B'nai Brith upset at mention of Palestinians on exam, MB gov't to "make sure this doesn't happen again"

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6079_Smith_W

@ Michelle

@remind

I don't see why there should be a problem

If you are both working toward the same goal does it really matter if you use exactly the same tactic?

It's good understand why others do what they do, but really getting the house built is a bit more important than making sure you all use the same kind of hammer.

Unionist

Brilliant, genstrike, thank you.

B'nai Brith is not a problem in this country. They are a fringe group of fanatics. The problem is Stephen Harper; Jason Kenney; Peter Kent; Thomas Mulcair; Michael Ignatieff; Bob Rae; Pat Martin; Judy Wasylycia-Leis; Nancy Allan; Cheri DiNovo; and others who have either power, or a real following. They are the ones who must be "fought tooth and nail, confronted at every possible point and turn" - to quote 2dawall.

genstrike

2dawall wrote:

I know its late on this but I really do not think we can ignore the B'Nai Brith; they ought to be fought tooth and nail, confronted at every possible point and turn. It is just too bad there is no organization in Wpg to do that.

I do think B'nai Brith has to be confronted on some of their ridiculous bullshit (especially the slander they swing at Palestinian solidarity movements), but lets look at what B'nai Brith managed to accomplish in the last few months:

They tried to get Israeli Apartheid Week banned.  Result:  Israeli Apartheid Week had six events over five days, most of which were at or approaching a full house.

They then tried to get a motion passed in the Manitoba legislature condemning IAW.  Result:  the motion failed, they looked like they were trying to censor people.

Now, they're pulling this stuff with the exam.  Result:  Everyone, even the Winnipeg Free Press, is calling them on it, and the national organization has to put out a press release "clarifying" things.  And even in the "clarification" story, they still came off looking stupid - reading between the lines, there's a big shot at them in the WFP story on the clarification.

Sure, they've managed to get a few shots in and some ridiculous slander printed, but that is largely due to a media which is more or less hostile to Palestinian solidarity organizing.

remind remind's picture

LMAO, they are so a problem.

 

Funny as hell denial.

Unionist

Are not! Nyehhh!

Cytizen H

I think the discussion on this thread could provide material for a really really good answer to the essay question in question. I believe the question was asking whether or not celebrities should speak out on world issues. I think this incident with Kreviazuk points to one possible answer. If celebrities, outside of their art (assuming they;re artists), are going to make statements about anything going on in the world they should have the courage to stand up for what they're saying. Otherwise they are clearly just using world events to bolster their image. As for the question of boycott, it's kind of a moot point. Anyone here actually listen to Kreviazuk?

milo204

i agree!!  What bugs me the most is that the minister of education and now kreviazuk are totally pandering to b'nai b'rith even though their claim is ludicrous and ultimately racist.  Claiming that even talking about palestinian suffering is wrong is basically saying their lives aren't worth anything, because they're palestinian.

 

And if i was kreviazuk: she should have condemned B'nai for attack her like that and implying that she's some kind of jew hater for caring about palestinians without paying lip service to Israel in the same sentence.  Unfortunately the pro israel fever in canada is at an all time high and all politicians and government employees are scared to say anything that can even remotely be perceived as going against Israels current government policy.  

 

 

 

Unionist

milo204 wrote:

 Unfortunately the pro israel fever in canada is at an all time high and all politicians and government employees are scared to say anything that can even remotely be perceived as going against Israels current government policy.  

What exactly are you talking about? "Pro-Israel fever"? What utter tripe. That "fever" is coming FROM politicians, not the population. The politicians aren't "reacting" to anything. Have you noticed people afraid to demonstrate and speak against the murderous attack on the flotilla? Or turn in their awards and honours to Pride Toronto for banning all talk about "Israeli apartheid"?

There's been a lot of talk, in the wake of incidents like this and Libby's case, about how "careful" people, especially high profile, need to be in talking about Israel these days. I call bullshit. That's exactly the message that the Harpers and Zionists and others want to instil. That's the message the Carole James and Jack Layton have now imposed on various wings of the NDP - and what Cheri DiNovo tried to accomplish.

