Monday, March 11, 2024

The War In Gaza

Protests against the war in Gaza are growing. Michael Harris writes:

Political leaders who can no longer hear the people are usually on their way to defeat.

That is one of the takeaways from the recently cancelled event featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and visiting Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni in Toronto. 

A crowd of 400 protesters against the Gaza War—passionate and fractious—blocked the entrances to the Ontario Art Gallery. The prime minister was called “Genocide Justin” and a “liar.” Attendees were stopped from entering the building. 

Trudeau cabinet minister Ahmed Hussen hoofed it for two blocks trying to find an unblocked entrance to the venue. He could have saved the shoe leather. Even though the police said they could provide secure access to the art gallery, the prime minister’s staff decided not to proceed. 

Liberal MP Marco Mendicino expressed his view of the protesters in no uncertain terms: “You break the law, you should be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. … These thugs think they scored a victory last night, but all they did was lose public support, and embarrass themselves. Time for the madness to stop.”

Indeed. What the MP totally missed is that’s why the protesters were there in the first place: to stop the madness. It is not madness to protest the mass slaughter of 30,000 Palestinians in a war of misguided retribution. And there is the prospect of even greater casualties to come if a ceasefire and hostage agreement can’t be worked out before Ramadan. 

Trudeau's -- and the world's -- problem is how to deal with Benjamin Netanyahu:

In that case, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already committed to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) invasion of Rafah. The fate of a million and a half civilians sheltering there in dreadful conditions hangs in the balance. 

The overwhelming majority of those killed were not Hamas fighters. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked during congressional hearings how many women and children have been killed in the conflict. “It is over 25,000,” he replied. The Pentagon disputed that number, saying they could not confirm it. 

So far, the Trudeau government has played the moral lightweight in this ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. The prime minister did belatedly call for a ceasefire, and for that he deserves some credit. 

But there has been no follow through from Trudeau, no public pressure on Netanyahu to call off the dogs of war. Once again, Trudeau practising the uninspiring art of political gesturing. 

And that is what has enraged ordinary people around the world: the lackadaisical approach by so many governments to a humanitarian disaster so dire that it requires deeds—not words—to stop the wanton death and destruction. 

Until Trudeau -- and other world leaders -- get deadly serious with Netanyahu, the war will continue.

Image: The National Post


Trailblazer said...

Rwanda anyone?

Lorne said...

My own impression is that Trudeau is in lockstep with the United States, Owen, which explains our country's timid response to the ongoing genocide. True people of conscience will not be deterred by political considerations.

Owen Gray said...

History repeats itself, TB.

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau won't capture Bibi's attention, Lorne. But he might have Biden's ear.

jrkrideau said...

So far, the Trudeau government has played the moral lightweight in this ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. The prime minister did belatedly call for a ceasefire, and for that he deserves some credit.

Moral lighweight be damned. The Canadian Gov't, reportedly, has been shipping military supplies to Israel and has cut funding to the UNRWA, based on some totally unsubstantiated Israeli claims that 12 out of ~13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza participated in the Oct 7, 2023 Hamas attack.

Calling for a ceasefire is a pious bit of theatre. It means nothing. At the very least, we should have forbidden any export of any military or dual use materials to Israel.

We, probably, should have the RCMP or other relevant authorities investigate the charges that some synagogues are acting as real estate agents selling stolen West Bank land which is blatantly against the Geneva Convention. That charge seems to be behind the recent pro-Palestinian protests at synagogues in Toronto and Montréal.

Given the preliminary findings of the International Court of Justice of a plausible case of genocide against Israel, the Gov't of Canada has opened itself to a charge of assisting in an act of genocide.

So far, I find the actions of the Canadian Gov't despicable and have informed my MP of this.

The one, slightly decent, thing Canada has done is restore UNRWA funding last week, probably based on preliminary reports that the Israel accusations are not supported by evidence.

Owen Gray said...

Until governments stop funding Israel, jrk, the war will continue.

Anonymous said...

One facet of this ongoing human tragedy Owen is that any criticism of Israelis misdeeds brings out loud and vociferous anti-Semitic rhetoric. I suspect there is fear of loss of political donations, particularly from an American stand point. RG

Trailblazer said...

If a genocide was declared then the UN would be forced to act!
Hence, see no evil hear no evil!


Owen Gray said...

Any criticism of Israel is labeled anti-Semitic, RG. Are we to assume that Israel can do no wrong?

Owen Gray said...

Evil flourishes amid cowardice, TB.

rumleyfips said...

There are a few bits of hope the past few days. Funding for UNRWA has been restored. Air drops are being used to feed Gaza. The US is planning maritime relief for Palestine.

