Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sovereignist Support For Israel?

Tonight is New Year's eve for the many Jewish readers of this blog and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish them a healthy and happy New Year.

This blog has little to do with religion and nothing to do with the middle-east situation, but I've seen some anti-Israel-bashing posts creep into the Comments section which is unfortunate.

It is true that Quebec is a hotbed of Israel-bashing, where left wing unionists like Gérald Larose and communist sympathizers like  Amir Khadir perpetuate a campaign of vilification of Israel in the media as if the rest of the world was a Garden of Eden and Israel was the only thorny bush.

One of my favourite bloggers wrote a rather interesting rebuttal. Lifelong sovereignist and ex-MP and PQ cabinet minister, Jacques Brassard who hails from the Saguenay region wrote a rather stinging blog piece, one where he pulls no punches.

Among sovereignists, he's a bit of an anomaly, a free thinker who was sacked from his newspaper job at Le Quotidien du Saguenay-lac-St-Jean, as a columnist for writing an unflattering piece denigrating the Quebec environmental movement and its messiah Steven Guilbeault. He continues to pontificate on his own blog which is one of the most important and interesting examples of free-thinkers, unbound by party politics and loyalties.

Here he takes on the 500 Quebec artists who signed a letter condemning Israel and calling for a boycott;
"A call from Montreal artists to support the international campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid…" LINK
Mr. Brassard replies;
For those who read French find the original post HERE
The ZARTISTES Furious Over Israel
(note: 'zartistes'- a disparaging term for 'artists')

Ah, these sweet, left wing Quebecois zartistes, how predictable they are!!
How constant and unequivocal is their indignation! How eminently selective!

If Israel were to disappear (as desired so ardently by these Teherani stools), where would our leftist zartistes, so sensitive to human suffering, manifest their compassion for human misery?

Fortunately feeding their compassion, is the oppressed Palestinians, massacred, starved, locked up ... and to stimulate their indignation even further, there are the Jewish oppressors, murderers, starvers and jailers!

But tell me, what do you do for the Tibetans, Sudanese, Tamil, Congolese, the North Koreans, Burmese, Zimbabweans, the Copts, the Christians of Iraq and Pakistan, all persecuted, bullied and murdered?

They're nothing but 'Small Fry!' Our zartistes will not be distracted by these lowly whiners!

Their job, their mission, is to defend the Palestinians, victims 'par excellence' of the entire galaxy, and especially those in Gaza.
500 of them have signed an open letter expressing solidarity with the Palestinians, mistreated by the "Jews-with-no-heart-and-no-soul", calling for a boycott of Israeli products and calling for sanctions against the Jewish state.

I went through the list of the 500. Almost all are zartistic 'nobodies.' Except a few. As Richard Desjardins, for example. This is hardly surprising since the Guru of Abitibi is a well known leftist, eco-pacifist, anti-globalization, anti-American, pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist.

But what saddened me is to see the name of Gilles Vigneault among the petitioners.

Gilles Vigneault! How Sad!
How can he ignore that the people of Gaza are in no way subjected to "a chronic shortage of electricity, fuel,  food and other commodities?" Even during the military operation of 'Cast Lead,' against Hamas terrorists, the supply line to the Gaza Strip never really stopped.

Gilles Vigneault. How can he say that Israel has turned Gaza into a giant prison? Has he forgotten that the Israeli army left the Gaza Strip in 2005?
And if Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are in prison, it is the one established by the Hamas extremist fanatics who impose a bloody tyranny steeped in hateful antisemitism so vicious that it is surprising that the 500 freedom-loving zartiste petitioners, never noticed?

Gilles Vigneault must be aware that he utters a horrible lie and demonstrates an appalling intellectual dishonesty when he proclaims that Israel has created "a system of institutionalized racism and segregation that resembles apartheid South Africa"

This is a charge so vile and so villainous that only the demonization of Israel can explain its presence in the cultural, media, politicians and intellectuals in the West.

