07.14.2014 07:01 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: Fogeled

It’s all happened before.

Israel has made airstrikes against terrorists before, and it has sent troops into Gaza before, as well.

The reason it has done so, now as before, is the same: Hamas has launched hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel, using Palestinian citizens as human shields. All of it has a sameness to it. The rocket attacks, the counter-attacks, the troops massing at Gaza’s borders.

What is different this time, perhaps, is what is happening – or, to be precise, not happening – elsewhere. That is, precious few seem to be clamouring to defend Israel.

Some Jews, some Israelis, will say that is nothing new. When Israel is under attack, when its citizens are being killed, few in the outside ever rush to Israel’s side. To be sure, there are some, like Canada’s Stephen Harper, who make strong declarations of support. But beyond high-sounding words, there is little.


It is amazing, when you think about it. Imagine being in your home – in Calgary or Winnipeg or Ottawa – and your kids are playing in the backyard, and you are mowing the front lawn, and missiles suddenly start to land on your street. Imagine that. Missiles like the ones that Hamas now favours – Syrian-made M-302 Khalbars, which have a range of at least 100 kilometres.

The Khalbars have warheads which can hold nearly 200 kilograms of high explosives, and are five metres long. They’re not exceptionally accurate, but they could wipe out your house, and several of your neighbour’s houses. They’d kill everyone on your street, pretty much.

So, when hundreds of such missiles are landing in neighborhoods in Israel, no fair-minded person would deny Israel the right to respond. No reasonable person would demand that Israel do nothing, right?

So where, then, are the other voices in the West, loudly defending Israel’s right to safe and secure borders? Why have they grown more silent than in the past?

In my view – in my experience – it is not because of Israel, per se, but because of Israel’s supposed defenders in places like Canada. It is the leaders of these groups who have catastrophically mismanaged Israel’s reputation in the West. It is these highly-paid lobbyists who have actually let Israel down in times of need.

Personally, I have in the past been a member of the board to the (now defunct) Canada Israel Committee, and legal advisor to the (also defunct) Canadian Jewish Congress. I was always very proud to support Israel, and to raise my voice to defend Israel’s right to a secure homeland.

Some years ago, however, I learned of plans to send two white supremacists on an expenses-paid junket to Israel. I wrote a personal letter to the head of the CIC to object. His response? To leak the letter to the media, and to permit the junket to go ahead.

I thereafter severed all links with pro-Israel groups, and I haven’t been back. Several other progressive pro-Israel advocates – some of them with decades of tireless commitment to Israel, most of then Jewish – experienced similar shunning.

Some will say good riddance, of course. They will say Israel’s best friends are conservatives, and Conservatives are the government in Canada. Who needs progressives?

I say: Israel does. It needs everyone, Right and Left. On those days when Khalbar rockets are raining down on schoolyards in Israel – and when little, if anything, is being said in progressive circles in the West – it now doesn’t seem like it was avery good strategy, does it? It didn’t have to be this way, at all.

All that is happening in Israel and Gaza has happened before. What is new, in comparative terms, is what is happening elsewhere. Which is, mostly:



  1. SD says:

    Hamas doesn’t need a military win in order to win the long-term battle against Israel. It just needs to win the public perception battle by trying to entice Israel to shrink the size of the “Gaza Ghetto.” It wants Israel to enter Gaza to show that Israel is the aggressor. Also, with Hamas trying to bomb Israel, it is creating a stalemate in the Israeli economy. How many tourists would want to go to Israel with the threat of bombs over Israel? Hamas doesn’t need to win. It just needs to create a war of attrition against Israel. A draw is a win for Hamas. The problem with Netanyahu and his cheerleader in Canada–Stephen Harper–is that Israel is falling for Hamas’s bait.

    • GregM says:

      The Israelis are a lot smarter than you are and they are playing a careful end game because they have the might to punish the palestinians in Gaza and Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah are only doing the bidding of the Iranian regime to put pressure on Israel while their Muslim Brotherhood cohorts are losing in Syria. You must look outside your box before you try to draw erroneous conclusions and then condemn the Israelis and our Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

      The losers will be the ME terrorists, their Canadian supporters and possibly even Obama; while the winners will be Israel and PM Harper of Canada, when the situation is stabilized.