These things are being done without Israel's OK and are a signal to Bibi that Gaza is not Israeli territory.

Owen Gray said...

All commendable moves, rumley. But Bibi is a slow learner.

jrkrideau said...

Until governments stop funding Israel, jrk, the war will continue.

Israel is almost totally dependent on the USA for military supplies. Other countries contributions are useful but not essential.

Joe Biden could stop the genocide with one call to Bibi, "Stop this or I issue an executive order stopping all support to Israel, civil and military."

Of course, the chances of this are zero at the moment.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, that's true, jrk.

Anonymous said...

2024 is a presidential election year in the USA. The Israeli lobby carries considerable political clout south of the 49th and if Biden were to cut off support to Israel, that could be enough for Israeli supporters to throw the election in a close race to Donald Trump. If I remember correctly Trump as president banned immigration from certain Muslim countries. It wouldn't be too difficult to figure out what further would happen to Gaza if Trump were president. JRK appears to be totally unaware of this.

mr perfect

Owen Gray said...

Trump has a record of less than sympathetic comments about Jews, perfect. I'm not sure that a lot of Jews would take his side.

Northern PoV said...

It seems that the end-game of the Zionist project, originally a 'chosen people', Nakba-causing terrorist-movement, is in fact genocide.

Bibi and his nation, and all their politically-schizophrenic fellow travelers who call for a ceasefire while suppling weapons, like Biden and Trudeau-the-lessor, are war criminals.

Having considerable success at labeling a political opinion (being opposed to Zionism) as anti-Semitic, the Brits are about to outlaw any real opposition to the gov't:

"Revealed: legal fears over Michael Gove’s new definition of ‘extremism’
The communities secretary wants ‘trailblazer’ government departments to pilot a scheme to ban individuals and groups deemed extremist from public life"

Owen Gray said...

It seems that intolerance has become a virtue, PoV.

jrkrideau said...

Ah yes, 2024 is an election year in the USA.

Joe Biden has been taking a bit of a hit in popularity re Gaza and that dock idea may help him.

/ <a href="> Gaza maritime route was Netanyahu’s idea</a>

Owen Gray said...

Biden now talks about a red line, jrk. We'll see how that works out.

jrkrideau said...

The reason Joe Biden did not become a USAF pilot is that he is red–green colour blind /s

Owen Gray said...

A common ailment, jrk.

e.a.f. said...

It is doubtful the U.S.A. will slow down the supply of armaments to Israel. Both Canada and the U.S.A. turned away a ship of Jewish refugees prior to WW II. They returned to Europe where the majority were sent to concentration camps and died there. So when or if the U.S.A. stops the delivery of military aid to Israel you bet it will be compared to that. Not a good look.

Some people wonder why Israel was created, well that is easy, after WW II, collective guilt. The world stood around for years before dealing with Hitler. Its human nature. The world stood around while Pol Pot murdered about 3M of his fellow citizens. We do have Rawanda and what went on there. The Rohinga, the list goes on.

Jews understand their history and it hasn't been pleasant. The State of Israel has not been welcome in the area since it was created. We did have that little dust up in the 1960s for a week or so. Of course the Jewish settlers invading the West Bank and removing farmers from their land is simply illegal, but the P.M> of Israel has done nothing about it.

We may criticize the State of Israel for its actions in Gaza, but wonder what each of us would do if our relatives had been murdered by Hamas in the manner they were? Had Hamas not invaded and slaughtered the Israelis this war may not have happened. Hamas, which isn't stupid, would know Israel would retaliate. Beni just has taken it too far and killed too many people. He ought to know others do not like it when militaries kill children. Its such bad P.R. Of course Beni doesn't care, he is more interested in himself. there are a couple of court cases he still has to deal with.

Israel has to win this war or they will not be safe. However, ridding themselves of Hamas could have been done by other methods and not bombing Gaza into dust, but it is most likely Beni wants people to "never forget" what happened when you invade and murder Israeli citizens.

None of what is going on in Gaza/Israel surprises me, but then our Mom always said, it isn't "never again" its "it can happen again". Humans just don't ever learn

None of this is ever going to end. All we can hope for is the extremists are ignored.

Owen Gray said...

As Mark Antony said, e.a.f, the evil that men do lives after them.

Northern PoV said...

Reply to e.a.f.

"Some people wonder why Israel was created, "

Guilt? ok. but mostly ...

'We' did not want 'them' here. Nor did the European countries. They were considered either communists or too orthodox and clannish or both.

(Hint: "Both Canada and the U.S.A. turned away a ship of Jewish refugees prior to WW II.")


Hence the belated support for the Zionist project.

And those facts have were quickly washed down the memory hole along with the Nakba.

Owen Gray said...

The story gets pretty muddy, PoV.