The Global Village


Has the West found its inner Charlie?

By Robert Presser on January 18, 2015

Presser_Robert_new.jpgWatching world leaders march in Paris after the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cachère, I was struck by the opportunistic appearance of the moment.  During the very same week, Boko Haram murdered 2,000 people in Baga, Nigeria, no o one organized a march of Western leaders, even from a second tier of available politicos, to express our collective outrage at that massacre.  It was left to Canada’s John Baird to make a declaration of condemnation.  He was the most senior official within the G8 to do so.  It would seem that we treat fundamentalist terrorism in the developing world as an expected event, and there is a lax attitude towards what we can do about it. If we consider Nigeria to be a strategic world asset due to its oil reserves and production capacity, then we should expect BokoHaram’s takeover of vast swaths of the country to galvanize the same response as ISIL’s caliphate in Iraq.  Sadly, from a moral or a cynical geopolitical point of view, this is not the case. 

Time to end our tolerance of the intolerable

By Beryl Wajsman on January 11, 2015

je_suis_charlie_01.jpgThe butchery at Charlie Hebdo and at the Hyper Cacher market in Paris has been called France`s 9/11. And the reason for it is that while America’s 9/11 attacked the world’s centre of commerce, the attacks in Paris violated the world’s historical centre of freedom.  These were attacks, co-ordinated attacks,  on those who practice freedom of speech and on those who were just born Jews. Two ways of dying under fascism. The two things these terrorists cannot abide. Free speech and free Jews.
I use the word fascism because that is what France’s leading public intellectuals have used. And France, for all its failed appeasing foreign policies, is perhaps the last western nation where public intellectuals do move policy.

Le réveil tardif de la France

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on January 8, 2015

Freddy_Eytan.JPGLa France est en deuil et les drapeaux tricolores sont en berne. Les Français sont sous le choc, le terrorisme islamique a frappé Paris au cœur. Il a brisé les symboles inébranlables de la France. Il a assassiné la liberté de la presse et a tué les gardiens de la République. Cette terreur des fous d’Allah est effroyable car pour la première fois des journalistes ont été assassiné dans leur bureaux de rédaction, dans leur propre fief, devant leur ordinateur, face à leur dessin, leur créativité, leur œuvre courageuse. Auparavant, ils étaient pris en otage, puis décapités sur le champ de bataille, très loin de leur rédaction, et de leur famille. Aujourd’hui, dans la ville Lumière, des barbares ont voulu gommer des mots et des dessins par le sang des journalistes et des caricaturistes.

Canadian oil needs to decouple from the American market

By Robert M. Cutler on December 14, 2014

cutler_robert.JPGU.S. President Barack Obama's appearance on The Colbert Report this week confirmed that he has no qualms about leaving Canada in the lurch in current global energy glut.
In the interview, Colbert observed that the Republican-controlled Congress would approve the Keystone pipeline, that polls show the American people favouring it, that the State Department review concluded any pollution would not be significant, and that it would create jobs for the U.S.workforce. In response to this "grilling", Obama repeated his long-stated misgivings about the project.

Boycott this!

By Beryl Wajsman on December 14, 2014

bds.jpgSo, Concordia’s students have voted in favor of supporting an academic and investment boycott against Israel. The so-called BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement.  ”So what?” you might say. Isn’t this the annual hypocritical regurgitation of the so-called “progressives?” Yes it is. And as always, it requires a response.
A response not because those involved don’t realize their own complicity in lies, but for those who are not so politically involved and may actually think there is legitimacy to this act. A response not to rewrite history, but to remind those involved that the demonization of the Jews is not new and is aligned with the darkest forces of human history. 

Abbas playing with fire on Temple Mount

By Jordan Turner on November 27, 2014

turner_jordan.jpgAfter relative calm for the last 10 years, terror has returned to the streets of Jerusalem.  Palestinians have driven cars into women, children and newborns waiting for the train, and this week terrorists stormed into a Synagogue in a part of Jerusalem which is uncontestably part of Israel by every international standard, and murdered in cold blood four unarmed civilians in the midst of their early morning prayers.  Israeli`s, who have been lulled into a false sense of security from years of calm now return to extreme vigilance and caution in their daily lives.  As Israel wipes the blood off the ground they are left to ponder how the tension in Jerusalem has suddenly reached a fever pitch.  It has nothing to do with Palestinian`s quality of life, employment, access to education or freedom of movement, it has everything to do with the access to the Temple Mount.

L’Iran se moque des Occidentaux

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on November 27, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGLa prolongation des discussions avec l’Iran est sans doute préférable à un échec cuisant des pourparlers ou à la signature d’un mauvais accord. Cependant, tant qu’il n’y aura pas de traité crédible et définitif les occidentaux ne peuvent se réjouir et devraient au contraire être plus vigilants et intransigeants. Il faut reconnaître que dans la récente bataille diplomatique sur la suspension des sanctions et l’avenir du projet nucléaire, les Ayatollahs ont brouillé les cartes et dicté l’ordre du jour. Ils sourient ironiquement, enchantés de marquer des points. Ils peuvent enfin se frotter les mains avec satisfaction. Ils prouvent aux Occidentaux que dans le bazar oriental ils demeurent orfèvres en la matière.

La terreur islamiste à Jérusalem

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on November 19, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGLe dernier massacre contre les fidèles de la synagogue Kéhilat Yaacov à Jérusalem s’inscrit dans une série d’attentats sanglants qui ont débuté depuis plusieurs années. Quatre rabbins ont été tués avec leurs châles et livres de prières, assassinés au couteau et à la hache comme du bétail. Des images horribles qui rappellent des souvenirs lointains ceux des pogroms en Europe. Les condamnations unanimes à travers le monde sont réconfortantes mais ne peuvent en aucun cas entendues seulement après chaque attentat meurtrier. La communauté internationale devrait prendre des mesures préventives, être plus énergique face au fléau du terrorisme et elle doit le combattre sans pitié et sans distinction. Nous devons tous dénoncer le terrorisme islamique qui déferle à travers tous les continents.   

'Ich bin immer noch ein Berliner'

By Robert Frank on November 13, 2014

Frank_Robert.JPGFor the generation that has grown to adulthood in the 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell, it must be hard to fathom how profoundly the world changed on Nov. 9, 1989.
We stared in wonderment at the television images of young Berliners from both East and West standing and singing arm-in-arm atop the divide that had defined the world we had grown up in.
“Wir sind das Volk,” read their banners. We are the people.
It was completely unexpected.
Until that day, many Western political pundits told us that the authoritarian Soviet Union would be around for another century. They asserted that we ought to find a way to accommodate the now defunct superpower. Unilateral disarmament by the West was mooted as a panacea.

The Unforgotten War

By Robert Presser on November 13, 2014

Presser_Robert_new.jpgAs we approached the 100th anniversary of the First World War, there was a conscientious effort among governments and academics to revisit the causes of that war and reflect on the lessons of its aftermath.  Unlike the Second World War, there are no more witnesses alive to recount their recollections, no longer do veterans of the Great War march in Remembrance Day processions.  One hundred years on, history is making a U-turn to explore the echo of WWI, the unforgotten war.
I call it the unforgotten war because for at least a half-century its memory was suppressed by the shadow of WWII.  How did that come to pass? 

Want to stop ISIL? Kill the money trail!

By Robert Presser on September 29, 2014

ISIL.jpgA remarkable event occurred during the week of September 22nd 2014 – the US and Arab-nation coalition against ISIL attacked the Islamic fundamentalist group’s oil assets in northern Iraq and southern Syria.  Long considered off-limits under the hopes that legitimate governments would reassert control over these locations, this is the first overt attempt at cutting off the flow of profits from low-priced ($30 per barrel) oil sales used to finance the nascent caliphate’s terrorist activities.  This overt undertaking is a tacit admission that neither a legitimate Iraqi nor a non-Assad Syrian coalition are likely to re-take these assets in the short or medium-term, so preserving their integrity is to be sacrificed for the greater goal of crippling ISIL’s finances.  While this is just a first step, it represents a critical tactical change in the War on Terror, now in its second decade.

The Absurdity of the United Nations Human Rights Council

By Jordan Turner on September 14, 2014

turner_jordan.jpgAs the dust settles in the current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas following the latest cease-fire, Israel prepares for a new battle on the legal and diplomatic front.  It has now become a unique custom that all of Israel’s wars and operations be subject to international investigation and review by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). It was no surprise that on July 23rd, 2014 the HRC passed a resolution sponsored by some of the worst human rights violators, to form an inquiry into Israel’s conduct in its latest war with Hamas.

Taking the D out of BDS

By Jordan Turner on August 29, 2014

turner_jordan.jpgWith universities worldwide about to begin the new semester we are about to see a surge, as never seen before, for the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) anti-Israel movement on university campuses.   The rhetoric, protests, demonstrations and intimidation of Jews, and of those whom believe in Israel’s right to exist, will be rampant.   Just this past week in Canada the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students representing over 300, 000 university students have unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israel.  This was preceded by Ryerson University’s student union voting last April to boycott Israel.  These boycotts are only the start of what will be a well-organized push to delegitimize Israel and its supporters.

