Archive for December 2017

Canada morally asleep in Palestine

December 29, 2017

The Sage of Vancouver Island Phil Little sends this wake-up call to the craven Liberal government

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland,
Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, Canada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Hon.Sheila Malcolmson, MP Nanaimo

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Freeland, and Ambassador Blanchard,


I write to you to say that your shameful decision on December 21, 2017 by Canada to abstain from the emergency United Nations General Assembly Resolution “Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory: draft resolution (A/ES-10/L.22)” continues a morally reprehensible pattern of votes at the UN that the Trudeau government has continued from the Harper era.
I also write to express our horror about the situation on the ground in Palestine: specifically, that the state of Israel holds the distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights.  In the couple of weeks since the Trump government’s illegal decision to name Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state of Israel, the belligerent use of military law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) has escalated with 170 such detentions of children. This is a sharp escalation from the usual approximately 700 children prosecuted in military courts annually.

Canada’s track record at the United Nations is Appalling

I want to be clear–Canada’s decision to abstain was irresponsible to say the least. To be silent is to be complicit.  Would you support the bystander who says, “I can’t get involved” when the schoolyard bully is joined by his big brother, the neighbourhood bully, to say “we will take away all your lunches if you don’t join our gang in terrorizing others?”  Surely not.  You would expect the bystander to use whatever strength and influence they have to stand in solidarity with the victims.
Whether it is a vote against or an abstention, the Trudeau government’s UN voting record is contrary to Canada’s own stated foreign policy about Palestine.   Does the Liberal Trudeau government really wish to carry on in the Harper conservative mode?


I call on the Liberal government along with other political parties to take emergency and urgent steps to join the rest of the world in standing for international law and universal human rights for all people including the people of Palestine.




In addition to the abstention on December 21, 2017, on December 19, 2017, Canada voted against a UN General Assembly resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. On November 30, 2017, Canada voted against the UN General Assembly motion that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.” All our other allies, including European Union states, Australia, and Japan, voted in favour of the motions on December 19 and November 30.  Canada continues to clearly stand out as the only G20 country other than the USA in the six or seven countries that consistently vote against human rights and international law for Palestine.


As the NDP said in its statement of December 20, 2017: “How can Canada claim to champion a rules-based multilateral order when the Liberal government continues to refuse to uphold international law?”  I ask the NDP to show courageous leadership to speak truth to power.  I ask Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to stand with her own party’s policy related to Palestine, and the Bloc Québécois to continue to speak publicly as they did in May 2017 for Palestinian self-determination.


Does Canada really wish to follow the call from Israel and the USA to follow an anachronistic, outdated model that does not




Perhaps the answer to the UN voting record is that the Canadian government is out of line with public opinion when it comes to Palestine.  In a March 2017 EKOS poll, Canadians indicated they believe overwhelmingly that sanctions are a reasonable way for Canada to censure countries violating international law and human rights, and a strong majority of Canadians believe that government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable. In the context of Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, a very strong majority of Canadians believe that the Palestinians’ call for a boycott of the state of Israel is reasonable.
I call on you to speak out clearly that the Canadian government will take steps to bring its voting at the UN in line with the rest of the world, and not tie itself to voting with the US and Israel.  Regardless of partisan affiliation, I remind all federal elected members of parliament and all federal senators that to follow party lines is not acceptable, when issues of international law and universal human rights are at risk, and so ask you to stand with the people in your constituencies and across the country and world in calling for justice for all people including the people of Palestine.

No Way to Treat a Child
At this perilous time, we call the government of Canada to take specific, urgent action to stand with the children and youth of Palestine.  Specifically, this is the time for civil society around the world to call the Israeli government to account for their illegal, immoral and belligerent use of military law on children.


Over the holiday the world’s attention has been on one family, the Tamimi family, whose 16-year daughter, mother, 21 year old niece, along with 17 members of the community, Nabi Saleh, have been arrested after a 14 year-old Tamimi cousin was gravely injured by a metal rubber-covered bullet shot in his face by the Israeli military.  This is not an isolated situation, but part of a brutal, systemic illegal occupation.

In fact, Canadian University of Western law professional and special rapporteur for the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk has provided a framework to the UN on October 27, 2017 that shows Israel to be an “illegal occupant” based on the i) length of occupation; ii) annexation of occupied territory; iii) lack of responsibility of trustee as occupied; and iv) lack of good faith.