"Israel," writes Pierre-Andre Taguieff, embodies the West for anti-Westerners, imperialism for anti-imperialists, infidels for the Islamists and racism for pro-Palestinians. It combines all the negative stereotypes. It is seen as the ultimate state, which should disappear so that man can be delivered from evil. "
How, exactly does Israel impose apartheid in the Gaza Strip, where it exercises no authority?

On its own territory, there is no racist policy, no discriminatory system. The State of Israel is a democratic state where Arab Muslims are full citizens, enjoying all the rights and fundamental freedoms for all and are represented in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. 
But, the anti-Zionists scream- "There is the Wall! The security fence! How horrible! What a disgrace!" Even the Pope is upset.

Before they choke with indignation, they should ask themselves this one simple question: why is there a fence?

Benedict XVI, during his trip to the Middle East, saw fit not to raise this essential issue because the answer is as simple as the question.

Before the "Israeli apartheid wall," as the beautiful souls of the petitioners describe, the terrorists crossed the border easily, wrapped with explosives and would blow themselves up on the terraces of cafes, buses, cafeterias of universities, public places, in the middle of bustling markets. After the construction of the fence (a fence because it is more than a wall), the aim has been largely achieved: the level of security for Israeli civilians, has increased considerably.

It is true that terrorists now favour rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli towns. This has compelled the Jewish state to resort to other means of protection that include sirens and shelters.

How is it that the security fence Israel has become the "Wall of Shame" 'par excellence'? Because it is far from alone. There are many others, the walls of separation between the U.S. and Mexico, between Morocco and the Sahara between India and Pakistan, between Botswana and Zimbabwe, between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Cyprus, Ireland, and between Thailand and Malaysia.

Why is the indignation of the Western left exclusively focused on the 'monstrous Israeli Wall ?

Because they are Jews who have erected it to protect themselves from Islamist terrorism. And because the Western left is anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic.

Dear Gilles Vigneault, if Gaza is hell now, know that it is the rotten fruit of the culture of hatred and violence in which the Palestinian population have swam in, over the ages.

Palestinian youth are indoctrinated, fanatisized, and fuel the hatred of the Jews, while worshipping a pathological version of Islamist terror.

Know that  Hamas and other Islamist hordes are solely responsible for the confinement of Palestinians in Gaza.

By signing this petition, you behave as useful idiot (in the words of Lenin), "idiot" because you do not comprehend the fundamentally totalitarian, obscurantist, terrorist, barbaric, draconian nature of the nazislamism of Hamas. "Useful," because you are a cog in the machinery of propaganda and disinformation of the Islamofascist Caliphate of Gaza. It's deplorable and pathetic on behalf of a great poet like you.

-Jacques Brassard
Hmmm. That was certainly unexpected!
It's not that often a sovereignist takes such a public stance in favour of Israel and it's not often that anyone uses such strong language in doing so.

Now before we all get into a pro-Israel/anti-Israel slug fest, the point of this post is not really about Israel.

It is about the labeling of sovereignists as left-wingers and federalists as conservatives.

The sovereignty debate in Quebec has redefined people as what they may or may not be, based solely on their position on sovereignty.

But the reality is a little different, within the two camps there lies conservatives and liberals.

We federalists are certainly not a homogeneous lot marching in lockstep with the policies of the Quebec Liberals and the federal Tories. Far from it. We are a diverse group that share a fundamental belief in Canada, but the similarities probably ends there.

The same truths applies to sovereignists, who are also tarred by the same brush and considered radical leftists by most in the English media. It is not true.

A group of famous Quebec conservatives who are generally aligned with the sovereignist camp  known as the "Lucides'  wrote a devastating indictment of Quebec society in an open letter that demonstrated that there is no consensus among sovereignists over liberal/conservative values.

We Quebeckers, whether sovereignists or federalists cannot be defined by one issue alone, even if it is the biggest issue.

