A world leader decries investigations into his possible criminal corruption as an “attempted coup” based on “fabrications and a tainted and biased investigative process.”
No, not that world leader. This time it is Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime-minister-by-a-thread. Finally indicted on graft charges after months of anticipation, he became the first Israeli prime minister ever to face charges while in office. He insists the indictment will not impact his leadership, just as the country seems on an irreversible path to a third election in a year.
In a region with a scarcity of free and fair elections, Israel can’t seem to stop having them. From that perspective, things could be worse. Whether Netanyahu’s Likud party stands with him in his time of trouble remains to be seen. The possibility of his departure from the political scene, which he has dominated for nearly a generation, would provide the most significant shakeup of the field and possibly prevent a third inconclusive outcome.
On this side of the ocean, the U.S. House of Representatives continues investigating President Donald Trump. Few people, including Republicans, are making much of an effort to refute the basic facts. Evidence piles upon itself that the U.S. president indeed asked the president of Ukraine for a dirty political favour – a bribe – in exchange for military financial aid that had already been approved by the U.S. Congress. GOP responses to this evidence range from “So?” to the only slightly more nuanced argument that the president of the United States didn’t get what he wanted and the president of Ukraine did, so no harm done.
With Trump seemingly in thrall or somehow beholden to Vladimir Putin, and his party steadfast behind him, we are treated to the spectacle of a party that 60 years ago was trampling over individual liberties based on a largely false suspicion that “the Russians” were infiltrating the country’s government and threatening its entire way of life now responding to a disturbingly similar situation, this one far more provably real, with a shrug.
While Canada, thankfully, has no such level of political intrigue or corruption at the moment, a shocking diplomatic move last week has set the official voices of the Jewish community on edge.
The day before swearing in a new cabinet, the government of just-reelected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opted to vote at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, jumping on a dogpile led by North Korea, Egypt, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe, none of whom should be arbiters of justice or human rights. To be clear, the vote means almost nothing in practical terms. But symbolism does count. And the vote was a slap in the face by Canada to Israel and those in this country who recognize it as our closest ally in the region for historical, moral and pragmatic reasons.
Some speculate that the shift in tone reflects the new minority government currying favour with the New Democratic Party, which has included some notorious Israel-bashers. That is probably a less likely reason than the campaign by Trudeau to win Canada one of the rotating seats on the United Nations Security Council. Where former prime minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to “go along to get along” in the anti-Israel hatefest that occurs annually at the UN was seen as a key reason we lost out on a seat, Trudeau seems determined to hedge his bets.
A prestigious seat on the Security Council would presumably elevate Trudeau in the eyes of the world after he frittered away the “Canada is back” optimism of four years ago by failing to meet climate targets while bhangra dancing across the world stage.
Regardless of the motive, it is a reprehensible act that could have serious implications for the political orientation of Jewish Canadians in the next few years. Coming as it does while the ink is barely dry on the results of an election in which Liberals mostly made the right noises to Jewish and pro-Israel Canadians, it seems a particularly brutish little dagger to unsheathe now.
The Aug. 29 Jerusalem Post had an article, “Pipko to Post: Jewish Democrats are walking away,” which argued that “The Democrats have changed and so should [Jewish] support for them.” It is part of an effort carried out by Republicans before every presidential election to make Israel a wedge issue, to convince Jews to switch to supporting Republicans.
Polls have found that most Israelis also believe that U.S. Jews should support President Donald Trump and other Republicans, largely because of what they perceive as their strong support for Israel. In his efforts to get U.S. Jews to change their political allegiance, Trump has stated about Jews that, “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”
Despite these opinions and statements, in the same Aug. 29 issue of the Post was the article “Trump vs. Gallup: Report shows Jews will vote Dem,” which indicated that a very strong majority of U.S. Jews (roughly 75%) are very likely to continue to vote for Democrats.
As an American who made aliyah about three years ago, after living in the United States for 82 years, I would like to discuss why U.S. Jews generally vote for Democrats and, in doing so, are, I believe, loyal to Jews, Israel and Jewish values.
A major reason is that Trump, along with virtually all U.S. Republican politicians, denies climate change, an existential threat to Israel, the United States and, indeed, the world. Trump and virtually all Republicans are doing everything possible to support the fossil fuel industry and weaken efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Research from Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School and other sources revealed more than 80 environmental rules and regulations on the way out under Trump.
Another important reason that most Jews vote for Democrats is that many of Trump’s policies are contrary to basic Jewish values of kindness, compassion and concern for the disadvantaged, the stranger and the poor. Rather than improving Obamacare, which provided health insurance to tens of millions of Americans, Trump supported legislation that would result in as many as 32 million Americans losing their health insurance and making others pay higher premiums.
Also, instead of rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, rated a D+ by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Trump and Republican legislators pushed through a tax bill that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations. This will greatly increase the U.S. national debt, giving the Republicans an excuse to try to carry out their longtime desires to cut programs Americans depend on, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Most Jews also disagree with the views and policies of Trump and other Republicans on many issues, including immigration, civil rights, gun control, church-state separation, judicial appointments, diplomacy and the Iran nuclear agreement.
