Saturday, April 14, 2018

In a Second Front, Times of London Assails Media Skeptics/WMD Scholars

Attacked By The Times

by Tim Hayward

April 14, 2018

Today I find myself on the front page of The Times, as one of the members of the recently formed academic working group on Syria, Propaganda and Media.

Members of the working group have so far published just one item, a research note on the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury.

Although still a work in progress, the piece, Update to briefing note “Doubts about Novichoks” has been well-received by academics and serious commentators.

It has been singled out by Cornell University’s Professor of Organic Chemistry, David B Collum, as the most definitive work on the novichok nerve agent scandal.

Front page of The Times on the morning US
and UK forces were bombing in Syria.

According to the Times, the group is “spreading pro-Assad disinformation”. In fact, the group is scrupulous in its analysis and presentation of information, which stands always open to correction, as any academic work in progress does. The group is not “pro-Assad”.

Speaking for myself, I am simply “pro-” getting at the truth. If I make a mistake, I always stand to be corrected and endeavour to learn from the correction. So, in response to criticism of one of my posts last year, for instance, I took it down and re-wrote it. Twitter is an area in which I am on a learning curve, since misunderstandings so easily arise when thoughts are compressed into a few words that are easily taken out of context.

Certainly, now that my twitter feed has been brought to wider public attention, I do invite any reader to point out anything there that needs correcting.

Incidentally, I don’t think The Times article has been scrupulously fair on its front page when it refers to some claims I retweeted, because it fails to mention that they were being quoted as the reference for the following words of my own:

“Witness statements from civilians and officials in Ghouta raise very disturbing questions about the conduct of ‘rebel’ factions who had been in control. Questions also concern who and what has been supported by UK FCO.”

I have not claimed to verify the witness statements that prompted the questions, but since the witnesses are due a degree of respect, I believe, those questions arising from them can reasonably be aired, without prejudice to the question of their truth.

A question thoughtful readers will likely be asking is: Why has The Times gone to the trouble it has to give such prominence to a small group of critical academics?

In the early hours of this morning, as I looked at the front page prepared by The Times, news was coming in of the military attack taking place in Syria. That attack – whose legality under international law, I believe, stands to be clarified – was “justified” on the basis of exactly the kind of claims that the academic working group is subjecting to critical assessment.

Such claims have been questioned by many people, including senior British military figures. The fact that people who aim to provide support to the questioning are attacked in a major news outlet is itself a matter of concern.

How Israel Stopped WWIII (for now)

How Israel Postponed WW3 (inadvertently)

by Gilad Atzmon

April 14, 2018

In 2014 Sky owner and media mogul Rupert Murdoch won the ADL Award. The honour was clearly awarded for a reason. On occasion, Sky changes itself into a state propaganda service. The video above shows such an event .

Sky crudely cut off the former commander of the British Armed Forces, Jonathan Shaw, as soon as he went ‘off script’ by suggesting that the Syrian regime couldn’t have been behind the Douma gas attack.

General Shaw attempted to point out that chemical warfare is a desperate act, not something you would expect from the Assad regime that has basically won.

If you have just 60 seconds watch this brief video.

Before yesterday, I had not believed that America would be foolish enough to lead an attack on Syria. My rationale was simple. The Russians have recently deployed their most sophisticated, yet untested, S-400 air defence system in Syria. The Russian S-400 is designed to intercept America’s 1970’s technology Tomahawk cruise missiles. I thought that it could be a fatal blow to America and to NATO to be in a situation in which many of its Tomahawk Missiles targeting Syria were downed by a Russian anti aircraft system. I was pretty sure that American military leaders wouldn’t take such a risk and certainly not for Israel.

I was wrong.

America, Britain and France did take that risk. According to the Russians and the Syrians most of the cruise missiles were downed. If Syria and Russia are telling the truth, NATO is an obsolete military joke. Maybe we should actually thank Israel for bringing this all to light.

Israeli press reported last week that in a telephone conversation PM Netanyahu and President Trump grew tense over Trump’s announced intent to withdraw US forces from Syria. We know that Israel has been distressed by Assad’s victory. Israel can’t bear the alliance among Hezbollah, Iran, Assad, Turkey and Russia that is happening on its northern border. Israel has openly announced its refusal to allow Iran to gain momentum in Syria.

Israel wanted to see someone, like the USA and NATO, to get involved in escalating the opposition to Assad. So it is not exactly surprising that that the three countries that were willing to provide what Israel wanted are the three countries notorious for their forceful and hawkish Jewish lobbies.

In the USA, AIPAC’s domination of foreign affairs has been the subject of extensive academic research. In Britain 80% of the Tory MPs are members of the belligerent Conservative Friends of Israel and in France the CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France) is known to be the most forceful body in the land.

Earlier this week it seemed as if WW3 might be close.

No careful observer of the Middle East could miss that Israel and its supportive pro war lobbies have been, somehow, at the centre of all of it. But now it seems that Israel and its lobbies have pushed America, Britain and France to act against their own national interests. This morning, following the recent criminal, yet futile, attack on Syria it is clear that NATO isn’t exactly a military powerhouse. It is a decaying Zionist tool. It is not ready for a war.

 For the time being WW3 has been postponed. I guess we can at least be grateful to Israel for that.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!
Being in Time - A Post Political Manifesto

Friday, April 13, 2018

Trudeau Backs Illegal Bombing of Syria

Trudeau States Support for U.S.-led Strikes on Syria


April 13, 2018 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada supports the decision by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France to bomb targets in Syria over the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.
"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week's attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria," Trudeau said in a statement issued from Lima, Peru, where he is attending the Summit of the Americas.
"Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people," the statement read.

"We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice."

Trudeau has previously ruled out any Canadian participation in military action.

Earlier Friday, Canada became the latest country to lay the blame for a deadly chemical-weapons attack in Syria last week at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's doorstep, despite Russian suggestions to the contrary.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made the claim hours before U.S. President Donald Trump went on live television to say the U.S., France and the U.K. were launching a co-ordinated attack to destroy Assad's chemical weapons capability.
"When it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime," Freeland said.