But we are.

Editors Note. Gratuitous comments in support of Israel or Palestine, unrelated to the article above will not be posted. This blog is not about the Middle East.


  1. Mississauga Guy said...

    Well...I must state M. Brassard's comments are a refreshing change from the overwhelming volumes of anti-everything-but-Québécois-pur-laine vitriol that has often come out of that region. Perhaps he has been sojourning at times outside "The Box" (in this case defined to pertain to the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region) thus enabling him to think outside the box.

    Sadly, though, this thoughtful and dynamic article is vastly outweighed by the volumes of half-truths, outright lies and other inaccuracies by many different labels in the annals of ignorance spewing from the provincial minds (please pardon the pun) within The Box.

    Sadly, human nature sometimes, too often really, closes the mind by choice. In the final analysis people see what they WANT to see, hear what they WANT to hear and believe what they WANT to believe. The honest truth in these cases becomes irrelevant.

    On a positive note, though, let M. Brassard take a little bow for honestly bucking the trend.

    To my fellow Jewish readers, Le shanna tovah, happy, healthy and prosperous new year, bonne année!

  2. The main reason that sovereigntists are predominantly leftists is that denying reality is the only way it's possible to see an independant Quebec functioning without an enormous drop in standard of living. The Lucides correctly realize that a massive dose of restucturing is required before independence is possible. I wouldn't expect it from the PQ, but it's sad that the Charest Liberals are unwilling to throw even a thimble-full of cold common sense on the leftist dreamers.

  3. Paris Guy said: Je ne me risquerai pas à émettre des commentaires sur le conflit israëlo-palestinien car les analystes de salon qui habitent un endroit relativement confortable sont toujours les plus radicaux. Force est de constater que les accords de paix ne viendront que lorsque chaque partie voudra réellement la fin des hostilités. Les médias occidentaux ne critiquent que trop peu les agissements d'Israël qui ont le devoir de l'être. Le mouvement indépendantiste québécois n'a pas à appuyer Israël ou la Palestine globalement, c'est le jugement de chaque individu qui prévaut. Par contre, les ''Lucides'' n'envisagent pas la société québécoise comme plus égalitaire et dans l'avancement de celle-ci. Ils ne voient que l'économie de marché; production, production, consommation, consommation, toujours plus d'argent, d'intérêts... La croissance à outrance... Mais la question à se poser, c'est: Une fois la croissance atteinte, qu'est-ce qu'on fait ? Surconsommation afin de combler le vide de notre existence ? Nos savants économistes ne prêchent que la croissance, toujours et tout le temps... Un système se doit d'être remis en question quelquefois...

  4. “This blog is not about the Middle East.”

    The blog isn’t, but the piece certainly is. So it should be open game as far as comments are concerned.

    Brassard’s editorial is simplistic, shallow, and one-sided. It over-idealizes Israel (a country that's not necessarily evil, but not innocent either) and makes blanket statements about Palestine (which breeds some terrorism but is also subject to occupation and mistreatment at the hands of Israel). The editorial is in fact so clichéd that it could have easily been written by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Frum or even that creep Natanyahu. Interestingly, Brassard brings up the concept of the “useful idiot” towards the end. It’s interesting because this is exactly what I thought of him after getting half way into his piece.

    For those interested in the other side of the argument, I’ll offer this:

    "Burning Conscience: Israeli Soldiers Speak Out"

  5. Mississauga Guy said...

    I don't see the relevance of Paris Guy's contribution to the conversation (@ 12:27PM). I don't see Quebec growing for the simple reason it will not have a workforce with adequate skills for the information age that has been manifesting the last 30 years.

    By now Quebec, and the rest of Canada for that matter, is not as well prepared for the information age in comparison to, for example, the Far East where Japanese and more recently Chinese students are strictly regimented in education.