Israel is the only state that systemically uses military law against children and youth.  Not only is this against international law, the United Nations Conventions for the Rights of Children, it is also against international humanitarian law.  In the couple of weeks since the US Trump indication that they were naming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state of Israel, 170 youth and children have been detained under military law according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society. These individuals join 10,000 children and youth that have been arrested in Israeli-occupied Palestine since 2000.  Each year between 500 and 700 children are arrested without the most basic legal rights such as denial of a lawyer and without parents being present; this while being tortured, forced to sign confessions in Hebrew, a language the children do not know, and denial of basic rights like going to the washroom and being provided food.
The No Way to Treat a Child campaign began in Canada in July 2017, and so far more than 25 organizations across the country have joined as sponsors.  The campaign in the US is several years old, and in November 2017 resulted in legislation being introduced in the United States’ Congress in a Bill calling for promoting human rights by ending Israeli military detention of Palestinian children, in particular the use of US taxpayers’ money detain and torture children.

The No Way to Treat a Child campaign is based on the work on the ground and in the military courts by the human rights legal organization for children, Defence for Children International-Palestine.

As a federal member of Parliament, I ask you to call that steps to be taken immediately by the Canadian government to let Israel know that it needs to stop the use of military law on Palestinian youth and children.


In making this call I remind you that:

1.    Israel ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on October 3, 1991, which states in:

·       Article 37(a), that ‘‘no child shall be subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’’;

·       Article 37(b), that the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child ‘‘shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time’’;

·       Article 37(c), that ‘‘every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or heritage’’; and

·       Article 37(d), that ‘‘[e]very child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action’’.
2.    In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there are two separate legal systems, with Israeli military law imposed on Palestinians and Israeli civilian law applied to Israeli settlers.
3.    The Israeli military detains around 500 to 700 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 each year and prosecutes them before a military court system that lacks basic and fundamental guarantees of due process in violation of international standards.
4.    Approximately 2,700,000 Palestinians live in the West Bank of Palestine, of which around 13% are children under the age of 18, who live under military occupation, the constant fear of arrest, detention, and violence by the Israeli military, and the threat of recruitment by armed groups.
5.    That since 2000, an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces in the West Bank of Palestine and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system.
6.    Children under the age of 12 cannot be prosecuted in Israeli military courts. However, Israeli military forces detain children under the age of 12 and question them, for several hours, before releasing them to their families or to Palestinian authorities.
7.    Human Rights Watch documented, in a July 2015 report titled ‘‘Israel: Security Forces Abuse Palestinian Children’,’ that such detention also included the use of chokeholds, beatings, an coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15 years.
8.    The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) concluded, in a February 2013 report entitled ‘‘Children in Israeli Military Detention,’’ that the ‘‘ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.’’


The 2013 UNICEF report further determines that the Israeli system of military detention of Palestinian children profoundly deviates from international norms, stating that ‘‘in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights.’’


UNICEF also released reports in October, 2013 and February, 2015 noting that Israeli authorities have, since March 2013, issued new military orders and taken steps to reinforce existing military and police standard operating procedures relating to the detention of Palestinian children. However, the reports still found continued and persistent evidence of ill-treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces.
9.       In 2013, the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories (‘‘Annual Report’’) published by the Department of State noted that Israeli security services continued to abuse, and in some cases torture minors, frequently arrested on suspicion of stone throwing, in order to coerce confessions. The torture tactics used included threats, intimidation, long-term handcuffing, beatings, and solitary confinement.
The 2013 Annual Report also stated that ‘‘signed confessions by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew, a language most could not read, continued to be used as evidence against them in Israeli military courts.’’
The 2016 Annual Report noted a ‘‘significant increase in detentions of minors’’ in 2016, and that ‘‘Israeli authorities continued to use confessions signed by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew.’’ It also highlighted the renewed use of ‘‘administrative detention’’ against Palestinians, including children, a practice in which a detainee may be held indefinitely without charge or trial, by the order of a military commander or other government official.
10.      The nongovernmental organization Defense for Children International Palestine collected affidavits from 429 West Bank children who were detained between 2012 and 2015, and concluded that: i) three-quarters of the children endured physical violence following arrest; ii) under Israeli military law, children do not have the right to a lawyer during interrogation; iii) 97 percent of the children did not have a parent present during their interrogation; iv) 84 percent of the children were not properly informed of their rights by Israeli police; v) interrogators used stress positions, vi) threats of violence, and isolation to coerce confessions from detained children; and v) 66 children were held in pre-trial, pre-charge isolation for interrogation purposes for an average period of 13 days.
11.    Amendments to Israeli military law concerning the detention of Palestinian children have had little to no impact on the treatment of children during the first 24 to 48 hours after an arrest, when the majority of their ill-treatment occurs.
12.     In 2002, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, reviewed Israel’s compliance with the Convention and expressed serious concern regarding ‘‘allegations and complaints of inhuman or degrading practices and of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children’’ during arrest, interrogation, and detention.
In 2013, the Committee declared that Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces ‘‘continue to be systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture’’ and that Israel had‘ ‘fully disregarded’’ the previous recommendations of the Committee to comply with international law.

