Freedom Flotilla Sets Sail for Gaza after The Great March of Return

As the Freedom Flotilla prepares to sail from Copenhagen to a besieged and devastated Gaza, I speak to two of its passengers for The Real News.

The first of these passengers is Israeli activist, journalist and political consultant, Yudit Ilany. Yudit is a consultant to Haneen Zoabi, one of fourteen Palestinian members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Yudit lives near the border with Gaza and describes how the Israeli military is committing crimes against humanity there. Yudit also discusses the backlash she has endured from pro-occupation forces in Israel as a result of her advocacy for Palestinian human rights.

The second of these passengers is Heather Milton-Lightening, an indigenous rights activist from Canada. Heather discusses the parallels between the struggles of indigenous peoples in Canada and the Palestinian people. As Heather explains, the British Crown is deeply implicated in the oppression of both Canada’s indigenous peoples and Palestinians, and the methods used by settler-colonial forces to oppress them are remarkably similar.

You can watch my interview of Yudit and Heather here:

At the U.N., Trudeau Opposes an Investigation into Israel’s Shooting of Unarmed Civilians – including a Canadian Doctor

This week, courtesy of Justin Trudeau, the world witnessed one of the swiftest and most cowardly flip-flops in Canadian political history.

On May 16, 2018, Canada’s Prime Minister issued a statement calling for an “immediate independent investigation” into the “tragic” killing and wounding of “countless” protesters in Gaza. Trudeau professed in his statement to be “appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children.”

A mere two days later, in a debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Trudeau’s government opposed just such an investigation. Continue Reading ›

After Israel’s Army Shoots a Canadian Doctor, Canada’s Pro-Occupation Lobby Plays the Hamas Card, Again

This week, Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani was shot in Gaza by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

Dr. Loubani was shot in both legs. At the time that an IOF sniper gunned him down, there could have been no doubt that Dr. Loubani was a member of a medical team and that he posed no danger to anyone.

As Dr. Loubani wrote:

I was shot toward the end of the morning, and we had already run out of our first supply of tourniquets. I had just resupplied with 8 units, one of them unpacked in my pocket. We were standing well away from the main protest area. The snipers in the three sniper outposts all had clear views of us.

There was no fire or smoke near us. We were standing still, and I was facing in a southerly direction talking to a colleague. The snipers were situated east of us. I was wearing visible full hospital greens. There was no active shooting from the Israelis immediately before or after. There were no protesters in our immediate vicinity.

Dr. Loubani also reported that a paramedic who was a member of his medical team, Musa Abuhassanin, had died after being shot in the chest by an IOF sniper. Musa was killed one hour after he had tended to Dr. Loubani’s gunshot wounds.

Dr. Loubani’s restrained account of these atrocities was quickly picked up by Canadian media. First out of the gate was a local newspaper, the London Free Press (Dr. Loubani lives and works in London, Ontario). The London Free Press is a media asset of the relentlessly pro-occupation Postmedia newspaper empire.

The LFP reported — without any supporting evidence whatsoever — that Dr. Loubani was shot in “clashes” between the IOF and Palestinian protesters. But Dr. Loubani’s own account made clear that there were no “clashes” at the place and time of his shooting.

The LFP’s misleading report was quickly followed by reports from the national media. These media included the Toronto Star, the CBC, the Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Press. None of them misreported that Dr. Loubani had been shot in “clashes”. Continue Reading ›

Postmedia, Israel and Ethics-Free Journalism

Malcolm X: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

In 2016, as Green Party of Canada members debated whether to support sanctions on Israel, Postmedia newspapers published 15 articles and op-eds that left no ambiguity as to where Postmedia’s sympathies lay. As I wrote at the time:

Virtually all of Postmedia’s 15 articles bore headlines that suggested extremism, anti-Israel bias or infighting within the [Green] party. For example, a Toronto Sun article of Aug. 14, 2016, was headlined “Greens self-destruct with Israel bashing.” A mere seven days later, the Toronto Sun published another article, “Greens attacking Israel? Hardly a surprise”…

Even worse than the strident tone of Postmedia’s articles was the absence of pro-BDS and Palestinian perspectives. The 15 articles quoted opponents of BDS on 17 occasions, anti-BDS organizations on eight occasions, and Israel’s ambassador to Canada on one occasion. By contrast, only once did any of the 15 articles quote a supporter of BDS (Jill Stein, leader of the U.S. Green Party). In none of the articles was a single Palestinian or Palestinian solidarity organization quoted.

Worst of all, Postmedia’s reporters completely ignored the issue at the heart of the debate over BDS: Israel’s egregious human rights abuses.

In early 2017, after the Green Party resolved overwhelmingly – and with Elizabeth May’s support – to endorse sanctions on Israel, I decided to file a complaint against Postmedia with the National NewsMedia Council (NNC). Continue Reading ›

Detained Refugees Protest for 100 Days at Indonesia’s Balikpapan Detention Center

In 2014, Ehsanullah Sahil, an Afghan translator who had worked in Afghanistan for a Canadian private security contractor named “Tundra”, fled Afghanistan after the Taliban kidnapped his father and demanded that Ehsanullah surrender himself to the Taliban.

Ehsanullah ultimately sough refuge in Indonesia, but in December 2014, within weeks of his arrival there, he was incarcerated along with hundreds of other Afghan refugees in a detention centre called “Balikpapan.” Ehsanullah has languished there ever since.

For over 100 consecutive days, he and his co-detainees have peacefully protested in order to secure their freedom. For The Real News Network, I interviewed Ehsanullah from Balikpapan. This is his story:

The Great March of the Return: Will the International Criminal Court Prosecute Israel for War Crimes?

Al Haq, a human rights organization founded in 1979 and based in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has been meticulously documenting the Israeli military’s shooting of unarmed Palestinian protesters during the Great March of the Return, which began on March 30.

For the Real News, I speak to Al Haq researchers Rania Muhareb and Tareq Zaqqoot about Al Haq’s observations on the ground in Gaza.

As Rania and Tareq explain, Al Haq has compiled a compelling case of war crimes and has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s killing and wounding of children, medics, journalists and hundreds of other unarmed civilians.

My discussion with Rania and Tareq can be seen here:

New UN Report Examines Challenges to Sustainable Development in a Warming World

For The Real News, I speak with Professor Petra Tschakert, a lead author of a new United Nations report that examines the effects of climate change on sustainable development.

According to Professor Tschakert, “climate change threatens our progress towards reducing poverty, towards eradicating poverty.”

My interview of Professor Tschakert can be seen here: