Archive for August, 2009

Meetings need to address basic issue, Re: Mubarak in Washington, Jerusalem Post, August 18, 2009

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trip to Washington and meetings with Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama will bring us no closer to peace in the Middle East because the most basic issue of all won’t be discussed in any meaningful way, if it’s discussed at all.

The Arab world must recognize Israel’s right to exist, root out and remove the fanatics in it’s midst who sow terror and death and put down it’s weapons and stop trying to annihilate the country. Discussion about anything else is peripheral and ultimately meaningless since peace between Israel and it’s neighbors, and freedom and prosperity for Palestinians as well for that matter, is impossible until that happens. It is the prerequisite to peace and Arabs and only Arabs can bring it about.

Unless Obama recognizes this and uses American influence to convince Arabs to change their ways his efforts will be unsuccessful and the same old merry go round will go on and on. Here’s hoping  he understands the real solution lies with the Arabs not the Israelis and has enough spine to act on that understanding.

Don’t hold your breath though.

Last word on the United Church of Canada, for now anyway, Re: Proposed boycott of Israel put on hold, Vancouver Sun, August 14, 2009

Friday, August 14th, 2009

The United Church of Canada missed a great opportunity to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East when it passed a motion to “take no action” on the anti-Israel resolutions at it’s recent General Council. Instead of taking a principled, knowledgeable position against the obviously biased, misguided and hateful resolutions it decided to take none at all and allow member bodies to act on these sentiments as they see fit.

This total lack of leadership guarantees that the usual suspects will raise these ridiculous assertions again and again, to the embarassment and detriment of the Church…embarassment because no thinking person with any kind of real understanding of the Middle East could possibly give any credibility to them or the people who spout such nonsense and detriment because in trying to be all things to all people it becomes nothing to anybody.

No wonder the Church has lost so many members. Any organization has to stand for something to survive and non decisions like the one at the General Council will make many current members question what the Church actually does stand for and make potential members think again before joining such a weak kneed body.

Whatever else the General Council accomplished it certainly provided no leadership at all, harmed the Church and did nothing to increase the possibility of peace between Israel and it’s neighbors and a better, more prosperous life for Palestinians.

By their deeds they shall be known, Re: United Church resolutions/The anti-Semitism debate, Toronto Globe & Mail, August 11, 2009

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Human Rights Watch issued a report on August 6, 2009 entitled Rockets From Gaza which states that rocket attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel from November 2008 onwards amount to war crimes.

Iain Levine, Human Rights Watch Program Director, said “Hamas forces violated the laws of war both by firing rockets deliberately and indiscriminately at Israeli cities and by launching them from populated areas and endangering Gazan civilians,”….HRW also said that Hamas should renounce the attacks and bring those responsible to account.

In light of this would the United Church reconsider the resolutions currently before the General Council placing the blame for the situation in the Middle East solely on Israel and calling for a boycott of Israeli institutions? If not, would the Church consider supplementary resolutions which castigate Hamas with equal vigor and call for similiar actions against it?

Balance, fairness and avoiding accusations of anti-Semitism demand nothing less.

Wrong Messiah, Wrong President, Re: Obama’s Agenda: A Midyear Briefing, Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2009

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Critics of George Bush thought he had a messianic complex. If he did it was nothing compared to Barack Obama’s.

President Obama’s first seven months in office have been a failure on every important front and his mentality will not permit him to change direction or moderate his thinking or course of action. He believes his agenda is best for the country and the world and he will do everything he can to implement it, regardless of opposition or evidence to the contrary. Radical change is necessary in all areas and radical change there will be, no matter what anyone else might think. After all, no one knows better than him, right?

Wrong.

Obama’s popularity in America is plummeting because the people are beginning to see that his attitudes and policies will do nothing but diminish their quality of life and make them much more vulnerable and insecure in a very dangerous world. There is a real possibility of him being a one term President because he is such a patronizing, divisive figure whose inexperience, simplistic thinking, lack of depth and ignorance of the world and the way it works is more telling every day. Enemies of America and the West have had him figured out for some time now and have been taking advantage of his naivete’ to weaken the United States and sow discord and doubt among it’s allies ever since. The American people are  starting to see him for what he is as well, a pompous windbag with no substance who is in way over his head.

Want some examples? Lets look at foreign policy. In seven months he has allowed Iran and North Korea to bully and intimidate the U.S. and seriously threaten it’s strategic interests in the Middle East and Asia, alienated long time allies like Israel and Japan, appeased dictators, autocrats and theocrats around the world in the name of expediency and contrition, demonstrated his profound ignorance of history and regularly denigrated America and it’s values, among other things. In general, we are much closer to world war because the United States has become weaker on his watch, despots and terrorists have become emboldened and stronger and countries that have depended on America for protection can no longer do so and will take matters into their own hands militarily if need be.

Obama has been no more successful domestically. The economy remains in a shambles and the huge deficits he is piling up are wildly unpopular, his version of health care reform is enormously complex and expensive, does not begin to deal with underlying problems in the system and fails to provide universal coverage, the government has become far more intrusive in the lives of ordinary people, the country has become more divided because of his racial politics and partisanship and sleaze continue to be the norm in Washington, again among other things.

With just under three and a half years to go before the next election we can only hope that politicians of both parties will prevent him from doing more damage than he’s already done and that they will mitigate and redress at least some of his actions. It’s already too late to save his Presidency however. Thankfully.

Too bad. He could have been one of the great ones. If only that messianic complex didn’t get in the way….

Is there a glimmer of hope? Re: Green shoots in Palestine, International Herald Tribune/New York Times, August 4, 2009

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

By all accounts life is getting better for Palestinians living in the West Bank, as opposed to those living in Gaza. Why? Because Israel has eased restrictions, including checkpoints, as a direct result of  the Palestinians improvements in security.  Since Israelis have less to fear from the West Bank, Palestinians living there have much more control over their own lives, a growing economy and a rising standard of living. According to the International Monetary Fund the economy of the West Bank should grow by seven per cent this year. This bodes very well for the future. Conversely, life remains wretched for Palestinians living in Gaza because of the violence they continually direct towards Israel, which of course results in their subjugation. This will have to stop if they want to move forward like their brethren in the West Bank. Can it happen?

Maybe. Two things are certain though. Gazans lives will never improve until they reject violence and allow Israelis to live in peace and security and their lives will definitely improve if and when they do so. Hopefully they will have the sense to recognize and understand this and the courage to act on these beliefs by ridding themselves of the ideologues, theocrats and thugs in their midst who keep them mired in misery.

They’ll even get their own state in due course. Simple aye? Recognize Israel’s right to exist and cut out the violence and all things are possible. Stay on the current path and there will be more of the same ad infinitum. If the first occurs they will deserve a great deal of credit because they were able to rise above their circumstances and if the second occurs they will have no one to blame but themselves because they weren’t.

As always.

The United Church’s ridiculous resolutions, Re: United against the Jewish state, National Post, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The resolutions concerning Israel before the United Church of Canada’s General Council are perfect examples of a mentality based on ignorance and ‘thinking’ that can only be described as lazy at best and hateful or non-existent at worst. They may or may not be anti-semitic but they are certainly anti-Israel and cannot be taken seriously because they are so obviously biased and one sided. Additionally, the resolutions are misleading, inaccurate and incendiary and have nothing to do with reality, past or present. They are not statements of fact and are nothing more than a detestable screed that the Church must strongly reject if it is at all interested in peace in the Middle East and in retaining whatever credibility it has left among people who look at things from a balanced, not prejudiced, perspective and who really do know what they’re talking about regarding the situation in the region.