wRanter.com

Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants
Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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Israel shouldn’t be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish philanthropist Barry Sherman.

Meir Weinstein

JDL head Meir Weinstein

Before the Aug. 26 protest, Sherman was viciously attacked on social media, with trolls questioning his motives and suggesting he was furthering his business interests by buying access to power.

Mercifully, the demonstration only attracted about 30 protesters. They called Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau a traitor for supporting the nuclear deal with Iran, which they likened to the Munich Agreement between Hitler and Neville Chamberlain, a classic case of appeasement.

“It is absolutely wrong for a leading philanthropist in the Jewish community to support a man that would support the regime of Iran,” the JDL wrote on its website, a reference to Trudeau’s support for re-opening Canada’s embassy in Tehran.

Fortunately, other Jewish leaders strongly denounced the decision to hold a political protest outside the private home of a fellow Jew. Continue reading


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A clear message to the world

Regardless of one’s political predilections, one’s attitude toward the policies of Israel’s current government, or one’s view of Benjamin Netanyahu’s strengths and weaknesses as a retail politician, one has to admire the Israeli prime minister’s ability to make his point.

Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN in 2012

Netanyahu’s 2012 speech had better props.

His speech before the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 will long be remembered for his drawing of a bomb that appeared to come straight out of a Roadrunner cartoon. He was trying to stress that Iran was, and is, edging ever closer to being able to produce a nuclear weapon – a clear existential threat to the world’s only Jewish state.

This year, as the newly elected, ostensibly “moderate” and apparently charm-laden Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, embarked on a public relations blitz aimed at western media and western leaders, Netanyahu came to New York and gave an equally memorable, if slightly less flamboyant, speech.

He warned the global community in no uncertain terms that Israel cannot stomach a nuclear Iran. Continue reading


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Preparing for the unlikely

As a new Jewish year begins, renewed U.S.-led peace talks continue between Israel and the Palestinians.

Yitzhak Rabin at wRanter.com

He pursued peace and terrorists at the same time.

Much has been written about the low expectations surrounding these negotiations on both sides.

Certainly, Israelis and Jews have good reason to be skeptical.

The resumption of Palestinian violence at the beginning of this century, as well as rocket fire and terrorist incursions following Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza, are testament to this.

But as Jews, we must always be prepared for the possibility of peace, for the prospect that our enemies may surprise us.

And Israel should always be seen as being open to peace, even as it remains ready to defend itself.

In this vein, it’s worth recalling the words of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who used to say that Israel would pursue the peace process as if there was no terrorism and pursue terrorism as if there was no peace process.

Since Rabin’s death, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has largely been fought to a draw. Continue reading


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Church settlement boycott becomes interfaith train wreck

This past August, the General Council of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, adopted a motion urging its members to boycott goods produced in West Bank settlements.

United Church Moderator Gary Paterson at wRanter.com

Would he be welcome in Gaza?

The proposal was part of a larger, rather one-sided report prepared by the church’s Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy. It aimed to put pressure on Israel to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, which the working group considers to be the primary obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ironically, the ill-timed boycott motion, which isn’t binding on United Church members, was adopted the same day that Iran “celebrated” International Al-Quds Day, an annual end-of-Ramadan event started by the late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to protest Israeli control of Jerusalem.

As part of this year’s festivities, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his threats to destroy Israel, saying, among other things, that “in the new Middle East…. there will be no trace of the American presence and the Zionists,” and that Israel is a “cancerous tumour” and an “insult to all humanity.”

The move by the left-leaning church also came amid reports that Egypt’s experiment with democracy is drifting toward full-blown theocracy, as its newly elected Islamist president consolidates his control by installing his own army chiefs and by deploying tanks to the Sinai Peninsula. The latter move was ostensibly made in order to fight terror groups operating in the territory, but it wasn’t co-ordinated with Israel, in an apparent violation of the 1979 peace treaty.

It was also a bit jarring that the boycott was adopted the same day the church chose Gary Paterson as its first openly gay moderator, given that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that grants full rights to gays and lesbians.

Yet the boycott decision wasn’t a surprise. It had been building for a long time. Continue reading


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Why seek validation from the IOC? Instead, flip it the bird

I love the Olympics, but not for the reasons you might think.

It can be truly inspiring to watch the best athletes in the world – and the best Canada has to offer – compete against one another at the highest levels of sport.

Jacques Rogge at wRanter.com

A lightweight leader of a morally bankrupt organization

And I’m proud when Canadians do well. I was elated when sprinter Ben Johnson won gold for Canada in Seoul 1988 (and disappointed when he was stripped of his medal for steroid use).  I was perhaps even more thrilled when Donovan Bailey did it again – cleanly, one assumes – in Atlanta in 1996.

But rooting for Canada isn’t why I’m fond of the Games.

I love the Olympics because, ultimately, I couldn’t care less about them.

They’re over-hyped, treacly, meaningless fluff.

Every other year, in the weeks leading up to the Winter and Summer Games – and once they’re finally up and running after months of relentless promotion – I can safely ignore most of the Olympics ephemera crowding the pages of my favourite news websites and my already-skimpy, ad-deprived morning papers.

It’s a real time-saver.

This year, unfortunately, has been a bit different.

That’s because I’ve felt compelled to read as much as I can about the ultimately unsuccessful international effort to hold a minute of silence at the London Games’ opening ceremonies in honour of 11 Israeli Olympians who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games. Continue reading


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