Thursday, August 03, 2006

Back In The Day, We Were Against Fascism & War

StopWar is perfectly entitled to argue that pro-war, fascist Jew-killers should be allowed to raise money, propagandize, and otherwise operate freely in Canada. Argue away, you might say to StopWar. Just not in my name.

But that won’t quite do if you’re a member of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, or the Hospital Employees Union, or the Vancouver Green party, or the New Democratic Party, or the United Church of Canada. If you belong to any one of about 160 organizations that StopWar lists as endorsing members, or if you simply happen to live in Vancouver or Burnaby, then StopWar is speaking in your name.

And don’t you dare try to speak for yourself about these things. You will be told you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that you’ve “bought into” something called the neoconservative agenda, or, worse still, that you’re a Zionist.

So, in July 2006, while Israel was fighting for her very life, and Lebanon and Palestine were being ground to bits, and Iraq was descending deeper into a hell of throat-slitting and suicide bombing, Canada’s “antiwar” left had openly opted for war.

And the words on the placards left no doubt about which side it was on: “We Are All Hezbollah”.

In case anyone's curious, the groups StopWar wanted left at large in Canada were 1) Those peace-loving people who only a year before had claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed three Israeli civilians, and 2) The Mahatma Ghandi enthusiasts most famous for hijacking the cruise ship Achille Lauro and singling out a Jew in a wheelchair for the peace-loving treatment of being tossed overboard to his death.

That's what it's come to, I'm afraid. Back in Toronto, the Canadian Peace Alliance actually opposes a UN peacekeeping force being sent in to sort things out: "Israel and the US are set on complete destruction of any democratic opposition that is against the rule of the US puppets. The call for a NATO or UN force is merely an attempt to bring international legitimacy to those goals."

Well, not in my name, thank you very much.

Not in Pat Martin's name, either: "As a trade unionist and an NDP MP, I do not want to be associated in any way with the Ontario CUPE resolution on Israel, not do I want anyone to think that the labour movement, the NDP, or the Left generally, is anti-Israel."

These guys would want precisely that, but there's a problem: "Israeli agents represented by the Canadian Zionists succeeded in nominating some NDP candidates and in co-opting others, as part of a plan orchestrated by Israel and its supporters."

Those good auld Israeli agents. They're just everywhere.

It's all leaving the NDP wobbling around up there on a tightrope.

At least this guy gets it.

Meanwhile, the NDP lost Tarek Fatah earlier this month, and now he's been driven from his post with the Muslim Canadian Congress by the same sort of the people who open their arms to white supremacists.

But maybe that's not fair. It is getting hard to tell the fascists from the pacifists in all this, after all.

Just don't be giving me a hard time about how this isn't what Canadians of the left are really about. I know that already.

Stand up and be counted yourself.

UPDATE: Britain's National Union of Students stands up to be counted and condemns George Galloway for his praise of a "racist, antisemitic fascist."

Let's be having you then.


Blogger Robert G. said...

Zionist stooge.

My late and rather un-pc pa, who worked in the construction industry, used to say that any company with the words "Dominion," "Canada" or "Canadian" in its name was more likely than not to be owned by Italians. Nowadays, any organization with "peace" or "justice" in its moniker is guaranteed to be largely comprised of US/Israel/capitalism haters.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

As a peace activist myself, I as well am stumped by some of the things coming out of the peace movement these days. I helped run the peace movement in Victoria in 2003 re Iraq, and we would never have been so careless as to appear to support a terrrorist organization. It's very disturbing, and it's why I'm trying to dissasociate myself with Stop War and affiliates. (I live in Vancouver now).

I will go to the rally on Saturday, because I thinking the killing has to stop, but I likely won't be one of the more enthusiatic participants.

My focus is now on the human rights angle, as I have been involved with Amnesty International for some time. I like the releases and reports they and Human Rights Watch have been putting out with respect to Lebanon.

6:53 PM  
Blogger diane_l said...

I am dismayed, yes downright peeved, at the ill-informed opinions and simplistic bromides being offered up on the current imbroglio in the Middle East. And I count the article in today's Straight as an egregious example of just that.

Why not try Chomsky, for example, as a source of information for those of you looking for more than analyses that fail by way of omission? He recently spent a considerable amount of time in Lebanon and has spent many decades thinking about the complexities of these issues. Howard Zinn is another thoughtful writer on this subject.

Oh, there's also Norman Solomon, and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, the great US radio station. Or check out David Rovics, He's a very talented US songwriter-musician who sings about these things, and in fact will be coming to Vancouver Sept. 22 to play at a gig sponsored by (gasp) StopWar. The list could go on.

I guess the individuals cited could all be categorized as staunchly critical of the US and Israeli governments, and capitalism too. Some ill-informed individuals might also call them anti-Semitic, owing to their measured and learned criticisms of these entities. By the way, besides being stellar intellectuals, they are of course Jewish, not self-loathing at all, and are far more sympathetic to the plight of Palestians than say, the Israeli government and its biggest supporters, the "Christians for Israel" thugs in the White House.

But as for solid daily journalism on the Mid East, I'd recommend Robert Fisk, The Independent's esteemed and long-time correspondent in the area. His writing reflects middle Eastern history, and god forbid, a leftist perspective. He has a big tome of a book recently out on the subject.

All this to say the media is, as with the war on words leading up to the Iraqui invasion, swallowing up whole the conventional wisdom being doled out that casts Israel as eternal victim (handy, come to think of it, when it comes to availing itself of all those billions of dollars of US-supplied planes, bombs and other wmds, the better to wreak devestating carnage in Lebanon -22,000 dead in 1982 under the savage Sharon, wasn't it? And the daily atrocities in Palestine, well, let's not dwell there now). And the other conventional wisdom being that those who oppose Israel are vile and monstrous TERRORISTS, don't you know.

Anyway, I don't mean to be glib here. But it might be enlightening for anyone reading this to at least consider other perspectives on this tragic situation, and not rely on the timorous mainstream press for information. I would certainly include the Georgia Straight in that camp...
Diane Lake

9:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Chomsky, Fisk, et al, are people who I look up to when it comes to foreign policy comment. I have quoted them many times in my own writings. I think they are capable of more nuance than StopWar seems to be displaying these days.

9:30 PM  
Blogger diane_l said...


You note in your previous post that "we would never be so careless as to appear to support a terrrorist organization." I wonder which "terrorist" organization you are referring to, and which groups Stop War is supporting, and by what standard you deem them "terrorist?"

The thing is, that moniker is ever so hackneyed really, and awfully subjective these days. Seems like every little interest group or evil empire has its own little checklist of who and what constitutes a terrorist these days.

Nuance, hmm? Stop War has none? Well, I guess Chomsky and those other writers you admire don't have much nuance either. For example, Chomsky has many, many times likened Israel to a terrorist organization. Fisk, another writer you like to quote, perhaps would not use that label outright because he is a journalist after all, but one need only read between the lines. After reading his articles over many years, some books, and seeing him speak in Vancouver a few months ago, I am fairly certain Mr. Fisk feels far more solidarity with Palestinians, as noted before, and with the Arab world in general than he does, say, with the US or Israel.

But of course the interesting thing is that many people around the world believe the US government is the biggest terrorist outfit going. Gee, Stop War probably does too. How's that for lack of nuance?

10:27 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...


You seem to be making assumptions about exactly what I think. Yes, the US and Israel are terrorist states. I never said they weren't. That StopWar would say that is not the problem that I have with them.

On that note, I'm going to stop hijacking Terry's blog.

11:49 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Stephen: Yes, the US and Israel are terrorist states.

For that to be true, one would have to use such a loose definition of the term "terrorist" that it would become useless, in the same way that "fascist" is thrown about with enthusiasm. By definition, nations cannot be terrorist.

Terry, you don't credit the quote that begins your post. Is it by you? Either way, I have to take issue with this: So, in July 2006, while Israel was fighting for her very life,... Hardly. A border skirmish and abduction of two soldiers is hardly a threat to a nuclear-armed state.

11:05 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

I misspoke. Not a threat to the existence of a nuclear-armed state is what that should have been.

11:07 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

DPU: The quote is from my regular column in the Georgia Straight, which I link in the line: "Well, not in my name" etc.

I'm completely confident about characterizing this war as an existential matter for Israel. Iran has made its intentions quite clear - it does so on an almost daily basis now. And Hezbollah has made its intentions quite clear, as has Hamas. The big problem, of course, is that the Palestinian people are being denied an opportunity, by that planned referendum, to make plain their intentions with respect to Israel. Being old-fashioned, I am happy to give the ordinary Palestinian the benefit of the doubt that she is sincere about wanting to live in peace with her neighbours.

So once again, DPU, this is one of those cases where I'm hoping I'm right about what the Palestinians really want, and wishing you were right about this being just a trifling matter of "a border skirmish" and a run-of-the-mill abduction. I'm afraid you're quite wrong.

But what do I know? All I know is this: I know a fascist when I see one. And Nasrallah is a fascist. To engage in all the necessarily arcane circumlocutions and hair-splitting required of arguments about that point would be to stoop to the very squalour my column was about.

So I won't.



12:09 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

And just glanced at the Straight while ordering my wonton soup take-out. "...Nasrallah’s fat, stupid face"?

He doesn't look particularily fat to me, and from everything that I've read of him, he certainly isn't stupid, whatever else might be said of him.

12:09 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...


Yo might have read my preceding comment first. Talk about yer hairsplitting.

12:14 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

I understand Israel's position in regards to some extremely hostile neighbours, but there's a difference between someone threatening something and being capable of following through with it. Israel's continued existence is not in peril at this time. That may change in the future once everyone in the region has nuclear weapons, but it is certainly not true at the moment, and I have a great deal of trouble accepting this invasion of Lebanon as Israel fighting for its life.

While they are certainly within their rights to respond in this way, I think it's foolish, and will have a paradoxical effect.

And sorry about the hairsplitting, we cross-posted.

12:18 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

FYI, if you haven't seen it, there's a good piece on this conflict by Shalom Lappin over at the EM site which reflects my own view, which is that Hezbollah cannot be defeated through military means, and that the best means for moderating it and removing its military capability were democracy in Lebanon and a healthy Lebanese economy. Israel has now destroyed both of these.

The other piece on that page (The Left should be supporting Israel in this war, by Eric Lee) is more of a "Hezbullah bad!! Good socialists must crush!" kind of article.

12:53 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...


FYI, I linked to Shalom's piece, and Eric's piece, and David Hirsh, and other stuff, on this very web log, on July 21.


12:59 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Well crap, that will teach me not to read all the links. There's a wealth of untapped writing there. Thanks, I'll go back and read those other ones.

1:18 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Jeez, not just the links, I somehow missed the entire thing. Good post. Well, with the exception of your assessment of Dyer's article. I can't figure out why you think it over-the-top.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

For those looking for an action to end the fighting in Lebanon that is independent of StopWar, Amnesty International is holding a candle vigil calling for a ceasefire. This is from an e-mail I received from them:

Amnesty International is organizing a global Ceasefire vigil on Monday, August 7. Although this is a holiday weekend in most of Canada, many groups are organizing vigils - for groups outside Vancouver interested in holding a vigil, instructions are included below.

In Vancouver we'll gather at the corner of Georgia and Homer Street (LIbrary Square) Monday night at 7 pm. We will create and hold a banner with the word CEASEFIRE on it. Please join us. If you have a candle, do bring it along. (We'll stay for no more than an hour.) Please note this is an apolitical event in support of victims and survivors on both sides.

For the most recent Amnesty report on this issue, go to

Amnesty International
Vigil for a Ceasefire
Monday, August 7 at 7 pm
Corner of Georgia and Homer Streets
(Library Square) Vancouver

(nearest Skytrain station about one block away at Stadium)

6:24 PM  
Blogger diane said...

Dear tg:

It has been awhile.

I just so fundamentally disagree with your column that I feel compelled to jump back into the fray, passive-agressive posts to dismiss my points notwithstanding.

I was being somewhat facetious - but not really - in recommending those other writers, those who have a very different perspective on the Middle East and the players. Because this one is so wrong.

Somewhere in this thread someone describes the debacle as a border skirmish involving two soldiers, which unleashed the bloodletting. It really doesn't matter how it's described. But this is now the official line, in more or less sophisticated gradations: the bully (H) and the stand-up guy (I), out to defend himself. Israel is the put-upon victim yet again, according to conventional wisdom, fighting to hang on to its very existence. In reality though, two days before the soldiers were seized, Israel seized two Palestinian citizens, as widely reported by Reuters. Hezbolleh responded. Kind of quid pro quo, though this chronology has been curiously revised. But make no mistake, the issue of Palestine is at the heart of this crisis.

Just as Hamas sprang up to protect Palestinians from the atrocities perpetrated against them by the Israeli government on a daily basis, so too was Hezbolleh was formed as a result of the brutal invasion of Lebanon by Sharon in '82 that left 22,000 dead. The commentators I cited in previous posts - how great is znet - would agree with the Palestian people that Israel is the undisputed aggressor in the region. Let's see: incarceration and torture of Palestians,(well documented by AI) demolition of homes, denial of access to farmland etc. For years and years and years. I don't think this is engaging in arcane circumlocutions and hair-splitting.

One of the more chilling sights I've seen lately, and yes there are many, are maps of Palestine over the last four decades. From great swaths of land then, there are now little more than tiny pockets accorded to Palestine.

One of Palestinians' fondest dreams and angriest outcries relate to the concept of al-awda - return. I would insert a poem here on just that but it might provoke the bloke who talked aout highjacking your blog, whatever that means.

By the way, I really did like your column on Interior coho some months back. Couldn't have agreed more. Not the one on the minutemen though!

Peace (and seriously, talking of posts, I would recommend Fisk for thoughtful, daily coverage of the tragedy).

7:23 PM  
Blogger diane said...

Oh what the heck, verbose is my middle name...


i can't help it.
i don't care how far you think the analogy extends itself.
when i see you making that bus driver climb up and down
on and off the roof of his bus
for your amusement
for hours in the hot sun
i think of how we once had to dance and sing for them
while they shot our parents.
when i see you keep that woman
and her husband
at the checkpoint
while she's in labor
and you stand there
listening to her scream
watching as she gives birth
on the back seat of a taxi
i think of the walls around our own ghetto
and how we had to crawl through the sewers
looking for rats to eat
while we could hear their children playing
on the other side.
when i see you crush that house
and kill that woman
and her baby
with your armored bulldozer
because they didn't have a permit
i think of the way we were once forced to leave our homes
at the point of a gun.
and when i hear your general say
that in order to deal with the intifada
you must learn from the tactics of another general
one mr. stroop
in warsaw
i think of how they bombed our buildings
shot us as we fell from the roofs.
and i remember
how we wished we could kill their babies, too.
and i feel sick.
sick of your displaced anger
sick of your self-deception
sick of your attempts to deceive the rest of the world
sick of your accusations of anti-semitism
sick of your occupation
sick of your apartheid state
sick of zionism.
because standing here
in auschwitz, birkenau and warsaw
i see jenin, jaffa and rafah.
and i think of our ancestors
the jewish palestinians
who spoke so eloquently
in their arabic language.
but the dead cannot speak.
and now i find myself
again behind the wall of a ghetto
standing with millions of other palestinians.
and i find myself shouting
thawra! thawra! hatta al-naser!
tomorrow in jerusalem!

7:30 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

You think that's a poem?

Here's a poem:

5:27 PM  
Blogger snollygoster said...

Hmmm, what's this, a little one-upmanship? Yes, yes I do call it so. And I actually like it better than that in the link you provided as it's plainspoken, not embroidered. It's all about perspective I suppose.

Mr. Cohen may of course say what he likes, and very amusingly too, but in the Arab world, the tide of public opinion is surging behind Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other pro-American Arab states, which were initially critical of Hamas and Hezbullah, are now scrambling to distance themselves from the policies of the Bush administration.

And within Lebanon itself, according to opinion polls released the week of July 24, 87 per cent of all Lebanese support Hezbullah's resistance against Israel, including 80 per cent of Christian respondents, 80 per cent of Druze respondents, and 89 per cent of Sunni respondents.

And by the way, I'm not a fan of Nasrallah. Then again, I'm not a fan of any leader in general; they mostly, with a very few exceptions, have fascistic tendencies.

Take care
Diane Lake (had to change my post name as I forgot it; snollygoster seemed appropriate)...

6:58 PM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

"Why not try Chomsky, for example, as a source of information for those of you looking for more than analyses that fail by way of omission?"

Yeah. What can one say?

Only that that Stop War monicker is strongly echoing the term "stoppers" so beloved by the population of Albion...

Best, and enjoy your trip.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Occam's razor said...


You and your readers might be interested in hearing of my own "peace camp" experiences.

I lived in Australia during the warm-up to the Iraq war. Judging that war to be unethical and illegal, I participated in a peace march in downtown Melbourne. During that march an invited speaker from the Green Party used her time to focus on the evils of Israel, and the suffering of the Palestinians. She uttered barely a word about Iraq. In the crowd it was interesting to observe more banners condemning Israel than there were condemning Australia (which, after all, was a major part of the "Coalition of the Willing").

Israel seems to make a good whipping boy for elements of the Left on both sides of the ocean.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hey, it's me again.

I want to make a few unrelated points.

1) That there may be some in the anti-war movement who are pro-Hezbollah, or in some way selective in whose violence they oppose. Please don't use that to cast aspersions on the larger anti-war movement. Most peace activists I have encountered are just as disgusted by Al-aqaeda, for example, as by the neocon cabal in Washington.

2) My earlier rant about Stop-War in no way execuses Israel's actions in Lebanon. There is no question that, as Human Rights Watch has said, war crimes have been committed. Israel is a terrorist state, and it is not anti-Semetic to say so.

3) Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, and it is not anti-Moslem to say so. Robert Fisk has basically said so. However, I can understand why Lebanese civilians would rally around it. It the only entity that is standing up to this foreign invasion, though going about it the wrong way.

4) I went to the Euston Manifesto site, and was quite frankly disappointed. The anti-War left was characterized in a negative light as if it was simply based on kneejerk anti-Americanism. This is a bogeyman frequently brought out by the neoconservative right in the US. It is propaganda. I am a severe critic of the current US government, and with good reason, but that by no means makes me anti-American, any more than criticising the Iranian government makes me anti-Iranian. Also on the site, support for Israel's slaughter of Lebanon was actually considered a legitimate position whose argument actually merited consideration. I'm all for dialogue among progressives, but I do have limits.

5) As a peace and human rights activist, I pull no punches. I take no prisoners. You kill civilians, or you torture prisoners, or vilate human rights in other ways, I will oppose you, regardless of who you are and what your agenda is.

8:32 PM  

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