La diplomatie américaine est naïve et irréfléchie

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 30, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJérusalem, Israël.  Les images  en provenance de Gaza sont horribles et très dures à voir. Comment être indifférent à ce gigantesque enchevêtrement, à ce chantier de ruines humaines, au désastre, et à la tragédie des familles palestiniennes. Toutes les guerres sont terribles et sales et nous déplorons une fois encore les victimes et les dégâts. Cependant, les chancelleries et les médias doivent dire toute la vérité et reconnaître que la faute incombe essentiellement au Hamas qui a provoqué cette guerre.Les chefs du Hamas ont cru transformer Tel-Aviv et les villes israéliennes en champ de bataille et en ruine par un lancement massif de roquettes et de missiles, et par des méga-attentats terroristes contre des villages et kibboutzim israéliens situés le long de la frontière.

Le vrai visage du Hamas et notre juste cause

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 22, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJérusalem, Israel - La guerre que nous menons ces jours-ci contre le Hamas a été lancée à contre cœur. Elle nous a été imposée. Il faut savoir que les Israéliens ont ras le bol des guerres et souhaitent ardemment vivre en paix et en coexistence avec nos voisins arabes. Nous sacrifions chaque jour nos propres soldats, nos propres enfants, pour défendre notre pays, nos maisons et nos foyers. Les faubourgs de Gaza ne sont pas des banlieues paisibles. Le quartier de Sajajjihé où se déroule des combats acharnés ne se trouve pas à Neuilly ni à Manhattan… C’est un bastion terroriste du Hamas ! C’est delà que partent les tunnels et d’ici sont lancées les roquettes et les missiles sur les villes et villages d’Israël.

No proportionality

By Beryl Wajsman on July 14, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWell, now that the only democracy in the Middle East is trying to defend itself, we have the usual calls from some quarters that Israel’s response in Gaza is not proportional. Well, the critics may be  right.

It is not proportional that Israel gives notice of targeted bombings while Hamas launches bombs without notice. Israel should perhaps adopt that policy.

No equivalency

By Beryl Wajsman on July 7, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgOn its own, the murders of the three Israeli Jewish teenagers -  Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel - would call for special condemnation . But what makes this even more urgent, is the rush to moral equivalency in so many quarters in the public arena following the heinous killing of Mohammed Abu Khudair, the Palestinian teenager. If this is the last place, and even the only place, where one truth will be stated clearly and candidly then we must do so.  These murders are equally repugnant as individual acts. But there is no collective equivalency between the societies from which they arose.

La vengeance aveugle est contraire aux valeurs du judaïsme

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 7, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - Le meurtre  horrible du jeune palestinien par des vengeurs juifs est injustifiable et impardonnable. Contrairement aux peuples qui nous entourent, nous savons condamner fermement et arrêter les coupables ! Nous sommes aussi capables d’être solidaires d’une famille palestinienne en deuil. La douleur de la mort d’un enfant n’a pas de frontière.
Cet acte insensé a bouleversé toutes les cartes. Il a apporté  de l’eau au moulin à nos détracteurs, a fait verser bêtement et sauvagement de l’huile sur le feu, et a réanimé la haine aveugle et raciste dans un contexte déjà explosif.

The Normandy Spirit

By John Parisella on June 27, 2014

Parisella.pngLike so many in Canada, the U.S., and Western Europe, I was moved by the commemorative events surrounding the Normandy landing that took place 70 years ago on June 6, 1944. It was a moment to remember the ultimate sacrifice of what journalist Tom Brokaw labeled “the Greatest Generation,” who struggled in the defense of freedom and the elimination of Nazi barbarism. We owe so much to those who fought and to the few veterans remaining. It was a fitting memorial.
In stark contrast to the events surrounding the Normandy landing, a growing controversy in a prisoner-of-war swap soon became the news of the day.

Le combat contre la terreur des djihadistes et du Hamas

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on June 26, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - Les yeux de toute la planète sont braqués sur la Coupe du Monde, sur cette formidable bataille sportive entre des équipes venues de tous les continents au Brésil. Ils viennent dans le pays de la Samba pour danser, jouer, gagner,perdre et puis repartir, chacun vers sa propre destination. Tandis que là bas on s’amuse avec le ballon rond et les pronostics, ici, loin des projecteurs, des milliers de soldats israéliens recherchent trois adolescents innocents pris en otage par des terroristes. A proximité, et sur un autre terrain, d’autres combats font rage provoquant des centaines de milliers de victimes, des millions de réfugiés et des drames quotidiens et terrifiants.