The ones who should be "careful" are those suppressing activism and the truth.

absentia

Politicians make notoriously unreliable allies. Look how many of its former good buddies the US has stabbed in the back - and other body parts. If/when the Israeli regime becomes too embarrassing, too expensive, too great a liability, Clinton and Harper, and all the dominos, will fall into anti-Israeli line, just as readily as they went pro.

  I bet, with a  half-way decently co-ordinated media campaign, popular sentiment could be turned in about 48 hours.

6079_Smith_W

absentia wrote:

Politicians make notoriously unreliable allies. Look how many of its former good buddies the US has stabbed in the back - and other body parts. If/when the Israeli regime becomes too embarrassing, too expensive, too great a liability, Clinton and Harper, and all the dominos, will fall into anti-Israeli line, just as readily as they went pro.

  I bet, with a  half-way decently co-ordinated media campaign, popular sentiment could be turned in about 48 hours.

I agree with your point, but I don't think politicians should be anyone's blind supporter. I don't trust ones who are in the pockets of big business, and I wouldn't trust one who is just a puppet of an interest I support, either. I'm not saying a politician shouldn't be a staunch supporter of social justice, but we shouldn't feel betrayed when they don't do everything we want all the time. They have to balance their conscience with the public good and political reality, after all - quite a juggling act.

I should probably make it clear that this doesn't mean I support the province knuckling under on this one; as I have said already, I do not.

 

"I agree with you. I want to do it. Now make me do it."

Franklin Roosevelt - the guy who campaigned against joining WWII and then did it anyway.

dgr_insurrection

Polunatic2 wrote:

As we've been told many times before, provincial NDP sections are not under discipline from the federal NDP. So they can oppose electoral reform, freeze wages, take Israel's side and take their base for granted as necessary to demonstrate that they are "responsible". Who else are progressive voters going to support anyway? 

 

The same is true for all political parties in Canada. The provincial 'versions' of the parties are often markedly different from their federal incarnations. Another example that comes to mind is the BC Libs vs the federal Libs.

vaudree

While I think that BB has blown this out of proportion, the essay question was about whether celebrities should get involved with causes.  I think that they should have been able to find an example of a cause which had celebrities on both sides of the issue so that the focus was on the question of celebrity involvment rather than whether or not one agrees with the position of said celebrity.

The mention of any issue peripherally when the focus of the question is not on that particular issue is problematic especially considering Daniel Gilbert's research on the issue.  If one is presented with information but made to focus on something else (ie the celebrity issue in a timed exam) then one is more apt to accept said information as true (unless one already has an opinion on the issue).  I think that a person's support or opposition of an issue should be based on the facts.  The fact is that Canada was no different than Germany was with the Jews or Israel was with the Palestinians - look what we did to the First Nations, Metis and Inuit within our midst!

And note what the student afraid of - that a focus on the bad things Israel had done would make people hate Jews.  Think of this for a moment, can anything that Israel does motivate any of you to hate JUDES?  And even The Canadian Islamic Congress, has only positive things to say about David Lewis (Naomi Klein's husband's grandfather):

http://www.canadianislamiccongress.com/ar/opeds_printer.php?id=12134

Unionist says: There's been a lot of talk, in the wake of incidents like this and Libby's case, about how "careful" people, especially high profile, need to be in talking about Israel these days. I call bullshit. That's exactly the message that the Harpers and Zionists and others want to instil.

Politicians always have to be careful about what they say because there are those looking for a phrase that they can take out of context and blow out of proportion. That said, the Manitoba government doesn't want to make waves, in part, because they have no control over foreign policy (it is not Provincial jurisdiction). They may not realise that BB tends to vote Conservative any way so they would not be losing by sticking their neck out. Unionist, Libby appologised for getting the date wrong. That's it.

RE: B'nai Brith wants the department of education to check every student's paper, and count the anti-Israel comments.

As far as I know, the Dept of Education has no plans to do this. Their concern was in accomodating the one student so that becoming upset about this question doesn't influence the final grade. Whether the student should have gotten upset or not probably has less to do with the question and the fear instilled in said student at home.

RE: I would say that this is a new low for B'nai Brith, but I think trying to get the University of Manitoba to unjustly and without cause cancel Israeli Apartheid Week, and their vicious campaign of slander against IAW and its organizers is worse

This stuff is going to backfire on them eventually.

