Jan 07 2009

Orwell Turns In His Grave, Rises Up and Eats Canadian Labor Leader’s Brain

The controversial thought-police tactics of a Canadian labor leader’s efforts to single out a fellow democracy’s citizens for persecution, while said democracy fights a war against a nihilistic fascist movement, have been well documented here, here and a thousand other places. All I can add is my own disappointment at the trends I’m seeing in my country’s political consciousness.

As I’ve mentioned before, the current fight between Israel and the tyranny of Hamas is more than just an ethnic conflict. Canadians really need to pick sides between a democracy protecting its citizens from unrelenting aggression and the thuggish movement that is the source of that aggression, much to the chagrin of the majority of the population in Gaza that never wanted this war.

I can understand the frustration of Canadians like my friend Richard, who mentioned the other day that he was almost tempted to protest the never-ending protests and counter-protests over Israel and the Palestinians, “but instead, I stayed home… which, I guess, is a kind of protest against the protest.” I laughed at that at the time. But I really do wonder how much that kind of apathy contributes to the ability of people like Sid Ryan to get away with outrages that typically become a fait accompli even after the stern recriminations of the pundits.

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19 responses so far

19 Responses to “Orwell Turns In His Grave, Rises Up and Eats Canadian Labor Leader’s Brain”

  1. Unvarnished Truthon 07 Jan 2009 at 9:39 am

    The following are 3 good editorial comments in the National Post that derisively and deservedly take Sid Ryan to task for his anti-Israel initiative.

    http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=1146796

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/01/06/university-of-ottawa-professor-costanza-musu-why-boycotting-israeli-professors-is-wrong.aspx

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/01/06/bob-dale-cupe.aspx

  2. Fredon 07 Jan 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Maybe Syd can call for the banning of all Hamas TV producers as well Israeli academics.

    Hamas TV for their kids . . . or how to raise a generation of baby Boomers

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeZzSgKUde8&eurl

  3. Ahmedon 07 Jan 2009 at 3:25 pm

    CURRENTS NOTE: Ahmed’s latest comment has been deleted from this site as the blog author has no desire for his website to become an outlet for defamation. Thank you.

  4. Ahmedon 07 Jan 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I should correct mistake which is very important in order not to giove a false impression. When I wirte that Narvey has ” internalised the belief perpertuated by every Israeli…’ I meant to write government after Israeli. As in Israeli government. Its not true that every Israeli supports the blood shedding like Narvey does

  5. jnarveyon 07 Jan 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Fred, the point is well taken, but I’d prefer that a labor leader did not attempt to ban anything except exploitation of employees by management.

  6. Ahmedon 07 Jan 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Aren’t blogs supposed to open forums in which dissent is not only permitted but encouraged. I stated my opinions ofeering facts and arguments to back them up the entire time. You on the other hand feel free to loosely throw around the ternm fascist and apply it to people who are morally outraged by by the killing iof over 500 people. You also let another commentor call me anti semitic without taking that grossply offensive comment down. Yet, here you are censoring my opinion because you are unwilling to engage it an exchange of ideas, or accept the consequences of your positions. I did not “defame” Narvey and if he would allow the comment to stand that would be clear.

  7. Ahmedon 07 Jan 2009 at 3:51 pm

    So much for the democratic possibilities of blogs. Blogs are supposed to be, much like the “fearless city” initiative which I had some involvement in, represetative of grassroots democracy not censorship and quieting dissent. It so happens that I have saved my comment which was an argument backed up by more facts than Narvey has presented and will show it to many in the Vancouver blogging communitty whom I know. It happens that I am connectedto alot of these people. I do this because I think that local bloggers who hold dear to the principle of free expression should call out others who do not. I will show them Narvey’s original post and my reply and let them see the absurd charge of “defemation” for what it is, a weak and make up reason to shut down debate. Either that or Narvey can put my comment back up. Regardless, I thinik it would not only be fair but fun to sully his reputation around town.

  8. jnarveyon 07 Jan 2009 at 4:16 pm

    “Regardless, I thinik it would not only be fair but fun to sully his reputation around town.”

    That is a clear demonstration of malice which backs up my claim of defamation, Ahmed. You are banned from this blog. All further comments from you will be deleted ASAP. Congratulations.

    For my other readers, I’d like to point out a few errors in Ahmed’s previous comments:

    1. I don’t consider all those protesting “Israeli War Crimes” to be fascist by default. However, I do consider Hamas to be a fascist organization. Since the protesters in Vancouver are habitually chanting, “We are all Hamas”, I consider all of them fascist as well.

    Had they chanted “We want peace” or simply “Stop the Israeli bombing”, that would have been fine. But they chose their slogans, and now they can endure an appropriate label.

    2. Moderating comments is not undemocratic. All responsible publications from the CNN to the Globe and Mail to the Tyee do so. It is part of being a responsible publisher. Thank you.