While a significant majority of Israelis approve of the United States getting out of the Iran nuclear deal, the results of that action remain to be seen. A strong majority of military, nuclear and strategic experts believe that the pact is the best approach to curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. Among the negatives of Trump’s decision is that European and other nations have been alienated, America’s credibility in keeping agreements has been reduced and the potential for war and terrorism may have increased.
Then there is the issue of Trump’s character. As the New York Times’ conservative columnist Bret Stephens, a former chief editor of the Jerusalem Post, wrote in a recent article, Trump’s character involves “lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name-calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness.” Do we really want to honour such a person and make him a role model for our children and grandchildren?
Jews who vote Democrat generally support Israel, but they believe that, while it will be difficult to obtain, largely due to Palestinian positions and actions, Israel needs a resolution to its conflict with the Palestinians in order to avert continued and possibly increased violence, effectively respond to its economic, environmental and other domestic problems, and remain both a Jewish and a democratic state. They view Trump’s statements and actions with regard to Israel in terms of that belief.
American Jewish Democratic party supporters recognize that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his movement of the U.S. embassy there and his other supportive policies and actions with regard to Israel are good for Israel’s morale, but they do not believe it makes peace more likely or terrorism less likely.
Of course, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, always has been and always will be. But, almost all of the nations of the world will only acknowledge this if it is part of a comprehensive, sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s shift of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has totally alienated the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, which now rejects a U.S. role in forging peace with Israel. Trump’s decision would have made sense as the capstone of a final peace agreement with the Palestinians, but its timing seems counterproductive, alienating many nations, adding impetus toward anti-Israel violence and reducing prospects for a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The price that Israel will have to pay for Trump’s support should also be considered. Most analysts believe that it was pressure from Trump that convinced Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cancel the visit by the two U.S. congresswomen, a decision that received widespread criticism, even from strong supporters of Israel, including AIPAC.
It is very significant that, of the 36 Jewish Congress members, 34 are Democrats.
Israel may also suffer significantly by Trump and other Republicans making Israel a wedge issue, harming the important bipartisan support of Israel, in efforts to convince Jews to vote Republican.
Another factor is the major increase in antisemitic acts since Trump became president, which many people believe is due to his failure to sufficiently condemn white nationalists and other bigots.
In light of all these considerations, I believe that U.S. Jews are correct in supporting Democratic politicians and, in doing so, are being loyal to Jews, Jewish values and Israel.
Richard H. Schwartz, PhD, is professor emeritus, College of Staten Island, president emeritus of Jewish Veg and president of Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians. He is the author of several books, including Judaism and Vegetarianism and Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet, and more than 250 articles at jewishveg.org/schwartz. He was associate producer of the documentary A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World. A version of this article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post.
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said the Democratic party in that country has become an “anti-Jewish” and an “anti-Israel” party.
The president was criticizing Democrats based on stands taken by Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has made impolitic comments, including accusing pro-Israel politicians of forgetting what country they represent. Omar, along with fellow freshmen congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, have made their presence known on the national scene faster and more effectively than almost any political newcomers in years. They bring a fresh, radical approach to politics, whether one agrees with their positions or not. They have the potential to be a left-wing version of the Tea Party, which upended the Republican party beginning a decade ago. The parallels are several: fresh faces with radical views and little respect for business-as-usual or party leadership hierarchies.
The Tea Party and the new Democrats, who dub themselves “The Squad,” are both causes and symptoms of a widening polarity in American politics. The centre is not holding – a reality that many Democrats are fearing as they enter the most unpredictable presidential nominating process in their history, with a score of credible candidates having entered the race. Progressives think another centrist like Hillary Clinton can’t win, while party leaders fear that nominating an avowed socialist or other seemingly far-lefty will give Trump another term.
That divisiveness is exactly what Trump wants. His only criterion for supporting an issue is whether it has short-term rating benefits for his reality-TV presidency. He may not have a sound, thought-out strategy, but if a tweet or a comment from him can monopolize the talking heads for a news cycle, this is what he views as a presidential triumph.
So, to stick a knife in the entire Democratic party based on a few (admittedly crude and arguably antisemitic) statements by a couple of new politicians is just the sort of infotainment that Trump relishes. The problem is, it isn’t the Democrats who will suffer most if Trump’s latest gambit succeeds. It’s Jews.
Trump has a compulsive need to poke sticks at people, but weapons can sometimes miss their mark. He has painted himself as a Judeophile, touting his Jewish grandchildren, but he also traffics in overt stereotypes of Jews, such as when he noted before a group of Jewish Republican that he is “a deal-maker, like you folks.” This is to say nothing of his unconcealed cavorting with white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
But the line about Democrats being an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel party is a step too far. It’s not a problem in the sense that it is entirely false – we have seen the Labour party in the United Kingdom degenerate into a movement irreparably saturated with prejudice toward Jews and an attitude toward Israel that in many cases borders on psychosis. The Democratic party could follow a similar path if the trajectory from a sliver of the party’s progressive wing is not put in check.
The reason Trump’s comments are despicable is that he takes joy in the possibility that his opposition could become a genuinely anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish party. Jews be damned, it could help Trump get reelected, so he exploits it as much as he can.