      • Tired of it All says:

        GregM, apologies but there are no facts behind what you have asserted. To be very clear: Hamas and the Brotherhood are Sunni, Hizbollah and Iran Shia. They are united in their opposition to Isreal, and nothing else. Iran is supplying Hizbollah in Syria, and Sunni factions backed ISIS which has not established it’s plutotheocracy inside what was Iraq. It is why Iran and the US are actually considering a joint response and another reason why the US admin is treading more carefully than ever around grand proclamations about defending Israel. S. Lebanon remains a tinderbox, and only Iran can keep Hizbollah at bah. As for the Sunni/Shia split they waged and continue to wage open warfare against each other inside Syria.

        PMSH can say what he wants because he’s got no skin in the game and even less influence because of Warren’s (or Mearsheimer’s) central points: the Israel lobby came off the rails years ago and is a train wreck.

  2. GregM says:

    Harper/Baird are supporting Israel and calling for responsible democracies to do the same. What they are also doing is trying to flush out Obama to unequivocally support Israel. Their motive is to pressure Obama because he is stalling on Keystone XL as well as delaying his support for Israel and condemnation of Hamas. It’s called “linkage”.

    As for the UN condemning Israel for civilian casualties, Israel should tell the UN to put peacekeeping troops into Gaza to stop the Hamas terrorists, and before they condemn Israel for their retaliatory attacks on Hamas rocket launching sites in civilian areas. Go ahead, UN, tell your Hamas heroes to cease fire immediately.

    • West Coast jim says:

      It amazes me how Alberta Conservatives can link anything – urban terrorists, genocide, military aggression, child deaths, – anything, to Alberta oil. I am sure that GregM also believes that SH comments on the kidnapped Nigerian girls, piano playing, Somalia piracy, and other such events are also “linkage”. Twat.

  3. Radio Interview from @CBCSunday

    950+ former Israeli IDF soldiers reveal truths about Israel’s institutionalized practices of intimidation and brutality towards Palestinians in the occupied territories, including night raids and arbitrary arrests unrelated to security, the use of human shields, etc.



    The current Israel conflict with Hamas (Palestine gov.) is the result of the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers.

    Evidence cited in the Israeli press accuses the CIA and Israeli police and intelligence as having —-> staged the killings in order to justify an attack on Gaza.




    • GregM says:

      Who can refute two such reputable sources as the CBC and Veterans Today news agencies! Everything they say about the Israelis, palestinians and terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah must be the truth. Thank you for those objective and unbiased news stories. But where does that leave PM Harper and the Canadian government?

  4. !o! says:

    It’s unhelpful to talk about Israel ‘responding’ when the response basically just escalates violence. It’s like scratching an infected wound. Maybe it feels better immediately after scratching, but you’re just locking in more problems later by doing it.

    What has changed is the general public’s understanding of the deeper issue– that violence is linked with the human rights/self determination issues on the ground in Palestine.

    Israelis certainly have the right to live in safe and peaceful neighbourhoods, and people launching rockets should be condemned. But responding with violence is part of the problem, on both sides of the wall. Israel responding with force is a concrete measure that a shrinking and increasingly conservative segment of the population can feel good about, but it helps basically nothing. There are better ways to respond.

    • GregM says:

      So the Israelis should just absorb the Hamas rocket attacks and call on the UN to condemn them for their terrorist attacks? The Israelis know it’s futile to depend on the rest of the world for their security, so they do what they deem necessary to punish the palestinians. It’s well known in Israel that Hamas muslim terrorists only understand violence and it’s necessary to hit them back 10 times harder to teach them a lesson.

      Of course the Hamas terrorists depend on Israeli retaliation into residential areas and that’s why they launch their pitiful rockets from houses, schools, hospitals…… all to elicit worldwide sympathy and support, and they get plenty of that from the traitor terrorists in our midst in Canada.

      Perhaps Hamas and Hezbollah are taunting the Israelis to launch military incursions into Gaza and Lebanon, and then accuse them of causing a ME war.

      • doconnor says:

        “It’s well known in Israel that Hamas muslim terrorists only understand violence and it’s necessary to hit them back 10 times harder to teach them a lesson.”