Based on these dozen points:
I clearly speak against any Canadian taxpayer funds being used to support the military of Palestinian children, as the prosecution of Palestinian children in a military court system by the Government of Israel: violates international law and internationally recognized standards of human rights; and is contrary to Canadian values of human rights, equity and dignity for all people.
I ask the government of Canada to immediately take urgent steps to let Israel know that any relationships with Canada are dependent on Israel stopping immediately the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law including stopping the use against Palestinian children of any of the following practices:


·       Torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.
·       Physical violence, including restraint in stress positions.
·       Hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, or other forms of psychological abuse.
·       Incommunicado detention or solitary confinement.
·       Administrative detention, as described in 26 section 2(13).
·       Denial of access to parents or legal counsel during interrogations.
·       Confessions obtained by force or coercion.
Minister Freeland and Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, on December 21, 2017, you asked for “calm.”  I also understand Ambassador Blanchard you have indicated Canada will be attending Nikki Haley’s post-vote Jerusalem celebration party.  The continued Canada voting record at the United Nations and the situation on the ground of Israeli military terror against Palestine, including its children, is not something to be either calm about or to celebrate.
Canada has an obligation based on Article 1 of the Geneva Convention which requires that Canada take actions to “’ensure compliance’ with the Geneva Convention by other High Contracting Parties.”   This means clear condemnation of any nation that names Jerusalem as capital of the state of Israel, and to move forward with urgent action to put Israel on notice that its use of military law is against the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and that the government of Canada insists that the use of military law in regard to children in the oPt stop immediately.



Phil Little and Anne Marie McDonell
10846 Grandview Road
Ladysmith, B.C. V9G1Z7

telephone 2502457245

Michael Bosner, Minister-Counsellor to Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
Foreign Affairs and International Development Government Standing Committee c/o Chair Robert D. Nault
Justice and Human Rights Government Standing Committee c/o Chair, Anthony Housefather
Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Group c/o Chair, MP Tabbara
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Senate Standing Committee, c/o Chair A. Raynell Adreychuk
Human Rights Senate Standing Committee, c/o Chair Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard
Leader of Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May
Leader of Conservative Party of Canada, Andrew Scheer
Leader of NDP, Jagmeet Singh
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Hélène Laverdière
Conservative Party of Canada Foreign Affairs Critic, Erin O’Toole
Bloc Québécois Foreign Affairs Critic, Luc Thériault
Deborah Lyons: Canadian Ambassador to Israel
Douglas Proudfoot: Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority
Nabil Maroof: Chief Representative, Palestinian General Delegation, Palestinian Delegation to Canada


What’s the point?

December 27, 2017

I Want 2017 to Be Over. I Never Want to See Anything Like It Again
For both Trump and Netanyahu, their worst enemy may turn out to be 2018. At some point, even the worst nightmares do end. At some point, people do wake up

Bradley Burston Dec 26, 2017


I never want to see anything like it again.
Think back to a year ago at this time. Up there in his tower, Donald Trump was gearing up to speedily make the United States of America as bad as Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel at its worst – from the top down, to turn it as nasty, as narrow-minded, as callous, as racist, as rigged, as smug, as small-minded, as undemocratic, as polarized, as paranoid, as deceptive, as corrupt, as bereft of checks and balances, as hostile to migrants and minorities and the media and the non-fundamentalist and the chronically ill and the left.
Which left Netanyahu’s government only one direction to go – even worse.
I wish I had never learned what I learned this year:


– Benjamin Netanyahu thinks Jews are stupid.
– Both Netanyahu and Donald Trump think evangelical Americans are saps.
– Both men are dealing in a dangerous, world-threatening, nationally suicidal, individually life-crushing form of make-believe. And both are certain they’re getting away with it. With everything.

– Both countries are now run by a man who thinks he should stay in power indefinitely. Even though a clear majority of his countries voters voted for someone else.
Why? Because this man believes – knows – that he has the right to rule. Because he’s white. Because he’s male. Because he’s right-wing. Because he’s so last century. Because he knows better. Because his rivals are pathetic. Because he’s so freaking good at making his people afraid and weak and passionately, proudly resentful of the outside world.
Because he tells his people: Don’t let these other people in. They’re not like you. You can’t trust them. They wanna cut you or maybe run you over and maybe invade your home and maybe rape you and your children and leave them to bleed out. They wanna take away your identity and take away your livelihood and, in the end, take away your country.

And these are two countries I deeply love.
Both now led by men transforming a never-realized dream of equality and freedom and justice, into a retrograde nightmare version of their countries worst self.