  9. blairon 07 Jan 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Does that mean you consider the downtown eastside doctor and holocaust survivor Gabor Mate to be a fascist, or a fascist sympathiser? What about say Irwin Oostinde who went to the protest and was featured on tv talking about fearless mobile in an interview which you linked. Local blogger Sean Orr. They’re all fascists? And what then do you call those who excuse or apologise for killing of over a hundred Palestinian children over the past few days?

  10. jnarveyon 07 Jan 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Blair, forgive me for being blunt, but can you read English?

    I wrote: “I don’t consider all those protesting “Israeli War Crimes” to be fascist by default. However, I do consider Hamas to be a fascist organization. Since the protesters in Vancouver are habitually chanting, “We are all Hamas”, I consider all of them fascist as well.”

    If Gabor Mate, Irwin Oostinde and Sean Orr chanted “We Are All Hamas”, then yes, I guess I would throw them in with the rest of the fascist contingent. I’d like to think they had the presence of mind not to.

    Mind you, standing next to people who are chanting “We Are All Hamas” and not immediately denouncing them, or at least moving away from them, wouldn’t say much good about them, either.

  11. blairon 07 Jan 2009 at 10:35 pm

    This issue of “fascist” or “extremist” that you bring up is meant only to obfiscate. One point that keeps jumping out, apart from the ceaseless dehumanization of the Palestinians overall, is how “extremist” Hamas apparently is. Now, I hold no brief for Hamas; I’ve repeatedly criticized them, and have no love for their theocratic mindset (Israel has shown more support for Hamas than I could or ever would have). But “extremist” was once applied to the PLO, especially during the period of Fatah’s moderation. Israel couldn’t negotiate with them, their charter called for the elimination of Israel, they held civilians hostage and used them as human shields . . . all the same rhetoric we hear today about Hamas.

    No sane observer would confuse Fatah for Hamas, yet in relevant periods of Palestinian history, both groups ostensibly behaved the exact same way toward the exact same end. It’s a simple narrative to memorize, and can be applied to any form of Palestinian resistance, secular, religious, whatever. Thus, any Palestinian who resists a rational, moral agent like Israel must be hell bent on destruction, either for themselves, against the Jewish state, or most likely both. Keeping to this narrative helps one glide over numerous complexities, chiefly, regional history. It’s an all purpose excuse, which is why it’s been used for decades.

    Since all “extremism” resides with the Palestinians (a genetic trait?), there’s no need for Israeli state apologists to review Zionist comments about Palestinians being sub-human and diseased; no need to discuss “demographic time bomb” fears among Israeli politicians, their version of worrying about Mexican birth rates in the US; no need to unearth Zionist statements and charters calling for a Greater Israel, however unlikely that seems at the moment; no need to recall how the Israeli mainstream insisted that the Palestinians simply didn’t exist — they were an “invention of some Jews with distorted minds,” as Golda Meir once put it; no need to be reminded of death squad leaders like Begin, Shamir, and Sharon, who became Israeli Prime Ministers. There’s no need to do any of this. Why? Because Israel cannot be “extremist.”

    There’s also the colossal disparity in body counts, a disparity openly embraced and excused by Israeli statists. To tell those who you have surrounded and outgunned that you will slaughter 100 of them for every single Israeli killed is not “extremist” — it’s how democracies function. This also holds true in weaponry. Qassam rockets with variable range and destructive capabilities: “extremist.” F-16s, helicopter gunships, tanks, bunker busters and white phosphorus — democratic. It’s really quite simple once you learn the lingo.

    For American supporters of Israeli violence, the use of “extremist” is even more inspired, especially when you recall some of the crazed reactions to the 9/11 attacks. If the United States was ever treated like Gaza, a Hamas-like reaction would doubtless be viewed by many Americans as appeasement. Qassam rockets? Fucking pacifists.

  12. jnarveyon 07 Jan 2009 at 11:01 pm

    “No sane observer would confuse Fatah for Hamas, yet in relevant periods of Palestinian history, both groups ostensibly behaved the exact same way toward the exact same end.”

    Precisely. I’ve got no problem categorizing both Fatah and Hamas as fascist movements. Glad you see it that way as well.

    That Fatah had the good sense to stay out of this fight only makes it a difference of degree.

    When the Palestinian people are represented by a leadership that is not defined either by rampant corruption or extreme violence, there will be a chance for peace.

    Not sure what you’re on about in the third paragraph. I’ve never been supportive of theories about terrorist DNA and such. Tell me, where did you find all that straw to build that straw man? Same goes for the last few paragraphs as well. I’m afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  13. blairon 07 Jan 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Jonathan Narvey shamefully supports the bombardment of Gaza which has been roundly condemned by international organisations.

    NOTE: This post has been edited for length by the moderator.

  14. jnarveyon 07 Jan 2009 at 11:41 pm

    “Jonathan Narvey shamefully supports the blah blah blah.”

    Let’s be clear: I support the targeted bombing of Hamas terrorist infrastructure. That Hamas routinely uses Palestinian children and the elderly as human shields for their terror operations as a matter of policy sadly makes civilian casualties inevitable. Don’t believe it? See this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0wJXf2nt4Y

    I would also point out that international organizations have roundly condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank will readily admit Hamas provoked this conflict.

    Cheers.

  15. blairon 08 Jan 2009 at 11:07 am

    Both the United Nation representative and the ground Chris Gunness as welll as Amnesty International have strongly condemned Israel action, arguing that it making worse an existing humanatarian crisis and that it is the civilian population which is being targetted. They have condemned the killing of civilians, which has included over 100 children and the targetting of UN buildings and called for an immediate end to the bombardment. The images and reality coming out of Gaza is ebing seen by the while world, making Narvey’s claim that this a a war for Israeli |democracy seem more and more shallow and cruel by the day. How many more children is he willing to see be killed before he denuonces this madness.

  16. Jonathon Narveyon 08 Jan 2009 at 11:54 am

    I have denounced the madness, if you’ve been reading. I’ve denounced the madness of Hamas in provoking this conflict. I’ve also denounced their insane policies of the last few years, including rocket attacks and sending suicide bombers into Israel, which would naturally cause suffering to the Palestinian people when Israel closed off its borders.

    I don’t want to see any more children killed. One way to reduce that is for Hamas to stop massing civilians in the streets and rooftops outside Hamas bomb factories and rocket launcher sites.

    Israelis and Palestinians will have no chance for peace until Hamas goes, or at least gives up its violence.

  17. Johnon 08 Jan 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Jonathon,

    I agree with some of what you say; but not all. I agree that Sid Ryan’s position and tactics are deplorable; and I am not writing this in order to defend him in any manner.

    But I must contend with two points in the following statement:

    “Canadians really need to pick sides between a democracy protecting its citizens from unrelenting aggression and the thuggish movement that is the source of that aggression”

    First, I disagree that this is a black-and-white issue that “Canadians really need to pick sides” on. Israel has done things that I personally consider to be wrong, and to be abusive. Although I tend to side with Israel, I find it offensive that this means I should turn a blind eye to such things; or that raising objections to them means that I am somehow siding with their enemies.

    This is no different than the whole George Bush “You’re either with us or against us” nonsense.

    Wrong. Absolutely, inexcusably, undefensibly wrong. Rational, intelligent discussion and debate of international issues MUST avoid an “us vs. them” mentality, where anyone who dares to disagree or voice a dissenting opinion is shouted down as the enemy.

    I don’t think this is what you are trying to do; but the way your article is worded, it is easy to get that impression.

    Second, you talk about Israel being a democratic nation; but is it? In Canada, democracy means that ALL citizens have equal voting rights, equal rights to serve in government, etc. I would ask you…do Palestinians/Arabs who live in Israel, and who have Israeli citizenship, truly have equal, democratic rights with others?

    There are many countries in this world that call themselves democratic, but fail to really live up to that standard. Israel, while making strides in that direction, still fails (in my opinion) to meet the standards of a true democracy, where all citizens are equal, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, or any other such factor.

    And while supporting Israel in wishing to defend itself from significant outside threats is warranted, granting them carte blanche, or turning a blind eye to these issues, is not.

  18. jnarveyon 08 Jan 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Hey John. Excellent points. I think there’s a misapprehension here that my defense of Israel’s actions here is all-encompassing, which it most certainly is not. And let’s be clear, I’m not calling all Palestinians thugs — I’m calling Hamas thugs. Since they spend a fair amount of time doing things like jailing, torturing and killing Palestinians, not to mention how they treat their neighbors, I’d say they qualify.

    There is no such thing as a perfectly democratic nation. But on the continuum of political democracy, Israel probably ranks up there with the Europeans or even North Americans. Israeli Arabs can vote, are guaranteed of civil rights and can be elected to parliament, rights which citizens of Arab countries tend not to have.

    Israel is not a perfect democracy, or even a perfect country (Is there one? Maybe Sweden?). But given the circumstances of the neighborhood where it exists, I’d say it’s done a reasonable job of maintaining a democratic civil society within its own borders, whatever we might say about what happens beyond its borders.

  19. Unvarnished Truthon 09 Jan 2009 at 7:22 am

    Jonathon, your praise of John’s points being excellent are way premature.

    His first point is:

    “Israel has done things that I personally consider to be wrong, and to be abusive.”

    What are those things, why are they abusive and in what context are they abusive?

    John’s second point is to question whether Israel is a Democratic nation by his raising a question as to whether “Palestinians/Arabs who live in Israel, and who have Israeli citizenship, truly have equal, democratic rights with others?

    He then answers that question saying, Israel “fails (in my opinion) to meet the standards of a true democracy, where all citizens are equal, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, or any other such factor.”

    Again, John has failed to provide anything but his opinion that Israeli Arabs are not accorded the same rights as non-Arab Israelis.

    NOTE: This post edited for length by the moderator.

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