Retired diplomat Robert Fowler made a splash in March when he voiced the widely held view that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's slavish support for Israel was driven by ethnic politics. Fowler told a Liberal Party conference on Canadian foreign policy that "the scramble to lock up the Jewish vote in Canada meant selling out our widely admired and long-established reputation for fairness and justice."
Israel may have problematic politics but it is also a hothouse for remarkable storytellers and journalism as demonstrated by some upcoming offerings at the upcoming Toronto Jewish Film Festival, on from April 17 to 25.
The latest available episode of the Israel TV sitcom, "Arab Labour" is only on at 12 p.m. on April 23 at the Al Green Theatre in Toronto, but you may be able to rent it eventually in some video and DVD outlets along with past episodes. Sayed Kashua, the scriptwriter and creator of this remarkable series may be among the funniest men in the Jewish state. I wish someone could do something as biting in Canada.
Thousands across Gaza live with severe injuries: youth war amputees, mothers severely burned by phosphorus bombs, countless Palestinians coping with physiological wounds, all injuries stemming from the disaster wrought on Gaza by the Israeli military assault in the winter of 2008/2009.
And war injuries remain a consistent reality in 2010.
"Every night, even last night, Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza," said Muawiya Hassanein, director-general of ambulance and emergency services for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, in an interview from Gaza City during the recent strikes.
"Many were injured... there are serious injuries and those people are being treated right now at the European Hospital in Gaza."
When Benjamin Netanyahu humiliated U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden two weeks ago with his settlements announcement it was just one more calculated effort to both expose Barack Obama as a weak president and to increase Netanyahu's own geo-political power. Unfortunately for the Middle East, Obama, and the world in general, the brinkmanship seemed to work. The immediate U.S. response to this deliberate humiliation was half-hearted, weak and confused. The balance of power within the U.S.-Israeli alliance appeared to shift overnight. Obama is the classic ditherer -- faced with someone bold and daring, he simply can't find the moral outrage or courage to stand up for his principles.
Related rabble.ca story:
March 16 is the seventh anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer who was run over by an Israeli army bulldozer while she was trying to stop the demolition of a home in the Gaza Strip. Her parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, are still fighting to hold the government to account, and are currently in an Israeli court with their civil suit.
A number of Toronto organizations -- including Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Faculty for Palestine, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Students Against Israeli Apartheid, Independent Jewish Voices (Toronto), the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Women in Solidarity with Palestine, and Labour for Palestine (Toronto) -- recently protested an award gala where actor Morgan Freeman was given the 'Key of Knowledge.' They have now released this follow-up statement.
Best-of-the-Net video: On May 6 CAIA protested outside the venue where Morgan Freeman accepted an award from Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, ignoring the cultural and academic boycott of Israel launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Radio host Jian Ghomeshi was emcee of the event.