Whatever the likelihood might be of the Dems actually becoming an anti-Jewish, anti-Israel party, like U.K. Labour, Trump has politicized Israel and Jews in a way that can only harm Jewish Americans and the American-Israeli relationship.
Support for Israel based on moral, military, economic and historical foundations has been an unshakeable plank in the platform of Democrats and Republicans for decades. By refusing to turn that bilateral relationship into a partisan slapfest, both parties have managed to ensure that, barring bratty interpersonal spats like the Obama-Netanyahu tantrums, the relationship between the two allies remains strong and seemingly unbreakable.
The Democrats are finding ways to accommodate new ideas. Some of them will be good ideas, some less so. The vast majority of elected Democrats stand as firmly with Israel as ever, and they could take some lessons from the newcomers about how to get their messages across in a dynamic, engaging way.
We have had this discussion in Canada when political figures have tried to make support for Israel a partisan wedge. True friends don’t do that, because they know that their political advantages will flow and ebb, while Jewish and Zionist Canadians will have to live with whatever consequences result from short-term political schemes.
A sitting U.S. president who foments tectonic political discord around an issue like this is no friend to Jewish Americans or Israel. No matter how much he professes love for his grandchildren and Jewish deal-making skills.
There are few political leaders who can rest easy these days. Movements are sweeping the world, upending existing assumptions and bringing or threatening major change.
In Venezuela, the leadership is still contested between the far-left incumbent President Nicolás Maduro and the Western-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who claims the presidency. In Brazil, a new rightist regime is making nice with U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Far-right parties continue to make gains in European elections, including last weekend’s vote in Estonia, while a movement in Spain is exhuming the fascist past of the Franco era.
In Canada, we appear to be in the midst of the most dramatic political scandal in recent memory. Former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony last week to the Commons’ Justice Committee blew the lid off what she called inappropriate, excessive political interference and veiled threats from the prime minister and other top government officials, who allegedly attempted to influence her decision around a criminal case involving the Quebec corporation SNC-Lavalin. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony painted a picture of a leadership that couldn’t differentiate between the partisan interests of the Liberal party and the judicious operations of the affairs of the government of Canada. The prime minister’s recently resigned former chief of staff, Gerald Butts, was to address the same committee this week, presumably to voice the narrative of the Prime Minister’s Office. But, before he had time to utter his first word, another cabinet minister, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, abruptly quit cabinet Monday.
“I must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations,” Philpott declared in a written statement. “There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them.” Yikes! What does she know that we don’t know? And when do we find out?
The parallels and differences were stark on the same day last week between American and Canadian politics. While Wilson-Raybould was having her say, Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was unloading a decade’s worth of pent-up hostility at his former boss in front of members of the U.S. Congress. While Wilson-Raybould was handled with figurative kid gloves by fellow Liberals on the committee (whose job, in some ways, was to defend the prime minister and his government on the issue), the reaction from Republicans toward their former ally was anything but cordial. Trump-allied congresspeople went at Cohen hammer and tong, accusing him of being a serial liar, the irony of the scene seemingly lost in their moral indignation.
While both Trudeau and Trump had a very bad week, impeaching Trump seems like a nearly impossible dream given the loyalty of most Republicans to defend his every action. But Trudeau, whose party is now facing almost certainly more challenging conditions in October’s election, may have an internal revolt on his hands if he does not somehow square the circle of the SNC-Lavalin catastrophe and its associated circus side-shows and, not secondarily, reassure his caucus that they’re not all going to get the boot because their leader interfered with a fundamental tenet governing the proper proceedings of justice and rule of law. This is probably far from over.
In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May flounders about trying to find some resolution to the impending exit from the European Union, which is scheduled to happen in three weeks. The terms of that breakup – and whether it will take place as planned, be delayed or somehow permanently put on hold – remain entirely uncertain. The governing Conservatives and the opposition Labour party have all acted like amateurs through this process, stumbling from one failure to another. Last week, Labour announced they would support a second referendum on the issue, which could provide an escape hatch. If only the deadline for Brexit were not now being counted in hours.
In Israel, King Bibi faces the most serious threat to his leadership in years. Netanyahu was notified last week that he will almost certainly face indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust based on allegations that he has provided benefits to allies and friends in return for gifts like pink champagne and cigars, as well as allegedly bartering favours for positive media coverage. With an election now a month away, and facing a new opposition coalition headed by Benny Gantz, the former chief of general staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Netanyahu is not only fighting against the imminent criminal charges. He now faces, in Gantz, someone who neutralizes Bibi’s perpetual advantage over his political rivals – his reputation as a leader who is tough on security. While Netanyahu has tried to paint the apparently centrist Gantz as a “leftist,” most Israeli voters seem mainly concerned with the cost of living, inflation and other pocketbook issues. While the jockeying for coalitions after the vote is often as significant as the election results themselves, sober commentators are speculating that the Netanyahu era may not last much longer.
While political turmoil can have many sources, much of it in democracies comes straight from the highest levels of leadership – from the malfeasance or misfeasance of top elected officials themselves. Whatever the future has in store for Trudeau, Trump, May and Netanyahu, in each case, much of the damage they individually face is self-inflicted.
