Monday, May 23, 2016

Now, More Than Ever - Boycott/Divest/Sanction

“If there is something that frightens me about the memories of the Holocaust, it is the knowledge of the awful processes which happened in Europe in general, and in Germany in particular, 70, 80, 90 years ago, and finding traces of them here in our midst, today, in 2016.”

                                                                   General Ya'ir Golan
                                                                    Deputy Chief of Staff, Israeli Army

The appointment by Benjamin Netanyahu of ultra-right extremist, Avigdor Lieberman, to the second highest office in Israel's government, defence minister and de facto consul of Palestine, demonstrates that Israel is on a headlong dive into fascism.

General Golan's warning, delivered during a Holocaust Day speech, has effectively ended his career and put his life in danger - from the threat posed by his own countrymen. Speaking the truth in a state of fascism can be a death sentence.

Former member of the Knesset and peace activist, Uri Avnery, has seen the signs before as a young Jewish schoolboy witnessing the collapse of the Weimar Republic. He was lucky. His parents fled Germany just in time. The world knows what befell those who weren't as quick.

"I was there when it happened, a boy in a family in which politics became the main topic at the dinner table. I saw how the republic broke down, gradually, slowly, step by step. I saw our family friends hoisting the swastika flag. I saw my high-school teacher raising his arm when entering the class and saying “Heil Hitler” for the first time (and then reassuring me in private that nothing had changed.)

"I was the only Jew in the entire gymnasium (high school.) When the hundreds of boys – all taller than I – raised their arms to sing the Nazi anthem, and I did not, they threatened to break my bones if it happened again. A few days later we left Germany for good.

"General Golan was accused of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Nothing of the sort. A careful reading of his text shows that he compared developments in Israel to the events that led to the disintegration of the Weimar Republic. And that is a valid comparison.

"Things happening in Israel, especially since the last election, bear a frightening similarity to those events. True, the process is quite different. German fascism arose from the humiliation of surrender in World War I, the occupation of the Ruhr by France and Belgium from 1923-25, the terrible economic crisis of 1929, the misery of millions of unemployed. Israel is victorious in its frequent military actions, we live comfortable lives. The dangers threatening us are of a quite different nature. They stem from our victories, not from our defeats."

"The discrimination against the Palestinians in practically all spheres of life can be compared to the treatment of the Jews in the first phase of Nazi Germany. (The oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories resembles more the treatment of the Czechs in the “protectorate” after the Munich betrayal.)

"The rain of racist bills in the Knesset, those already adopted and those in the works, strongly resembles the laws adopted by the Reichstag in the early days of the Nazi regime."

"By the way, when the Nazis came to power, almost all high-ranking officers of the German army were staunch anti-Nazis. They were even considering a putsch against Hitler . Their political leader was summarily executed a year later, when Hitler liquidated his opponents in his own party. We are told that General Golan is now protected by a personal bodyguard, something that has never happened to a general in the annals of Israel."

This has been building for a long time. The world was put on notice just over 20-years ago when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, put to death by a countryman, for his moderate beliefs and pursuit of peace.

"In Rabin's pocket was a blood-stained sheet of paper with the lyrics to the well-known Israeli song "Shir LaShalom" ("Song for Peace"), which was sung at the rally and dwells on the impossibility of bringing a dead person back to life and, therefore, the need for peace."

What does all this say about the government of the day and our prime minister? Trudeau chose to support the Tories' motion to censure the BDS movement when he should have been embracing Boycott/Divest/Sanction, adding Canada's voice to the international community's.  Instead Trudeau chose political expediency at the expense of everything else, including morality and the honour of Canada.


the salamander said...

.. uggh ..

That's about all I can muster this morning re this article ..
and the shocking factual reality it describes & represents ..
I dare not get started on how a Prime Minister of Canada
could pimp his 'values' or beliefs on this reality.. as ours

.. uggh ..

Toby said...

Sal, we have a Prime Minister of Canada pimping himself for the Tar Sands, the pipeline industry, Saudi war wagons, and the whole neo-liberal agenda; why not this?

The Mound of Sound said...

Ultimately, Sal, Trudeau's decision to join in censuring B/D/S was based on a calculated assessment of how refusal could be used against the Liberal government by the Tories. It was a purely craven, political decision that Trudeau had no right to take on behalf of Canadians.

This was one of the incidents that led me to call Trudeau "Slick." Montreal Simon really takes offence at that. He seems to believe that Trudeau, by virtue of not being Harper, deserves to be treated with reverence. Fuck that.

Unknown said...

"Trudeau's decision to join in censuring B/D/S was based on a calculated assessment of how refusal could be used against the Liberal government by the Tories." That's incredible Mound! What you are saying is that Trudeau felt he had no argument moral and other wise in any argument against the Tories if they attacked him for saying NO to approving the B/D/S motion. What it says to me is that Trudeau and his Liberals are flat out cowards! If Trudeau and his Liberal government do not have the necessary confidence in their own ability to make the right decisions based on principle and then be able to support those decisions against their critics, they have forfeited the intellectual and moral authority to lead this country.The Ontario legislator just voted and said NO they would not support approval of the BDS motion. Individual citizens contacted the legislators and let them know that the people of Ontario do not support approving this BDS motion. They listened. If I could ask Trudeau one question face to face, it would be, why do you want to be the Prime Minister of Canada. It is early days and you have already shown that Canadian interest mean nothing to you, so again, why do you want to be The Prime Minister of Canada?

Anonymous said...

@PMN, all parties are cowards when it comes to B/D/S. Apologists for Israel crimes and their enablers have done a great job to suppress common sense with cries of "Anti-semite".

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Pamela. Sorry, I'm a bit confused. Are you saying the Ontario government initially refused to support B/D/S but then switched because of the will of the Ontario people? If so that's a damn sight better than we got out of our federal government.

The Mound of Sound said...

Here's another point. How do you think Pierre Trudeau would have responded to B/D/S?

Unknown said...

Hi Mound. No the Ontario Government didn't initially refuse to support the BDS. I don't know why provincially, they decided to hold a vote, but that's when people contacted the legislators and told them that we do not support BDS approval.

The Mound of Sound said...

Pamela, when you mentioned MLAs getting phone calls on this I wondered how likely would the ordinary guy be to go to the effort of calling his/her legislator on something like this. I wonder what the results would have been had the government commissioned a poll instead of going with phone calls.

Unknown said...

This was a private members bill presented by Tim Hudak and a Liberal named Mike Cole. In part it was meant to prevent the Provincial government from dealing with companies who do not support the BDS motion. Ultimately it was meant to stop individuals, companies and organizations from practicing BDS against Israel.When people got wind of this they took action and contacted their legislator some by phone, but I should have also mentioned some by email.The bill was voted down.Hudak's comments were absured. I think Canadians are fed up with the conservative's trying to control free speech by trying to pass bills like this. Hudak may have thought that the BDS motion was supported Federally, so it would have chance provincially.

Unknown said...

In your question how would Pierre Trudeau respond to the BDS motion, I can of course only hazard a guess based on his decisions and policies while in office.Trudeau was never afraid to make decisions or create policy that brought him criticism, and sometimes strong criticism. His creation of bilingual and multicultural policy comes to mind. When he created The Multicultural Act, it took me awhile to realize that he was ahead of his time.I don't think any other country created legislation in support of Multiculturism. It created an inclusive culture in Canada for new immigrants. A first Nations concept by the way. I lived in Toronto at a time when it was mainly a protestant,white bread excrutiatingly dull culture. Immigrants then came from all over the world. There are now over 100 languages spoken in Toronto. People of all races, religions and customs not only living together but thriving. I love it. This diverse massive immigration was done without riots, without violence and without protests. This was because of Pierre Trudeau, this was his vision come to life. Actually he was also ahead of his time in initiating the The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because it is one of the few or only Constitutions that contains along with individual rights, group rights. If I am incorrect about this please let me know.

Trudeau believed that if you consider another country your enemy, then you need to talk and negotiate with that country. He did not believe that a military build up was the only solution. This thinking he put into practice by visiting China, Russia and Cuba. He was villified by the US government and the US right wing media. He was also villified by the Canadian right wing media. Trudeau also strongly believed that Canada should have an independent foreign policy. He meant independent of the US/NATO foreign policy. In fact he wanted to take Canada out of NATO, but was talked out of it.

Trudeau also allowed US draft dodgers to come to Canada. 50K of them came. He even said that he would like Canada to be a military refuge.

When the Vietnamese boat people were without country, Trudeau reached out and took in all 60k of them. If I'm incorrect about Trudeau initiating this decision please let me know. When Idi Amin was murdering the Asian Muslims living in Uganda, their leader The Agha Khan phoned Pierre Trudeau and asked if they could come to Canada. There was I think about 10 to 15k of them. Trudeau said yes.

This is only a few of his policies and decisions, but they all share something in common. The outcome of each decision whether implicitly or explicitly effected human lives and Pierre Trudeau knew it.

Would Pierre Trudeau have supported the BDS motion? No, I don't think so. The Israeli genocide and oppression of the Palestinians would have bothered him and supporting the BDS motion would have meant sanctioning that continued genocide and oppression. As to him being demonized as an antisemite that would have had little if any effect on him, because Pierre Trudeau had a conscience and knew to the very core of his being who he was.

Mound, you probably know much more about Pierre Trudeau then I do. I get the sense, although I may be wrong, that you knew him directly or knew him through your work in the Liberal Party. I'd be curious what you think his decision would be on the BDS motion.