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

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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, ...

Read More

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 – ...

Read More

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


Print pagePDF page

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


Print pagePDF page

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


Print pagePDF page

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.

Thomas Mulcair and Catherine Pinhas at wRanter.com

The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Here’s hoping he’s successful, but as I argued in an earlier post, it seems unlikely that he will be, because the left is as divided today as the right was in the 1990s, with a rapprochement nowhere on the horizon. Or as Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin famously told The Hill Times earlier this month,  “If we don’t unite the progressive vote, Stephen Harper will be prime minister until he gets bored.”

(Taking a different tack, the inimitable Chantal Hebert argues that Mulcair’s feistiness makes him the strongest opposition leader Harper has faced so far. She reminds readers that he arrives in time to face the PM in 2015, near Harper’s 10-year mark in power, when many prime ministers – e.g., Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney – wear out their welcome with voters and lose the fire in their belly. She also recalls that no one thought Harper would ever be prime minister, having been written off as a transitional leader of a reunited Conservative party.)

As has been widely noted, NDPers clearly chose Mulcair, a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, because they think he can win. They put aside what many see as his tenuous ties to the party and his previous statements against the oil sands (which, as right-wing media pundits have noted, are sure to alienate many Albertans), as well as his reputation for surliness. They hope he can consolidate the party’s massive 2011 gains in Quebec while gaining enough support elsewhere to push it over the top.

But some on the left of the NDP, such as longtime B.C. activist Murray Dobbin, are mourning how its members “could collectively have let Thomas Mulcair, the right-wing Liberal, pro-Israel, political bully become head of their party.” Continue reading


Print pagePDF page

‘Israeli apartheid’ is a slur that does no one any good

Campuses around the world are beginning to witness a series of annual events known as Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), and it’s a particularly depressing time of the year to be a progressive Jew.

That’s because when you call Israel an apartheid regime, as many on the left are wont to do, you’re effectively arguing, whether explicitly or implicitly, that you want the world’s only Jewish state to disappear.

Protests and counter-protests at UC Berkeley, 2010 at www.wranter.com

Pro- and anti-Israel rallies during IAW 2010 at UC Berkeley

Many left-wingers may support an end to the occupation of the West Bank and an end to the siege on Gaza, and they say that Israel’s practices relating to these two territories are akin to apartheid in the old South Africa. Others argue that’s Israel’s very nature as a Jewish state makes it unabashedly racist, and hence inherently unredeemable, occupation or no occupation. Continue reading


Print pagePDF page