נשיאה לשעבר של ארצות הברית, ביל קלינטון, מגיע לוונקובר לקדם את ספרו החדש ‘הנשיא נעדר’, שיצא לאור בימים אלה. עם קלינטון יתארח הסופר ג’יימס פטרסון, שהוא שותפו בכתיבת הספר.
טראמפ צריך ללמוד היסטוריה: טען קנדה שרפה את הבית הלבן בזמן שזו הייתה בריטניה
נשיא ארצות הברית, דונלד טראמפ, מוכיח שוב שהוא אינו יודע היסטוריה וכרגיל מעוות עובדות לצרכיו האישיים והפוליטיים. הפעם מדובר באירוע שקרה רק לפני כמאתיים שנה אותו טראמפ הזכיר, וטעה בעובדות. בשיחת טלפון כועסת עם ראש ממשלת קנדה, ג’סטין טרודו, שהתקיימה בסוף מאי, במסגרת מלחמת הסחר בה פתח הנשיא האמריקני, אמר בין היתר טרודו: האם אנו קנדה מהווים סיכון לביטחון הלאומי לארה”ב כפי שאתה אומר, כדי להצדיק את המכסים שהטלת על הסחורות שלנו? טראמפ השיב בשאלה: האם לא אתם שרפתם את הבית הלבן במלחמת 1812? טראמפ קצת התבלבל כיוון שהכוחות הבריטים הם ששרפו את הבית הלבן ב-1814 במסגרת מלחמת 1812, לאחר שהאמריקנים התקיפו את אזור יורק באונטוריו, שהיה אז מושבה בריטית.
טראמפ שוב הפך את עצמו לבדיחה באמצעי התקשורת האמריקניים, ששאלו שוב ושוב כיצד הידידה הקרובה ביותר קנדה, מהווה סיכון לביטחון הלאומי של ארה”ב?
הנשיא לא נעדר: ביל קלינטון מגיע לוונקובר וידבר על ספרו החדש ועל צפוי שגם על הנשיא הנוכחי
נשיאה לשעבר של ארצות הברית, ביל קלינטון, מגיע לוונקובר לקדם את ספרו החדש ‘הנשיא נעדר’, שיצא לאור בימים אלה. עם קלינטון יתארח הסופר ג’יימס פטרסון, שהוא שותפו בכתיבת הספר. פטרסון והנשיא לשעבר ידונו ארוכות בספר החדש, באופן כתיבתו והחיבור היחודי ביניהם. נראה שהשניים יעסקו במישרין או בעקיפין גם בנשיא השערורייתי הנוכחי של ארה”ב, דונלד טראמפ, שניצח את אשתו של ביל הילרי קלינטון, בבחירות שהתקיימו לפני כשנה וחצי. צפוי שגם לקהל הרחב תהיה אפשרות לשאול שאלות בנושאים שונים. האירוע היחודי יתקיים במרכז הקונגרסים של ונקובר (באולם הבולרום המערבי), ביום שישי ה-29 בחודש, החל משעה 4.05 אחר הצהריים. נותני החסות: תחנת הטלוויזיה גלובל בי.סי, עיתון הוונקובר סאן ועיתון סטאר – מטרו ונקובר. שבוע קודם לכן ב-22 ביוני, יתקיים אירוע עם קלינטון בלבד במרכז התערוכות של טורונטו (באולם בינפילד סנטר), החל משעה 7.30 בערב. נותן החסות עיתון הטורונטו סטאר. מחירי הכרטיסים לכל אחד מהאירועים: 99 דולר, 159 דולר, 249 דולר והיקר שבהם לווי.איי.פי 1,895 דולר.
הספר ‘הנשיא נעדר’ (בהוצאת אלפרד קנוף וליטל ובראון) הוא מותחן בידיוני שעוסק בחטיפה של נשיא ארה”ב, אך כולל גם תכנים אמיתיים מעניינים שכוללים מידע על מה “קורה מבפנים” ומאחורי הקלעים בבית הלבן, בליווי מתח ודרמה למכביר. מדובר ברומן הראשון של קלינטון, שכאמור אותו הוא כתב ביחד עם פטרסון האמריקני, הנחשב לאחד מהסופרים המצליחים ביותר בעולם, ומטבע הדברים לאחד ממוכרי הספרים הגדולים בעולם. פטרסון הגדיר את העבודה עם קלינטון: “שיא הקריירה שלי והגישה לסינון מיד ראשונה תרמה באופן ייחודי לכתיבת הספר הזה”.
קלינטון (בן ה-71) שימש נשיאה הארבעים ושתיים של ארה”ב, במשך שתי קדנציות מטעם המפלגה הדמוקרטית. קודם לכן הוא שימש מושל מדינת ארקנסו. שיעורי התמיכה בקלינטון (הפופולריות שלו בקרב הציבור) היו גבוהים מאוד, גם עם סיום תפקידו. על הקדנציה השנייה שלו העיבה פרשת מוניקה לווינסקי, אך קלינטון ניצל מניסיון ההדחה של חברי המפלגה הרפובליקנית. בימים האחרונים שודר ראיון עם קלינטון ברשת אן.בי.סי האמריקנית, בו הוא ציין כי אינו חייב התנצלות ללווינסקי. הוא הוסיף כי גם בעידן הנוכחי (של ‘המי טו’) הוא לא היה מתפטר. לדבריו הוא הודיע באופן פומבי על כך שהוא מצטער על מעשיו אך לא דיבר עם לווינסקי.