 

 

 

2dawall

The BB still has a lot of pull because it portrays itself as a human rights organization. Locally here in Wpg David Matas gets access to the media at any time he wants. Forwhatever reason, a couple of years ago a CanPalNet spokesperson here, Paul Burrows, actually gave a compliment to Matas due to his work with immigrants, completely ignoring the fact that Matas only does it to cover his BB work. I think all and any pro-Israeli groups should be met with anger, rage, etc and that includes the vastly underestimated, CAMERA and FLAME. As reviled as they are even by other Zionists groups, their ads in largely Gentile publications have a huge impact in the North American midWest. I cannot count the number of times that someone has repeated something from those ads as they appear in countless magazines, many of which are in medical clinic waiting rooms etc.

remind remind's picture

Incessant operant conditioning and turning lies into "truth".

 

perhaps someday they will grab a brain.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I am still wondering why b'nai brith is so concerned... it's not as if the students were asked a geography question, like, oh, "where is the capital of Palestine"...

remind remind's picture

They are evil and have control issues, I would say.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

bagkitty wrote:

I am still wondering why b'nai brith is so concerned... it's not as if the students were asked a geography question, like, oh, "where is the capital of Palestine"...

They most likely can't tolerate even the suggestion that the IDF would ever kill the innocent, or that Israel itself is ever anything but a helpless, yet benevolent victim in this dispure.  They would have to face the fact that, at some point, the state they are so unquestioningly defending switched from being David to being Goliath(or, maybe, was never David at all).

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

By the way, CBC News tonight had a segment by Naylah Ayed (sp?) on what life is like for the Palestinians under the Israeli blockade.

2dawall

The thing with BB and all North American Zionists is that they have had their way for so long they cannot handle losing .1% of territory.

Burrows

2dawall wrote:

Locally here in Wpg David Matas gets access to the media at any time he wants. Forwhatever reason, a couple of years ago a CanPalNet spokesperson here, Paul Burrows, actually gave a compliment to Matas due to his work with immigrants, completely ignoring the fact that Matas only does it to cover his BB work.

 

I doubt Matas would view my article on B'Nai Brith and his apologetics for Israeli state terror to be a compliment.  You are certainly right that I mentioned his other human rights and immigration work in passing, and did not want to write it off completely as a "cover" or a charade.  I do not claim to know Mr. Matas's motivations or the merits or demerits of his other (non-Israel advocacy) work.  I spoke solely to the issue of what he said and did about Israel and the Canada Palestine FIlm Festival in Winnipeg.  Those words and deeds highlight his hypocrisy on this issue, and call into question the "human rights advocacy" of B'Nai Brith Canada.  I still stand by what was written about this (five years or so ago), and now there is plenty more grist for that mill, because Matas and B'Nai Brith can't help themselves from jumping to Israel's defence everytime their favoured state commits a crime, and yelling hysterically (and calling people anti-Semites and self-haters) everytime someone with a shred of principles calls bullshit.  For anyone interested in seeing the "compliment" I gave to Matas, they can read the Electronic Intifada commentary I wrote for themselves: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4222.shtml .  

Cheers,

Paul 

Unionist

Heh - not all that "complimentary", Paul! Thank you very much for joining us here, clarifying some issues, and for your activism in a good cause. Now that's a compliment.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

2dawall wrote:

The thing with BB and all North American Zionists is that they have had their way for so long they cannot handle losing .1% of territory.

If they do, the whole thing unravels... keep pulling on the threads.

2dawall

Burrows wrote:

I doubt Matas would view my article on B'Nai Brith and his apologetics for Israeli state terror to be a compliment.  You are certainly right that I mentioned his other human rights and immigration work in passing, and did not want to write it off completely as a "cover" or a charade.  I do not claim to know Mr. Matas's motivations or the merits or demerits of his other (non-Israel advocacy) work.  I spoke solely to the issue of what he said and did about Israel and the Canada Palestine FIlm Festival in Winnipeg.  Those words and deeds highlight his hypocrisy on this issue, and call into question the "human rights advocacy" of B'Nai Brith Canada.  I still stand by what was written about this (five years or so ago), and now there is plenty more grist for that mill, because Matas and B'Nai Brith can't help themselves from jumping to Israel's defence everytime their favoured state commits a crime,Paul 

Sorry Paul but I am not talking about your news release; I think I am quoting an article that quoted you in either the Winnipeg Sun or the Toban. Unfortunately I cannot yet find it to reproduce. I may have a hard copy somewhere or search further but it was a reporter's article.

