Month: March 2015

A Canadian diplomatic pioneer in the Middle East: Michael Shenstone

michael shenstone closeup

Michael Shenstone joined External Affairs in 1952 and within a year, was sent off to Lebanon to learn Arabic. He eventually rose to be Canadian ambassador to several mid-east countries. He retired from the foreign service 40 years later. He continues to be a strong advocate for fairness towards the Palestinians and for balance in Canada’s relations with Israel and the Arab world. “A stance”, he notes wryly, “that, until recently, was central to Canada’s policy.” – Read my interview here. (more…)

Canadian Jews disagree over Harper, Israel, Palestine, even BDS …

simon fogel on Tv

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is frequently seen on TV as the spokesperson for the Canadian Jewish community. He is ranked as one of the country’s 100 most effective lobbyists by the Hill Times. But some Canadian Jews are uncomfortable with CIJA’s strong pro-Harper, pro Netanyahu politics. One Jewish group has even circulated a public petition inviting Fogel to participate in a discussion on the campaign to boycott Israel (BDS). No response so far…


“Change will have to be imposed on Israel from the outside”: Gideon Levy


Well known Israeli journalist Gideon Levy was in Ottawa on March 23rd, part of a Canada-wide tour organized by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). “Life is too good in Israel,” he said. “Israelis have no reason to change their ways. Change will have to be imposed by the democratic world.” Learn more about the event and watch my 4 minute exclusive interview with Levy.


Israeli elections hold silver lining for Palestinian human rights

Mideast Israel Election

Many Canadians were disappointed by the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu. His hard line stance on many issues, including the possibility of a two state solution, seemed to indicate that a just peace was not for the near future. But there are some consequences of the election that bode very well for Palestinians. (And I’m not referring to the silly “worse is better” theory.) Read more.