Feature Editorials

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 00:00 Rafeef Ziadah

altIn December 2007, the Palestinian National Authority (PA), in close consultation with donor states and institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, proposed the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP), a program based on “rebuilding the Palestinian national institutions” and “developing the Palestinian public and private sectors.”[1]

To augment this plan, the PA further presented in August of 2009 a program titled Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State, this latter program was much more explicit about a time frame for the declaration of a Palestinian state.[2] Salam Fayyad, current unelected PA Prime Minister and former World Bank employee, put forward this document (henceforth the Fayyad Plan) insisting that, despite the occupation, Palestinians need to be building the “infrastructure for a future state.”

The report calls upon “our people, including all political parties and civil society, to realize this fundamental objective and unite behind the state-building agenda over the next two years.” Fayyad's intention is to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in 2011 based on the June 4, 1967 borders.

Monday, 26 April 2010 00:00 Alan Caruba

The British, when they still ruled the American colonies, learned to their displeasure what a bad idea it is to pick a fight with patriots.

By the time the Revolution began the colonies had been running their own affairs for a long time and, while many saw benefits in being allied with one of the great powers of their times and their world, they soon tired of “taxation without representation.”

The colonists had no say in Parliament and generally regarded it, not the king, as the source of their problems. The British, however, had spent themselves into huge debt by pursuing various wars. Parliament saw the colonies as a source of revenue with which to dig themselves out of that debt.

One way was to monopolize what the colonies could import and another way was to tax those imports.


Friday, 23 April 2010 00:00 Chris Webb

Protesters in the Ramaphosa squatter settlement, east of Johannesburg.Why is it that governments can find billions of dollars for global sporting events and little to deal with the grinding poverty that affects impoverished populations? Canada applauded itself for the $135-million in aid and disaster relief it sent to an earthquake ravaged Haiti while spending nearly $6-billion on the two-week long Vancouver Olympics.

A similar contradiction is revealing itself in South Africa, where massive amounts of public and private spending on the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup are expected to salve a faltering economy and crippling poverty. Most South Africans, however, will see little direct or sustained economic benefit from the games let alone muster the funds to even purchase a ticket.

What is trumpeted as a branding and investment remedy to South Africa’s economic woes may very well become another Greek tragedy – where the legacy of the 2004 Athens Olympics has contributed to an economic meltdown. These global games offer dual incentives to both local and foreign business elites and little to a frustrated local population.

On the one hand, investment, sponsorship and tourism opens new markets to foreign capital while local business elites profit from a heightened global image. At least, this is the story sold by both the state and World Cup planners. Central to this strategy is selling South Africa as a marketable and consumable brand.


Saturday, 10 April 2010 00:00 Rafeef Ziadah

As a Palestinian refugee, the city of Toronto has always been a place of exile to me. I usually think of it as a large (rather cold) waiting room on my way back to Haifa where my grandparents were born.

However, following the publication of a recent report by the prominent Israeli think-tank, the Reut Institute, I felt some pride for my adopted city.[1] The Reut Institute declared Toronto a “hub of Israel delegitimization” and that the growing campaign calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel had become a “strategic threat.”

The report confirmed to those of us involved in the BDS movement that our work was not in vain. The tireless work of many people around the world to build an effective movement to challenge Israeli apartheid was beginning to pay off.

The aim of this article is to look at the key arguments of the Reut Institute’s report and to use them to interpret the response to the recently-concluded Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), held in Toronto (and also started there) and numerous cities across Canada and the world.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:00 Matthew Brett

Anyone who monitors Canadian media closely will recognize the recent and drastic shift in policy, or at least rhetoric, stemming from the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) and Cabinet. It started with a lofty call issued by the Prime Minister on January 26, just prior to the World Economics Forum in Switzerland.

Harper set out his plans as upcoming president of the G8 and host of the G20 Toronto Summit in June. Chief among these plans is a “Canadian initiative to improve the health of women and infants worldwide.” This was coupled with a supposed shift in foreign policy as Canada attempts to establish itself as the supposed humanitarian leader in Haiti.

Not surprisingly, the Globe and Mail and other news organizations ran a press release from the PMO's office verbatim, with no critical commentary, analysis or insight. The state of media today is such that copy-pasting a press release from the PMO and slapping it on the front page of a national daily newspaper is accepted practice.

Indeed, Conservative strategist Tom Flanagan writes that “compared to most countries with which I have any familiarity, the Conservatives in Canada actually have friendly media to work with.” The ‘Propaganda Model’ is more than alive and well, but sometimes without even bothering to ‘filter’ news content.


Monday, 22 February 2010 18:00 Tyler Shipley

Pond Hockey in Canada.One of the first photographs I ever posed for was of my dad and me skating on our frozen backyard in Winnipeg.

I wasn't even a year old but I was already engaged in an activity that would frame my moral and ideological compass for the better part of three decades (and counting.)

Hockey has given me community – even as it has been used to legitimate politics that destroy communities.

Hockey taught me values like teamwork and commitment – even as it reinforced values that perpetuate sexism, heterosexism and racism.

And in perhaps the greatest irony of them all, hockey saved my life – even as it has been a vehicle for the propaganda that justifies our savage occupation of Afghanistan that continues to take so many lives.



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