I’m sick to death of a year of asking myself terrible questions. Like:

– What’s the point of having a country of refuge built by refugees, whose leader vilifies immigrants, badmouths foreigners, denigrates asylum seekers, pretends to uphold religious freedom but in fact exalts the majority religion to the detriment of the adherents of minority faiths?
What’s the point of having a state of Israel, if it’s just so that Jews can have a place where they lord it over non-Jews? 
– What’s the point of a Jewish state if Jews have no place here, and certainly no home here, if they happen to be non-Orthodox, anti-settlement, supporters of equality and human rights for Palestinians and other Arabs?
– And what’s the point of having this United States of America, where the president cannot even allow anyone to kneel in thoroughly non-violent protest?
– What’s the point of having a United States so gerrymandered, so voter-suppressed, so friendly to Klansman and Nazi, so reverent to Bircher and birther, so offstage-managed by the Kochs and the Murdochs and the Sinclairs, and, especially, by Vladimir Putin, that any non-Republican challengers face a deck stacked six ways to Sunday against them.
– And, for that matter, what’s the point of a United States of America whose leader takes stand-down orders – on Syria for example – directly from the Kremlin?
What else did I learn this year?
And then there’s the matter of peace.
In a thousand ways, when he wasn’t honing his Trump imitation, Netanyahu was entrenching the occupation and rendering it permanent. In a thousand more he declared dead the idea of peace through two states, identifying settlements as fully part of Israel, declaring in the West Bank that “we are here to stay forever,” pledging to settlers that none would ever be uprooted, continuing to rule over and deny rights to millions of Palestinians by such methods as jailing children – and, were it up to his education minister – imprisoning for life a 16-year-old girl for the offense of slapping a soldier.

In a thousand more, Netanyahu brought the occupation and its apartheid and Jim Crow realities home with him, injecting it at every opportunity into what used to be called Israel proper. 
This was a year in which an Israeli government obsessed by the Holocaust signaled that it had nothing to say about genocide, as long as it was confined to potential arms customers like Myanmar.

Over this year which felt like an eternity, Netanyahu has tied his fate to Trump’s at every opportunity. Both men, under constricting investigations, need to gamble at this point, and Netanyahu has put all his money on Trump.
So much so, that Trump’s wars may now be Netanyahu’s wars, America’s isolation may be Israel’s isolation, Trump’s fate may be the fate of the Israeli right.
In a thousand ways, Trump has alienated the world with which America needs to trade. In a thousand more he has alienated the allies with whom America has for decades guaranteed its security. All the while, he has taken perverse pains to ignore evident signs of climate change, governing as if there were no tomorrow – a prediction which his scorn for science may be fast bringing closer to reality.
In all, both men seek to persevere by stoking their supporters’ worst nightmares, at the same time exploiting the despair and disarray of their opposition, promoting at every turn the fiction – the ultimate excample of  political make-believe – that they are, both of them, irreplaceable and invincible.


Which brings us to the end of the year. And the possibility – borne out by polls, by desperation, and by what may be a resurgence of activism, organization, and voting by the center and left – that, for both men, their worst enemy will turn out to be 2018.
At some point, even the worst nightmares do end.
At some point, people do wake up.


Bradley Burston is a Haaretz columnist and Senior Editor of Israel’s serious newspaper

Advent/Christmas 2017

December 25, 2017


Jesus the Palestinian Jew living under occupation said to his disciples: “Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
Mark 13:33       First Week in  Advent  2017


So said  the wandering Galilean rabbi on the  desert edge of the
Roman empire,
And today you never know when graced lightning strikes
to turn your world upside down.
It  can be anywhere for every place can be holy.
A church can be in a gym when your eyes meet
after a perfect backdoor pass;
It can be riding over a hill or on a highway heading north
in autumn and  green has turned to crimson.
Only then use the word “awesome.”
You  turn a corner on any urban street and two three  year
olds are holding hands.
Any act of solidarity with broken humanity and damaged
creation places you already in eternity.
Heaven comes to earth daily
The extraordinary resides in the ordinary
The transcendent in the  passing
The holy in the mundane
The  cosmic dance begins where you are;
All real living is meeting
Seymour Glass was right: we move from one piece of holy ground to
the next.


Merry Christmas all you ikons of the Divine


Gridiron Underground

December 24, 2017



I happened upon a beautiful documentary on WNED the Buffalo PBS station which serves up intelligent TV in the wasteland of our video lives.


The doc was called Gridiron Underground (2015) about black athletes, victims of Jim Crow stupidity who found a football home in Canada. Its central figure was the late Hamilton Tiger Cat star Bernie Custis who died in 2017. Custis like many American athletes, black and white, came north and made a life north of the 49th. He went on to become a teacher, principal and football coach in the Hamilton area. He will always be remembered as the first black QB in professional football.




Drafted by the legendary Cleveland coach Paul Brown Custis was advised if he wanted to be a QB, head for Canada. This he did and became an All Star, MVP and Grey Cup winner before injuries forced him to retire in 1956. A class act, he was much beloved by all, the man who blazed the trail for Chuck Ealey, Warren Moon, Damon Allen and Henry Burris.