    On the one hand, there are far too many children dropping out from what I can best call our marginal primary and secondary school systems. My son, who lives 50km from me with his mother in the City of Vaughan (immediately north of Toronto), is thankfully in a public school system that has thoroughly tested him and has excellent programs to meet his learning challenges. Like me, he's weak in math and has tutorials much like I did through latter high school and even into college.

    On the positive side, he's a voracious reader. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, strictly on his own, and does all kinds of reading on the military, aircraft, the railroads through the ages and other subjects of interest...not to mention other areas of interest. He's doing exceedingly well under this program.

    My life partner and her daughter now live with me after leaving Quebec (for good) over a year ago. The Quebec school system couldn't care less about her challenges, throwing her for a bit over a year in a program at the Jewish General Hospital severl miles from home to sort-of develop her social skills, and no more. Her elementary school threw her into high school albeit she was not ready for that.

    The high school then took the responsibility to put her in remedial classes where she barely progressed bacause after a year of that she was thrown back into the regular stream. She went through four more years of teachers talking way over her head, and THIS is how Quebec processes its students.

    The motto of my son's school board is "No child left behind". In Quebec, it seems to be "Sink or swim". Seems 41% of the boys in Quebec, at least the French system, are yelling for a lifeline, but end up drowning.

    Another disparity between progressive education in Ontario and a dog's breakfast in Quebec. What percentage of Quebecers file tax returns not paying any tax because of their welfare and/or part-time minimum wage incomes?

  6. the Israeli issue creeps into a lot of Quebec politics.
    According to printed reports, last week:s nomination of an NDP candidate to run againt Liberal Irwin Cotler had Layton, Mulcair, and the candidate Itcush jumping all over each other to see who could proclaim himself to be the most loyal supporter of Israel.
    Though the irrelevance of this to daily Quebec life is probably demonstrated by the fact that many of the same voters elected both Mulcair and Amir Khadir.

  7. Question for Mississauga Guy: "What does your post have anything to do with the topic on hand?"

    Question for The Editor: "It is stated that this blog is not about Middle East. However, can we rebut the opinion of Jacques Brassard, which is directly related to Israel and Palestine?"

    For all readers, Eid-ul-Fitr Mubarak.

  8. Go ahead and make any comment you want as long as it is relevant to Mr Brassard's piece.

    No nasty stuff about Israelis or Palestinians...

    Mississauga Guy-You're posting to the wrong piece, but since you put a lot into it...well...

  9. Mississauga Guy's explanation/rebuttal...

    I thought Paris Guy was writing about Quebec's fortunes for the future vis-à-vis the majority and its minorities. Troy and Editor, perhaps I interpreted it as an extension of the prior topic. Please accept the fact I totally misunderstood what he was getting at. I nevertheless stand behind what I said abeit in the wrong place.

    Adski, you're getting off topic insofar as touching anti-Israeli sentiments, but since it's in the courtyard now, I hope I can rebut freely.

    Simply put, war is hell. I'm not happy that there are people dying in the name of hatred, on both sides. War is a waste and I cannot think of a time it was ever beneficial or ever will be.

    Anwar Sadat, the late president of Egypt, finally had enough of war, the hatred, the killing and the waste. He lost a brother in the 1973 (Yom Kippur) war, and he had seen enough. He made up his mind to go to Jerusalem and the Israeli prime minister and top authorities in the land were right at the airport to welcome him with open arms.

    The result, since both Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979, has been no hostilities between Egypt and Israel. There were disputed lands that Israel returned to Egypt in 1982, after the assassination of Sadat (but not as a result). Passage over the Israel-Egypt border has been as easy as Canada and the U.S. for its citizens. I'll grant you that the peace between the nations has been a cold peace, but it's peace, and in that region, it's probably as good as things get.

    I'm sure if other surrounding nations reached out to Israel in this manner, Israel would only be too happy to cease hostilities. Jordan has been a quiet neighbour. It was really something to see King Hussein speak at Yitzchak Rabin's funeral back in 1995. Many years have passed since Jordan engaged in hostilites against Israel.