More than 40 people were killed and 500 injured — including women and children — after poison gas was apparently used in an attack on Douma, a rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus, on April 7.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility and Russia has suggested Israel or Britain was to blame, supposedly to justify increased Western intervention into the war-ravaged country.

Freeland did not specify how she knew that the Syrian government was responsible, though she said Canada is working with non-governmental organizations and others to collect evidence of war crimes and other atrocities in Syria.

Russia accuses U.K. of staging chemical attack in Syria

"We have seen as a pattern in the world today is actors who behave in a reprehensible manner, then can be quite clever in trying to muddy the waters and in trying to dodge responsibility," she added.
"Of course, it is important for Canada to be a country that acts based on facts. But it is equally important for us to be aware of the distraction tactics that some of the actors in the world are using today and to not allow those tactics to work."

Canada's participation in attack ruled out

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is attending the Summit of the Americas in Trump's stead, and is scheduled to meet with Trudeau on Saturday.

"I think it is completely understandable that the president would feel that, given this crisis situation, he would need to be at home," Freeland said, adding that the Canadian delegation is looking forward to its meeting with Pence.

with files from CBC News
CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices

Will International Law Allow a US Attack Against Another Sovereign Nation?

US Attack on Syria Would Be Illegal Under International Law 


April 13, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened a military strike on the Syrian government after Salafi-jihadist rebels alleged a chemical attack in Douma, but human rights expert Alfred de Zayas says this would be illegal under international law.

Alfred de Zayas is the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order. He is also a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, and has taught at numerous universities in the U.S., Canada and Switzerland. De Zayas is a retired senior lawyer with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as a retired chief of the petitions department at OHCHR. He is the author of 9 books. 

Fish Farms Get OK to Dump Millions of Litres of Pesticide into Clayoquot Sound

Clayoquot pesticide permit approved

by Dan Lewis, Executive Director - Clayoquot Action

April 11, 2018

Cermaq to move ahead with toxic sea lice treatment

The provincial government has granted Norwegian salmon farming giant Cermaq a permit to dump over 2 million litres of pesticide into the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound.

That’s enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The pesticide use application sparked controversy last fall, when thirty four thousand people signed a SumOfUs petition opposing the permit.

Environment Minister George Heyman announced in December that his government will be reviewing all pesticide use on open-net pen salmon farms in BC.

That review is not yet finalized. On their website Cermaq says it has ‘no immediate plans to use this treatment’—so what’s the big rush?

Cermaq plans to transfer their farmed salmon into a ‘well boat’, where they are immersed in a chemical bath which stuns but doesn’t kill the sea lice. It can take up to two weeks for the farm fish to recover, during which period they are susceptible to disease outbreaks. The treatment is known to harm farmed fish and has caused mass die-offs.

Chemicals to be flushed directly into ocean

After treatment is complete, the chemicals are flushed directly into the ocean. The pesticide (Paramove 50) can be extremely persistent in the environment, and is known to harm marine organisms, primarily affecting surface dwellers such as wild salmon, herring, and prawn and crab larvae.

Sea lice continue to plague the salmon farming industry globally. The chemical treatments Cermaq wants to use have not solved the sea lice problem, anywhere in the world. Clearly a new approach is needed, which is why we’re seeing a global shift to land-based salmon farming. Why should we sacrifice local food security, the wild salmon economy, and the iconic ecosystems of Clayoquot Sound, when the writing is clearly on the wall?

The Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is meant to demonstrate a working balance between conservation and sustainable development. Clearly chemical treatments of sea lice are not sustainable, and harm conservation values. The only effective solution to the industry’s sea lice crisis, is to remove open-net pen salmon farms from the ocean.

Please call or email Environment Minister George Heyman and voice your concerns about this pesticide permit. Thank you!


Saying "Uncle" to SAMS: America Being Driven to War

How Syrian American Medical Society is Driving U.S. to War

by Max Blumenthal, Gray Zone - Truthdig

April 12, 2018

Reports on unproven allegations of a chemical attack in Douma, the Syria city formerly occupied by the Army of Islam insurgent group, invariably rely on a key source: The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

Together with the White Helmets, SAMS has been cited by the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN and virtually every Western media organization reporting on the incident.

In Douma, SAMS staff have claimed that they treated more than 500 people for symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent.

The group also played a central role in shaping the narrative of a sarin attack in Al Qaeda-controlled Khan Sheikhoun in April, 2017, providing biomedical samples to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which violated its stated protocol by accepting evidence without a verifiable chain of custody.

That incident prompted the launching of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base by the American military. Almost exactly a year later, a strikingly similar event is said to have tripped the “red line” again, and is likely to trigger a more robust assault by the US and its allies.

SAMS claims to be a “non-political, non-profit medical organization,” and is cited as a credible authority by media reporting on the incident in Douma. Scant published material is available on the organization’s origins as an exile arm of the Islamist-oriented Syrian opposition, its involvement in sophisticated influence operations from the Turkish-Syrian border, or its close relationship to neoconservative elements in Washington and Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

SAMS is not merely a group of Syrian doctors tending to the wounded in war torn areas, nor can it be considered an objective source on chemical attacks and other atrocities. The organization is a USAID-funded lobbying powerhouse that functions with a single-minded determination to stimulate a US-led war of regime change that will place Syrian Islamists in power in Damascus.

SAMS was founded in 1998 by members of the Syrian American exile community, which is concentrated in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Prior to the 2011 armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, the group led several medical delegations to Syria, presumably cooperating with the government to gain access. A former member of SAMS approached me to complain that the armed revolt prompted a takeover of the organization’s board of directors by sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood. She said she and other secular and Christian members resigned from the group as it transformed into what she described as “Al Qaeda’s MASH unit.”

USAID funding, anti-Iran MEK links

According to SAMS 2015 financial statement [PDF], the organization’s budget jumped from $672,987 in 2013 to nearly $6 million in 2015 — almost a tenfold increase. Over $5.8 million of that funding came from USAID, an arm of the US State Department that boasts its own Office of Transition Initiatives to encourage regime change in states targeted by the West. SAMS Executive Director David Lillie also happens to be a former USAID staffer, as is SAMS Director of Operations Tony Kronfli.