קנדהנאבקתעלעתידהשלבומברדייהמולבואינגהאמריקניתשמנסהלחסלה. (צילום: Jean Gagnon)
בעידן דונלד טראמפ קנדה נכנסת לכוננות כללית וממשלתה הליבראלית בראשות, ג’סטין טרודו, מנהלת בין היתר מאבק קשה למען עתידו של קונצרן התעופה בומברדייה איירוספייס מקוויבק, שהענקית האמריקנית בואינג מסיאטל מאיימת לחסלו. מאבק האיתנים הזה מתנהל בשולי הדיונים בשינויים בהסכמי הסחר החופשי של צפון אמריקה (נפטה) שהיקפם מוערך בלמעלה מטריליון דולר, המתנהלים בימים אלה בין ממשלות ארה”ב, קנדה ומקסיקו, לאור דרישותיו של הנשיא האמריקני. שלושה סבבים התקיימו כבר בין נציגי המדינות והדרך עוד ארוכה להגיע להסכמות אם בכלל, בזמן שהמשבר הגדול סביב פרשת בואינג-בומברדייה משאיר טעם מר אצל הקנדים, שחוששים מאוד מהתנהלותו המטורפת של טראמפ, המנהל מלחמות עם כול העולם ואשתו, ללא סימפטיה אפילו עם מדובר במדינה הקרובה ביותר לארה”ב בכל המובנים.
ועל מה נסוב המשבר בין שתי יצרניות המטוסים: בואינג טוענת כי בומברדייה קיבלה מענקי סובסידיה מהממשלה הקנדית (373 מיליון דולר) וממשלת קוויבק (מיליארד דולר), שמנוגדים להסכמי הסחר בין המדינות. גם ממשלת בריטניה העניקה סובסידיה לבומברדייה, כיוון שמפעל גדול שלה נמצא בצפון אירלנד ומעסיק כ-4,500 עובדים. כזכור ראש ממשלת בריטניה, תרזה מיי, הצליחה להקים שוב ממשלה, בזכות המפלגה היוניוניסטית הדמוקרטית מצפון אירלנד, והיא רוצה להראות להם שעושה היא הכל למען בומברדייה.
לטענת בואינג הסובסדיות עזרו רבות לבומרדייה להוריד את משמעותית את המחיר בעיסקה עם דלתא (חברת התעופה השנייה בגדולה בארה”ב) שנחתמה ב-2016, לרכישת 125 מטוסים מהסדרה סי שהיא מייצרת. מדובר במטוסים לא גדולים (עד 150 מקומות ישיבה) שמיועדים לטווחי טיסה קצרים ובינוניים בלבד והם נחשבים לחסכוניים בדלק.
בואינג הגישה תביעה כנגד החברה הקנדית למשרד הסחר האמריקני, שפתח בחקירה מואצת ועדיין לא הסתיימה. המשרד החליט עקרונית להטיל מכסים בשיעורים חסרי תקדים של 219% על מכירות מטוסי סדירה סי של בומברדייה, לדלתא ולחברות אמריקניות נוספות, דבר שיהפוך את העיסקות ללא כידאיות. אם באמת יוטל המס הזה יביא הדבר קרוב לוודאי לחיסולה של סדרת הסי, למעט אם בומברדייה תצליח למכור את מטוס הנוסעים החדיש שלה לחברות אירופאיות וסיניות. התאיד הקנדי גם כך מקרטע ולא ברור כלל אם הוא יצליח לשרוד בשנים הבאות, לאור תחרות הולכת וגוברת עם שתי יצרניות המטוסים הענקיות בואינג וארייבוס האירופאית, והיצרנית באותו גודל אמבראר הברזילאית. גם חטיבת הרכבות של התאגיד – בומברדייה טרנספורטיישן (שמספקת רכבות וקטרים לרכבת ישראל) מתקשה לעמוד בתחרות עם יצרניות רכבות שונות, בהן מסין ולאור המיזוג בין סימנס הגרמנית ואלסטום הצרפתית.
הממשלה הקנדית החליטה להשיב מלחמה לכוונות האמריקנים וטרודו לשם שינוי בנאום חריף לתקשורת, הודיע כי ממשלתו לא תדון עם בואינג שתובעת את הממשלה, על עיסקת רכישת שמונים ושמונה מטוסי קרב חדישים לחייל האוויר הקנדי, בהיקפים של בין 15 ל-19 מיליארד דולר. טרודו אף ציין כי ממשלתו נהגה כשורה ובסך הכל היא העניקה הלוואות לבומברדייה. כך טענה גם מיי. הפרמייר של קוויבק, פיליפה קולרד, יצא בחריפות גדולה נגד בואינג על הכוונה לפגוע בבומברדייה, שהמעסיקה אלפי עובדים במחוז. בצרוף כל ראשי האופוזיציה קולרד הודיע כי ינהל מאבק עיקש נגד הגזרות האמריקניות, ושום מטוס או אפילו חלק של בואינג לא יכנס לקנדה כל עוד לא יבוטל המכס הכבד נגד בומברדייה.