        Hamas understands more the violence. They are the main source of food, water and medicine in the Gaza Strip. If Israel understands more the violence, they haven’t done a good job of showing it.

        “Perhaps Hamas and Hezbollah are taunting the Israelis to launch military incursions into Gaza and Lebanon”

        They are. Israel is all to happy to take the bait.

      • David Bronaugh says:

        Never mind all of that… Iron Dome really is a game changer. It actually works, unlike previous missile interception systems. It changes the balance, meaning Israel doesn’t have to take such a strong retaliatory attitude towards Hamas. In the end, this may mute calls from within Israel to engage in violence, which at the end of the day will *probably* help to civilize the dialog and bring the two sides closer to a workable solution.

  5. shizzay says:

    So where, then, are the other voices in the West, loudly defending Israel’s right to safe and secure borders? Why have they grown more silent than in the past?

    Where indeed. They have since realized that Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison, its inhabitants subjected to routine and planned shortages of food, water, electricity, and medical supplies. They have finally seen what is happening- a small group within a desperate, humiliated, starving and de-humanized population are striking out in anger and frustration against a government who enacts policies designed to eliminate them.

    That Stephen Harper and John Baird are the loudest cheerleaders only exposes the Israeli government to the world for the brutal regime that it is. No wonder you’re not hearing everybody step in and say how it is Israeli’s right to murder defenseless Palestinians 15 at a time.

    !0! makes a good point. The violent response is unlikely to produce a desirable result for Israel. If Israel wants support, they should act like it. Right now they are doing their best to isolate themselves.

    • davidray says:


      a famous Jew by the name of Zimmerman nailed it 31 years ago and no one else has come close.

      “Neighborhood Bully”

      Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
      His enemies say he’s on their land
      They got him outnumbered about a million to one
      He got no place to escape to, no place to run
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      The neighborhood bully he just lives to survive
      He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
      He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
      He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
      He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
      Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
      He’s always on trial for just being born
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
      Old women condemned him, said he could apologize
      Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
      The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      Well, the chances are against it, and the odds are slim
      That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
      ‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
      And a licence to kill him is given out to every maniac
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      Well, he got no allies to really speak of
      What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
      He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
      But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
      They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
      Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
      They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
      He’s the neighborhood bully.
      Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
      Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
      He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
      In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
      No contract that he signed was worth that what it was written on
      He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
      Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      What’s anybody indebted to him for ?
      Nothing, they say. He just likes to cause war
      Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
      They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
      He’s the neighborhood bully.

      What has he done to wear so many scars ?
      Does he change the course of rivers ? Does he pollute the moon and stars ?
      Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
      Running out the clock, time standing still
      Neighborhood bully.

  6. Daniel says:

    Warren, of course no rational person is going to disagree that a country should have a right to defend itself. The issue is more so in the philosophy of what actually constitutes “defense”. The right to protect myself against a psychopath living on my street does not give me the right to blow up most of the houses on my street in an attempt to find and kill that person before they kill me. !0! is right- such reactions only play into the hands of fanatics on both sides. Hamas gains more supporters the more air strikes that kill innocent Palestinian civilians and Netanyahu’s extremist government gets to look like it is tough/in control, thus gaining itself more support and votes.

    I’m not going to get into a debate about who started what because both Hamas and Israel are guilty of creating escalations time and time again, but the civilian causalities on the Palestinian side are almost always vastly disproportionate to the Israeli civilian casualties. So yes, having to worry about rockets falling on your street is a horrible thing, but again, if we’re doing comparisons, the people in Gaza have it far, far, far worse.

    As far as Israel wanting to have secure borders goes, as harsh as this sounds, perhaps they should stop expanding into territory that is not theirs while, at the same time, consider ending crippling blockades that choke out meaningful economic possibilities for regular Gazans. After all, people who don’t feel like they’re being prevented gainful employment and decent standards of living don’t generally go around supporting fanatics. I believe Hitler taught us that one.

    @GregM: UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, already condemned Hamas in the strongest possible words: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/gaza-conflict-thousands-of-palestinians-flee-as-calls-for-ceasefire-ignored-1.2705466

    • Ted H says:

      I agree with Daniel, Israel is not on the side of righteousness in these situations. The response is vastly disproportionate, a few Israelis may be injured, hundreds of innocent Palestinians are killed. Poor beleaguered little Israel is in fact the neighbourhood bully and an oppressive regime with regard to the people in Gaza, in fact one of the most oppressive in recent history. Israel does not deserve the support of civilized nations.

