” Unfortunately, today nothing is more certain than an acute awareness in Canada of a profusion of black storm clouds from the U.S. looming over us. 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. After all, many Canadians have close family ties in the U.S. going back generations. 

Yet, with President Trump’s recent statements condemning various trade agreements with Canada, we are seeing a shift away from admiration to a “weltschmerz” – a mood of sentimental sadness towards a president who politically acts like a leader of a tin-pot country, rather than a statesman of a country that deserves better.

Trumptwit, as he is now referred to in some quarters, is riding high on top of a vicious heap of dirty rags that unfortunately puts America and its people to shame. Trumptwit the American, has lit the destructive match of revulsion unseen in modern day U.S. history. He falsifies credible and substantiated information with such downright bullheadedness and utter ignorance. Simply put, he makes President Warren Harding look like a genius!

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

strangeloveIn fact, as we have regularly seen during the past months, anyone who Trumptwit believes doesn’t agree to follow his train of thought had better watch out. The similarity to Dr Strangelove is unnerving. Trumptwit. He embellishes all that is distasteful in an individual. He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put a culture of fear into people and nations. If it wasn’t all so pathetically sad his character could be taken right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!

The bottom line is this: We are watching a president whose political thirst for power is so repulsive by many in nature, it goes far beyond the pale. And, as it’s been said: “His actions are outside the bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgment.”

What is so painful from a Canadian perspective, is to observe a president being so violently negative towards Canada. Trumptwit continues to regard the U.S. as a barren doom and gloom economic wasteland, taken right out of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and in his mind much of this is seemingly due to Canada.

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

In Canada, America’s largest trading partner, there are now serious concerns of what lie ahead for the country. As reported last year in the Toronto Sun, “Canada’s economy would take a direct hit if Donald Trump follows 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. Today’s suggestion is he would end 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,” Trumptwit proudly states. Poo on Trump!

The Government of Canada has for some time correctly seen the need to respond to Trumptwit’s shenanigans by saying:  

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

  • 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.
  • 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 totaled $448 billion (stock) in the U.S. in 2015.

This week a former U.S. ambassador to Canada came out with a harsh anti-Trumptwit statement with regard to the President’s ridiculous tirade against Canada. 

”It’s goofy stuff, unbecoming of our relationship and frankly unbecoming of the leader of our country,” remarked James Blanchard.

Currently, no one has openly compared Trumptwit with some of the worst Roman Emperors. But I venture to say it might not be too long before somebody freely offers Trumptwit the title, “Aut Caesar aut nihil.” 

 Alan Simons is the publisher and owner of jewishinfoNews

(Featured image credit: lightstalking; Strangelove, sillyfunda) 

 

When the tentacles of hate reach a university in Canada.

Correction

Dear Readers,

Yesterday jewishinfoNews published an open letter to Dr. Kurt Krueger, President of Concordia University Irving, California. In it we incorrectly implied that the university’s student union had hosted the content of a “repulsive poster”. This was not so. 

I have written to Dr. Krueger stating, in part, the following:

“I want to express my deepest and sincere apology to you, the Board of Regents, the university’s student union, the Concordia University Irving and its students for jewishinfoNews’ dreadful error in associating you and your fine institution with the content of the deplorable poster…” “The university and student’s union in question, Concordia University, reside in Montreal, Quebec. In addition, the logo of their student union is similar to your student’s union, and that is where the problem arose. Accordingly, I ask you in good faith to accept our apology.”

The original content was taken down immediately we knew of the error. Dr. Krueger was advised.

The Roman philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero, once said, “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”  JewishinfoNews has no wish to persist with their error. However, the problem with this despicable poster clearly remains. The student union of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec has undisputed ownership of it. Therefore, our original letter, inadvertently addressed to Dr. Krueger, has been adapted and follows below, together with the poster in question.

Alan Simons, Publisher jewishinfoNews.info

                                                                     *  *  *

An open letter to the President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. 

Professor Alan Shepard, kindly take a good look at the repulsive poster below, the content of which, I’m led to believe, was hosted two days ago by your university’s student union. 

by Alan Simons

StandWithUS, a respected international organisation, brought this poster to my attention and stated:

“We are disgusted by this horrific event being hosted by the Concordia Student Union. This cultural appropriation of the Jewish holiday of Passover is completely unacceptable, sac-religious, and extremely disrespectful.”

Professor Shepard, I beg to differ. Disgusted is not strong enough. My friends of the Muslim faith, would I’m sure agree that if this applied to one of their religious holy days, Muslims JIN April 14 2017 revwould react verbally, I repeat verbally, and with vigour.

The issue here is not one of arrogance, or to quote the new buzz words, “mentally unstable.” Your Student’s Union must take ownership for this abhorrent poster, for the message is directed at the very essence of my religion. I regard their action as one of the most vicious forms of incitement, of hate and of a form of terrorism that must be acted upon without delay by you. 

In Concordia’s Strategics Directions Game Plan 2016/2017, it states, “Concordia is an inclusive research-engaged university focused on transformative learning, collaborative thinking, and public impact, equipping students and society for a world of challenges and opportunities.”

What! “Equipping students and society for a world of challenges and opportunities?” Come on now Professor, it would seem your Student Union, by incongruously using a Jewish religious holy day in such a vile manner to usurp their political agenda, obviously goes against the very essence of your Game Plan. So, what do you intend to do about it?

I challenge you and your Board of Governors to take the strongest action possible against CSU in this matter.

Thank you!

(Photo Credit: Passover Against Apartheid- (StandWithUS)

“How to Assess the Bannon Appointment”

Special Report

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute  and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on November 17, 2016.

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz credit jewishbusinessnews JIN July 13 2016President Elect Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist has been criticized on the ground that Bannon is an anti-Semite. There are many reasons for opposing the appointment of Bannon, but anti-Semitism is not one of them. I do not support the Bannon appointment. But neither do I support accusing Bannon of being an anti-Semite, based on the evidence I have seen.

With regard to anti-Semitism, there are three distinct but overlapping issues: (1) Is Bannon personally an anti-Semite? (2) Does his publication, Breitbart, promote anti-Semitic views? (3) Do Breitbart and Bannon have followers who are anti-Semitic?

From what I can tell, the evidence cited in support of the accusation that personally Bannon is an anti-Semite falls into two categories: first, that his wife testified at a hotly contested divorce proceeding that he did not want his children to go to school with “whiney Jews”; and second, that he ran an article describing Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew.”

Let us consider these items of evidence in order. Senator Harry Reid tried to strengthen the first accusation against Bannon by saying that it appeared in a court document, thus suggesting that it had the imprimatur of a judge. But that is not the case. The claim was simply made by his former wife in a judicial proceeding, thus giving it no special weight. Bannon has rigorously denied making the statement and said that he and his wife were fighting over whether his children should attend Catholic school, rather than a secular school.

On the other side of the ledger is the testimony of Jewish individuals who have worked closely with him for years. These include my former research assistant, Joel Pollak, an orthodox Jew who wears a kippah and takes off all the Jewish holidays. He is married to a black woman from South Africa who converted to Judaism. Joel assures me that he never heard a single anti-Semitic utterance or saw an anti-Semitic action in the four years they worked together. The same is true of numerous other Jewish individuals who work with him, some of whom thoroughly disapprove of Bannon’s politics and the way he ran Breitbart, but none of whom have reported any events of anti-Semitism.

The second alleged item of evidence is the following headline that appeared on Breitbart: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.”[1] I am advised, however, that this article and the headline were written not by Bannon but rather by David Horowitz, a right-wing Jew who was upset with Kristol for his refusal to support Trump. Horowitz deemed that a betrayal of the Jewish people. While I fundamentally disagree with that appraisal and also of the article, I find it hard to characterize Bannon as an anti-Semite because Breitbart ran it. Breitbart has also personally attacked me,[2] but that doesn’t change my views.

I keep an open mind waiting for more evidence, if there is any, but on the basis of what I have read, I think it is wrong to accuse Bannon of one of the most serious forms of bigotry. So I will not join the chorus of condemnation that employs this radioactive term against Bannon without compelling evidence. The Anti-Defamation League has now commendably acknowledged that there is no evidence of anti-Semitism by Bannon: “We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.”

As to whether Bannon promotes the alt-right, and whether the alt-right includes anti-Semites, I think the answer to that is yes.[3] Both Bannon and Breitbart have made bigoted statements about Muslims, women and others, which I do not condone. That is why I do not support Bannon, even though I do not think he’s an anti-Semite. Bigotry against any group should be disqualifying for high office. But let’s put this criticism of Bannon and Breitbart into context. Haaretz certainly serves as a platform for the alt-left in Israel. Though it features a wide range of commentary, primarily from the center-left, it also features hard-left writers such as Gideon Levy, who supports academic, cultural and economic boycotts against Israel and its “criminal” regime, as well as Amira Hass, who encourages Palestinians to throw stones and engage in “violent resistance” against Israel. These writers have certainly been accused, and with some justification, of promoting hatred not only against the current Israel government, but against the very nature of Israel and Zionism.[4] Their hateful writings are often quoted gleefully by anti-Zionist and anti-Semites.[5]

This is not to compare Breitbart with Haaretz, but it is to suggest caution in holding a publication responsible for all the views expressed by its writers. To be sure, Haaretz‘s general orientation tends to be center-left, whereas Breitbart is hard-right, but both serve as platforms for extremes on either side. The same can be said of J Street, which is a center-left organization which serves as a platform for, and includes among its active members and contributors, BDS supporters, anti-Zionists and opponents of Israel’s existence as the Nation State of the Jewish people.

Or consider Black Lives Matter, an organization with a commendable goal, that has promoted anti-Semitism by singling out one country for condemnation in its “platform”: calling the Nation State of the Jewish People an “apartheid” and “genocidal” regime. In an article in Above the Law, Joe Patrice attacks me for my critique of Black Lives Matter, claiming that “it’s certainly possible someone in the movement also has sympathy for Palestinians.” But there is an enormous difference between “sympathy for Palestinians” (which I share) and accusing the entire nation state of the Jewish people of “genocide” (which I believe is anti-Semitic).

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are prevalent both on the hard-right and on the hard-left. The Trump election has brought hard-right anti-Semitism into public view, but the bigotry of the hard-left is far more prevalent and influential on many university campuses, both in the United States and in Europe. A single standard of criticism must be directed at each. We must judge individuals on the basis of their own statements and actions, and we should be cautious in judging publications and organizations on the basis of who they publish, who their audience is and who supports them.

People of good will, Jews and non-Jews, must condemn with equal vigor all manifestations of bigotry whether they emanate from the hard alt-right or hard alt-left. That is why I cannot support Bannon’s appointment, even though he is strongly pro-Israel. But that is also why I can’t support those on the hard-left who advocate good causes, while at the same time promoting anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel.

Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus and author of “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law” and “Electile Dysfunction.”


[1]Bill Kristol: Republic Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” by David Horowitz, 15 May 2016.

[2] See Adrian Otto, “Alan Dershowitz Hangs Up Over Clinton College Scandal,” Breitbart, Nov. 4, 2016; the article was originally published with the title “Dershowitz Goes Berserk.” The article falsely claimed that Laureate University received money from the State Department, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

[3] See Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” Breitbart, March 29, 2016.

[4] David Lev, “Amira Hass: I’ve Had it With the Jews,” Israel National News, September, 10, 2011. To Levy, Israel can never do any good. In an op-ed titled “Real Leftists Won’t Go to the Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin,” he writes, “Peace was murdered with or without Rabin because Israel didn’t want it. It never seriously wanted it because it includes the end of the occupation, which it has never agreed to give up. No ceremony will change that.” Gideon Levy, “Real Leftists Won’t Go to the Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin,” Haaretz, Nov. 3, 2016.

[5] For instance, Hass is favorably cited by Norman Finkelstein, MondoWeiss, and Democracy Now. Gideon Levy has been praised by the dean of anti-Zionist intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, as “an early Jewish prophet.” Johann Hari, “Is Gideon Levy the Most Hated Man in Israel or just the Most Heroic?“, Independent, Sept. 23, 2010.

The article printed above does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of jewishinfoNews

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