Saturday, January 25, 2014

CBC`s Poor Excuse for "Analysis"

After a week of over-reporting on Harper`s visit to Israel, with only a tiny bit of criticism in it, CBC chose to cap it off with this article that it described as an "analysis":


Stephen Harper survives Mideast minefield, tough talk and all

Staying clear of gaffes and disasters counts as victory on a Mideast tour

By Terry Milewski, CBC News  ET Last Updated: Jan 24, 2014 5:18 AM ET

Harper`s totally unbalanced approach to Israel/Palestine was an embarrassment to Canada, and his visit was full of statements and claims that were not only wrong; many of them were disgraceful. Many of them were "gaffes". Certainly if CBC was interested in an analysis of this visit, it could do better than this article which basically claimed the trip was a success because no one lost their luggage.

Here are some passages from the article, followed by some of the basic points that should have been made in any so-called analysis. The author chose to raise these points, so it was his obligation to deal with them intelligently which he totally failed to do:

1)  Stephen Harper received a courteous welcome from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, in the West Bank city of Ramallah Monday, where he announced $66 million in new aid from Canada. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

But, in some respects, he did better than that — not least, by evading some of the expected Palestinian hostility to Harper's sharp tilt toward Israel.

Harper, of course, pledged that Canada would stand with Israel, "through fire and water." But the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, meekly said that he hoped Canada's policy would change.

Of course, when you are standing next to a visitor holding a cheque for $66 million to help build a future state, it's rude to complain. In fact, under both Liberals and Conservatives, Canada has played a quiet but effective role in creating a security force and a justice system, without which no Palestinian state will ever function. So Abbas was polite.

Two points should have been made here. 
a) Abbas`s meekness was largely a function of the fact that he has no credibility as the leader of the Palestinians. He lost the election to Hamas; his term has expired, his party is noted for its corruption; and he is widely despised in Palestine. A legitimate Palestinian leader would have refused to met Harper, in spite of the money he carried. 
b) Canadian aid to the Palestinian Authority is really aid to Israel - it is used to finance the Palestinian police force which actually works for Israel to keep control over the Occupied Territory.

2) Of course, there's no doubt that, under Harper, Canada is taking sides, merely by insisting that Israel is entitled to exist as a Jewish state and to defend itself.

But Harper went further, first, by directly attacking Israel's critics in the harshest terms, and, second, by giving a scathing account of the prevailing dysfunction in Israel's turbulent neighbourhood.

His assault on Israel's detractors was merciless. Harper called it "sickening" that Israel is accused of practising "apartheid." And he made a virtue of his refusal to navigate the Mideast minefield by being nice to both sides.

Harper went to an unacceptable extreme in denouncing critics of Israel; including making the absurd claim that criticism of Israel was a new form of antisemitism. He was telling the Palestinians, among hundreds of thousands of other decent people around the world, that their legitimate concern for the rights of Palestinians was a vile form of racism. This is as ridiculous as saying criticism of the White Apartheid regime in South Africa was anti-White. This claim shames all Canadians. How could it be ignored in a so-called "analysis"?

Also the article fails to note the insult Harper rightly received from two Palestinian members of the Knesset who heckled him, and walked out on him. They left because Harper had effectively said they were antisemites for defending the rights of their own Palestinian people. They did the right thing to walk out on him, and Canadians should feel shame that decent, honest people cannot bear to be in the same room with our ignorant, prejudiced Prime Minister.

3)  Nor was Harper ambiguous about his disdain for Islamist forces around the region. He poured scorn on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for attempting, under the ousted president Mohamed Morsi, to establish "an authoritarian Islamic state."

And he came close to expressing some nostalgia for the old Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm, unbridled enthusiasm in much of the West for the revolution in Egypt, and with very good reason. We were a little more cautious, and I think that caution has been borne out."

Harper declared that the Egyptian people should not have a democracy because they vote for people he does not like. He said the same thing when the Palestinians elected a Hamas Government. Certainly CBC should point out that Harper`s commitment to democracy is very questionable with these remarks, and that he is supporting the renewed Egyptian dictatorship. Also a word or two might be worthwhile about the fact that eurocentric, anti-Muslim, Christian fundamentalists like Harper and George W. Bush play a very negative role in the stability of the Middle East with their actions in support of dictators and against elected governments.

4)  And he accused Iran of planning not just to build nuclear weapons but to use them.

"This is a regime in Iran, an extremist fundamentalist regime with a violent and hateful ideology, and it wants to possess nuclear weapons. It tells the world it wants to possess nuclear weapons for the purpose of using nuclear weapons, which is truly frightening."

How in Heaven`s name does this claim by Harper warrant being repeated, without analysis. CBC has quoted Harper in the past when he has made this claim, and it is contemptible for CBC to echo it without analysis. It is essentially a kind of "blood libel" against Iranians. It has absolutely no basis in fact. It is entirely a figment of Harper`s imagination. The scary thing is that Harper looks into his own evil soul, filled with the desire to fight the battles of his God, and then projects his violent, blood lust onto his enemies. The fact is that NO IRANIAN LEADER HAS EVER EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO USE A NUCLEAR WEAPON. Even the Americans never make this ridiculous claim. Iran may want to have a nuclear weapon, although they say they do not, but there is absolutely no reason or evidence to suggest they WANT to use one. Nor have they ever said they want to use one. Not only would it be suicidal to do so, but the mass killing of civilians would be immoral within their own system of morality. Indeed they have declared all nuclear weapons as "haram" - that is, forbidden by God.

Stephen Harper`s trip to Israel was a disaster for Canada`s reputation in the world. He accomplished nothing that would benefit Canadians. In fact, he probably harmed Canada. Perhaps some analysis might be warranted as to whether he has seriously overstepped the bounds of acceptable Prime Ministerial behaviour. Could his grossly unbalanced commitment to Israel, and promises of unflinching support no matter what the implications for Canada, be considered traitorous? How far can you go in promoting the interests of a foreign state and still be considered acceptable as a Canadian Prime Minister?

It is a crying shame, that CBC, with all its resources financed by Canadians, could not produce a better "analysis" of Harper`s visit to Israel and what it means for Canadian interests in the world. You have to wonder who CBC is working for.

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