  7. JH says:

    The UN and their condemnations are a joke. Have been for quite some time as they continue to barter away their credibility by the actions and words of some they allow to speak for them, including those from countries with terrible human rights records.
    I was also disappointed with the wishy-washy attitudes of Marc Garneau and Paul Dewar on P&P last night. Not so surprising in Dewar’s case, but expected more from Garneau.

  8. domenico says:

    What we need on both sides are leaders who want peace and support a two state solution. We also need world leaders who do not blindly support one side.
    It is pretty clear that Hamas are zealous idiots who want nothing short of the destruction of Israel. And are obviously trying to maximize their own civilian casualties in order to court world sympathy and the outrage of bearded fruit-juice drinkers. Likud appears to beholden to extremists and policies such as settlement expansion that exacerbate tension and prevent peace. Not to mention disproportionate retaliation.

    In short we desperately need a Yitzhak Rabin on both sides.

  9. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Peace between Israel and Palestine. Certainly not in my lifetime.

    They’d rather have the issue than peace…truly sad.

  10. Kelly says:

    One side wants a two state solution with a return to the 1967 borders — the international consensus. One wants a one -state solution with full citizenship for everyone but Right wing Jews don’t want this because Arab birthrates mean Jews will eventually be a minority in Israel. Another side wants a one state solution with no voting rights for non-Jews — basically an apartheid state. All because of some poorly thought out policy in the aftermath of WWII and extremists on both sides.

    Ask Stephen Harper if he supports a one state solution with no voting rights for Palestinians and if so, why?

    It seems to me a one state solution with full citizenship for all is the fairest. The current Israeli government wants the Palestinians to agree to a “Jewish State” which is a nonstarter and a shift from past policy of recognition of “The state of Israel” which is entirely different. I believe Hamas is OK with a state of “Israel” which would include everyone but never a “Jewish” state which by definition is unequal.

    So in practical terms a two state solution with the internationally recognized 1967 borders is probably the way to go. Going with the current borders (occupied territory) is a violation of international law. Conservatives have to ask why it’s OK for Israel to occupy territory and wrong for Russia to occupy Crimea.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      The divorce is the result of irreconcilable differences…Israel will never agree to the 1967 borders. Security requirements necessitate that the Green Line be cast aside. Meanwhile, Israel favours land swaps that will prevent Palestine from being a contiguous state. Time to reinvent the wheel, I’d say. Looks more promising.

      • doconnor says:

        Security needs understanding, trust, accountability, forgiveness and love far more then it needs specific boarders.

      • Kelly says:

        You’re probably right. I am especially frustrated by the political opportunists on both sides of the divide in this one. There is too much money to be made with this conflict right now. Eisenhower was right.

  11. Bill Templeman says:

    For those who are not on Twitter: This is the simplistic messaging put out by the Harper gov’t that will only perpetuate this tragic conflict. Hopefully the non-Conservatives in Ottawa stand with peace and the terrified civilians on both sides. Isn’t that what Canada used to do before the radicals took over Ottawa?

    “Conservative Party @CPC_HQ · 17h
    The Liberals don’t stand with #Israel – we do. Add your name if you stand with us: http://www.conservative.ca/?page_id=4808 #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/cI4jctZIEQ
    Embedded image permalink”

  12. davie says:

    Over the decades of raids, attacks, ongoing violence, Israel has continued to expand.
    Always talking up the external threats keeps a regime in power, and the odd bit of violence adds credence to those external threats. Heck, Machiavelli 101!
    Why would Israelis who want Israel to expand want to negotiate a peace that delineates borders and stops Israel’s constant expansion?

  13. Epaminondas says:

    This article is ridiculous…why? Here is HAMAS in their own words ..

    Peaceful Solutions, Initiatives and International Conferences:

    Article Thirteen:

    Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”

    Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?