    I'm sure the former soldiers we saw in that Alternate Focus piece are sad and angry about their experiences. There are Jewish sympathizers amongst the fold who don't think the Palestineans are so bad. I believe the majority of Palestineans are like the rest of us. They want to provide for their spouses and families, get educated and look for ways to better their lives. Sadly, they are led astray by terrible leadership, namely their gun-toting pro-military hate monger governments. The leaders indoctrinate the ordinary folk with propaganda against Israel, and while their constitution may no longer "officially" call for the total destruction of Israel, this evil still lives in their hearts and souls. The ordinary folk can't shut it out, are forced at young ages to become militaristic, and the problem perpetuates.

    I find this documentary covered two soldiers who heard a lot of hearsay and are just repeating it. It's not pleasant, it obviously left them angry, but I'm sure just as many ordinary Palestineans can talk about how their sons at the age of ten or so were abducted and handed a weapon to fight for their hateful cause...or else.

    I can go on and on about how the Hamas soldiers hide amongst the ordinary citizenry and fight from there rather than converge near the Israeli border and fight the Israelis directly. They'll often use burqa-clad women as their shields daring the Israelis to shoot at them. How many rockets were launched at Israel before firing a return shot?

    I stand by what the late Golda Meir once said: "How can there be peace [in the Middle East] when there are people who hate [Israelis] more than they love their own children?" Somebody out there please name the last time Israel sent out a suicide bomber into a dense gathering place outside of Israel simply to create terror and kill innocents! I'm sure M. Brassard thought about this when he wrote his piece.

  10. The ONLY reason Israel returned the "disputed" lands to Egypt was because of the very good showing the Egyptians put up in the 1973 war. This finally convinced the military and political elites in Israel that holding onto the conquered territory of Sinai would be more trouble then it was worth. The Toronto guy.

  11. Toronto Guy, what "good showing?" Israel clobbered its enemies--again! It barely took longer than the six days in 1967. You are right about occupation of a territory taken over and Israel's resources there are spread thin. It takes resources to watch over and occupy the Golan Heights, but that tract of land is far too important to negotiate away.

    In 1967, Syria pulled a sneak attack thanks to the geographic layout of the Golan. Israel never saw the Syrians coming down the highlands of the Golan as their land was below. Israel nevertheless managed to push them back in short order, and will never give up that land as it enables them to see almost for 50km who is coming at them. This time they'll be prepared for Syria or any other nation hostile towards Israel. Notice how Syria hasn't tried anything like what they did in 1967? We're going back 43 years and counting! Israel was attacked and won that land fair and square. Bottom line. Case closed. Mississauga Guy.

  12. Mississauga Guy's explanation/rebuttal...

    "Hamas soldiers"

    Agree with most of what you said except the
    above phrase. Terrorists aren't soldiers.

    Soldiers wear uniforms which make them easily
    identifiable to the enemy. Whatever one thinks
    of war, that takes a certain amount of courage.

    Terrorist hide under womens skirts to attack
    these easily identifiable targets (soldiers).
    They are cowards.

    There is no such animal as a Hamas "soldier".


  13. DD:

    Mississauga Guy here again. I'm not going to argue about semantics, but there are soldiers fighting against Israel in Gaza. Maybe they don't have uniforms, but they are a military force (army, maybe?) and they fight like one except they do hide under their women's skirts figuring they won't be fired upon. They haven't the gonads to come out and fight army vs army because they KNOW Israel would cream them in short order. A very sad state of affairs, but if they ceased fire, I'm sure Israel would cease fire as well. Israelis pay an enormous chunk of their taxes on defense and I'm sure they'd like to see that necessity lessened.

  14. The M.guy is wrong, biased and counts on the general ignorance of most people in Canada to promote his views. However this is not really the forum to discuss this and out of respect to the author of this blog I will not 'Fisk' his nonsense. The Toronto guy.