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
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Netanyahu has unprecedented power. Now what?

Benjamin Netanyahu at wRanter.com

I outsmarted you and you and you and you...

On May 7, Israelis went to sleep thinking they were heading for an election in September, 18 months before it was required by law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently decided to call an early vote in order to capitalize on his high poll numbers and strengthen his hand with smaller parties in the Knesset.

When they awoke on May 8, Israelis learned that Netanyahu had struck a deal with Shaul Mofaz, the new leader of the centrist Kadima party, giving the Likud prime minister a strong national unity coalition by adding Kadima’s 28 seats. (I guess the PM went for the sure thing.)

Netanyahu now has a 94-seat super majority in the 120-seat Knesset, meaning he can govern with a relatively free hand until 2013.

But what does he intend to do with his new power?

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