Living with the aftermath of the First World War in Iraq

By Robert Presser on June 26, 2014

Presser_Robert_new.jpgBack in 2003 when the US was busy creating a post-invasion democracy in Iraq, Joe Biden, then a US senator, looked at the prospective constitution and had an alternative idea.  He proposed that Iraq be divided into three largely autonomous regions, the Kurds in the north and the Shiites and Sunnis along roughly an east-west axis.  Joe was a decent student of the regional history and came to the conclusion that these sects were unlikely to share power for long.  Biden said that Iraq required a political solution that simplygave each party “a seat at the table and a piece of the pie,” referring specifically to a share of the wealth expected to be created by future oil revenues.

First person: D-Day + 15 on Omaha Beach by Sid Birns

By Sid Birns on June 3, 2014

Birns_DD.jpgThe port of embarkation in the south of England was wet and mudddy.  No matter where you looked, all you could see were soldiers going in and out of tents surrounded by all kinds of equipment that would be used once we landed in Normandy.

The invasion force was in front of us having landed on June 6th, 1944, D-Day. The invasion of Fortress Europe was on and we were waiting our turn to board the landing craft.

D-Day: 70 Years After. What we owe.

By Beryl Wajsman on June 3, 2014

D_Day2.jpgFriday we will remember. We should remember every day. And everyday act with the character and valor of those heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy. 

Friday, June 6th, will be the seventieth anniversary of D-Day. We commemorate the unparalleled heroism of human beings facing inhuman elements to begin the destruction  of the most devastating evil in human history and the vanquishing of civilization’s most obscene enemy. But the remembrance must also be personal. 

Les partis de l’extrême droite et la haine du Juif en Europe

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on June 3, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGAprès l’assassinat à Paris du jeune Ilan Halimi en 2006, après la tuerie de Toulouse en 2012, voilà un nouvel attentat monstrueux au Musée Juif de Bruxelles.  La haine antisémite, la bête immonde relève la tête et assassine lâchement des Juifs au cœur de l’Europe !  Ce dernier acte de violence se déroule au moment même où des millions d’Européens de 28 pays sont partis aux urnes pour élire un nouveau Parlement plus xénophobe, et le même jour où le Pape a foulé la Terre Sainte et a prononcé la Bonne Parole en souhaitant un dialogue franc et sincère entre les trois religions monothéistes.

“Mr. Abbas, your actions belie your words.”

By Beryl Wajsman on April 28, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWe write this on Monday, April 28th,  the day the world commemorates the Holocaust. We just attended a ceremony at City Hall at which Mayor Denis Coderre led the Montreal commemoration of  “To every person there is a name.” This an annual event organized by B’nai B’rith in Montreal. Names of some of the six million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis are read out together with their age, place of residence and place of murder. This ceremony takes place in almost all major cities in the western world. Mayor Coderre was accompanied by much of Montreal’s political leadership. He was eloquent, empathetic and emotive. His words and feelings were sincere and authentic.

The duty of witness. Forgetting evil is a dangerous corrosive

By Beryl Wajsman on April 21, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs we approach Holocaust Remembrance Day this coming Sunday night, and the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that follows soon thereafter, there is a moral duty to take a hard look at the world around us. What we see must compel us to the responsibility of memory and witness. Particularly as, seemingly all around us, there is a desire to forget.

Déception et méfiance- changeons donc de stratégie

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on April 10, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGRien ne va plus avec l’Autorité palestinienne  et la méfiance persiste, pourtant rien n’est complètement perdu. L’administration américaine est confiante pour l’avenir et souhaite un prolongement des pourparlers. Tout en exerçant des pressions sur les deux parties elle réanime à chaque fois le processus pour prouver sa puissance et surtout pour ne pas perdre la face.
Jusqu’à ce jour, nous avons pensé sincèrement que notre partenaire est vraiment sérieux et que notre voisin a de bonnes intentions, capable de mettre fin aux hostilités et à la belligérance et même pourra signer  un jour un traité de paix viable. 

Syria “Sauve Qui Peut “

By David T. Jones on April 7, 2014

jones_david.jpgAt some point, one has to recognize that the cause, no matter how noble, has been lost.
And the “West” has lost in Syria.
Recall that approximately two years ago pontificating cognoscenti were saying Syrian leader Assad couldn’t last another six months, that it was “just a matter of time,” that the rebels would shortly prove victorious.
In a word, “Not.”
Assad has not only survived, he is winning; indeed, he has virtually won the civil war.