Throughout much of the Syrian conflict, SAMS operations have been overseen by Zaher Sahloul, an ardently anti-Iran operative dedicated to drumming up a war of regime change against the Syrian government. After unsuccessfully lobbying Barack Obama for a NATO-imposed No Fly Zones over Syria, a policy that Hillary Clinton acknowledged would “kill a lot of Syrians,” Sahloul accused the president of having “allowed a genocide in Syria.”

Sahloul was a participant in a September 20, 2016 rally in New York dedicated to ramping up conflict with Iran, as well. The rally was organized by the exiled Iranian People’s MEK, a shadowy international organization dedicated to regime change in Iran that has been described as a “terrorist cult.” Neoconservative former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a recipient of MEK payments, was among the speakers. Days later, the neoconservative columnist Eli Lake hailed Sahloul and his colleagues as “Syrian-Americans Who Stood Up to Iran.”

The SAMS-affiliated American Coalition for Syrian Relief has endorsed President Donald Trump’s call for “safe zones” in Syria, a euphemism for No Fly Zones that would require US air power to enforce. Meanwhile, Sahloul has joined up with the Jewish United Federation of Chicago, a leading opponent of Palestine solidarity organizing, to promote his efforts.

Sahloul’s son, Adham, formerly worked as a SAMS advocacy officer out of Gazientep, Turkey, the base of Western and local intelligence services coordinating insurgent and information operations across the Syrian border. A contributor to various Qatari-backed media outlets like Al Araby and Middle East Eye, Adham Sahloul previously worked for Portland Communications, a public relations firm founded by a former Tony Blair spin doctor. (In 2016, British union leader Len McCluskey accused Portland Communications of spearheading the Blairite coup against left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn).

Zaher Sahloul, for his part, has attacked journalistic critics as “the fifth column who have been promoting war criminals,” calling them “the equivalent of the propaganda machine of Hitler.”

Info ops, from Al Qaeda’s heartland to the Beltway

SAMS assistance coordination units send aid and set up hospital in refugees camps and within Syrian territories exclusively held by Syria’s insurgents. In Idlib, the Al Qaeda-controlled area where SAMS operates alongside the insurgent-run administration, “schools have been segregated, women forced to wear veils, and posters of Osama bin Laden hung on the walls,” according to Joshua Landis, the director of the University of Oklahoma’s Middle East Studies Center. While SAMS claims to operate 100 hospitals in Syria, independent monitoring and evaluation is virtually impossible, as Western reporters seeking access to these areas are routinely kidnapped or killed. In 2015, according to the Washington Post, Chase Bank closed SAMS’s bank account without explanation.

Sahloul has operated a WhatsApp group that appears to have delivered the first images from insurgent activists in eastern Aleppo to international media of Omran Daqneesh, the so-called “dusty boy” whose shellshocked image was immediately plastered across newspaper front pages and upheld as an exhibit of Assad’s unique cruelty. The original images were taken by Mahmoud Raslan, an activist affiliated with Nourideen al-Zinki, an insurgent group formerly backed by the CIA that beheaded a 19-year-old Palestinian captive.

A year later, Omran’s father, Mohammad Kheir Daqneesh, revealed that he and his family had been exploited by insurgent activists. A White Helmet snatched Omran from his arms and posed him in an ambulance, Mohammad Daqneesh declared. He also disclosed that his family was offered a lucrative bribe by a Saudi TV demagogue to come out as spokespeople for the armed opposition, but as supporters of the Syrian government, they refused. Following this striking revelation, Omran was swiftly disappeared from Western view and supplanted by professionally managed child mascots of the Syrian Islamist opposition like Bana Alabed, Noor and Ala, and Mohamed Najem. (Like Bana, Noor and Ala were recently treated to a cuddle-filled photo-op with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and granted honorary Turkish citizenship.)

A SAMS promotional brochure features a photo of Zaher Sahloul 
and Mohamed Tennari meeting with then-US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power

Back in Washington, SAMS boasts that it has “become a leader in advocacy and policymaker engagement,” lobbying Congress, the State Department and the United Nations for regime change in Syria. “When SAMS speaks, people listen,” reads a quote by an unnamed State Department official published in a SAMS promotional brochure. So much for the “non-political” organization of humble field doctors.

On April 16, 2015, Sahloul and SAMS’s Idlib coordinator Mohamed Tennari testified before the United Nations Security Council and alleged multiple chlorine attacks against the Al Qaeda-held canton of Idlib by the Syrian government. The meeting was orchestrated by then-US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, an outspoken advocate of military intervention in Libya and Syria. (Tennari was subsequently identified as a “Syrian field doctor” in an interview with CNN; his work in Al Qaeda-controlled territory was omitted).

At its annual gala on March 6, 2017, SAMS welcomed former US Ambassador Frederic Hof, the outgoing director of the Gulf-funded Rafik Hariri Center at DC’s Atlantic Center. Before his audience, Hof called for stepped-up arms shipments to Syrian rebels, a US-led No Fly Zone for Idlib, the Syrian province controlled by Al Qaeda’s local affiliate, and for preventing reconstruction of Syria’s shattered infrastructure until regime change is achieved.

Just over a year later, acting largely on claims by SAMS field operatives, the US, UK and France appear to be ready to make the Syrian opposition’s dreams come true. And as a potentially catastrophic war looms, Americans remain entirely in the dark about one of the key organizations driving the push for war.

Doctors Without Ethics: SAMS Support for Syria Regime Change Attack

Murad Gazdiev Dismantles ‘Credibility’ of Key Source Promoting Chemical Attack Lies on Syria 

by Eva Bartlett via RT

April 13, 2018

Important commentary by Murad Gazdiev, on the alleged chemical attacks in Douma, Syria, and the usual suspect sources purveying these lies, which include the Syrian American Medical Society.

Gazdiev: “It was the Syrian SAMS–the Syrian American Medical Society–that initially claimed that they had treated 500 people with with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent.

… Well what is this organization exactly? Well, it is it is an organization that is funded by the United States….In 2013 they had a budget of $700,000, 2015 they had a budget of $6 million–you know almost a tenfold increase. Most of that money, $5.8 million, came from USAID, which is an organization that is closely tied to the State Department which is banned in multiple countries because of interference in domestic politics, because of what is seen as its as its drive for regime change. It even has an office of transition initiatives which is you know exactly what is what is being called this this regime change office.