בינתיים מתברר כי גם ממשלת ברזיל החליטה לצאת למלחמה נגד בומברדייה באותו נושא שפוגע באמבראר, והיא פנתה כבר לארגון הסחר העולמי.
As the majority of the world sits in shock that a reality TV star was actually voted in to be the next President of the United States (happy or not, y’all have to admit only Michael Moore expected this result!), many awoke Wednesday morning trying to make some sense of it all.
It’s usually around this time that the desperately positive side of me seeks some kind of solace or acceptance by trying to find a silver lining in a seemingly poor situation – that same part of me that has allowed me to be a Vancouver Canucks fan for so many years.
It is with that train of thought that I consider what possible positive outcome might eventually come from the fact that more than 50 million Americans submitted their vote for a man with no international political experience, the temperament of a bully, sexist tendencies and an undeniable ability to look someone in the eye and lie if it suited him in that moment.
There was an intense sense of panic across the country leading up to this election. There was panic from those who feared their country was already falling apart and looked to Trump as their only option for change. There was also panic from those who opposed Trump and feared the type of change he could bring.
It became clear, however, that very few Americans felt that their country was going to be just fine no matter what happened Nov 8.
Perhaps the shocking election of Donald J. Trump was the wake-up call or the shake up the country needed to become more focused on what it needs to do in order to actually become whole again.
If Trump is as ridiculous, ignorant and unprepared as President as he showed to be during his campaign it’s going to become painfully obvious rather fast. In which case the need for dramatic reform could kick the country into high gear, unite leaders in unprecedented ways and refocus the entire country.
Or perhaps Trump becomes humbled by the responsibility of leading the free world, learns on the job quickly and becomes the new type of leader millions of Americans are hoping for. If that happened it would also completely change the way American politics function moving forward.
Of course it’s also possible he leads the country into civil war, alienates millions and sets of world-wide fires that can’t be easily extinguished while the US of A becomes a joke, sending Western society into grave danger. But let’s stay on the possible silver lining track here for a minute!
It is clear that something had to give. Much like when mother nature sets off natural disasters in order to renew herself for the longevity of the planet, perhaps this disaster of an election will do the same for the longevity of the USA.
Perhaps this is the political version of the story of Noah and the flood and America can come out of this disaster ready for a more positive future.
Unfortunately, as many Americans learned while crashing the Canadian immigration website last night, Canada is not the Ark!
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump upset AIPAC organizers when he criticized President Barack Obama. (photo by David Zam)
There were clear signs of discord in Washington, D.C., as representatives of AIPAC publicly rebuked presidential hopeful Donald Trump after he harshly criticized the sitting president.
At the pro-Israel organization’s policy conference last month, in front of some 18,000 attendees, visibly upset AIPAC president Lillian Pinkus admonished Trump on stage for his remarks a day earlier.
“Whatever policy disagreements we may have, we must not condemn the sitting president on stage,” she said. “There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night and, for that, we are deeply sorry.”
Chairman of the board Robert A. Cohen said that booing and clapping speakers when they attack another person was unacceptable at the event, and that “AIPAC doesn’t pick sides.”
Trump, who was cheered wildly for noting that it was President Barack Obama’s last year in office, said that “Obama rewards our enemies” and “Hillary was a total disaster as secretary of state…. Obama and Hillary have been very bad to Israel. Obama may be the worst thing to happen to Israel.”
Every major party candidate for president spoke at the dais, except the senator from Vermont, Democrat Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish. All candidates who spoke placed heavy emphasis on Iran.
GOP frontrunner Trump didn’t mince words. He called the Iran deal brokered by the P5+1 – the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany – “awful” and “bad for Israel, the Middle East and the world.”
The $150 billion channeled to Iran in the agreement, by his reckoning, was “unbelievable” with “nothing in return,” and that the Islamic Republic will have a nuclear bomb within several years.
As president, Trump said he would “stand up to Iran’s aggression” because “I know how to deal with aggression and that’s why I’ll win.”
The Middle East’s terror activity has Iran’s fingerprints all over it, he continued, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, reward money for Palestinian terrorists, and influence in at least two dozen other countries.
“I will dismantle Iran’s global terror network,” Trump said. “We will enforce this deal like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before.”
The New York billionaire mogul and reality TV host took aim at two other threats to Israel, the United Nations and Palestinian terror activity.
“The UN is incompetent and no friend of Israel,” he said. “A [peace] agreement imposed by the UN would be a total disaster. And the U.S. must use our veto, which I will use 100%.”
The Jewish state, he said, has always been willing to strike a deal with its neighbors, noting that prime minister Ehud Barak in 2000 offered nearly the entire West Bank as a Palestinian state, but the offer was dismissed by then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Other times, he said, “Palestinian leadership has rejected very good offers.”
Trump noted that, under his purview, the U.S. embassy would move “to the eternal capital of the Jewish state, Jerusalem.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, trailing a distant second to Trump in GOP delegates, began his speech, “America will stand with Israel and defeat Islamic terror.”
He spoke about his three trips to Israel as senator, including a visit to Israeli hospitals that treated Syrian refugees. He noted that he had proposed legislation to ban the Iranian ambassador to the UN from entering the United States since he was involved in the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. It passed in both the Senate and House.