Yiwah

watson wrote:

Newbie here, curious how come every other thread drifts towards the merits or shortcomings of the ndp?....

Anyway, this  raises a number of curiosities--

Setting aside the Gaza/Israeli content of this exam question, the reading passage is too loaded with emotional content to appear on an exam, except if you are testing your subjects' emotional resiliency.  After having to think about and write about Ms. K's descriptive images, I know that I'd find it difficult to move on to the next question. Would be curious to know what course this was for.

If I am a passionate animal rights activist, a similar descriptive passage, perhaps on the clubbing of seals might might make me want to follow Ms. K's example and just crawl into bed and have a good cry. Are only "artists" allowed to be emotional? Or are today's students expected to be coldly dispassionate as their future careers will demand? 

Disturbing indeed is this idea:"  Pull aside each one in which the student mentioned Israel as a victimizer," said Yusim."

Also, I find this quote of interest, "This was a new kind of horror and fear that I had not seen before on television. I don't remember what the next commercial was trying to sell me", but wonder if Ms. K is being deliberately ironic, or if this is a throwaway comment, reflecting our lack of attention span and a general perception of how we get our information (in soundbites and thirty second lifestyle melodramas.) 

 

As usual, more questions than answers....

 

Do you ever get the feeling you're talking into an empty room?

I also question the inclusion of that question on the exam.  Whether it was discussing the rape of women in Darfur, the 'collateral damage' in Iraq, or any other emotionally evocative description of the horrors we visit upon one another, I would be asking...what is the educational value of this question?  What is the intended outcome?  What is it testing?  What course is this?

6079_Smith_W

Yiwah wrote:

I also question the inclusion of that question on the exam.

 

Yup. Considering the performers at my niece's winter pageant weren't even allowed to say the word "Christmas" or sing any seasonal songs specific to that holiday (though this was in a different province) it is surprising that the question was there in the first place. Usually school boards steer away from anything that might have a hint of controversy.

I don't even think it was something added because it might blow up like this (though it definitely crossed my mind). I think a few people in the chain probably just missed having their coffee that morning and just weren't thinking.

Unionist

What business is it of politicians to intervene in this educational issue on a political basis?

That's a vital question for a democracy. That's what the Minister of Education did. Does she read through all course and exam materials to ensure their pedagogical efficacy? Should citizens permit such a state of affairs?

The debate as to the pedagogical value and impact of the question is very different. I'd leave that to the pedagogues.

Yiwah

The politician in question in the Minister of Education.

 

...

 

It's actually part of her job description to butt in.

Unionist

Well, Yiwah, we'll have to agree to disagree. I hope struggles, causes, and historical events of importance to you are never censored out of courses because an ultra-Zionist group complains to the government.

Yiwah

Unionist wrote:

Well, Yiwah, we'll have to agree to disagree. I hope struggles, causes, and historical events of importance to you are never censored out of courses because an ultra-Zionist group complains to the government.

I wasn't citing her job description with approval.

The struggles, causes and historical events of importance to me and my people have always been censored out, continue to be censored out or lied about in the curriculum, not because of the complaints of some, but rather the complacence of the many.

Unionist

Yes, Yiwah, I understood the Minister had the power to do what she did. I didn't think anyone doubted that. But you questioned why that question was included in the exam. My feeling is that such a debate, in the face of pro-Israel political interference, is a bit diversionary. Of course, you and watson have every right to explore the issue. My own view is that something darker and more dangerous is at work which needs to be explored first.

genstrike

Burrows wrote:
because Matas and B'Nai Brith can't help themselves from jumping to Israel's defence everytime their favoured state commits a crime, and yelling hysterically (and calling people anti-Semites and self-haters) everytime someone with a shred of principles calls bullshit.

Don't forget, he also said IAW was similar to neo-Nazis and the KKK back in March

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