Les navires iraniens dans le collimateur d’Israël

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on March 16, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGUne fois encore Israël brouille les cartes de ses ennemis, une fois encore Tsahal prouve que son bras est long et qu’elle est capable d’atteindre des objectifs à des milliers de kilomètres de ses frontières. Dans le passé, nous avons connu des exploits extraordinaires comme à Entebbe, à Bagdad, à Tunis ou au Soudan, soit pour libérer des otages, soit pour détruire une centrale nucléaire, éliminer un chef de l’OLP et faire écrouler son QG tel un château de cartes, ou bombarder des convois de contrebandes d’armes et des chefs terroristes, en Syrie, au Liban et dans les déserts africains.

Potty-mouth Diplomacy

By David T. Jones on February 15, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Even two generations ago, I was probably a sheltered middle-class child.  Perhaps my upbringing was closer to “Victorian” in ignorance of sex and sexuality than even 20th century protocols.  At an age when today’s children are getting explicit, detailed information on pregnancy, homosexuality, etc, I was still being told that “the stork brought you” or that I was “found under a cabbage leaf.”  It generated an inchoate sense of frustration, but not living on a farm where normal animal activity would have clued me in, I had no obvious source of information.

Remembrance - Auschwitz, January 27th, 1945

By Beryl Wajsman on January 27, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgToday, January 27th, is the 69th commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Perhaps for this reason, this date was chosen as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Curiously, and sadly, it took the UN sixty years to give recognition to this most seminal and apocalyptic event in human history. The organization at whose entrance are carved the words of the prophet Isaiah that, “Swords shall be beaten into plowshares and nation shall not make war against nation anymore,”got around to commemorating Holocaust remembrance only in 2005. We are not only still waiting for Isaiah’s prophecy to be realized but also for that day when those other prophetic words “Justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream…” have life breathed into them.

Harper to Israel "Through fire and water Canada will stand with you."

By Beryl Wajsman on January 21, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThis past Monday, Prime Minister Harper addressed Israel’s Parliament – The Knesset. His speech was a bold and resolute statement of the family of the free. It was truth clearly spoken. On moral relativism. On international double standards. On the new anti-semitism. And on the incontrovertible place of Israel as the vanguard of democratic nations.  It was history made.  On a personal note, it was the most compelling expression of conscience by a Canadian leader in my memory.  We have posted the video link to the speech on our website and Facebook page. But we wanted to bring you some excerpts. They are set out below. Please take a few moments to read them. It is worth your while.  

Canada-Israël : une amitié forte et exemplaire

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on January 21, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJérusalem, Israël - Rares sont aujourd’hui les chefs d’Etats et de gouvernements  qui manifestent publiquement leur soutien inconditionnel pour Israël . Le Premier ministre canadien fait partie de cette poignée d’hommes courageux qui déclare sans ambages et tout haut de la tribune de la Knesset  « Oui, je suis un sincère ami de l’Etat d’Israël ! Oui, j’y suis avec vous corps et âme, dans le feu et l’eau ! Oui nous défendons l’existence d’un Etat libre, démocratique et juif». Un discours sincère  qui  nous réconforte et qui prouve que l’Etat juif n’est pas isolé sur la scène internationale. 

2014 : année d’incertitudes, de menaces et d’espoir

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on January 2, 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem, Israël - Le gouvernement Netanyahou se trouve aujourd’hui dans l’obligation de prendre des décisions graves pour assurer la sécurité d'Israël. Nous ne pouvons plus demeurer indifférents devant toutes les turbulences qui secouent notre région comme d’ailleurs nous ne pouvons être étrangers à la solution du problème palestinien. L’inaction et l’immobilisme risquent toujours d’aggraver les dangers, et ainsi, pour pouvoir garantir notre défense nous devrions changer à la fois de stratégie et de tactique.
Depuis l’effondrement de l’Empire ottoman, le Moyen-Orient demeure un foyer de crises permanentes, de conflits à répétitions, de coups d’Etat et d’interventions étrangères.

Rouhani’s Nuclear Deal is Old Wine in a New Bottle

By Rouba al-Fattal on December 16, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgLost in Translation, seems to be a fitting title to describe the discrepancy between the Iranian and American understanding of the nuclear deal. On 24 November, an interim agreement was signed in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany). The White House published a ‘fact sheet’ on the agreement a day before the text of the pact was officially released, and the Iranian government also published its translated version of the pact. The American version claims that the agreement ‘halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear program’; while the Iranian version states that the US ‘concurs with Iran’s right to a nuclear energy’. Even on technicalities the two versions seem to clash that the only thing they seem to agree on is to disagree.

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