The Daily Brief – Wednesday May 18, 2011

By Mike Fegelman

May 18, 2011

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May 18,

Toronto Star: Judith Deutsch (letter to editor) "Battle over words a distraction" (18/5/2011)
With the Harper majority there will be a proliferation of claims that Israel is not an apartheid state. The letter from Mike Fegelman, executive director of HonestReporting Canada, is most peculiar. He cites Alan Dershowitz, of all people, as a paragon of truthfulness in order to allege that Nelson Mandela has never used the word “apartheid” about Israel. Much can be said and cited to refute this. Suffice it here to note that in his book defending Israel’s human rights record, Dershowitz “never once cites a single mainstream human rights organization to support any of his claims” (Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah, p. 92). This battle over words deflects from the reality of endemic racism in Canada and Israel, the only two countries already boycotting the World Conference Against Racism this September."
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National Post: David Frum: "Palestinian move on honour killings belated but welcome" (17/5/2011)
"As Palestinians attempt to invade Israel, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas suggests it may at last be time to punish men who murder their female relatives."
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Ottawa Citizen: Staff: "Mideast peace bid needed more than ever: Obama" (18/5/2011)
"U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday it was "more vital than ever" to seek to revive long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, even as political upheaval convulses much of the broader Middle East. Speaking after talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah at the start of a week of intense diplomacy, Obama pledged to keep pressing for a twostate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite his failure so far to break the impasse."
Send letter to editor  See also: Montreal Gazette (send letter)

24 Hours Toronto: Reuters: "Obama calls for further talks" (18/5/2011)
"President Barack Obama, following talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah, said Tuesday it was “more vital than ever” to get Israel and the Palestinians back to negotiations toward a peace deal. But Obama, starting a week of intense Middle East diplomacy against the backdrop of popular unrest sweeping the Arab world, offered no new proposals for breaking the Israeli-Palestinian impasse after the failure of U.S.-led peace efforts."

The Mark: Staff: "Obama’s Middle East Moment" (17/5/2011)
"Obama hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week for talks that The Guardian’s Aluf Benn predicts might be a tad testy. “To the U.S. president, Israel’s occupation and settlement-building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem represent grave injustices… To Netanyahu, Jewish people have a birthright to the Judean and Samarian hills; at most, Israel should throw a bone to the Palestinians to satisfy its western supporters who, in Netanyahu’s view, simply don’t get it.” Benn imagines the two will keep up appearances of cordiality to bolster their electoral hpes. But behind closed doors, the camps could prove irreconcilable, making Palestine’s goal of declaring official statehood in September all the more likely ­– and potentially volatile." Laura Payton/Evan Dyer: "Canada kicks out 5 Libyan diplomats" (17/5/2011)
"Five Libyan diplomats working in Ottawa have one week to get out of the country amid fears they were trying to intimidate Libyan citizens in Canada."
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Today’s News and Views About Israel & Mideast

Globe and Mail: Paul Koring: "Obama calls for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians" (18/5/2011)
"As uprisings sweep aside dictators who have ruled for decades and reshape the Arab world, Barack Obama wants new peace talks leading to a Palestinian state alongside Israel."
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Globe and Mail: Pew Research: "Other world views of the United States" (18/5/2011)
"The image of the United States is overwhelmingly negative in predominantly Muslim countries"
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Toronto Star: AP: "Israeli electric car pioneer unveils annual price plans" (18/5/2011)
"Electric car company Better Place has unveiled the pricing of its subscription packages ahead of the rollout of the world’s first nationwide battery-charging grid."
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Embassy Magazine: Grafton Ross (letter to editor) "You call this democratic governance?" (18/5/2011 – not online)
"I object to your statement that Canada is helping build democratic governance in the West Bank (Re: “Time for election monitoring?” May 11, 2011). In fact, Canada is helping prop up an illegitimate and corrupt regime there. Palestinian “prime minister” Salam Fayyad was never elected to office. He was appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas, whose own term of office expired over two years ago. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not met in over four years, the real elected prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, is walled up in Gaza, and most of his cabinet have been jailed without charge in Israeli and Fatah prisons. The money that Canada used to send to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to support Palestinian refugees is now being spent on training and equipping Fatah security forces to suppress political opponents and popular resistance to the Israeli occupation. This is “democratic governance?”
Send letter to editor AP: "Palestinians postpone local elections to October" (17/5/2011)
"The government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday postponed municipal elections by three months until October, saying it needs more time to ensure the vote can be held in both the West Bank and Gaza."
See also: Wateroo Record (not online) AP: "Ex-Israeli president to stay out of jail for now" (17/5/2011)
""An Israeli Supreme Court judge has ruled that former President Moshe Katsav can stay out of jail while appealing his conviction and seven-year sentence for rape."

National Post: Len Bennett (letter to editor) "Mideast reality?" (18/5/2011)
"What would the Arabs do if they didn’t have Israel to vent their anger at? Tribalism ensures that the vast majority of Arabs remain downtrodden. Children in large, poor families cannot be properly supported -financially or emotionally -to enable them to grow up to be confident, functioning adults. And so they rage, and Israel becomes a handy diversion when they can’t address their frustrations more appropriately. In 1948, 600,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were forced out of Israel during the Arabs’ failed attempt to "throw the Jews into the sea." 850,000 Jews were forced out of Arab countries and most settled in Israel. The Jews took care of their brothers, but the Arabs treated their kin with disdain. If the Arab nations cared for the Palestinians, they would integrate them and get them off the UN welfare rolls."