Now I have come to despise football as the primitive residue of the dark ages. I have gone so far as to say that any parent who allows their child to play the game is guilty of child abuse. There is no excuse now with what we know about the damage done to our cognitive faculties. Football is dying in the high schools and for good reasons.

But I digress.


I ditched football about 40 years ago, stopped watching it-except for the Grey Cup. That late fall Canadian classic simply bubbled up too many good memories. As a kid I loved the game especially the CFL variety.




Our family lived very near Varsity Stadium where the Grey Cup was played in my teen-aged years. I never missed an Argo game or a Grey Cup—and never paid for one.The football was spectacular. Our game with its wide field and the single point rouge which placed a premium on putting the foot back into the game made it all very exciting.


At age 12 I knew about all the players. Colour meant nothing and indeed that’s what these gifted black athletes reiterated in this film centred around Bernie Custis.


There is a back story here not mentioned in this lovely tribute.


For a brief period Custis played on the same Syracuse team with Avatus Stone, two years his junior. In 1953 his final year at Syracuse University Stone was about to break the colour bar of the Orange Bowl played in Miami but was injured before the game against Alabama. The university admin ordered head coach “Red” Drew to take the Crimson Tide off the field if Syracuse put a black player in the game.The Civil War apparently was not over.




Stone put two and two together and knowing about Custis and yes, Jackie Robinson’s 1946 reception in Montreal, he headed north to play for the Ottawa Roughriders.


I remember Avatus Stone as a triple threat back-fielder, a great 2 way player who could punt almost as well as Hamilton’s Cam Fraser. What I did not know was that he apparently had committed a serious error by dating a white cheer leader. All this in New york state. The great Jimmy Brown another Syracuse alum who came right after Custis and Stone was warned not to do a Stone if he knew what was good for him.


Anybody for Canada?

After a game vs the Argos in 1955 (the year Sone was voted the Jeff Russell trophy as the best player in the east, I raced onto the field and asked the exhausted two-way player for his chin strap. He have it to me


Avatus Stone disappeared after his 5th year in Canada, never to be heard from again, another black athlete who found the underground railway to Canada.


Canada chickens out at the U.N.

December 22, 2017


Well they did it again. Just being a Liberal.

Tim Harper wrote in the Star:



When it comes to the Middle East, Ottawa sits on its hands to keep Trump happy Abstaining on a UN vote Thursday caps a year of Ottawa ensuring it doesn’t rattle the U.S. president’s cage during NAFTA talks,




And so the year draws to a close just as it dawned — with Canada walking on eggshells around Donald Trump. Thursday at the United Nations, the Liberal government had two choices. It could poke Trump but stand on principle, or continue a pattern of voting with the U.S. on the Middle East.
With the world watching, it did neither.


It abstained.


It moved to the sidelines and let the rest of the world take a position.


A vote to declare Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “null and void,’’ passed 128 to nine with 35 abstentions.


The U.S. won the support of key allies like Togo, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Honduras, Guatemala and, of course, Israel.


Take Israel out of the equation and the entire population of those backing the U.S. is less than the population of Canada.


Canada, on the other hand, was the only G7 nation beside the United States that did not vote to condemn the move by Trump.


An abstention, at first glance, does seem to be a craven move, especially in light of the crass threats and bullying delivered by the American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Haley was defending Trump’s right to make an unnecessary, provocative move in the Middle East for strictly domestic political reasons.

Oh, she was going to take names. She wasn’t going to forget this vote.



She was going to remember when nations come calling for America’s financial help or its global influence.


It was an appalling performance, coming on the heels of Trump’s flat-out threat to cut off aid to anyone who voted against him.
Don’t disrespect us, Haley warned.


The Americans were going to take their ball and go home if others were mean to them.


In short, it was the type of speech that should have sent nations on the fence into the “screw you’’ camp against Washington.
Canada stayed quiet.

In Canada’s case, an abstention does send a message, because the Trudeau government, like the Stephen Harper government before it, has slavishly backed the U.S. in voting against UN resolutions perceived to be anti-Israel.


Harper IS


But overwhelmingly the message sent by an abstention was that Ottawa didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to take a stand, wished that this would just go away.





It was in keeping with Ottawa’s initial non-reaction reaction to the Trump move, a statement that did not mention the U.S. or the president, but merely affirmed Canada’s support of a two-state solution that includes agreement on the status of Jerusalem.


By abstaining, we did not support Trump, nor did we poke him, but, of course, Washington immediately spun the results to indicate those who had abstained had backed them.

No cooperation with occupation

December 21, 2017

Tuesday morning at 3am, Israeli forces invaded my home and arrested my daughter.  They dragged Ahed out of bed, handcuffed her and put her in the back of their military jeep. She is 16-years-old.




The next morning, my wife went to the police station to be with our daughter as she was interrogated. But Israel took her into custody as well. The following day, they arrested my 21-year-old niece Nour.

