A Raymi the Minx original

Unbeknownst to many, I suspect, she is a very good painter. I purchased the painting below from her some years ago. I have yet to receive it.

This is become a bone of contention between Canada’s most read-blogger and me. Periodically, I demand that my painting be liberated from its originator. Today, at long last, she has pledged to get it to me.

In the meantime, I offer it to you all for your viewing pleasure. It is very good, and I am happy that it soon will be home with me.

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In Sunday’s Sun: when you call someone one of the worst things you can call them

Of all the serious accusations that can be made, calling someone an anti-Semite is among the most serious.

What is it? The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington – where I have taken ashen-faced school kids on tours, to see the horror that real anti-Semitism causes – is a good place to seek a definition. The museum simply defines anti-Semitism as “prejudice against or hatred of Jews.”

Hatred of Jews, the museum notes, preceded the coining of the term anti-Semitism in the modern era. Jews had of course been the target of pogroms, violence and discrimination long before anyone came up with a name for it. Generally, however, “anti-Semitism” is defined as hatred of Jews – Merriam-Webster, Oxford and Britannica all say so.

Calling someone an anti-Semite, without justification, is defamatory – and it could get you hauled into court. In 2008, a former federal Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes sued Conservative cabinet minister Peter Kent, B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress for suggesting that she had published anti-Semitic articles. Four years later, the case settled, and the defendants issued a statement that “accepted and affirmed that Hughes is not an anti-Semite.” An earlier 2001 New Brunswick Court of Appeal case found similarly: calling someone an anti-Semite is defamatory “on the face of it.”

Brian Shiller is a Toronto lawyer currently litigating a case in which “anti-Semite” is important. “Calling someone anti-Semitic is defamatory,” says Shiller (who, full disclosure, has also been my lawyer in libel cases). “It’s very serious.”

No less than Nobel laureate, and one of the greatest men of our time, Elie Wiesel, agrees: “We must be very careful because to level an accusation of anti-Semitism is the most serious accusation.”

Which leads us to the simply extraordinary speech Prime Minister Stephen Harper made in Jerusalem this past week. The speech was extraordinary because Harper, a Gentile, literally took it upon himself to re-define anti-Semitism.

We can speculate as to why he did so. Harper was hoping to curry favour with his Likud Party host, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Or, he was seeking to broaden the political support he enjoys in the Jewish community back home. Or, he honestly believes that any criticism of Israel at all – any – is anti-Semitic. Is it?

Sun Media’s David Akin, and others, certainly interpreted Harper’s speech to the Israeli Knesset as I do. Akin’s story was headlined: “The Harper doctrine: you’re all anti-Semites.”

Reading the speech, the headline is fair. Said Harper: “intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies” are the “new anti-Semitism.” Those are quotes.

That definition goes much, much further than the Holocaust Memorial Museum, dictionaries, and even Elie Wiesel himself. “You cannot apply it to everyone” who periodically criticizes policies of the Israeli government, Wiesel warns. It is “a terrible word.”

Indeed it is. The question Harper must now ask himself, then, is whether Nelson Mandela was an anti-Semite – he not-infrequently criticized Israeli government policy as it relates to Palestine. What of successive Popes? The Vatican has held the longstanding view that the Israeli government’s policies with respect to Jerusalem and the territories are wrong-headed.

How about American Jews? A recent Pew survey found that 48 per cent of them were critical, or highly critical, of Israeli government peace policies. Does Harper regard half of America’s seven million Jews as anti-Semitic, too?

And so on, and so on. You can see where this is going: extending the definition of anti-Semitism may assist Stephen Harper politically, but it doesn’t really help those who are the actual targets of anti-Semitism. In a democracy – and Israel is one – occasional fair-minded criticism goes with the territory. It is the territory, in fact.

“An anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews,” someone once said. “Now it is a person who Jews dislike.”

Words worth pondering, Prime Minister, as you return to Canada today.


We get letters: a sports fan writes

And he sure is angry! Drop him a note – tell him how you feel about him!


Name G Tryon
Email trygor@shaw.ca
Subject Olympics Meddler
Message I’d like to see you take your big mouth small balls cancel-Sochi message down to the locker room and tell the jocks who’ve given years of blood, sweat, and tears for their chance in the sun that’s it’s all off because little boy Warren’s got a peeve with big bad Putin. The only thing coming “off” would be your own empty head.
Site http://warrenkinsella.com

Sent from (ip address): 96.48.69.102 ( S0106602ad08ec53b.vf.shawcable.net )
Date/Time: January 25, 2014 5:36 pm
Coming from (referer): http://warrenkinsella.com/contact/
Using (user agent): Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_5_8) AppleWebKit/534.50.2 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.6 Safari/533.22.3


Governments defeat themselves

Yep.

It’s a real poll, from a real pollster. And it suggests that Trudeau isn’t particularly doing anything – he’s simply doing a good job of not being Stephen Harper.

Am I right or am I wrong? Outlier poll? Trend? Justin Bieber? Bueller? Bueller?


A letter from the Jewish Post and News

Hi Warren,

I just wanted to say “hats off to you” for calling a spade a spade when it comes to questioning the way CIJA and all the establishment Jews in Canada are falling all over themselves when it comes to praising Harper.

I’m going to take my hits as well for trying to expose the hypocrisy involved in his taking along a staggering number of acolytes to Israel – I just got the complete list from the PMO – 210 names, not counting press and other hangers-on.

Read my own comment that I just posted on our website at http://www.jewishpostandnews.ca about the number of Winnipeggers who are along for the ride.

I’m not a capital “L” liberal, but I can’t stand what Harper has done to Canada’s reputation as a respected peace broker in the Middle East. I was in Ramallah in October – you can read about my visit there on our website, and I still hold out hope for a true peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but not so long as the settlements continue unabated.

Anyway, I just wanted to congratulate you for writing so truthfully about the reality of how much Canada’s Jewish community has been misrepresented by those establishment Jews in CIJA.

If anyone has the credentials to speak truth to power when it comes to criticizing the official Jewish position, it’s you, what with your past as one of the first to expose the kind of anti-Semitism that was being overlooked years ago when the Jim Keegstras were fomenting their hatred.

Regards,

Bernie Bellan
Publisher,
The Jewish Post & News
Winnipeg

P.S. Ours is probably the only Jewish newspaper in North America that takes a principled stand against the right-wing policies that are dominating Israeli politics. And we’re still around. It says something for the support we receive from more thoughtful Jews – who are generally marginalized these days.

 

 


In politics, what isn’t on the program is often as interesting as what is

If you were at the sold-out Jean Chretien tribute on Tuesday night, as we were, you would have heard Kathleen Wynne speak – even though she wasn’t on the program to do so.

Meanwhile, Paul Martin – who was in the program – surprised some folks by not being there.

I’m sure it had nothing to do with this, which came the very next day.

It may all be one great big coincidence. I’m sure it is.

 

 


Google Music Timeline: punk world domination is imminent

Well, not entirely.  But this cool new Google thingie shows that I was right: traditional rock really does suck, and the weirdo punk/alt stuff I have listened to for decades really is better.

The irony, of course, is that I am a punk rock snob and I drop a band whenever they get popular.  So, as soon my chosen genre gets huge, I’ll be wearing a beret, quoting Sartre, and listening to jazz with my best friend Paul Wells.

Click on the image for a link to lotsa fun.