Winnipeg Sun: Andreas Andreadis (letter to editor) "Tough choice" (18/5/2011)
"Last time I checked, it was the Government of Canada, not Harper’s Government. I doubt you would be covering such a story if the Liberal party was in power and chose to bar Galloway and allow Wilders into the country. The difference between Wilders and Galloway is one is expressing his opinion and experiences on what he can do in his field. The latter is cited supporting a known terrorist group. So who do you support? A person like Wilders who is an Islamaphobe or Galloway, who has openly supported a terrorist group?"

Globe and Mail: Reuters: "Baby named after Facebook button" (17/5/2011)
"Inspired by Facebook, a couple in central Israel have named their baby daughter “Like”. “It’s short and sweet,” Vardit Adler, Like’s mother, told Reuters on Tuesday. “It’s very important to me and to my husband that the names we give our children are unique, creative and totally new,” she said."
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See also: Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Edmonton Sun (not online)

Xtra: Andrea Houston: "Hundreds rally at city hall for Pride Toronto" (16/5/2011)
"The rally was a show of unity after a rocky two-year saga filled with censorship and scandal for PT. The organization twice tried to force Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) out of the parade. Ultimately, organizers backed down in the face of sustained backlash from free-speech advocates. Then, a motion from Mammoliti last year set out to claw back city money from the festival for not kicking QUAIA out of the 2010 Pride parade."

National Post: Peter Goodspeed: "Obama faces deadline for forces in Libya" (18/5/2011)
"U.S. diplomats face a perfect political storm in a region of popular uprisings and incomplete revolutions, Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab-Israeli conflict, troop withdrawals from Iraq, terrorist threats after Osama bin Laden’s death, and the risks high oil prices pose for the U.S. economy."

National Post: Alan Glover (letter to editor) "Mideast reality" (18/5/2011)
"It is instructive that in the same issue of the National Post in which David Frum concisely explains the disease of anti-Semitism, there is a story in which the Israeli building of housing on "occupied" land is the only example given as a reason for the failure of the peace process. The construction of housing anywhere (perhaps even for Israeli Arabs?) is a net plus, especially when compared to the Palestinian contributions to the failure, notably, a murder of a young, sleeping family and thousands of indiscriminate rockets attacks designed to accomplish much the same thing…." AP: "Syrian security forces made mistakes: Assad" (18/5/2011)
"Syria’s president says the country’s security forces have made mistakes during the uprising against his regime and that thousands of police officers are receiving new training."
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Ottawa Citizen: Editorial: "Brutality cannot stand" (18/5/2011)
"The government of Syria’s attitude toward human rights is well established. (Just ask Maher Arar.) All the same, the current level of brutality toward protesters is shocking and cannot stand unopposed. Hundreds of people have died at the hands of the regime since the protests began."
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Hamilton Spectator: Washington Post (op-ed) "Syria is at fault" (17/5/2011)
"The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad on Sunday made a desperate effort to distract attention from its continuing, bloody assaults on its own people. Hundreds of Palestinians were bused from refugee camps near Damascus to the de facto border with Israel in the Golan Heights, where they broke through a fence and invaded a nearby town."
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Embassy Magazine: Avisha Gavai: "Syrian envoy defends Assad government" (18/5/2011 – not online)
"It’s these demonstrations that have catapulted Syria into the news. Known internationally for being a crucial ally of Iran, a partnership that also funds and supports the militant group Hezbollah in its struggle against Israel, Syria has since been the scene of massive pro-democracy demonstrations."
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Embassy Magazine: Scott Taylor: "Libya, Syria, Iraq: One of these is not like the others" (18/5/2011)
"While al-Assad certainly does not have the same public profile as the widely-pilloried, colourful-to-the-point-of-being-comical Gaddafi, he certainly has not been a darling of the US. With their strong anti-Israel politics and long-standing political meddling in Lebanon, Syria has long been labelled a rogue nation by the US State Department."
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National Post: Vardit Feldman (letter to editor) "Defining Islam" (18/5/2011)
"It is a free world and anyone can define Islam, rightly or wrongly. And it’s true that all ancient texts have some problematic writings. However, some of those who are reading the Koran are the ones causing havoc around the world. George Galloway initially was not allowed into Canada, not because he was not a friend to Israel, but because of his alleged ties to the terrorist group Hamas…"

National Post: Louise Fribance (letter to editor) "Defining Islam" (18/5/2011)
"I would just like to point out that Samira Kanji and Azeezah Kanji of the Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto do not need bodyguards. Geert Wilders does. Why is that?"

Montreal Gazette: Liz Ferguson: "Israeli Film Fest" (18/5/2011)
"This is Sodom will be shown on Wednesday, May 18, at 9 p.m. in Room H-110 of Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd, W., as part of the Israel Film Festival."

Globe and Mail: CP: "Canadian journalist Dorothy Parvaz released by Iran" (18/5/2011)
"B.C. journalist Dorothy Parvaz was back in Doha, Qatar after being set free by Iranian authorities early Wednesday, her fiance said."
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