Nevertheless, their executive director and the director of operations of the Syrian American Medical Association are former US aid staffers.

And it was them that provided one year ago the OPCW organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons with alleged samples from Khan Sheikhoun, where there was an alleged again chemical attack. And after which Donald Trump said 57 cruise missiles into Syria that was a violation of the OPCW’s protocols, because the OPCW has very strict rules about accepting samples. Unless they can verify that a sample came from this place, or they can verify the chain of custody so them to make sure that you know nobody could have could have added anything to a sample, they cannot take samples. In this case they did.

…We’ve we’ve reached out to the World Health Organization and they have refused to comment. We’ve written to them twice, called them, and they said, you know they haven’t said anything…Their only statement has been that they’ve heard reports of five hundred people being treated. Well, it seems like that report again traces back to the Syrian American Medical Society….”

*More on SAMS, from my article from and on Madaya (long excerpt to give context):

“Madaya never had a hospital, only a small clinic, which the locals said terrorists had closed to the public. The regional hospital for the area is in nearby Zabadani. Yet, by November 2016, reports on Madaya’s nonexistent hospital includedd this headline from the Qatar-funded Middle East Eye: “As Madaya’s last hospital closes…”

This is the same ‘last hospital’ theme that abounded in propaganda around Aleppo.

The town did have a small medical clinic, though. In the media spin around Madaya, purportedly heroic non-MDs were treating the citizens of Madaya, including one dentist and one veterinarian.

According to the mayor and other men I spoke with, though, only terrorists and their families were treated or given access to medicines. Given that this accusation was later widely heard from civilians in liberated areas of Aleppo, and given that the terrorists in question were al-Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham (which the U.S. Congress lists as a terrorist group in its own documents), it is highly unlikely that the Madaya people who alleged this were not telling the truth.

Madaya’s mayor said he knew the two “hero doctors.” Of the dentist, the mayor said he benefited from helping the militants. “He could get whatever he want[ed] from them, like food and medicine, and he became famous in the media.”

The video on this hero doctor was Netherlands-produced (a country which supports the ‘opposition’), and featured a Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) board member. SAMS purports to be a “nonpolitical, nonprofit, professional and medical relief organization,” but supports al-Qaeda-occupied areas in Syria.

Their own website notes meetings with the State Department, Homeland Security, and other establishment policymakers, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry — all deeply involved in the U.S. war on Syria….” *Do read my entire article on the media lies and reality around the siege and starvation in Madaya–thanks to terrorists hoarding food as they did in Aleppo, al-Waer, Homs, Ghouta…

Bringing Down Corbyn: Israel's Fourth Estate Fifth Column in Britain

Jewish Labour Movement Worked with Israeli Spy

by Asa Winstanley - Electronic Intifada

April 12, 2018

The Jewish Labour Movement acted as a proxy for the Israeli embassy, a document obtained by The Electronic Intifada reveals.

“We work with Shai, we know him very well,” the group’s director Ella Rose admitted to an undercover reporter in 2016, a transcript of the conversation shows. Shai Masot was the Israeli embassy spy forced out of the UK after an undercover Al Jazeera investigation last year exposed him plotting to “take down” a senior UK government minister.

In a transcript of a conversation Rose had with an Al Jazeera reporter who was using the pseudonym “Robin,” Rose admits to working closely with Masot both before and after she was appointed executive director of the Jewish Labour Movement.

The transcript contains material that was not broadcast as part of Al Jazeera’s January 2017 film The Lobby which exposed Masot and cast light on the activities of pro-Israel groups in the UK.

The transcript reveals that the Jewish Labour Movement brought an Israeli delegation to the 2016 Labour Party conference on behalf of the embassy.

The delegation was presented as a group of young, left-wing Israeli activists.

But the day after the conference closed, a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz alleged that Israeli agents had been “operating British Jewish organizations” in a way that could “put them in violation of British law.”

Close ties

While the Haaretz report – which cites a cable from the Israeli embassy in London – does not name any of the groups, the transcript of the conversation between Rose and the undercover Al Jazeera reporter suggests that the Jewish Labour Movement may have been one of these organizations.

The transcript also reveals Rose deriding UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow finance minister John McDonnell.

Ella Rose did not reply to a request for comment.

In one sequence of the undercover Al Jazeera film, viewable above, Rose says her critics can go and “die in a hole.”

The film also shows that she had previously been an officer “at the [Israeli] embassy working with Shai.”

The Electronic Intifada was first to reveal her employment at the Israeli embassy. A few weeks later, Rose tweeted a photo of herself posing with Israeli ambassador Mark Regev, saying she was “proud” to have worked there.

In a statement broadcast in the film, the Jewish Labour Movement claimed to Al Jazeera that it “denies that it has worked closely with Shai Masot.”

But the September 2016 transcript, large parts of which are not included in the film, shows that Rose’s relationship with Masot and the Israeli embassy continued after she was hired by the Jewish Labour Movement in July of that year.

Despite denials, Masot appears to have been an agent for the Ministry of Strategic Affairs – a semi-clandestine organization that leads Israeli “black ops” against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Its minister is Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The ministry’s director-general is a former senior military intelligence officer, most of its employees – whose names are classified – are drawn from the ranks of Israel’s various spy agencies and it has a budget of tens of millions of dollars.

But as revealed in the Haaretz report, the Israeli foreign ministry got wind of how Erdan’s strategic affairs ministry was allegedly “operating” groups in the UK in violation of British law and was unhappy that what it perceived as its turf was being intruded upon.

“Off the record”

Robin had been encouraged by Masot to head up a new group which would be called “Young Labour Friends of Israel.”

In retrospect it looks like Masot must have then been taken to task by his superiors, and instructed to undo some of the mess he had created.

As this excerpt from the Al Jazeera film shows, towards the end of the 2016 Labour Party conference, Masot took Robin aside, and backed away from previous statements regarding the degree of control he wielded over Labour Friends of Israel and the effort to form a youth wing.

He said, “It’s an idea that I cannot implement because I am not a Young Labour Friend of Israel … I am just working in the embassy … it’s off the record … do you get it?”

The footage then shows him winking at Robin.

On the following day, Haaretz published the details of the feud between the ministries based on allegations of “operating” British Jewish organizations.

The paper reported that the foreign ministry urged rival minister Gilad Erdan’s advisers “not to pose as the embassy,” and that the advisers promised not to do so.

In retrospect, this reference to “advisers” almost certainly includes Masot.

Revolving door

The transcript also shows, in unbroadcast segments, that Rose discussed with Robin how he could get a job at the Israeli embassy.

She tells him that two possible positions, one to promote Israeli culture and another to monitor the BDS movement for Palestinian rights, had both been recently filled.

She reveals her intimate knowledge of the embassy’s hiring procedures. One of the candidates, she states, was “going through security at the moment.”

“I could’ve got you an interview as well,” Rose adds.

Rose also states she is close friends with two key figures in the embassy responsible for hiring, and that she had herself “put together half of the list” of candidates for the anti-BDS position.

She offers to help Robin, who was posing as an activist with Labour Friends of Israel, forge links with the Israeli embassy: “I’m more than happy, I can give you the email address if you want to send your CV.”

The transcript calls into question the Jewish Labour Movement’s previous denial that it is “an Israel advocacy organization.”

Smearing Corbyn

The Jewish Labour Movement is one of the main organizations within Labour promoting claims that the party under left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn has a major “problem with anti-Semitism.”

The group’s parliamentary chairperson Luciana Berger kicked off the current wave of the “Labour anti-Semitism” furore.

Rose herself has been running trainings on anti-Semitism to local Labour groups around the UK since 2016.

But many Jewish members of the Labour party do not accept the controversial definition of anti-Semitism offered in these trainings, which conflates hatred of Jews with criticism of Israel, or its state ideology, Zionism.

Delighted to run @UKLabour’s training session ‘Confronting Antisemitism and Engaging Jewish Voters’ for @UWELabour. Thanks to @EdaCaz for coming along as well!

The Jewish Labour Movement declined to reply to emailed questions about the transcript. A spokesperson responded that the group would “not entertain wild conspiracy theories.”

The Jewish Labour Movement also stated that The Electronic Intifada’s journalism constituted “harrassment” and attached a copy of a letter that their lawyer had first sent to its reporter last year in an apparent attempt to intimidate the publication into ceasing its reporting.

A spokesperson for the left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour told The Electronic Intifada that the Jewish Labour Movement’s funding is “completely opaque” and said that the new revelations show that there is a “blurred line” between the most senior officer of the Jewish Labour Movement and Israel’s London embassy.

Labour Friends of Israel

The undercover documentary revealed that Rose wrote to Robin saying she was “more than happy to support/help with the setting up of Young LFI.”

In the transcript, Rose again states she is “more than happy to help” and offers to provide Robin with “contacts or advice on anything.”

Rose’s comments in the transcript about knowing Masot “very well” came in the context of discussing an Israeli delegation she’d helped organize to the Labour Party conference in 2016.

Michal Biran, a Labor member of Israel’s parliament, and a group of activists from the Israeli Labor Party’s youth wing, came to Liverpool, headed by Biran and by Shai Masot.

Biran later posted video of her speech at Labour’s conference to Facebook, writing in Hebrew that she “went to the British Labour Party conference to do real Israeli hasbara” – the Hebrew word often translated as “explanation” or “propaganda.” This week, Avi Gabbay, the leader of Biran’s party, joined the assault on Jeremy Corbyn by cutting off ties with the British Labour leader over his alleged “hatred” of Israel and “hostility” to Jews.

“Michal Biran put Corbyn in his place at the Labour conference.” (Twitter)

Some of the Israeli delegation attended the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s fringe meeting at the conference.

One of them appealed during the event for “help” speaking against the BDS movement.

In this clip from the finished Al Jazeera film, Labour Friends of Israel activist Aaron Simons discusses with some of the delegation whether or not they should wear “Young Labour, Israel” T-shirts to a meeting of Labour Friends of Palestine.

“These are our spies,” he says, apparently light-heartedly,
 “which is why you can’t wear that T-shirt, because then everyone will know.”

One of the Israeli delegation, Michal Zilberberg, then replies, apparently seriously: “Well you know I was an intelligence officer, a spy. For four years. I can get the intel for you, no worries.”

In the film, Zilberberg (now a lobbyist for the Israeli Labor Party in Europe) says that “Shai is the head of the delegation.”

However, in the transcript, Rose tells Robin, “I am the delegation” and that it was “a JLM delegation” and that her group had paid for everything and “ran all the logistics, set up all the meetings.”

But Rose confirms that the delegation had been Masot’s “idea originally, but he couldn’t own it because the embassy can’t do it now.”

In the transcript, Rose slams Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his close ally John McDonnell:

“As far as I’m concerned they’re not the Labour Party that I’m part of; they’re completely irrelevant to my life … they’re has-beens.”

A spokesperson for Corbyn declined to comment. A spokesperson for McDonnell did not reply to a request for comment.

After Masot’s plot to “take down” a British minister critical of Israel was exposed by Al Jazeera, Israeli ambassador Mark Regev apologized.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told Parliament that Masot’s “cover” had been “well and truly blown.”

It is a common practice for intelligence agencies to disguise their spies as diplomats.

MI5, Britain’s main domestic spy agency, defines espionage to include, “seeking to influence decision makers and opinion formers to benefit the interests of a foreign power.”

All the evidence points to Masot attempting to use the Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Friends of Israel and perhaps other groups to influence decision makers in the Labour Party for the benefit of Israel.

When the UK recently expelled 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning in Sailsbury, Johnson said they were “probably spies masquerading as diplomats.”

Inadvertently or otherwise, the foreign secretary’s remarks in Parliament about Masot hint at the same.

With translation and research by Dena Shunra.

Is There Life on Mars (Off Planet Facebook)?