All of this started with last Friday when soldiers in my village shot 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi directly in the face with a rubber coated steel bullet. Following surgery, Mohammad had to be placed in a medically-induced coma. Then the soldiers came to our home. Ahed and Nour slapped the soldiers in the face and pushed them back, yelling that they could not enter our home.

The Israeli military is threatened by our regular protests, by our refusal to live with occupation.

Ahed appeared in court yesterday. Her detention was extended because she is refusing to talk. No cooperation with the occupation! Nour and my wife, Nariman, appeared in military court today. Their detention was also extended until at least Monday. Ahed, Nariman and Nour are being held Hasharon prison. Ahed is being held with Israeli prisoners and Nariman and Nour are being held with Palestinian prisoners.


It is our responsibility to resist the soldiers who enter our village and settlers who occupy our land and resources. For our family’s work, I have been recognized by the European Union as a Human Rights Defender. At the age of 13, my daughter won the Handala award for Courage in Turkey. Amnesty International, during one of my imprisonments, declared me a prisoner of conscience. Each week, my wife helps lead our anti-occupation demonstration. Now her resistance takes place from the inside of an Israeli jail.



Tell the Israeli military to release my family and end their 50 year long occupation of our land.
People and organizations around the world from Youth Against Settlements in Palestine to Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK and others in the US are supporting us. They are writing press releases, making phone calls and standing by our side. Tomorrow at 12pm EST, (7pm Palestine time) there will be a twitter storm with the hashtag #FreeAhedTamimi. I thank everyone for their support and hope my family will be free soon.
Towards freedom,

Bassem Tamimi,
Human Rights Defender

The Liberal two step

December 19, 2017


Not only is Canada weak on Israel’s ongoing repression of Palestinians but sadly quiescent on Honduras, almost as bad as Paul Martin was on Haiti and as cowardly on huge corporations stashing money in offshore havens. Chrstia Freeland obsesses about the Ukraine but twiddles her thumbs elsewhere.This is Canada’s Liberal Party, campaign from the left, fool progressive voters and govern from the right

Phil Little sends this from Vancouver island.
Canada’s role in Honduran electoral fraud and repression, including the deaths of 21 people (and counting) since election day on Nov.26
Letter from Cara-Lee Malange to the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs about the situation in Honduras.
(Please use this to write your own letter to your MP, the PM and foreign affairs minister.)
Cara-Lee Malange writes: I encourage you all to read this letter. If you agree with me, I ask that you write your own letter. If you want to write your own letter but struggle to find the words, reach out to me and I will help you.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland,

I am a Canadian citizen who is deeply concerned about the events surrounding the aftermath of the Honduran election, particularly pertaining to the repression of peaceful protestors by the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez. As you are aware, there is overwhelming evidence to indicate that the recent election was neither fair nor transparent. In fact, the Organization of American States has stated that “irregularities, errors and systematic problems” with the presidential election on November 26, 2018 has meant they can not be certain of the result. Similarly, “The Economist” has reported to be in possession of a video tape that provides instructions to election workers on how to falsify and destroy ballots should the election fall in the opposition’s favour.


Indeed, this is why for the past three weeks thousands of Hondurans have been risking their lives in hopes that their peaceful protests will garner the support of the international community to help them secure their demands for basic fairness, justice and democracy. Clearly, when the country’s national police declare a strike against their own government and refuse to carry on with the continued repression of their own people, it speaks volumes about the current state of democracy in Honduras and the true will of the people.

Moreover, I am deeply concerned about the Canadian government’s very tepid response to the situation; in particular by Minister Freeland’s statement “Canada also calls for calm and urges all parties to resolve any disagreement peacefully, transparently and in line with the highest democratic and human rights standards.”
Whom, may I ask, are all parties involved? Current events show us that there is effectively only one party and that their opposition is the people. More profoundly, if the one party in power cannot uphold fair and transparent elections and needs to use force and repression to uphold their power, than that means they are, effectively, a dictatorship.

To get to the point quickly I ask you if Canada’s economic interests in Honduras are so important that we remain not only bystanders to such unimaginable suffering, violence and injustice, but effectively aid and abet a violent dictatorship by not using our authority to speak the truth?

Indeed, as a Canadian, it is heart-wrenching to watch your government remain complacent while millions of people are being brutalized for simply and peacefully wanting fair and transparent elections.

I am old enough to remember former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s iconic proclamation that “Canada must be a just society.” Indeed, when he said this it was a defining moment in the creation of our national identity, which most Canadians tend to believe to this day.

Regrettably, I am not one of them but I deeply long to witness our country be an genuine moral authority so that we can uphold this identity with legitimacy and authenticity.
I say this because if you were to reach inside the hearts of the vast majority of Canadian citizens you would discover that we as a people ultimately do not want to be a part of a violent and unjust global economic model; an economic model that is dangerously warming our planet and creating unimaginable suffering for the majority of the world’s people.

We truly do not want to be that nation and we beg of you to do the right thing by us, by Hondurans, and by the rest of the world and speak up against the blatant tyranny and injustice that defines the regime of Juan Orlando Hernandez.
I am not religious but I pray that you will do the right thing and use our global position of authority to speak up unequivocally in support of the will of the Honduran people. It really is as simple as that.

Yours sincerely,
Cara-Lee Malange
Nelson, BC

Gideon Levy, modern John the Baptist

December 17, 2017

There should be a book of Gideon Levy’s columns.

Levy 30
Today at our liturgy we read the story of the greatest prophet in Israel, the one who preceded Yeshua ben Miriam, Jesus. it was unusual for a Jew to baptize but the wild man was signifying a new moment, a kairos in Israel.
No he says I am not the messiah but the voice of one crying out in the desert.
Enter today the Israeli prophet, no greater one,  Gideon Levy in the newspaper Haaretz. He writes today about another disgusting incident of the Israeli Defense Force,”the most moral army in the world.” Not.


Levy correctly states that if this murder happened to an Israeli the dogs of war would once again be let loose on an already besieged people.


The Israeli Military First Took His Legs, Then His Life On Friday, December 15


a sharpshooter shot and killed Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a Gazan double amputee, as he protested from his wheelchair near the Israeli border Wheelchair-bound Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who according to medics was killed later on Friday during clashes with Israeli troops near the Gaza borde.




The Israeli army sharpshooter couldn’t target the lower part of his victim’s body — Ibrahim Abu Thuraya didn’t have one. The 29-year-old, who worked washing cars and who lived in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, lost both legs from the hips down in an Israeli airstrike during Operation Cast Lead in 2008. He used a wheelchair to get around. On Friday the army finished the job: A sharpshooter aimed at his head and shot him dead.  The images are horrific: Abu Thuraya in his wheelchair, pushed by friends, calling for protests against the U.S. declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Abu Thuraya on the ground, crawling toward the fence behind which the Gaza Strip is imprisoned; Abu Thuraya waving a Palestinian flag; Abu Thuraya holding up both arms in the victory sign; Abu Thuraya carried by his friends, bleeding to death; Abu Thuraya’s corpse laid out on a stretcher: The End.


The army sharpshooter couldn’t aim at the lower part of his victim’s body on Friday so he shot him in the head and killed him.  It can be assumed that the soldier realized that he was shooting at a person in a wheelchair, unless he was shooting indiscriminately into the crowd of protesters. Abu Thuraya posed no danger to anyone: How much of a danger could a double amputee in a wheelchair, imprisoned behind a fence, constitute? How much evil and insensitivity does it take in order to shoot a handicapped person in a wheelchair? Abu Thuraya was not the first, nor will he be the last, Palestinian with disabilities to be killed by soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces — the most moral soldiers in the world, or not.


No shock, no shame, no pity


The killing of the young disabled man passed almost without mention in Israel. He was one of three demonstrators killed Friday, just another humdrum day. One can easily imagine what would happen if Palestinians had killed an Israeli who used a wheelchair. What a furor would have erupted, with endless ink spilled on their cruelty and barbarism. How many arrests would have resulted, how much blood would have flowed in retaliation. But when soldiers behave barbarically, Israel is silent and shows no interest. No shock, no shame, no pity.


An apology or expression of regret or remorse is the stuff of fantasy. The idea of holding those responsible for this criminal killing accountable is also delusional. Abu Thuraya was a dead man once he dared take part in his people’s protest and his killing is of no interest to anyone, since he was a Palestinian. The Gaza Strip has been closed to Israeli journalists for 11 years, so one can only imagine the life of the car-washer from Shati before his death — how he recovered from his injuries in the absence of decent rehabilitation services in the besieged Strip, with no chance of obtaining prosthetic legs; how he rumbled along in an old wheelchair, not an electric one, in the sandy alleys of his camp; how he continued washing cars despite his disability, since there are no other choices in Shati, including for people with disabilities; and how he continued struggling with his friends, despite his disability. No Israeli could imagine life in that cage, the biggest in the world, the one called the Gaza Strip.




It is part of a never-ending mass experiment on human beings. One should see the desperate young people who approached the fence in Friday’s demonstration, armed with stones that couldn’t reach anywhere, throwing them through the cracks in the bars behind which they are trapped. These young people have no hope in their lives, even when they have two legs to walk on.


Abu Thuraya had even less hope. There is something pathetic yet dignified in the photo of him raising the Palestinian flag, given his dual confinement — in his wheelchair and in his besieged country. The story of Abu Thuraya is an accurate reflection of the circumstances of his people. Shortly after he was photographed, his tormented life came to an end. When people cry out every week: “Netanyahu to Maasiyahu [prison]” someone should finally also start talking about The Hague.

