Politics - Federal

Canada Lone Vote Against UN Resolution on Israel

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 14, 2009

This is just astonishing: the UN Human Rights Council voted 33 to 1 (with 13 abstentions) to condemn Israel for human rights violations in its military offensive against Gaza and to call for a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations.

The one opposing vote? Canada, complaining that the resolution placed all the onus on Israel to withdraw and not on Hamas.

Well, legally the onus is on Israel to withdraw.

The way I see it, Israel is fractally criminal in its treatment of the Palestinian people - its pattern of criminal behaviour manifests at every conceivable scale of resolution from the occupation of Palestine right down to an individual child's body lying smashed beside a crumbled building.

The simple fact of this longstanding conflict is this: the Palestinians are not free. No amount of faux-"balance" will overcome this uncomfortable truth. As long as the Palestinian people lack basic freedom, some of them will continue to lash out against their oppressors and to support thugs, like Hamas, who advocate armed resistance.

The logic of further crushing their freedom to punish them for resisting their loss of freedom is circular, cruel, and ultimately hopeless.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted January 14, 2009 at 12:21:40

The Star does not agree with you :)

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/570481 http://www.thestar.com/News/Columnist/ar...

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 12:54:02

Canada took the wrong vote. The rest of the world is not stupid, and certainly not blind.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 13:47:17

Ryan, if you want to help the people of Gaza, how about offering them immediate Canadian residency? This would solve much of the issues surrounding personal freedom and it would not involve any more death.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 14, 2009 at 14:10:41

Rusty, I'm with Torontoist when it comes to Rosie DiManno:

http://torontoist.com/2007/10/dimanno_wa...

The editorial was at least honest:

"Canada's censure would have carried more weight, however, if the Harper government were perceived to be less ideological on Mideast matters. That is far from the case. From the moment he took office, [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has been unreflectively pro-Israel, unwilling to ask whether it might sometimes be wrong. He described Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon, in which 1,000 died, as a 'measured' action. And he and his officials have similarly defended Israel's actions in Gaza as simple self-defence."

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 14:52:42

Ryan, Israel has nuclear weapons, do you really think they care whether Canada votes against them? In the real world, unlike the world of political nonsense, the only thing that matters is actions. If you are serious about helping the people of Gaza and not simply interested in "appearing" caring, why not call for immediate offers of residency for the people of Gaza. Otherwise, your condemnation of Israel is nothing more than empty rhetoric. All talk, no action.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 16:21:16

Ah A Smith! So now you're an International Man of Action. You never cease to amuse.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 16:26:00

yea, Ryan. You should be able to fit all the people from Gaza into your spare bedroom. How dare you not make the offer!

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By weep for the children (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 16:32:13

Over a thousand Palestinians dead, increasingly women and children (maybe they're running out of scary looking men to target) including 315 children and 95 women, and 4,700 injured, so at *least* 40% killed are civilians plus however many killed men were civilians.

13 Isrealis dead, 3 of them civilians.

So far, Israel has killed 78 TIMES more Palestinians than Palestine killed Israelis, and probably 50% civilians compared to 23% civilians.

ICRC calls the death and destruction "shocking"...

guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/14/gaza-city-fighiting-israel-un

But keep making excuses for Israel, people. Yeah they're just "defending themselves".

My heart breaks for the poor innocents on all sides.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 19:44:09

Well, Canada has moved from a country that used to stand up for human rights, to become controlled by a few of the powerful elite, who see no wrong in what they do or their policies. Now we have a partisan voice speaking on behalf of our prorogued government, and let me tell you, this man no way represents my views as a Canadian. I think I will write a letter to my MP, speaking out against this to get this partisan voice off the stage.

We even have those Jewish voices who condemn the Israel government being labelled as well. The young jewish people thrown in jail because they refuse to fight in this senseless slaughter and the ideals of a rogue state.

People wake up!!!!

How come main stream media has not shown the videos of the numerous protests across the globe, How come they do not show the videos of the death and destruction? Why are they censoring things? I guess we do not really live in a free and open society like we like to think we do.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 20:24:16

Highwater, you're telling the world that you think it's funny that Canada actually try and help the people of Gaza, rather than just play politics? That's sad. You truly are a f%#$@&! loser.

Jason, glad to see you're standing up for your master. Who said loyalty didn't exist?

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 21:16:03

If anyone is interested, there is a video on globalresearch.ca, it is not for the faint hearted.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 21:21:37

No, A Smith. I think you're funny, trying to portray yourself as someone who actually cares.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 22:13:12

ASmith.... sense of humour. try it out. it's fun. Lol.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2009 at 23:01:58

Highwater, why would you assume otherwise? Just because I don't want feeble minded politicians directing people's lives, does not mean I dislike people. This recommendation simply follows that same line of thinking, allowing people suffering from government oppression the chance to live more freely.

I guess you can't understand this, however, because you enjoy being bent over.

Jason, people are dying, we have a chance to help them and you think this is a joke. Grow the f%#$ up you little b^#$%.