The Corporate Thought Police 

by David Rovics

April 12, 2018

I remember the time back in the early 90's when I had a show on a local college radio station. After coming home from having just done a show consisting of a string of especially unpatriotic musical selections, I picked up my land line (which back then was referred to as "the phone") and rather than hearing the familiar dial tone, I heard three beeps followed by a recorded message:

Because you have violated community standards, your phone line has been disconnected for thirty days. 

And then they gave me a toll-free number to call if I felt I "had received this message in error." I couldn't call the number from my disconnected phone, of course, but when I went to a friend's place to use their phone, I was disconnected every time after being on hold for two hours, and never got to talk to a representative of the phone company.

Did this ever happen to you? If so, I'd love to hear about it. But it never happened to me. I just made that up. What did just happen to me is in every way identical, except that Facebook is an unregulated monopolistic corporation, rather than anything classified as a public utility like phone, broadband, or electricity.

What I woke up to two days after my 51st birthday, four days before I'm flying across the Atlantic to start a tour of Europe, was yet another message from Facebook that I was banned from the platform for a post from years ago that no one will ever come across sharing a song by the satirical London-based band, the Commie Faggots. After the last ban a couple weeks ago I tried to delete all posts related to the band, but apparently I failed, and one came up and randomly got me banned again, this time for 30 days.

Whether satirical band names should be flagged as hate speech is one question. Whether such posts should get you banned from publicly posting to the platform is also a question. But I think it's important for people out there to understand that when someone gets banned from Facebook, they are not only banned from making public posts, but they also can't reply to private messages.

There have been a variety of questions that have come up in the recent Congressional questioning of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. One of them was related to whether Facebook was capable of policing its own content, whether Facebook was capable, for example, of telling the difference between satire and hate speech. The answer, clearly, is no.

Another question that's perhaps far more relevant that came up is the question of whether Facebook is a monopoly. I suppose the answer depends on how strictly the term is defined, but if we go with the definition of a corporation that is singularly dominant in one or more major forms of public and private communication, then Facebook is clearly a monopoly.

Many people who are not professional journalists or professional artists may not realize that when Facebook changes their algorithms this can (and often does) have a clear, measurable impact on how many people are likely to see different kinds of posts. Years ago, Facebook devastated musicians around the world when they changed their algorithms so that all of a sudden posts related to gigs or tours would hardly be seen unless you paid to boost them.

More recently, Facebook changed their algorithms again, supposedly to deal with the problem of fake news. With their new algorithm, progressive websites such as Counterpunch and Alternet suddenly started getting far less traffic, and with that, fewer donations.

Facebook is like other massive, profit-driven, predatory corporations, but far bigger, and they buy up or mimic the competition, swallowing much of it up, becoming so dominant that if you want to communicate with many people privately or spread the word publicly about gigs, tours, albums, protests, or whatever else, you can do this without Facebook, but you won't reach or stay in touch with nearly as many people.

My own numbers seem to be typical as far as indy artists go, and they clearly show what a dominant platform Facebook is. Notwithstanding the fact that there is of course some overlap between platforms, the numbers are still revealing.

I wrote a post last week where I listed ten good alternatives to Facebook -- that is, ten platforms that do the same things Facebook does, or better. Which is great for people who want to live without Facebook for one good reason or another. 

And it's great in terms of the quality of these alternative platforms in terms of user-friendliness. But in terms of scope there is no competition. Between "friends" and "followers" on Facebook there are around 15,000 people. If you combine everyone who's on my email list with everyone who follows me on all of the other platforms I mention in last week's post, only when you add them all together do you approach the number from Facebook alone.

I wonder how many people out there who aren't artists realize that when you post a link to a video on another platform such as YouTube on Facebook it will get far less attention than if you post the video using Facebook's video-posting application. Post it directly and it gets the eyeballs, at least comparatively speaking -- even if you don't pay to boost it, unlike announcements related to gigs, tours or albums. For example, I posted a song on April 8th about the most recent Land Day massacres of children in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

After uploading "Land Day" to YouTube and posting about that on Facebook and other platforms, the song on YouTube has so far been viewed 360 times. Since uploading the song on Facebook the same day, without sharing the fact that the song had been posted to Facebook on any other platform, it got several times as many views -- 1,600 so far.

Because two billion other people are on the platform, including most of the people I know, Facebook is extremely useful. But the algorithms they use are very destructive in many ways. The fact that billions of dollars are invested in thousands of brilliant people who spend all their time figuring out how to make the platform more addictive and thus more profitable results in a platform that seems to cause as many problems as it solves. In a weird way, I have found this phenomenon to play out directly in the numbers. I only just realized that although I did successfully use boosted posts on Facebook to slightly increase attendance at gigs to the extent that I made around $2,000 more last year than I made the year before, I spent over $3,000 in Facebook advertising. Maybe I'm just bad at advertising, but it had become clear that non-boosted posts about gigs were not being seen. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the folks at Facebook have figured out how to make their post-boosting function just barely useful enough to keep people doing it regularly.

It is very obviously a tragic thing that we have gotten to this stage, where what could have been (and what briefly was) a free internet became such a destructively corporate-dominated space. We clearly need to either strictly regulate Facebook and social media in general so that it behaves in the public interest as the public utility that it has become, or we need to leave the platform en mass.

While I can't effect either of these developments myself, I'm going to experiment with deactivating my Facebook account at least while I'm banned from posting, commenting or messaging on the network. While I'm banned from doing these things, it seems like the most sensible move, since I don't want people thinking I'm ignoring them for a month when I don't respond to their comments or messages. My hope is people who want to find me will have the wherewithal to look me up on the web. Realistically, with people being as they are, some will and some won't.

While I am absent from Facebook, please rest assured that although I'll miss some of the comments and conversations, I'll overall be happier with less noise, and I can easily be found by anyone who wants to find me, which I hope will be more than a handful of people out there who manage to notice through all the noise that I'm not there anymore.