Gideon Levy Haaretz Correspondent

African-American revenge

December 14, 2017



96% of African-American Alabamians voted against Roy Moore.
98% of African-American women voted against Moore.


Part of a historical memory. Doug Jones prosecuted the Klansman who was responsible for the  murder of the four children in Birmingham 1963.


70% of white Alabamians voted Moore including 63% of white women despite Moore’s creepy history with underage women.
Most know the brutal cracker, Jim Crow history of Alabama.
This was payback time even though Moore said that “God is always in control.” Some theology.The same theology that is dragging the evangelical community into irrelevance if not heresy.


It shows the importance of voter registration and getting voters to the polls.
The same strategy will defeat Trump. Arguing with these people is counter-productive.

Don’t water the rocks.


Ex NBA star and Alabama-native Charles Barkley urged fellow citizens to stop looking like idiots.




Barkley was dead on in his warning to Democrats: this is a wake up call. We’ve been stuck in a time warp for a long time.The Dems have taken the black vote and poor vote for granted for far too long.


Barkley was  spot on in his criticism of the Clintons’ embrace of Wall Street and their amnesia regarding the Democratic history.The reason for donald Tump was hilary Clinton.

It’s time to get off their ass and make life better for blacks and poor white people.

The blind evangelicals

December 13, 2017

The Mayor of Bethlehem asks why Are U.S. Christians Celebrating Israeli Policies Strangling Jesus’ Birthplace?


The world refers to the land of Jesus and the cradle of Christianity as “the land of peace.” The political reality today is quite the opposite. There are no words to describe the incarceration of Jesus’ birthplace, Bethlehem. It is enclosed by 18 illegal Israeli settlements, segregated road networks and infrastructures. Bethlehem’s 2,000-year-old contiguity with Jerusalem has been cut by a network of Israeli settlements and annexation, which also prevents the town from ever expanding further.


We, the people of Bethlehem, have been separated from our hinterland, denied our right to control our natural resources and forced to cross Israeli checkpoints even to move within Palestine. Left with limited control over just 13 percent of its governorate, Bethlehem is an example of what 50 years of Israeli occupation have meant for Palestine and Palestinians in general, and to the Christians of the Holy Land in particular. ronically, in a few days, significant numbers of Christian evangelicals, mainly from the U.S., will come to celebrate those same Israeli policies strangling the birthplace of Jesus Christ.




The Prime Minister’s Office has joined efforts with various agencies normalizing Israeli violations of international law, including the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the so-called Jerusalem municipality, to bring in “Christian media” representatives. The conference, to be held in an Israeli hotel built on Palestinian, illegally confiscated land in occupied East Jerusalem, includes a tour in support of the illegal wall which surrounds Bethlehem. They will also be taken to the lands of Beit Jala, to visit the illegal settlement of Gilo, thus supporting Israel’s destruction of the Cremisan Valley and the dispossession of dozens of Palestinian Christian families.



As a descendant of one of Bethlehem’s oldest Christian families, I was taught that Christianity’s message of is one of love, peace and justice. That’s the message we celebrate here every Christmas. The message of this conference, however, will be one of succor to oppression and apartheid. Participants will bestow their “divine blessing” on the illegal policies of the Israeli government – violations under international law.  This conference is not only an attempt to normalize the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but also part of the systematic Israeli strategy to exploit religion and holy texts as a political tool.


Abuse of scripture



A few weeks ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the Bible to justify the Israeli occupation at the United Nations, just as several members of the Israeli cabinet continue to incite against the Palestinian people, referencing a “divine right” to take over our homeland. This is a dangerous trend that aims at turning a political question into a religious war. When Netanyahu addressed the U.S. Congress in 2011 he said, referring to the occupied West Bank, that “this is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel … No distortion of history can deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.”


Sadly, we didn’t hear American religious leaders challenging Netanyahu to stop using his Biblical interpretations to justify a land grab. It reminds me of the dark period when South Africa’s apartheid regime would use “theological” arguments to justify its racist policies. History has shown that there is nothing divine in the violation of another people’s rights. Certainly, participation in a crime shouldn’t be called a “blessing.”


As the newly elected mayor of Bethlehem I witness on a daily basis the effects of the blind support of Israel given by my Christian co-religionists. How fundamentalist theological positions are used to justify injustice. But no church worthy of its name should offer a theological smoke screen for the denial of our most basic rights as Palestinians.


To those who choose to stand on the oppressor’s side, I ask them to remember our origins as Christians, and to resurrect the universal message of hope born in a grotto in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Only when human dignity is respected and equal rights are granted, only when the Israeli occupation is over and Palestinians are able to achieve their full potential on their own land, will we be able to say that peace has returned to the land of peace.



Anton Salman, a lawyer, was elected this year as the mayor of Bethlehem.