Saturday, January 3, 2009

Getting on Warren Kinsella's Good Side

Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism; also rarely known as judeophobia) is prejudice against or hostility toward Jews as a group. The prejudice or hostility is usually characterized by a combination of religious, racial, cultural and ethnic biases. While the term's etymology might suggest that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, since its creation it has been used exclusively to refer to hostility towards Jews.

Amazing really. Considering the fact that I have (and still do) supported the existence of the State of Israel and Israel 's right to defend itself against its enemies. I have supported Liberals4Israel headed by fellow Liberals and friends Meredith Caplan, Jason Cherniak and Michael Levitt. I've participated in the Walk for Israel. I've donated money to an ad campaign in the Globe in which several Liberals took part in in 2006.

In addition to that, I have repeatedly said that I DO NOT support the terrorist groups of Hamas or Hezbollah, DO NOT recognize their elected government, DO NOT recognize their ideals that call for the destruction of all Israelis and Jews.

Warren now supports the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada as does his ex-friend/friend Jason Cherniak. Another amazement really.

Here's what Jason had to say about Michael Ignatieff in 2006:

Click here for all of his posts.

And, of course on October 11, 2006, Warren wrote this Re Iggy's comments on Qana and Israeli war crimes:

October 11, 2006 – You know, in my limited experience, aspiring to be a New Millennium Kim Campbell is not ever a good idea, politically.


And today Kinsella defends Ignatieff's comments as this:

• On Israel, I and many others had been upset that Ignatieff wondered aloud if war crimes had been committed in Qana. Soon afterwards, he agreed that such determinations should be left to international bodies – and he went to Holy Blossom Temple to apologize, and accept personal responsibility for his error. That impressed me, too.

What Warren forgets is that while he was sitting on the sidelines (taking shots at almost the entire Liberal Party for 4.5 years), guys like me were defending Michael Ignatieff while he was in Europe not making any statements about Qana. So much so that his wife Zsuzsanna Zohar phoned me when she and Michael returned from abroad to thank me for my undying support. Little did I know Michael response would be that Israel was committing war crimes and that he wasn't losing sleep over Qana.

The reason I left the Ignatieff campaign was not his position on Israel. It was the Quebec nation motion. That and the incredible burning of bridges his campaign team was doing.

In 2008, I made a decision not to back Michael again and rallied behind Bob Rae (which makes me a "former activist" I guess). So a bunch of people made some derogatory comments on my blog regarding Warren and Michael. I made no such comments about my friend Warren, but I was "delinked" from his blog, thereby putting me in the same company as Jason Cherniak.

Now, back to being anti-Israel. I apparently led Warren and Jason to believe that I am under the impression Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. I did so on this blog. Had I asked this question and been a professor at the Carr Center, I'd be provoking debate. But since I'm not, I'm being portayed as having my head in my ass and being anti-Israel.

Loosely, I'd define myself more of a humanist. I'm sick of seeing dead children killed by bombs on TV and on the internet. Not just in Israel and Gaza, but everywhere. So I am sorry if I don't believe in the Israeli invasion in Gaza. My head is well out of my ass Warren and completely on my shoulders.

And lastly Warren asked this on my blog the other day:

Warren K said...
Jim, the suggestion that "genocide" is taking place here is appalling. I know you would never adopt the lexicon of Iran, anti-Semites, and their ilk. If that is indeed what you are saying, I would ask that you reconsider.
Dec 30, 2008 4:15:00 PM

Not that I have to reconsider Warren, because I did not say Israel was committing genocide. I think you of all people know better than that. I would expect Jason does too as I continue to receive his Liberals4Israel emails as recently as Thursday. But should you choose to believe that, feel free. I'm on the side of innocent victims, regardless of their race, religion, politics, entitlements, creed or colour.

If that puts my head in my ass so be it.

You sir, owe me an apology!


Jymn said...

Genocide is indeed too strong a word, even if you never said it. But "invasion" is a much more appropriate term than "ground assault". You are being too kind.

As for Iggy, I do not know the man. But I do feel his position on aggression and war is cavalier and superficial. I still like him as leader of the Libs but only on a superficial level. He is a figurehead but he is an icky one.

Blues Clair said...

Kinsella is depressing. Keep your head up Mr. Curran.

Anonymous said...

Funny how you mildly criticize Israeli actions and have been apologizing since...
Your position was clear but it seems that you are trying to get back into good books...

Warren K is a joke that has shown his pro-Israel bias very strongly. Nothing that he writes will ever be neutral on the subject and as a consequence, I hope that he's not taken seriously. His bias should be reminded every time he starts to discuss the Middle-East...

Skinny Dipper said...

Don't worry if people call you anti-Semitic if you oppose the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Other people get called anti-American for opposing the American invasion of Iraq. I can imagine that some Canadians could be called un-Canadian for opposing Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan.

The problem with Israel in the long run is that it is facing a demographic time bomb where the Israeli Arabs could become the majority (or significant minority ) 50 years from now. Israel will become an Jewish state with a minority being Jewish.

Israel is a democracy. However, not all groups of citizens get the full benefit of belonging to this democracy. Israeli Arab neighbourhoods do not get the same funding of services that the Jewish neighbourhoods get. Also, participation in the Israeli military is essential in getting promoted to good jobs in Israeli society. Israeli Arabs do not get drafted into the military. Therefore, they do not get the opportunity to advance socially in Israeli economic society. These citizens may end up having less sympathy for their fellow Israeli citizens and demonstrate more of an attachment to their Palestinian cousins in the West Bank and Gaza.

For the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, there is no incentive to reach a peace agreement with Israel right now. If one were signed, it would be on Israel's terms: control over large parts of the West Bank including all of Jerusalem, control over water resources on the West Bank. The continued presence of Israeli settlers in large parts of the West Bank, annexation of the land west of the separation barrier/apartheid wall, and external controls over Gaza. Right now, Hamas in Gaza doesn't need to win the current battle with Israel. It just needs to battle to a perpetual draw by wearing out the Israelis.

Most troublesome is the Palestinian insistence of the right of return. Israel could recognize the right of return of all Palestinians to the land between the Med and Dead Seas, or at least offer compensation in place of the right of return.

The Israelis can use the invasion/incursion into Gaza as a short term solution. They will need to settle with the Palestinians in the long run. Otherwise, Israel will no longer practically be a Jewish state, but another Palestinian state with a lot of Jews.

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not surprised that you're being accused of anti-Semitic slurs. The pro-Israel lobby takes no prisoners.

I've been getting something of the same. For years I've condemned America's and NATO's reliance on aerial bombardment of villages in Afghanistan as inhumane and excessive. Because of their radius of lethality they're bound to kill innocents in the vicinity of legitimate targets.

Bombing villagers from the air is damnable. It's a highly effective form of terror, particularly when the innocents have no ability to flee.

I condemn Israel's use of aerial bombardment in densely populated areas such as Gaza. If you want to go in and fight gunmen in populated areas, you send gunmen of your own. You don't obliterate the place and slaughter innocents out of convenience.

But criticize the tactics and you're anti-Semitic. Criticize any Israeli policy and it's ditto.

I don't support Israel beyond supporting its right to exist strictly within the 1967 borders. I support the Palestinians' right to exist in their own state based on that same border.

That doesn't mean that I am obliged to take sides in these endless conflicts. Nor does it mean that I have to think Israel has some blank cheque to "defend itself."

These piddling, unguided rockets posed no threat to Israel's existance. That's sheer fantasy. Yet it was the premise that Israel used to justify a massive aerial bombing campaign on Gaza.

If one can't fairly criticize a friend, I guess you don't have much of a friend.

janfromthebruce said...

James, more simply put one is with them or against them = there is no nuisance. Anyway, I am like you, I despise seeing innocence killed, and particularly children.
My boundary is always children.

janfromthebruce said...

I need to say this: I am horrified by the onslaught of killing innocent lifes that the Israel govt is attacking. I cannot belief that it supposed civilized people is waging a so lopsided attack against such as oppressed people.
The politics of a right-wing govt in waiting is what this is all about. Never will I ever support the propaganda machine of war and waging it support democracy and freedom. This is the prime example of bull. Hamas, no matter that one might not agree with them, was democratically elected, but the West, because they did not like the result, ignored its legitimacy. One either agrees with this principle or not.

Beijing York said...

Hamas is like a paper thin justification for inflicting this massacre. Even though they were elected, they are used as a convenience to "justify" invasion and occupation, much like the US used AQ as the raison d'etre for invading and occupying Afghanistan.

The word "terrorist" has undergone absurd transformations in this decade to justify a change in how the West conducts itself in the global South.

I grew up believing that the State of Israel was a good and just thing. I was taught about the horrors of the Holocaust. But the State of Israel has been an incredible disappointment. Their conduct has been deplorable with respect to the Palestinians within and adjacent to their borders. Even among Jewish citizens, they have treated indigenous Sephardic Jews worse than transplanted Ashkenazic Jews. Israel was supposed to be a model society.

Accusations of anti-semitism when criticizing Israeli government policy are as meaningless as accusation of anti-americanism when criticizing US government policy.

Dr.Dawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr.Dawg said...

Qana was a war crime, at least in my opinion. Iggy's wavering on this to curry favour was unpleasant to watch. Now we have the assault on Gaza--another war crime (collective punishment).

But the main point is this: to say anything critical of the carnage inflicted by Israel makes one "anti-Semitic" according to professional smear-artists like Cherniak.

As Brian Klug noted in The Nation some time ago:

In his contribution to A New Antisemitism?, historian Peter Pulzer, faulting the way "the liberal press" sometimes reports the activities of the Israel Defense Forces in the occupied territories, makes a telling point about the misuse of words. He says: "When every civilian death is a war crime, that concept loses its significance. When every expulsion from a village is genocide, we no longer know how to recognize genocide. When Auschwitz is everywhere, it is nowhere." Point taken. But equally, when anti-Semitism is everywhere, it is nowhere. And when every anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite, we no longer know how to recognize the real thing--the concept of anti-Semitism loses its significance.

shlemazl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Northern PoV said...


Stop worrying about that puff-piece.

for a good view of M.E issues check out Juan Cole:

Jason Cherniak said...

I'm not sure why you are linking this issue to Michael Ignatieff. It's like you want people to ignore his recent statement of principle and, instead, rely on his two-year old political gaffe.

The problem with your position on Gaza is that you oppose the killing of civilians, yet you allow Israel no option to defend it's own citizens.

You have to remember that 250,000 Southern Israelis have been forced to live in a state of fear with regular, random rocket attacks from the Government of a neighbouring political entity. If you were running Israel, what would you do to respond?

Blues Clair said...

Cherniak, there's no doubt that Southern Israelis shouldn't have to live in constant fear. Neither should Palestinians.

James Curran said...

Jason, quit making me laugh.

Ignatieff gaffe?

Who wrote this Jason?

Saturday, October 14, 2006
The real problem with Ignatieff
I've written the following as a letter to the Globe and Mail. I don't know if it will be published, but I think it is important enough to merit attention here. Some people misunderstand the real problem.


I am a Jewish delegate to the Liberal convention and I was very disappointed to see Michael Ignatieff accuse Israel of a war crime. My disappointment goes beyond my personal support for Israel, though. Michael Ignatieff is running to be the leader of a G8 country. We cannot have a leader who would accuse an ally of committing war crimes. If Mr. Ignatieff wants to remain an academic, then he can continue giving such “frank” opinions. However, if he wants to be prime minister then he will have to learn how to speak like one.

Posted by Jason Cherniak at 12:18 PM

Oh. It was you. Which opinion is the real Michael's opinion? I guess his beliefs have been trumped by his desire to be Prime Minister.

I let no option for Israel to defend its citizens? Jeezus Jason. You wanna attack 1.5 million people and not let them go anywhere to free themselves of the attacks? Starve them. Leave them without water, power, medical supplies? Let children die in tunnels trying to scavenge food as the tunnels collapse on top of them.

Let me ask you JASON, if you starve a people for long enough, what do you think their options are? 1. Just Die. 2. Die trying to flee. 3. Fight back.

Do Israelis have the option to flee their towns Jason? Yes they do. Palestinians in the Gaza? Not so much. Is Hamas throwing missiles at Israel acceptable Jason? No. It's NOT. A worldwide coalition must help end this unending cycle of disasters.

Mala Fides said...

This is an honest question.

What have either of the parties done since the last ceasefire started in order to move a permanent peace process forward.

What did Israel do to work out a meaningful solution to the problem that is the Palestinian fact in Gaza and the West Bank?

Did they make any concrete efforts, or did they simply ignore the problem so long as they had an effective ceasefire and lid on the situation?

The problem time and time again with any discussion like the one that Jim is hosting is that any criticism of Israel is unfairly turned into anti-semitism.

Yes there are lines that can be crossed, but if all criticism and questioning of Israel is met with accusations of anti-semiticism, this effectively puts a chill on meaningful discussion and rational and useful free expression.

I think everyone recognizes and appreciates that Israel has a right to defend itself, but this shouldn't be taken as a blank cheque to operate outside of criticism and scrutiny.

This type of positioning by Israel has reached its useful end and now, like every other country on earth, the same rules of legitimacy apply. Grow up and deal with it and please stop insinuating that questioning and criticizing Israeli actions and holding it to international standards is anti-semitic. That kind of bait and switch is fallacious and intellectually dishonest.

War crimes . . .? Now that is an entirely different question and one that international authorities have a duty to determine in any theatre of violence where government sanctioned military action is taken.

It would be interesting to see what Warren had to say about Michael's "war crime" "gaffe" in 2006.

It's too bad however that Warren has removed all of his posts from before he started to support Ignatieff.

Erasing history are we?

Erradicating the record?

I am sure that he would simply call it "controlling the message".

Why don't all of you just stop this moral upbraiding crap? It makes all of you look like hypocrits.

Anonymous said...

It's like you want people to ignore his recent statement of principle and, instead, rely on his two-year old political gaffe.
Many of the grass roots, and most of the Liberal blogsphere think you have it reversed Jason...

His Statement of puffery was weak and not impressive. Only an Isreali apologist would approve...

As for the 250 000 that are scared, how many are illegal settlers? And are you implying that those in Gaza don't life in fear of Israeli soldiers and the collective punishment imposed?

Jason Cherniak said...

"Do Israelis have the option to flee their towns Jason? Yes they do. Palestinians in the Gaza? Not so much. Is Hamas throwing missiles at Israel acceptable Jason? No. It's NOT. A worldwide coalition must help end this unending cycle of disasters."

So the answer is for 250,000 Israelis to withdraw from part of their country that has been, without doubt, part of the Jewish state since the original UN partition. Then the Palestinians can start sending rockets from the West bank and Hezbollah will hit from the North. All the Jews in the area can live around Tel Aviv and the Red Sea. You call that a solution?!?

Israel withdrew from Gaxa years ago. The UN and the Arab countries had a chance to help the Gaza Palestinians, but instead they ignored them. When their government began attacking Israel, nobody would do anything. Israel is in a lose-lose situation in Gaza and I don't understand how you cannot see that.

James Curran said...

No that's not the answer Jason. It's an option. You see Gazans currently DO NOT have that option. They are trapped like mice in a maze. 1,499,999,400 of them. In fact, today Israel refused to let 39 Canadians out of Gaza. That's Canadians Jason. Canadians aren't being allowed out of Gaza by Israelis Jason.

And Israel had a chance to help negotiate a peace as part of the two partys involved Jason. But over the last seven years, it is always next year. Next year. Next year. From all sides. Not just Israel.

And, it's the mideast that is in a lose lose situation until there is a lasting peace. And I don't understand how you can't understand that the deaths of women and children, be it Israeli or Palestinian is an atrocity.

The right to defend yourself does not equal the right to kill anyone in the way of your objective. Regardless of who the combatants are Jason. That includes our own troops in Afghanistan where one of our boys was just charged with murder.

Get it yet? I doubt it.

Jason Cherniak said...

You can't unilaterally declare peace. Israel tried that and Hamas responded with rockets. It's time for the rest of the world to take some responsibility instead of always blaming Israel.