    “But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah.” (The Cow – verse 120).
    There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:

    “The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”

  14. ottlib says:

    This is the third Gazan conflict since 2008 and there have been countless others in the decade before that. During all of those conflicts we have not seen those friendly towards Israel rush to the barricades to support Israel in its struggles. Such support has been very muted if it is expressed at all and it has been that way for awhile so I question why we are discussing it this time around as it is just another run of the mill conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    But to answer the question.

    Perhaps the silence is because many of Israel’s more thoughtful supporters realize that they are not the completely innocent victim that the Israeli government likes to portray themselves as. They share the responsibility for the current situation as much as the leadership of the Palestinians.

    Another reason might be that the Israel government and their more ardent supporters claim to be the only democratic government in the region but they are pursuing decidedly undemocratic policies with regard to the treatment of the Palestinians. The undemocratic behaviour is very well documented and it cannot be denied.

    A third reason might be the lack of proportionality of the Israeli response to what are relatively small provocations. Three teenagers being murdered is a tragedy but does that warrant the bombing of Gazan neighbourhoods and government buildings? Gee, if a Canadian murders a few Americans can we expect President Obama to order a cruise missile attack on the Parliament Buildings?

    One other reason might be it has been observed that during these conflicts the popularity of the current Israeli government and of Hamas spike and it also appears that both know it. It should come as no surprise that these murders took place during a period of flagging support for Hamas. You would think that if the Israeli government really wanted to be rid of Hamas they would not have given them an event to rally their people around. Then again, in the past few years whenever the popularity of the Likud government as flagged the Israeli PM always did something to provoke the Palestinians and Hamas usually responded in such a way as that is assisted the Likud government. It is almost like Likud and Hamas are involved in some kind of symbiotic relationship where one needs the other to maintain their success.

    Finally, the solution to this problem lies in negotiating a just peace agreement between the two parties. One that gives both some of what they want and that can be used to build a lasting working relationship between the two peoples. However, with the exception of a very brief period in the mid-90s have we seen any evidence of either side wanting to make such a peace? Of course not. Instead we have seen a such a level of cynicism on both sides that the leaders have determined that deaths that result from these conflicts are “acceptable losses” as long as they can maintain the status quo.

    All of this makes it difficult for thoughtful and fair-minded supporters of Israel to jump to their defence with enthusiasm. We would love to but it is difficult to square the circle of that support with the reservations that the actions of Israel create within us. Thus the muted or even non-existent expressions of that support.

  15. e.a.f. says:

    there are days when the thought of locking all the leaders up in one stadium and letting them loose on each other has a grand appeal. Then the actual citizens of these lands might stand a chance.

    Having Israel do what it does, serves the purposes of many western governments. when extremists of surrounding areas fire upon Israel it serves the purposes of Arab countries and even some western countries. as long as the area is unsettled and at war, there is money to be made, politics to be played, and arrangements to be done.

    Guilt from western countries, who would not take Jews prior to WW II, helped create Israel. When the Arabs feld and went into refugee camps no one did anything. That was wrong. Not only did western countries not intercede but Arab/Muslim countries just left what would become the Palestinians sit there in camps. They were not welcomed into other countries, nor where they finically supported. their conditions led to extremism and that worked for many other countries

    Bennie needs to take a break from it all. The settlers need to be removed from areas they didn’t own. Land needs to be returned to Arabs who had it stolen. sort of like our treaties now with First nations.

    If the Arabs had not fled, but rather were accepted as citizens, from the get go, we would not be where we are today. but then if Canada, Britain, Australia, the U.S.A. had been willing to take Jewish refugees when the problems started in Germany, the Holocaust might not have been what it was.

    Now that Israel is a mainstream state, liberals/progressive, think they have to be silent when it is under attack and it is. The State of Israel was created to deal with somebodies guilt. It was populated by immigrants who survived a war and concentration camps. Their motto became, NEVER AGAIN. No one can expect Israel to go quietly. However, settlers aren’t helping the situation nor are americans who want to live the dream of a religious state.

    There is too much hate and anger for there to be any peace. There are many interests which do not want peace and they aren’t all extremists. we don’t know what ISIS/ISIL is going to do and what role Israel will play in that. If Iran can make comments about working with USA to deal with ISIS/ISIL, just wait until some of the Arab countries realize they may need Israel’s help with ISIS. On the other hand, as long as the Arabs are at each other’s throats they don’t have the time or energy to deal with Israel.

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