A brief rundown of ways to keep in touch with me that are also dynamic and interactive like Facebook is:

  • Go to, where you will find links to all of the platforms listed below, and where you can also get on my email list -- email lists are great!
  • Follow me on Twitter @drovics --
  •  If you follow me on YouTube, that's where I post songs I just wrote --
    Most of those phone-made broadsides also end up in audio form at
  •  Whenever I put out a new album, it first appears on Bandcamp --
    At you can follow artists you like, and hear about when we do gigs near you
    Whether I'm home or on tour, hanging out with my kids or at a protest, I post a lot of pictures at (I know, it's owned by Facebook)
  • My phone number is +1 503 863 1177 and I can be called or texted directly or via WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal and other messaging platforms
  • There is a David Rovics app you can get for your phone or tablet on the Google and Apple app stores, which allows me to send you relevant, occasional push notifications
  • I blog at If you want me and other indy musicians to be able to keep making music, don't ever say "I'll look out for you on Facebook." In recent years, if you saw a post of mine in your feed on Facebook it's probably because I paid to boost it. This is not how Facebook used to work, when it first wormed its way into everybody's frontal lobes, and it's a far cry from the great possibilities that the internet still offers -- potentially -- for us humans to interact and learn about each other and the world we live in. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Into the Buzzsaw for Journalist Organization Denouncing Israel's Gaza Land Day Massacre

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Fights for Survival After Denouncing Israel's Land Day Killings 


April 12, 2018

's Kevin Metcalf tells The Real News he was placed on paid leave after he drafted a statement condemning Israel's Land Day killings.

Kevin Metcalf is the promotions and communications coordinator for CJFE, and is presently on leave from the organization. In his spare time he advocates for responsible national security environmental policy, tracks hate groups and researches the rise of the radical right in North America. He lives and works in Toronto.

What’s Going On With CJFE

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in turmoil, following release of statement condemning Israeli actions in Gaza

Graeme Gordon & Jonathan Goldsbie

April 10, 2018

On the afternoon of Monday, April 2, Canadian Journalists for Free Expressions put out a statement demanding that the Canadian government “condemn the one-sided use of military force against civilian demonstrators and media in Gaza.”

By the following week — and as direct and indirect results of the above — the non-profit that advocates for journalists’ rights throughout the world had lost its executive director, its president, and its gala chair, with its sole remaining full-time employee fully expecting to be terminated by the board.

On Sunday evening, promotions and communications coordinator Kevin Metcalf published a personal Facebook post outlining what he described as the impending demise of the organization.

“I’ve been advised that I can expect to be terminated from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression this coming Tuesday evening and have pre-emptively been removed from my social media roles and the organization’s website back-end,” he wrote.
“The cause for this termination, I have been informed, will most likely be the official cessation of the organization’s operations and its semi-permanent closure. Congratulations Canada, you’ve killed free speech.”

It was shared over 2,000 times.

“If I wasn’t [going to be terminated] before,” he tells CANADALAND on Monday.
“I think the virality of the post has made that almost a guarantee. But it was represented to me that that would be the case either way.”

CJFE board member Tom Henheffer, also a past executive director of the organization, says in an interview that’s not true. “I mean, first off, he wasn’t fired. No decision to fire him had been made.” Metcalf is currently on paid leave.

“I’d say re-organization is what we’re going to be doing,” Henheffer says.
“Disbanding a non-profit, it’s not like flipping a switch. That’s a hell of a process and takes quite a long time. That certainly won’t be happening [Tuesday]. We’re re-organizing, re-evaluating.”

Metcalf says that the day after they put out the Gaza statement, CJFE executive director Duncan Pike brought him into a meeting where he told Metcalf “that the organization was folding, that there would be an emergency board meeting to discuss the mechanisms for shutting down the operations, and that I should begin job-hunting immediately.”

Metcalf says Pike also informed him that he, board president Alice Klein, and half of the gala committee had or would be resigning.

“The task at hand required more time than I could devote given my other responsibilities,” Klein, the publisher of NOW Magazine, says in a statement to CANADALAND.
“I remain a committed member of the board.”

Pike — who had assumed the role of co-executive director last fall, alongside Megan Drysdale — referred questions to Henheffer. Drysdale departed the organization last month.

The gala chair who resigned was Carol Off, the host of CBC’s As It Happens. She did not respond to CANADALAND’s requests for comment but told journalist Sean Craig that CJFE’s statement put her in a conflict because she has been covering the Gaza story, and that some of the organization’s other recent slip-ups have made her feel “embarrassed.” She also told Craig she had stepped aside previously, when CJFE opposed the Harper government’s Bill C-51. (Off’s spouse, former CBC reporter Linden MacIntyre, had voiced his own disapproval of CJFE’s statement in a handful of tweets.)

“In terms of people leaving and things like that, when CJFE has taken a strong stance on issues that a journalist who is with us volunteering is covering, they’ve stepped aside while we’re dealing with that so their objectivity doesn’t come into question,” says Henheffer.
“Unfortunately, it’s a reality of balancing advocacy and journalism.”

Henheffer also says that, contrary to a suggestion in Metcalf’s posts, members of the gala committee (of whom there were two or three in all) faced no pressure from the CBC.

Several prominent Canadian journalists publicly took issue with CJFE’s Gaza statement — which has been appended in full at bottom — believing that the organization was inappropriately taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some members of CJFE’s board had their own misgivings, and a majority voted to pull it from the website Sunday evening.

Henheffer says that at Tuesday’s emergency meeting, they intend to discuss whether or not the statement was appropriate, if an apology will be issued, and how statements will be vetted in the future, as well as the organization’s struggling finances.

Metcalf says that while petitions are supposed to be vetted by the board, “statements have always traditionally been written by one staff member, usually somebody with an interest, passion, or knowledge in the subject,” who would then pass it along to the executive director and editorial coordinator, the latter function formerly fulfilled by Drysdale.

“She was pretty good at, I think, vetting pieces for tone to ensure that no board members were going to be alienated, no potential funders were gonna call irate over something we said. And that’s a skill gap currently not within the organization,” says Metcalf, who recalls that CJFE had the equivalent of five and a half full-time employees when he began working there in late 2016.

This isn’t the first time CJFE has been accused of overly politicizing its work. Earlier this year, it set up a since-withdrawn petition calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to disinvite Trump from the G7 Summit in June. Both Henheffer and Metcalf admit that the petition should never have been launched — the requirement for the board to vet petitions was instituted as a result — but still personally believe the most recent statement was appropriate.