Taking a jab at the Obama administration, he said it was “unjust” for them to impose a travel ban on Israel in the summer of 2014. He further called out Democrats for boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech last year at AIPAC.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, was taken to task for saying that Hamas fires rockets from civilian areas because Gaza is tight for space. “Rather,” said Cruz, “it’s because Hamas are beasts who use human shields.”
As for the “fundamentally immoral” Iran deal, Cruz said he will “rip it to shreds on the first day,” since the Islamic Republic won’t follow it anyway.
“Hear my words Ayatollah Khomeini: If I am president and Iran launches a missile test, we will shoot that missile down,” said Cruz. “And, in January 2017, we will have a commander-in-chief who says under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons: either you will shut down your nuclear program or we will shut it down for you.”
Cruz compared the Iran deal to the failed 1938 agreement between British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler, which led to the Third Reich’s takeover of Czechoslovakia and allowed its continued military build-up.
If elected president, Cruz said he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, yank federal funds from schools that boycott Israel and veto any UN unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
Governor of Ohio John Kasich, running third in the GOP delegate count, noted his 35-year support for Israel and his role in helping erect a Holocaust monument in his state.
He called for the suspension of the Iranian nuclear deal, particularly after recent test missiles in contravention of international treaties. As president, he would “defeat ISIS and stop arms flows to Hezbollah.”
He also spoke out against the boycott, divestment and sanction movement, and antisemitism on campus. On Israel, he noted the “culture of death that the Palestinian leadership has promoted for decades,” and that “Palestinians cannot continue to promote hatred.” In sum, he called Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel.
When she took to the stage, Clinton noted that the “the ideological gap between the parties has increased, but there’s still common agreement on Israel.”
She took a three-pronged approach to global security: Iran’s aggression, the growing tide of extremism, and efforts to delegitimize Israel. “The deal with Iran is making the world safer, including Israel,” she said. “The supreme leader still calls all the shots in Iran, but we should support voices who want to bring change in Iran.”
Regarding other parts of the region, she said that “ISIS must not be contained; it must be defeated.”
On the issue of Israel, she noted that Palestinian leadership has to stop inciting violence. “Children should not be taught to hate in schools,” she said, adding that she would oppose any attempts to “push a [unilateral two-state] solution,” including in the UN. “Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their state,” she said, while adding that Israeli “settlements are not helpful to peace.”
She condemned BDS and said, “we have to fight against it” because “antisemitism has no place in American society.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden took a risk mentioning to the 18,000 attendees at the policy conference that Israeli “settlements are a barrier in the way of a two-state solution.” That risk was welcomed by a chorus of boos – despite attendees being cautioned by AIPAC leadership to not do so.
Biden insisted that, notwithstanding political differences, the United States is “united in our unwavering commitment to the Jewish state of Israel.”
However, “violent acts of retribution must stop,” he continued, “terror is terror is terror … and it must be stopped.”
The White House “stands with Israel against delegitimization” and believes that “Israel is stronger today because of the Obama-Biden administration,” he said.
Biden touted last year’s Iran deal as a “success,” explaining that many “Iranian facilities are dismantled and destroyed” and that “Iran is further away from the possibility of being nuclear. If Iran violates [the deal] there will be consequences.”
Speaking by video link from Israel, Netanyahu both criticized, and suggested salvaging, the U.S.-brokered Iranian nuclear deal.
“Those who worked for the deal and against the deal can work together to ensure that the deal is followed,” he insisted, noting that, in March, Iran tested a missile that posed a threat to Israel.
“The writing isn’t just on the wall; it’s on the missile,” said Netanyahu.
He said that Israel is singled out for condemnation at the UN and said he hopes the United States will continue its moral voting record at the Security Council.
With regard to Israel’s neighbors, he said Palestinian children are taught to hate, and showed a video of television broadcasts that illustrate his point.
“We cannot compromise with terror and must defeat it,” he said. “We need a two-state solution with a demilitarized Palestinian state.… We are ready for negotiations anywhere and anytime without preconditions.” But, he said, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, “isn’t ready or willing to come” to the negotiating table.
David Zamhas covered political, cultural and historical events for Landmark Report, including the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march as White House-approved press, two AIPAC policy conferences and several other political conventions. He has degrees in history and law.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is again attacking Israel and urging its members to support the campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction the Jewish state. Last week, the union’s national president, Mike Palecek, sent a communiqué to members packed with boilerplate calls for attacking Israel economically and politically, including a call to end the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
The BDS movement lays bare a stark moral dissonance among so-called “progressives.” In confronting almost every other conflict and issue, these are people who urge discussion, negotiation, compromise, dialogue, conciliation. Except when it comes to Israel.
Why is Israel treated differently in this, as it is in so many other realms?
Obviously, Israel is held to a higher standard, as so many critics have noted, because it is a democracy, it prides itself on human rights and rule of law. However, the standards to which the world holds Israel are impossible ones that no country could measure up to when faced with the continual threats and violence that the country has endured for nearly seven decades.
The Jewish country – given the Bible, the Holocaust, the principles upon which it was founded – is expected to be the quintessence of morality and humanity. Which it might have been capable of, were it not for the fact that those who seek its destruction recognize no parallel standards of morality or humanity.
BDSers and other extreme critics of Israel shield themselves in a blanket rejection of the idea that their ideology could in any way be influenced by negative perceptions of Jews. Be that as it may, Donald Trump, of all people, may have illustrated the situation perfectly while speaking with Jewish Republicans last December.
“Look, I’m a negotiator like you folks; we’re negotiators.… This room negotiates perhaps more than any room I’ve spoken to, maybe more,” he said.
To Trump, being an expert negotiator is a compliment, though compliments often have double edges.
The stereotype of Jews as unconquerable negotiators is a driving force behind BDS. It is so universal a stereotype that Trump didn’t even realize it might be offensive, just as so many BDSers are blind to the bigotry inherent in their worldview.
Consider Sept. 28, 2000. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process was proceeding and an independent Palestinian state was in reach. Then Yasser Arafat left the negotiating table and began the Second Intifada. A decade and a half of continued statelessness for Palestinians has followed, as well as endless violence and thousands more deaths. World reaction should have been to rear up against Arafat’s rejection of negotiation and his return to violence. It wasn’t. Despite all reason, the world nearly unanimously empathized with Arafat’s actions. Why? Because many in the world, consciously or not, hold to ideas that let them believe the Palestinians were never going to get a fair shake. Despite all evidence suggesting that negotiation was leading to a two-state solution, violence was completely understandable because, you know, no one bests the Jews at negotiating.
Of course, there is the other factor – that Arafat seems to never have wanted a two-state solution, but this does not explain the reaction of erstwhile progressives and peace-seekers around the world.
Other stereotypes of Jews also drive the tactics of BDS. Note the two primary targets of the movement. First, it’s about attacking Israel economically. Secondly, it’s about academic boycotts. First, hit them where it hurts: in the pocketbook. Then sock it to them in the intellect.
It is hard not to draw the conclusion that, at its root, BDS is a movement steeped in racism.
When Joe Lieberman was named Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, there was some discussion about the potential for America’s first Jewish vice-president. With the exception of the dustiest corners of the internet, the discussion was respectful and more curious than bigoted. It was probably less heated than the issue of America’s first Catholic president that came up when John F. Kennedy ran in 1960 and, because the Republican base is made up of a great number of evangelical Christians, probably even less significant than Mitt Romney’s Mormonism in 2012.
Now that Bernie Sanders is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for this year’s U.S. presidential election, there has been almost no discussion of the potential for America’s first Jewish president; the discussion has been far more about the potential for America’s first avowedly socialist president.
After a seemingly interminable campaign, voting begins next week, launching the process of elimination that will determine the Republican and Democratic candidates for president this November. Voters in the first caucus state, Iowa, will gather in church basements and town halls on Feb. 1. In New Hampshire, eight days later, voters will cast ballots in the first primary of the season.
While American politics has always had many differences from European politics, the U.S. version this year seems to reflect, to some degree, the trend in Europe away from the centre. The Republican candidates are largely clustered on the right side of the spectrum, if not the far right. Donald Trump, the leading candidate according to polls, does not fit easily into ideological boxes, but his many very extreme comments appeal to at least some of the people we would describe as far right.
On the Democratic side, Sanders, an erstwhile low-profile junior senator from Vermont, who self-describes as a democratic socialist, is fomenting what is no doubt a very unwelcome sense of déjà vu for the once-presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Clinton was to be the unbeatable Democratic candidate in 2008, until an almost unknown senator from Illinois caught fire and bolted into the White House on a wave of reformist zeal. While not a single ballot has been cast yet in the 2016 battle, Clinton’s inevitability has almost evaporated.
What is it that explains Clinton’s inability to seal the deal, even with voters in her own party?
Part of the issue is her gender. How could it not be? If elected, she would be the first female president. But is gender an advantage or disadvantage for her? Perhaps it is both. Part of the challenge and opportunity Barack Obama faced was around his race. Whether race or gender are, in the end, advantages or disadvantages depends on a huge range of factors, including time and place, and the individual embodying them.
However, perhaps gender, race or religion will be less significant in this election because voters seem to be craving something different altogether. Even left or right may not be such key factors as (apparent) authenticity.
After decades in the public eye, Clinton is a consummate politician. Yet consummate politicians, even exceptional diplomats, are not what Americans seem to be seeking right now. Quite the opposite. American voters, in both parties, seem to be gravitating to unorthodox figures who do not follow scripts. Clinton seems both orthodox and tightly scripted.
Say what you will about Trump, his xenophobia and verbiage seem absolutely authentic. On the other hand, whatever Sanders’ ability or inability may be to get elected and then get any sort of socialistic agenda through Congress, his channeling of Americans’ economic realities and fears appears equally authentic. Both men have captured something in the zeitgeist that scripted politicians have failed to exploit.
And, while the Democrats and Republicans battle it out, a third option looms. There has been talk that, should the Republicans nominate Trump and the Democrats Sanders, a third-party candidate might emerge, appealing to wide swaths of the centre and chunks of both the left and right. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg – a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent – is seriously considering a run and will announce his intentions by March, associates told the New York Times. Imagine a three-way presidential campaign – with two Jewish candidates. That would be an authentic landmark.