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 01:39:51

Boy, there's a lot of angst on the board today. Perhaps it's the inherently frustrating nature of the issue that's upsetting people who otherwise seem to more or less agree with each other (I saw 14 posts, and just assumed there'd be the usual round of pro- and anti-Israel sides)?

A. Smith, your suggestion that Canadians take in Palestinian refugees (I'm assuming that's what you meant) is not entirely without merit. It assumes, of course, that Palestinians would be willing to leave a territory en masse they consider - to a degree, rightly so - to be theirs. Much as we admire Ryan, however, we can't rely on him to do everything for us. By the way, I tend to take your posts much more seriously when you drop the (in the case of your second post above, rather useless) polemical tone and childish name-calling.

All criticisms aside, maybe you'd consider writing a letter yourself? It certainly wouldn't hurt, there would likely be others who'd agree to sign it, your MP would have to listen, and it would go some way towards preempting an otherwise justifiable charge of hypocrisy on your part. . .

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 15, 2009 at 08:57:40

First, I'd like to second geoff's call for more civility. Regardless of any disagreements on politics or policy, there's absolutely no call or justification for the cursing and insults in the comments above.

As for the arguments...

A Smith, of course I'd love to see Canada accept more refugees from Palestine as well as other war-torn areas; but that's not really the issue here. The fact is that Palestinians should be allowed to live free in their own country - and Canada should join the global chorus of voices demanding that Israel grant Palestinians their basic rights.

They were already forced off their land and shuffled into the purgatory of a permanent occupation with severe constraints on their most basic rights. Requiring them to move again - this time to travel halfway around the world - to find freedom kind of misses the point.

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By how low can you go? (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 10:06:03

now israel is bombing clearly marked UN relief buildings with white phosporus (banned by geneva convention)

timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5521925.ece

how low can they go?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 11:05:26

Geoff, the great thing about words is that they tend not to draw blood. Therefore, when someone labels me as heartless, especially when I make recommendations in complete contradiction to that characterization, it produces something called anger. Especially when the people in question fail to address the issue at hand, namely human death due to government action. I might be hot headed, but at least I put forward ideas. Highwater and Jason would rather mock these ideas simply because they don't like the messenger. That would usually be okay, but when it comes to something as sad as the Middle East, I'm not willing to put up with their petty garbage.

Ryan, my anger was not directed at you personally, as I believe you want the best for the people in Gaza as well. I was simply frustrated at what I believe is too heavy a focus on government protocol. Whereas voting one way or another may help on the margins, I believe the quickest way to actually improve people's lives would be to bring them here. By doing this, Canada would not be lending support one way or another to the claims on the Gaza territory, but simply bringing people to a place of greater freedom and safety.

In the end, saving people's lives is more important than making a point as to who is right and who is wrong.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 15, 2009 at 11:23:57

A Smith wrote:

Whereas voting one way or another may help on the margins, I believe the quickest way to actually improve people's lives would be to bring them here.

If they want to come here and see emigration from Palestine as a workable (if imperfect) solution to their crisis, then I'm completely with you. However, this presents some problems, specifically: How do they get here? The people in Gaza are literally blockaded by the Israeli military, and in any case they have almost no money or resources to make the trip.

I'm curious: do you propose that the Canadian government should help arrange for Palestinians who want to escape to move here, or do you believe it's somehow better for the Palestinians to get here (or not) under their own steam?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 12:48:11

Ryan, you make a good point. I think the cost of bringing these people over could be paid for in many ways, notably private contributions form both businesses and individuals across the world. If Israel decided this was unacceptable to them, then I agree that a strong rhetorical attack would definitely be called for. If this didn't work, then at least the world would have a clear picture of who it was dealing with.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 19:50:04

A Smith: I was listening to the CBC on the home and I heard from a person inside gaxa and then the Minister of Welfare of Israel. In Gaza, the person said the 70% of the people have no electricity and 90% of the people have no water to either drink or wash.

The Minister of Welfare said that 90% of the people do have electricity and there was water. The Minister also said that there was no blockade around Gaza.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 21:28:14

Grassroots, it would be interesting to see how the people of Gaza/Israel would carry on if all the land in the region was made private property. For example, if each resident of Gaza was apportioned either a share or an actual plot of land that could be traded on the open market, I doubt that they would be eager to attack Israel, simply because this would put their investment at risk.

The same goes for the residents of Israel. If they controlled the land that the government currently controls, it would be up to the individual land owner to decide if they wanted to allow Arabs to live there, or not. These decisions would almost universally be based on personal self interest and not the collective will of the angry majority. Greed and commerce would drive people's actions and it would probably do away with most of the violence we see today.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted January 15, 2009 at 23:09:49

A Smith: I am nobody special, just your everyday, average person, who can see through the propaganda that is streamed at us on a daily basis.

Yes for the most part you are probably right about people being able to work and get along, if there was not the power mongers, those who want to control everything.

It is unfortunate that those with their armies and weapons of mass destruction rule the world, maybe, one day the world will be free of this. Let us hope.

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By sick to my stomach (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2009 at 16:16:18

Noam chomsky gives an excellent summary of the atrocities in a recent essay:

zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/20316

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