“This statement has been completely misconstrued and conflated, and it’s ridiculous. I’m curious if people talking about it online have even read the damn thing,” says Henheffer.
“It’s well within our mandate. We’ve done it historically. We’ve called on the Canadian government to pressure Iran for better treatment of journalists. Same with Croatia, Turkey, Egypt, all of these things. Look at our work on Mohamed Fahmy. Everything we were putting out was calling on the Canadian government. We were very critical of Stephen Harper for not intervening when he should have.”

Henheffer says that CFJE followed the lead of American advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists.

“It was CPJ’s reports that were the basis for our statement. They confirmed firsthand that 10 journalists were injured and at least three were shot with wide ammunition from the IDF. It was not a broad condemnation of the policies of Israel. It was condemnation of this one specific action by the IDF, and we were calling on the Canadian government to basically also — well if you read the statement, specifically — we were calling on the Canadian government to ask the Israeli government to investigate this,” says Henheffer.
“As you can see, [CJFE’s statement] does not mention or link to any documentation by the Committee to Protect Journalists,” says Globe and Mail international affairs columnist Doug Saunders in an email.
“It makes a passing mention of a statement by the Ramallah-based organization MADA, which suggested that some journalists were involved in the clash. But beyond this, it is largely a general condemnation of Israeli military policy.”

“It does a great disfavour to those of us attempting to practice journalism to have an activist group taking a general political stance in our name,” he says.
“This is especially true if our writing happens to be somewhat aligned with that stance. By making us appear to be political activists with a priori stances rather than professional fact-gatherers who reach conclusions after assembling reliable information, they tarnish our credibility and make it more difficult and dangerous for us to operate in politically complex environments such as Gaza.”
Metcalf says, “Having re-read the statement now, many, many times, I don’t personally have a moral difficulty with strongly condemning the woundings of journalists and protesters. That is the mandate of CJFE, and I think we did our job on that count.”

CJFE has been struggling financially over the past year. Despite individual donations increasing, Henheffer says “sponsorships have been becoming more hard to come by” because of the economy and Canadian corporations focusing their contributions more on international organizations.

“Unfortunately, the political climate is such that taking any kind of advocacy stance on almost anything is incredibly fraught these days … The political discourse has become so fragmented. Everything is so extreme, there’s no room for nuance.”

Henheffer says CJFE may release a statement Wednesday morning addressing the recent developments.

Update (April 11, 9:32 p.m. EDT):
On Wednesday afternoon, CJFE’s board issued a new statement, which said that the earlier statement concerning Israel’s actions in Gaza “went beyond the organization’s mandate.” CJFE affirmed, however, that the organization still condemns the IDF’s “use of deadly force on journalists and protesters,” and called for an independent investigation into the events of March 30 and the killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja on April 6.

That statement, signed by new CJFE president Philip Tunley, also announced that future communications from the group “will now require approval from a volunteer panel of Board members to ensure they are consistent with our mandate.”

In an interview recorded for Thursday’s episode of CANADALAND Short Cuts, Henheffer (now the organization’s vice president) describes the earlier statement as having been “over-broad in focus” and “incorrect in tone.”

“We’re going to be undertaking, over the next few months, a full review of our mandate and our focus, and, basically, to make sure that we refocus and that we are following our core mission,” he tells host Jesse Brown. “Because we do feel over the last few months that we have drifted from that, that we’ve made mistakes. And so we’re basically issuing a mea culpa, saying yes, we screwed up. We’re sorry. We put a lot of the people who volunteer for us in a difficult position, where their objectivity could be called into question. We will never do that again. And we’re taking all the actions that we can to ensure that that never happens.”
As for Metcalf, Henheffer says, “His employment’s under review, but he’s still technically on leave, as of recording this.”

Update (9:56 p.m. EDT):
Reached for a response Wednesday night, Metcalf says in a message that he has “serious questions about how a month of campaigning on impunity in China, asking for specific economic policy handles to be used to profile human rights in trade negotiations, differs from what was written regarding Israel.”

The new statement, he says, “offers condemnation with few solutions. It’s a politically corrected message.”

In 2015, 2016, and 2017, CANADALAND provided CJFE with podcast advertising in exchange for tickets to its annual gala. Also, from 2013–17, Jonathan Goldsbie worked at NOW Magazine, where now-former CJFE president Alice Klein serves as editor, CEO, and publisher.

Original statement from CJFE sent April 2 at 5:45 p.m. EDT:

CJFE is gravely concerned by attacks on demonstrators and media in Gaza

CJFE is gravely concerned by the extrajudicial killings of demonstrators which occurred on March 30, 2018 in Gaza. It has been reported that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) used sniper fire, tank rounds and “less lethal” munitions like tear gas during a civil order event on the militarized border between Israel and Gaza. The United Nations reported that 15 Gazans were killed and more than 1000 were wounded. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms has stated that among those wounded in the massacre are many journalists.

We acknowledge the fact, as Israeli authorities have stated, that border demonstrations at the “March of Return” in commemoration of Palestinian “Land Day” were disorderly and boisterous in nature. We also recognize that the use of lethal force to respond to boisterous demonstration or civil disorder is an anathema to the principles of democracy, freedom and justice. Similar incidents have occurred in Tunisia, Syria and Ukraine. If similar incidents transpired in 2018, in any other country, the condemnation from the international community would be swift and clear.

Canada is recognized internationally as a close ally of the Israeli state. It is incongruous to profess support for democracy, human rights or press freedom while ignoring the deleterious effect that this repression by an allied state has on these values. Failure to condemn the IDF’s brutality will undermine Canada’s moral authority when condemning similar acts by any other nation-state. Targeted attacks against demonstrators and journalists must be condemned wherever they occur. Canada must speak out to defend universal principles of human rights, democracy and press freedom.

The Government of Canada must condemn the one-sided use of military force against civilian demonstrators and media in Gaza, must immediately call for a cessation of these brutal practices, and must use all available diplomatic, political and economic channels to pressure Israel to initiate a fulsome and transparent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the massacre, which left 15 dead, and more than 1000 wounded.


A copy of this letter was sent to the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs for Canada and to the Consulate General of the Government of Israel in Toronto.