Outrage In Canada After Militarized RCMP Arrest 14 Wet’Suwet’en Land Defenders on Sovereign Indigenous Land

After militarized RCMP officers arrested 14 land defenders on the sovereign territory of the Wet’Suwet’en people, solidarity protests erupted across Canada.

For The Real News, I attended one of those protests, which took place on January 8, 2019 in front of the riding office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal.

This is my report on the Montreal protest and the public’s reaction to the arrests:

https://therealnews.com/stories/outrage-in-canada-after-militarized-rcmp-arrest-14-wetsuweten-land-defenders-on-sovereign-indigenous-land?fbclid=IwAR0Kx4UDOQxoaxF0WstoNyJDSrOcTF6lr-syxT0oBa4O7z5fjWI1NxnhrtY.

What Can Humanity Learn From The Great Law Of Peace (Part 2)

This is the second part of my discussion about the Great Law of Peace with Stuart Myiow, Wolf Clan Representative of the Mohawk Traditional Council.

In this part, Stuart explain that Western ‘democracies’ wrongly prioritize individual rights over the rights of the collective, and that, if humanity is to avoid a climate catastrophe, it will be essential that we learn from the Great Law of Peace and that we begin to prioritize the collective interests over individual interests.

My discussion with Stuart can be seen and heard here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/what-can-humanity-learn-from-the-great-law-of-peace-2-2.

Roger Waters: Neoliberalism is Fuelling the Flames of Fascism

I spoke recently to legendary musician and human rights activist Roger Waters about his recent tour of South America.

In the first part of our discussion, Roger discussed his visit to Brazil where Roger paid tribute to murdered human rights activist Marielle Franco, met with journalist Glenn Greenwald and warned against the rise of the fascist Jair Bolsonaro.

In the second part, Roger discussed the appalling treatment of Julian Assange by the Ecuadorian government of Lenin Moreno. Roger also talked about the obstacles he had to overcome in order to visit the site of massive oil contamination in the Ecuadorian jungle. That contamination was caused by the corporate predecessor of Chevron and resulted in an historic, $9 billion judgment being rendered against Chevron by the courts of Ecuador. The Ecuadorian plaintiffs in that case have been fighting for years, including in Canada, to collect on that judgment.

The two parts of our talk can be seen and heard here:

https://therealnews.com/stories/roger-waters-neoliberalism-is-fueling-the-flames-of-fascism-pt-1-2

https://therealnews.com/stories/roger-waters-neoliberalism-is-fueling-the-flames-of-fascism-pt-2-2

 

The Weaponization of the IHRA’s Definition of Anti-Semitism

In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a Western-dominated organization which includes the state of Israel, promulgated a working definition of anti-Semitism.

Ever since, the pro-Israel lobby has prioritized the adoption of this definition for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who reads the definition: the IHRA definition is designed to stigmatize and deter criticism of Israel and its advocates.

On December 1, 2018, I gave a presentation on the weaponization of the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. I delivered this presentation in Montreal at a conference on Palestinian self-determination organized by the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière. 

In my presentation, I discussed, among other things, the manner in which B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs misrepresented the content of the IHRA definition in order to accuse me falsely of having hurled an ‘anti-Semitic’ slur at the two most outspoken defenders of Israel in Canada’s governing Liberal Party.

Below I have posted a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that I used during my speech at the conference.

CISO Conference Presentation on Antisemitism Dec 1 2018

A Call to Escalate Resistance to Canada’s Pro-Israel Policies

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 7.22.48 PM

Palestinian-Canadian human rights activist Hammam Farah interrupts a speech by Israel’s Economy Minister, Eli Cohen, at a Bay Street luncheon held in May 2018.

There is a moment in Henry Kissinger’s memoirs — do not buy the book — when Nixon and Kissinger are looking out at tens of thousands of anti-war protesters who have surrounded the White House. Nixon had placed empty city buses in front of the White House to keep the protesters back. He worried out loud that the crowd would break through the barricades and get him and Kissinger. And that is exactly where we want people in power to be. This is why, although he was not a liberal, Nixon was our last liberal president. He was scared of movements. And if we cannot make the elites scared of us we will fail.

Christopher Hedges, November 2016

Recently, human rights advocate Peter Larson published on his website, Canada Talks Israel Palestine, a blog post addressing accusations from Prime Minister Trudeau and other Canadian party leaders that I had directed a ‘vile anti-Semitic smear’ at two Members of Canada’s Parliament.

The MPs in question are Liberals Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather. They are both members of the Executive Committee of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group. Levitt is the Chair of that Group. Levitt and Housefather also happen to be Jewish.

My alleged ‘anti-Semitic smear’ was a tweet in which I wrote:

Apparently, Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt are more devoted to apartheid Israel than to their own prime minister and colleagues in the Liberal caucus.

After Trudeau and other party leaders falsely accused me of anti-Semitism, Peter reviewed over 100 blog posts on my website going back to January 2017. He then wrote[1] that:

[Lascaris] is a very vocal advocate of BDS, the movement to boycott Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, and very critical of both Elizabeth May and Jagmeet Singh for not endorsing it. But I could find no whiff of any animus against Jews…

While his tweet may have been insensitive, any intimation that Lascaris himself is anti-Semitic appears to be ill informed and perhaps even politically motivated. It would appear that a number of political leaders who have been sharply criticized by Lascaris in the past are not willing to come to his defense in the face of Trudeau’s attack.

I have already explained the context of my tweet and the reasons for which I categorically reject the Prime Minister’s accusation of anti-Semitism. My purpose in writing this post is not to add to that explanation, but rather, to respond to other criticisms Peter articulated in his post.

Continue Reading ›

The True ‘Troika of Tyranny’ In Today’s World Is The United States, Saudi Arabia And Israel

Yesterday, in an interview on RT America, I argued that the U.S. government’s sanctions on Iran have nothing to do with the human rights of the Iranian people, and that, to borrow John Bolton’s phrase, the true ‘troika of tyranny’ in today’s world is the United States, Said Arabia and Israel.

My interview on RT America can be seen and heard here:

Legal Battle over Falsely Labelled Wines From Israel’s Illegal Settlements Heats Up

In January 2017, Dr. David Kattenburg of Winnipeg, Canada filed a complaint with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) about two wines produced in Israel’s illegal settlements. Those wines are sold in Canada bearing labels which falsely proclaim them to be “Product of Israel”. As such, they plainly violate Canadian law, including section 5 of the Food and Drugs Act and section 7 of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

Dr. Kattenburg, who is Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors, reminded the CFIA that the Canadian government itself declares Israel’s settlements to be on occupied Palestinian territory and therefore a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is beyond reasonable dispute that those settlements form no part of Israel. As stated on the website of Global Affairs Canada:

Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel’s obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace…

Canada recognizes Israel’s right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a barrier on its own territory for security purposes. However, Canada opposes Israel’s construction of the barrier inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem which are occupied territories. This construction is contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada not only opposes Israel’s construction of a barrier extending into the occupied territories, but also expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure carried out for this purpose.

After months of careful consideration by at least seven CFIA analysts, including five specialists and a senior compliance officer, CFIA staff properly concluded that the wines violated Canadian law and that Dr. Kattenburg’s complaint was well-founded.

The CFIA then instructed the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to remove the wines from the shelves of LCBO vendors until a proper action plan for rectifying the false labels had been formulated and implemented.

On July 12, 2017 – before Dr. Kattenburg himself was apprised of the CFIA’s decision – the main pro-Israel lobby groups in Canada somehow learned of the CFIA’s ‘disturbing’ decision and intensely lobbied the Canadian government to reverse it. They relied on article 1.4.1b of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), an obscure provision that has nothing to do with product labelling. Nonetheless, the Canadian government quickly capitulated to the lobby’s demands and pressured the CFIA’s president into reversing his staff’s carefully considered decision.

Less than 24 hours after the lobby attacked the CFIA’s decision, the CFIA announced that it had reversed itself on the basis of “further clarification” of article 1.4.1(b), which CFIA staff had already considered before rendering its initial decision that the labels on these settlement wines violated Canadian law.

Canada’s pro-Israel lobby was aided in its efforts to circumvent Canadian law by Liberal MP Michael Levitt, the Chair of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group. On the day of the CFIA’s self-reversal, Levitt issued a statement in which he boasted about his advocacy for Israel and professed to have been “shocked and deeply concerned” by the CFIA’s enforcement of Canadian law.

Shortly after the CFIA’s lightening-speed self-reversal, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Michael Levitt celebrated their victory for injustice by travelling to the illegal Psagot settlement in the West Bank and visiting one of the wineries that is the subject of Dr. Kattenburg’s complaint.

In October 2017, I commenced a judicial review application in the Federal Court of Canada on Dr. Kattenburg’s behalf. Dr. Kattenburg is asking the court to declare unlawful the CFIA’s decision to allow these wines to be sold in Canada bearing false “Product of Israel” labels. Dr. Kattenburg’s application is scheduled to be heard in the Toronto courthouse of the Federal Court on May 21 and 22, 2019.

On November 2, 2018, I filed with the Federal Court a copy of Dr. Kattenburg’s Memorandum of Fact and Law in support of his application. A complete copy of the Memorandum can be viewed at the end of this post.

Dr. Kattenburg stands to gain nothing from his extraordinary efforts to ensure that the Canadian government enforces Canadian law. As stated in his Memorandum of Fact and Law, he has commenced this legal proceeding “to help ensure respect for Canada’s consumer protection and product labelling laws, to help ensure that he and other Canadian wine consumers be provided truthful and accurate information about the wine products that they purchase and consume, and to ensure both Canada’s and Israel’s respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.” Although I am acting for Dr. Kattenburg on a pro bono basis, this legal proceeding requires him to incur significant expenses. We encourage you to help Dr. Kattemnburg to shoulder these expenses by contributing to his gofundme campaign here.

Dr. Kattenburg’s Memorandum of Fact and Law, filed with the Federal Court of Canada on November 2, 2018:

Applicant’s Memorandum of Law – FINAL