Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Anti-Israel?

A small collection of some of Outremont Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon’s writings on Israel and the Palestinians, suggests a very astute read of the landscape, rather than an anti-Israel, Hamas enabler. On the failed peace process, Coulon puts the blame on the Arab side:
The Israel-Palestine quarrel has little to do with the sharing of a territory. It is also very much an existential question: many Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims call for the elimination of Israel. The discourse isn't a new one, but this type of declaration has been multiplying in recent times. For the Palestinian prime minister (a Hamas leader), the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not start with the cohabitation of two states, but with the creation of a Palestinian state that would eventually replace all of Israel. In Lebanon, the head of Hezbollah recently assured his supporters that "the Arab armies and peoples can take back Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] River." In Iran, the president wants to wipe Israel off the map. In such an atmosphere, whatever the faults of Israel since its very beginnings, the peace process is blocked.

On Hamas:
Hamas, as all we know, is a terrorist organization. Its fighters, its bomb-planters, guided by their spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by the Israelis, are responsible for the death of hundreds of people, in Israel and in Palestine. The group's objective is to punish Palestinian "collaborators", to throw Jews back into the sea, and to eradicate the Hebrew state. It's also a social and political organization whose work on behalf of the Palestinian population and against corruption in the Palestinian Authority has allowed it to take power in last January's legislative elections. Its representatives, its preachers, its ground troops are seen by the population as the true representatives of a Palestinian society torn apart by internal violence and the destructive policies of the state of Israel, especially under Ariel Sharon.


The controversial quote, which essentially argues from the position, that isolation equals strengthening. In other words, the end goal is consistent with eliminating Hamas, the path is the subjective part:
Both of them want all the power for themselves. This stance weakens them and plays into the hands of radicals everywhere. Westerners would have done better by not isolating Hamas, no matter how repugnant its positions on Israel are. They made a mistake. Marginalizing Hamas and trying to prevent it from exercising its electoral mandate won't eliminate it from the Palestinian political stage. To the contrary, it will rediscover its bothersome character without offering the possibility restraining it. The West should instead help Palestinians rebuild their unity


I’m curious about Coulon’s opinion on isolation, given the recent takeover of Gaza and the new Fatah government. Isolating Hamas now might be more of an attractive option, although Coulon will probably avoid the issue like the plague.

I don’t see anything in the above that justifies calling Coulon “anti-Israel”, or a Hamas sympathizer. In fact, Coulon’s comments show a basic acceptable thesis, which demonstrates pragmatism to achieve an ends. Hardly worth the fuss.

11 comments:

Olaf said...

Steve,

I agree completely - I read some of his stuff last night, and as strong a supporter of Israel as I am, I found nothing the least bit objectionable in what he said. Furthermore, I didn't even find anything he said disagreeable, let alone anti-Israel.

If what he has said is somehow anti-Israel, the goalposts of the debate have moved substantially since I was last engaged.

Steve V said...

I would like to amend my earlier concern about nominating a controversial candidate. It would appear this is much ado about nothing. If I were vetting Coulon, I don't see any red flags here.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, not all Jews agree with B'nai Brith. The current president of B'nai Brith is a conservative supporter and his son worked for Stockwell Day.

I think this should be brought forward, if true.

Anonymous said...

Why is it the "conservatives" can't stop misleading and/or telling lies?

Gilles Duceppe, new nominee for CPC in Quebec is going around saying the Dion was part of sponsorship in that Duguay says he must have known because Dion has been in cabinet since 1995.

Truth - Dion didn't get into government until 1996. It was because of Aline Chretien who admired his work against the separtists. Sponsorship was "before" Dion's tenure in government.

So, it appears the CPC are going to use sponsorship still in Quebec.

Now - are Quebecers really that stupid???

Steve V said...

anon

See above post :)

Tomm said...

Steve,

This is a translated statement from the Hamas Charter:

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

Coulon may an excellent candidate with great credentials. He will be asked repeatedly about what he sees as appropriate next steps in the Middle East.

Just like Harper was asked to address previous comments he had made.

I'm sure he will do fine, but he will be asked.

Tomm

Steve V said...

"but he will be asked"

I was worried about that, because it detracts from the message and controversy isn't a positive for a campaign. However, after getting some more detail, the answers are there and to be frank, I don't see any legs.

Tomm said...

Steve,

I think I agree although my information sources are not much more than your post.

It sounds like Coulon is saying appropriate things. We can't ignore Hamas, they are a reality.

It would be very difficult to be a politician. Each word is analyzed by people trying twist comments around. It's really not a fair situation.

Tomm

Steve V said...

It would be very difficult to be a politician. Each word is analyzed by people trying twist comments around.'

That reality tends to handicap intellectuals, who have lots to say. Tight, scripted, vetted answers are the new norm. It's an interesting contrast, because we demand refreshing honesty and apolitical speak, but we concurrently crucify anyone who speaks their mind.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Steve V, tomm:

How about when the Tories accused Reg Alcock (wrong person? - i don't remember) of racism for his 'higher up the gene pool' comment.

Its a classic example of a politicians words being twisted into meaning something that he didn't.

Or Stockwell Day and his 'spearchucker' comment. Or ...

That being said, I think Coulon's opinions will be torn apart one way or another. If he appears too pro-Israel (which those writing may seem) then he angers the significant anti-Israel crowd in Montreal. If he appears too anti-Israel then he'll anger the pro-Israel crowd.

Its sad, but its politics. My money is on a Mulclair victory.

Steve V said...

southern

On this issue, in particular, it is easy to take things out of context and creat controversy. My money isn't on Muclair, but I think he has a shot. One of the more fascinating by-elections I can remember.