Thursday, August 15, 2013

Canada’s double standards on Middle East sink to new low
Yves Engler, Electronic Intifada, Aug 14 2013
The extremism of Canada’s support for Israel just keeps growing. The latest example is the Conservative government in Ottawa helping convince the EU to list Hizballah’s military wing as a “terrorist” organization. After that decision was taken, Foreign Minister John Baird declared:
We are thrilled that the EU unanimously has agreed to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization. We’ve been pushing for this.
 Hassan Nasrallah said:
Why don’t you classify the state of Israel as a terror state? Why don’t you classify Israel’s military wing as a terror organization, if you recognize Israel is occupying Arab lands and refuses to implement international decisions for decades now? The entire world bears witness to the massacres perpetrated by Israel.
Nasrallah raises an important point that Canadian foreign affairs professionals must be familiar with. It’s a simple fact that Israeli forces have killed far more civilians than the military wing of Hizballah. The Israeli military and its allies in Lebanon have killed thousands of civilians. In fact, Hizballah was created in large part to fight the Israeli occupation of that country. Israel has conducted scores of targeted assassinations in many countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Certainly, Canadian foreign affairs officials must remember Gerald Bull. This Canadian engineer and designer of the Iraqi “supergun” was, according to CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre, shot dead by Israel’s secret service Mossad outside his residence in Belgium in 1990. And what about members of the current Israeli government who support illegal settlers and the killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians? But apparently none of this “terrorism” bothers Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. The Conservatives are either ignorant or relish their hypocrisy. Though they are allowed to support the Israeli military, Canadians can go to jail for sending money to a group operating a school or medical clinic in Lebanon “directly or indirectly” associated with Hizballah, which comprises an important part of the Lebanese governmental and social service structure. Dozens of Canadian companies sell to the Israeli army and many groups with charitable status promote the Israeli military. The Canadian Jewish News is full of advertisements for such groups. One ad reads:
Express your Zionism by serving as a civilian volunteer on an Israeli army supply base.
Another advertiser, the Libi Fund, runs educational projects for the Israeli military. Established in 1971 the Association for the Soldiers of Israel in Canada also provides financial and moral support to the Israeli military. A Jun 2009 Canadian Jewish News ad promoting the group exhorted readers:
Show your support for the brave youth of the IDF at our gala dinner.
Prominent Toronto couple Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz, who own or control more than two thirds of Chapters/Indigo/Coles bookstores, created the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers. Reisman and Schwartz provide up to $3m/yr for post-military scholarships to individuals without family in Israel who join the Israeli army. After completing their military service these non-Israeli “lone soldiers” gain access to this scholarship money. Heseg’s board has included a number of generals and a former head of Mossad. For the Israeli high command, “lone soldiers” are of value beyond their military capacities. Foreigners volunteering to fight for Israel are a powerful symbol to reassure Israelis weary of Israel’s behavior. Schwartz and Reisman’s support for Heseg has spurred a campaign to boycott Chapters/Indigo/Coles, which controls 70% of Canada’s retail book trade. The Harper government is plowing full steam ahead with its support for Israel. Double standards and morality be damned.

No comments: