Sunday, 31 December 2017

World must support Iran protests

Citizens throughout Iran are taking to the streets to protest against the brutal, despotic Islamist regime that has ruled the country for nearly four decades. What started as protests over bread and butter issues, such as prices for food and gas, is quickly turning into a full-scale revolt against the country's rulers. The plain and simple truth is that despite sanctions relief as a result of the deal Iran made with the U.S. and other world powers to curb its nuclear program, the lives of ordinary Iranians have not improved. Why? Because the Islamist cabal that rules Iran is using any extra revenues that sanctions relief has provided, not to provide better lives for the Iranian people, but to support their terrorist friends and continue building the country's missile arsenal to threaten its neighbours. Yes, more money for Hezbollah and Hamas, more money to support Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad as he slaughters his own people, and more money for missiles to strike Israel or anyone else Iran's mullahs don't like. But for the Iranian people? Squat. 

Far from lauding their Islamist rulers' support for terrorists in the Middle East and beyond, Iranians are now calling for an end to support for groups like Hezbollah. They're also making it clear to their oppressors that they want their country's resources to go towards solving problems at home rather than fueling conflict elsewhere in the Middle East. Above all, Iranians want freedom. The question is, will they get it this time? It was just under a decade ago, in 2009, that Iranians took to the streets to protest the re-election of then president Mahmoud Ahmedinidjad. Hopes were high that perhaps the Iranian people would overthrow their despotic rulers. But unfortunately, that popular uprising fizzled out and the Islamists prevailed. If the masses in Iran are going to succeed this time, they need all the support from the international community that they can get. So I hope that other world leaders will follow U.S. President Donald Trump's lead and declare that they stand behind the Iranian people in their quest for freedom.

An end to the Islamic Republic would be a giant step towards peace in the Middle East, because it would bring an end to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, who depend on Iran for the resources they need to carry out their terrorist activities. Just think of the Middle East without Iranian-backed terrorists. No more Hezbollah to hold the people of Lebanon hostage or assist Syria's Assad in the killing of his own people. No more Hamas to rule over the Gaza Strip and use it as a base from which to attack Israel. But none of this will be possible unless Iran's Islamist rulers are toppled. So in essence, the Iranian people are not just fighting for their own freedom. They're fighting for the peace of the region. I hope they succeed.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Arab attitudes towards Israel changing for the better

There's been an awakening. Have you felt it? Yes, this is a quote from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But in this case, I'm not talking about an awakening in the force. No, I'm referring to an awakening in the Arab world. To put it simply, some Arabs are awakening to the realization that Israel is not the threat that they have always perceived it to be. Quite the contrary. Israel is slowly being seen by a growing number of Arabs as a valuable ally against what really threatens the Arab world: The Islamic Republic of Iran.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people on the Arab street still see Israel as their most hated enemy. But a growing number of notable figures in the Arab world are singing a different tune about the Jewish state. For example, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia recently issued a ruling saying that it was forbidden to make war on Jews, even going so far as to call the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist group, Hamas, a terror organization. I've been following Middle Eastern politics since I was a teenager and I never thought I'd hear anyone in Saudi Arabia, let alone its chief cleric, say something like this. And he isn't the only one sounding off on a more amicable attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. A prominent Saudi academic went so far as to defend U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In addition, an Egyptian writer argued that Jerusalem had no religious significance for Muslims and called for greater cooperation between Jews and Muslims. Another writer from Kuwait praised Israel and called on Arab leaders to recognize the legitimacy of the state.

Some political leaders have also made favorable comments about Israel. The king of Bahrain, for instance, condemned the Arab boycott of Israel and said that he would allow his subjects to travel there freely. He made these comments at an event hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in which Bahrain National Orchestra actually played "Hatikvah", Israel's national anthem. In Lebanon, the Prime Minister was recently recorded saying that Lebanon does not reject the Jewish state's existence and in fact respects Israel's right to safety.

One still has to be brave when saying anything positive about Israel in the Arab world. Anyone who does is almost immediately subject to condemnation and harassment on social media. Hell, they're lucky if they don't get death threats. But the fact a growing number of people in different sectors of the Arab public are willing to give Israel a chance is very significant. Now of course, I really don't think anyone in the Arab world has a love affair with Israel. Indeed, at this point, the increasing number of positive statements by notable figures in the Arab world pertaining to Israel may simply be a byproduct of the emerging Israeli-Arab alliance against Iran. In other words, it may simply be because of the old adage, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Movie-going experience ruined by commercials

I saw the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, today. Don't worry, I won't spoil it for anyone. Instead, I'm going to talk about what's really bugged me about going to the movies over the last few years, besides the exorbitant ticket prices and overpriced snacks. What really drives me nuts at the movies these days is those damn annoying commercials.

If you're my age or older, you'll remember going to the movies and not having to sit through a seemingly endless series of ads. When I went to the movies as a kid, you saw some coming attractions and then the movie. I wish this was still the case, but unfortunately it isn't. Now, you're inundated with commercials while you wait for the movie to start. Then the lights in the theater dim and guess what? More commercials! By the time you finally get to the coming attractions, you may have sat through up to ten minutes of ads, or more depending on when you entered the theater. 

Nowadays, ever time I go see a film, I can't help but say in my head, "Enough is enough. Just show us the f*cking movie already!" 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A U.S. President Will Finally Declare: Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel. It's About Time!

I was elated when I heard the news. U.S. President Donald Trump will declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. Israel is unique in many facets, some positive, some negative. One of the negatives is that Israel is the only country that is recognized by most other nation-states in the world, but whose capital is not recognized. Could you imagine a country refusing to put its embassy in Washington D.C.? It would be unheard of, because a country refusing to put its embassy in the capital of the nation-state with whom it intends to have full diplomatic relations would be a grave insult and would not be tolerated - except in Israel.

I'm not going to go into detail about why Jerusalem should be recognized by all as Israel's capital. I think people know the facts, whether they choose to accept them or not. Predictably, Israel's opponents all over the world are calling for an international outcry over President Trump's impending declaration. There has been talk of demonstrations, summits, violence, you name it. As far as I'm concerned, the enemies of Israel can whine and cry all they want. Jerusalem has been, is, and always will be the eternal capital of the nation of Israel. To deny this is to deny the facts. But of course, facts rarely matter to Israel's enemies.

Monday, 4 December 2017

After the 2018 World Cup, Expect Another Putin Power Play

The World Cup of soccer is taking place in 2018. I should be excited, but I'm not. Why? Well, first of all, my favorite squad, Italy, won't be competing for the first time since the 1950's. But there's a much more important reason. The 2018 World Cup is being hosted by Russia, or as I prefer to call it, Putin's Russia. I call it this because I don't want to associate the whole of the Russian people with the crimes of their tyrannical leader.

Putin's Russia is growing stronger and more dangerous. Of particular concern to me is how much closer its armed forces are to my ancestral homeland, the motherland of the Jewish people, Israel. Two years ago, Russian forces began directly intervening in the Syrian civil war to bail out Putin's ally and fellow dictator, Bashar Al-Assad. To this day, Russian warplanes are bombing rebel-held territory in Syria, causing countless civilian casualties and seemingly endless suffering. The Russians already had a military presence in Syria in the form of a naval base on the Syrian coast in the northwest of the country. Now that presence is a lot larger, and I must say, very discomforting to me as an Israeli. Putin's Russia and Israel are not enemies yet, but I am certain that they will be in the near future. Putin already gives strong support to Israel's enemies. Not just to Syria, but also to Iran, which in turn supports the terrorist group, Hezbollah, right on Israel's doorstep.

Putin's intervention in Syria has put Russian warplanes perilously close to Israeli airspace. And I don't think it takes a genius to realize that if Putin wanted to, he could have those same planes that are now bombing Syrian cities strike Tel Aviv, Haifa and other Israeli population centers. To make matters worse, Russia and Egypt have recently drafted an agreement that would allow Russian planes to use Egyptian air bases. If this agreement is implemented, Israel will face the danger of Russian air power on two fronts.

I believe that Russian encroachment in the Middle East and elsewhere will only grow as it fills the void left by an increasingly isolationist United States. This brings me back to the World Cup, which I think will mark the beginning of a new phase in Putin's plans to expand Russia's borders and its sphere of influence. The first phase of Putin's land and power grabs began in 2008, when he attacked Georgia and took over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which he subsequently turned into puppet states. The second phase took place immediately after the 2014 Winter Olympics, when Russian forces invaded Ukraine and occupied the Crimean Peninsula. The third phase began immediately after the occupation of Crimea as pro-Russian terrorists backed by the armed forces of Russia itself, took over much of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. The forth phase has been, of course, Russia's intervention in Syria. I believe that the next phase in Putin's quest for more land and power will begin right after the World Cup concludes. Putin does not want to ruin any benefits that hosting the international soccer tournament could bring him, which is why he hasn't made any further conquests in Europe yet. It's the same reason he waited until after the 2014 Winter Olympics to make his move on Crimea.

So by the time the World Cup ends and all the teams, fans and media are out of Russia, I suspect that Putin will make another major land grab. But where will he do it? My first guess would be again in Ukraine, where he may move to take the rest of the country's eastern regions. Another possibility is a move on northern Kazakhstan. Like the Crimea and eastern Ukraine, northern Kazakhstan is predominantly populated by Russian speakers. Hence, Putin could attempt to take over the region arguing that he is simply putting Russians in Russia where they should be. Hitler used the same excuse when he annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia's Sudatenland before the beginning of World War II. History appears to be repeating itself.

Monday, 27 November 2017

My Thoughts on Vegetarianism and Veganism

I remember an ad on the subway that said, "Why love one and eat the other?" The ad referenced dogs, which many of us in the Western world including myself love and cherish as pets, compared to cows, which frequently find themselves on our plates as food. The ad argued that both are sentient creatures and neither should be consumed as food. This was, of course, an attempt at advocating a vegan diet. There are people on my Facebook who are vegetarians or vegans, proudly proclaiming, "I love animals, therefore I don't eat them." Sounds logical, doesn't it? So do I think that vegetarians and vegans have got it right? Is choosing not to eat animals or consume animal products at all a more compassionate way of living that is better for the environment? I think the answer is undeniably yes. But it doesn't mean I'll be going vegetarian or vegan any time soon.

I couldn't imagine my life without meat or dairy products. I love a good steak, I love chicken, and as far as I'm concerned, you can have my cheeseburger when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. So I don't see any problem with eating meat or consuming other animal products for food. I think it's natural for us, just as it is for other living beings on this planet who consume the flesh of other creatures to survive. But to be honest, the real reason I won't give up eating meat is because vegetables and other healthy stuff just taste like crap to me. Let's just say that I'll consider being vegetarian or vegan the day that someone can show me food that doesn't come from an animal and tastes as good as a nice, juicy t-bone steak.

I'm certainly not saying that I don't care about how animals are treated before they're slaughtered for food or how they're slaughtered, which is why I've put my name to many petitions advocating for more humane treatment of animals destined for our dinner plates and will continue to do so. I think it's simply unjustifiable that we treat the creatures we eat to survive with such disdain. As I see it, any animals we eat ought to be wined and dined (at least in a figurative sense) before they are put to slaughter. And when they are slaughtered, they should feel no pain or as little pain as possible. It's the least we can do for the living, sentient creatures that sustain us.

It would be ideal if everyone on this planet all of a sudden chose not to consume animals or animal products, but I just don't think it's going to happen. Although the number of vegetarians and vegans around the world has grown significantly over time, the vast majority of Earth's human population still eats animals to survive. I think it's more likely that we will develop technology to grow meat without killing animals. Such technology is even being developed now, though it is still in early stages. So for now, we still have to choose between adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, or continuing to consume animals and animal products with the knowledge that animals will likely be harmed and suffer inhumane treatment on their way to our plates. 

Down With Repeat Commercials!

Watching and listening to commercials is just something you have to put up with when you watch television. And I understand that if TV shows and networks want to survive, they need the revenue that comes from selling advertising space. This is especially true in the internet age when an increasing number of people are opting to stream TV programs instead of paying for a cable or satellite subscription. But why oh why must we be bombarded with the same commercials over and over again!?

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm sick and tired of having to see the same commercials whenever I watch TV. Does anyone remember that guy on the Canadian Tire commercials a few years ago? If you do, you may also remember how much you hated him, having to see him on nearly every commercial break during the hockey game. How about a few years before that with those damn annoying Sprint commercials. I think I had steam coming out of my ears every time I had to see Candace Bergen in those ads.

Again, I understand the need for advertising revenue and for advertising in general. But for goodness' sake, if we have to sit through commercials while we watch TV, can we at least see some more variety without being bombarded with the same ads over and over again?    

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Wanted: A More Just System of Capitalism

I am a firm believer in capitalism, but I don't believe in a capitalist system where some are so rich, their net worth is even more than the GDP of some nation-states, whereas so many others are so poor that their very survival is threatened by poverty. I want a capitalist system in which people can still become wealthy, but where even the poorest of people still have the right to a decent home, a good education, enough food to eat and access to adequate health care. These are rights that I think are just as important as the right to free speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, if not more so. Indeed, what good is having the right to speak your mind or worship freely when you're so poor that you can't even feed yourself? 

The unapologetic capitalists out there would probably answer my question by saying that in a capitalist system, all people, including the poorest of the poor, can become rich and powerful if they just work hard enough. So all it takes is hard work, right? I wish it were that simple, but the fact of the matter is that there are many people in this world who work hard but still struggle to provide for themselves and their families, while at the same time there are rich people who barely lift a finger yet still enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. If all it took to become rich was to work hard, then most of the people slaving in minimum wage jobs today would be millionaires.

Now of course, I'm not saying that hard work can't lead to riches. It does in many cases. History is full of so-called "rags to riches" stories about people who started off with next to nothing and eventually became rich beyond their wildest dreams. The problem is that devout capitalists assume that it's in the power of everyone to do this when in fact it isn't. Not everyone can become the next Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson. The reality is that some people are just more talented and innovative than others. But does that mean that those who don't have the brains and the talents of today's rich and powerful should be condemned to poverty? Certainly not. The average person should still be able to at least put food on his table and a roof over his head.

Capitalism has always been under threat because it leaves so many people with too little to live a dignified and fruitful existence. It has only survived this long because some of our leaders fortunately realized that they needed to lend a hand to those whose boats didn't rise with the capitalist tide that was supposed to lift them. This explains in part how the modern social safety net - things like unemployment insurance, socialized medicine and free primary and secondary education - took shape. Improving and expanding this social safety net so that those who have less can still feed, clothe and house themselves is essential for the future survival of capitalism. But lately, the opposite has been happening. Instead of expanding and improving social programs, compassion-less governments, like that of U.S. President Donald Trump, are eroding the social safety net. In my opinion, it's like they're digging their own graves, because once capitalism leaves too many people behind, those people will inevitably revolt and capitalism will be overthrown along with its biggest beneficiaries.


Thursday, 16 November 2017

How do you solve a problem like Syria?

Syria's civil war has been going on for half a decade, but despite the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees and the seemingly endless suffering that the people of Syria have endured, neither the ruling Syrian regime under Bashar Al-Assad nor the various factions opposing him are backing down. As the war has dragged on, it has morphed into not just a civil war, but a proxy war between competing international powers. The Americans and Sunni Arab Gulf states support the rebel groups while Russia and Iran have backed Assad's regime. The only thing that they have been able to agree on during the course of the war has been the need to defeat the so-called Islamic State terrorist group. Now, at long last, the death cult of ISIL is all but defeated in Syria, but the war continues. Is there any end in sight? Not unless those party to the conflict can reach an agreement that gives all of them at least some of what they want.

I believe I know what the framework for such an agreement could potentially look like. It certainly isn't what I'd like to see happen, but based on the realities on the ground, I think it would be the best way of ending the conflict. The biggest issue of the conflict is, of course, who should rule Syria. Both the Russians and Iranians would like Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad to continue in power. They see him as a key ally in maintaining and advancing their interests. Russia in particular wants to keep its naval base in the region of Latakia,which borders the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin does not want to lose another ally in the Middle East after the fall of Libya's Moammar Ghaddafi. For its part, Iran seeks to expand its power sphere in the Middle East and wants to use Syria as a base from which to attack Israel, hoping to eventually annihilate the Jewish State. In fact, it has been reported that the Islamic Republic has begun building a base just thirty kilometers from the Israeli-Syrian border. Israel obviously doesn't want the Shiite regime on its doorstep, especially since they already have to put up with Iran's proxy militia, Hezbollah, on its northern border with Lebanon.

Both the Americans and their Sunni Arab allies would like to see Assad removed from power in Syria, thereby curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia in particular is now battling Iran for the role of regional hegemon. Not only is the kingdom supporting rebel movements in Syria, but it is also heavily involved in Yemen's civil war as it attempts to destroy the so-called Houthi militia, which is backed by Iran and now controls the northern part of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

I believe a solution can be found that accommodates the interests of the U.S. and her Israeli and Sunni Arab allies on the one hand and the interests of Iran and Russia on the other. No one will get exactly what they want, but everyone will get something. This solution would see the region of Latakia split off from the rest of Syria. As I mentioned before, Latakia is the home of Russia's naval base. It is also where Assad maintains the bulk of his popular support from his fellow Alawite Muslims, who form the overwhelming majority of the population in the Syrian coastal region. So part of the solution to the Syrian conflict would see Assad leaving Damascus to take up residence in Latakia and ruling over a new state therein. This would allow Russia and Iran to maintain their alliance with Assad and would also allow Russia to keep its all-important naval base in the region.

The rest of Syria would then be free of Assad and his regime. Israel would not face the threat of another front opened up against it and the U.S. and her Sunni Arab allies get what they want in the form of a government in most of Syria that is more favorable to their interests. But what would a new government of Syria look like? Taking into consideration Syria's multi-ethnic, multi-religious character, I believe the logical way forward for the country is a form of federalism or at least a governmental structure that would allow autonomy for minority communities, especially the Druze and the Kurds. The country's constitution would have to be re-written to reflect the country's diversity rather than giving Arabs and Islam supremacy in the way it does today.

In a nutshell, it is only through compromise by which the war in Syria will ultimately end. Indeed, the most powerful opposing parties to the conflict, the U.S. and Russia, have already agreed that there is no military solution.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Toronto Marks 20 Years of Amalgamation...And 20 Years of Decline

I was prompted to write this blog when I saw a Facebook post by Mayor John Tory commemorating 20 years since the different parts of Toronto were amalgamated into one "megacity" as it was then called. I honestly think that this is a grim anniversary, because ever since the amalgamation, which many if not most Torontonians rejected, Toronto has been in steady decline.

Before amalgamation, the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto was composed of several separate municipalities: North York, East York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and of course, the old City of Toronto. Enter Ontario Premier Mike Harris. He decided to put all of them together, whether Torontonians liked it or not. Harris was hardly a friend to Toronto. In fact, I would say he had a big hate-on for this city. It's no surprise, then, that he downloaded a whole bunch of costs onto the city without downloading additional funds. He also removed the provincial subsidy for the TTC, which is now one of the least subsidized transit systems in North America.

In 2003, the Liberals deposed the Tories as Ontario's governing party, but they didn't undo the damage that Premier Harris and his government did to the city. Quite the contrary, they did even more damage by giving the stiffs at City Hall more power to raise taxes and fees. Ever since then, the city's spendthrift mayors and councillors have been pigging out at the trough. Year after year, Torontonians see the fees and taxes they paid go up and the level and quality of city services go down as their elected officials recklessly spend taxpayer dollars on their own pet projects.

To make matters worse, amalgamation sewed the seeds of division between the old City of Toronto and its suburbs. To this day, folks in the suburbs complain about how they are shortchanged by "downtown elites", especially when it comes to public transit. Indeed, the further out from the downtown core you go, the worse public transit gets. Toronto's transit system remains stuck in the 1980's. At the same time, the city's population has grown tremendously. As a result, Toronto's buses, streetcars and subways are severely overcrowded and much of the city is under-served by the TTC.

I would say that Toronto is still a great city. But after twenty years of amalgamation, its people are divided, its transit system is woefully inadequate, home prices have skyrocketed and traffic is simply a nightmare.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

All Peoples Have the Right to Self-Determination, Not Just the Palestinians

I believe that all peoples have the right to self-determination. Unfortunately, this is not a sentiment shared by the overwhelming majority of the world's leaders. I just can't get over how hypocritical the international community is when it comes to deciding who is worthy of self-determination and who isn't. There are countless independence movements all over the world. Yet, the broad international consensus seems to be that only one group of people are worthy of a country of their own - the Palestinians.

Now I'm not saying that the Palestinians don't have a right to their own state, otherwise I would be the hypocrite. What I do wonder though is, why do they get preferential treatment from the international community? Why are the Palestinians more deserving of an independent country than say, the Kurds, the Catalans, the Tibetans, the Balochis, the Scots, the Welsh and so forth? What makes the Palestinians so special? Well, there is one characteristic that distinguishes the Palestinian independence movement from all the rest: the desire to gain independence by destroying another country, namely Israel. To the best of my knowledge, no other independence movement seeks the destruction of another country. The Kurds do not seek the destruction of Iraq, Iran, Turkey or Syria, the countries in which most of them now reside. The Catalans do not seek the destruction of Spain, nor do the Tibetans seek the destruction of China. So basically, the international community has decided that the only people worthy of independence are the people whose leaders are hell bent on gaining self-determination by depriving another people, the Jewish people, of the same fundamental right.

They've also concluded that most of the other peoples fighting for independence have no right to it. This is why the Kurds are currently under attack by the armies of several countries. It's why the leaders of Catalonia have been arrested by Spanish authorities. And it's why the pleas of peoples like the Tibetans and the Baluchis, both of whom are the victims of genocide, fall on deaf ears in international forums like the United Nations. If only the Tibetans and Balochis could blame Israel for the crimes against them. Then, they might actually get some attention from the likes of the U.N., whose members would undoubtedly pass a pile of resolutions against the Jewish state.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The World After World War III

Those of you who have read my blog posts or who know me personally probably know that I have a very grim view of the future - at least the near future. I'm speaking of course about the upcoming Third World War, which I believe is inevitable within the next ten to twenty years. With Donald Trump at the head of the most world's most powerful military arsenal, I believe the war will take place sooner rather than later. But what I don't talk about a lot is how the post-WWIII will look like. Therefore, I am going to use this blog post to talk about what kind of world I think survivors of the impending Third World War and their offspring can expect to live in.

The Immediate Post-War Period

As anyone can imagine, WWIII will devastate our planet. But it won't destroy it. About a third of humankind will be wiped as will an equal portion of plant and animal species. In the first decade or two after WWIII ends, another billion people will perish from famine and disease as will more plant and animal species. The devastation that the war brings will take its toll on the world for a full generation after it ends. It will take that long for populations around the world to re-establish communications and trade links with each other, and to re-establish civil governance throughout the globe. By the end of this generation, a new, one-world government will be established that will oversee the rebuilding of planet Earth.

The Rebuilding Period

Upon pacifying all corners of the world, our new leaders will set about creating a new global society based on peace, sustainable growth, respect for each other and for the environment.

An End to the Use of Fossil Fuels

One extremely significant decision that the post-WWIII leaders of the world will make is to stop using fossil fuels in order to power the word's economy. In the decades after the immediate post-war period, Earth's environment will begin to recover rapidly as humans end the use of oil, gas, coal and other non-renewable sources of energy. Technological advancements made during WWIII will enhance humanity's ability to live without fossil fuels.

An End to the Killing of Animals for Food

Another significant development that will emerge in the post-WWIII world will be an end to animal agriculture and the killing of animals for food. Again, technology developed during the war will allow humanity to make this change. But no, all of us won't suddenly decide to go vegan. Rather, technology will exist that will allow us to grow meat by simply using animal proteins and cells. In fact, this technology is being developed today, though it is still in very early stages. After WWIII, however, we will have mastered the ability to supply ourselves with meat without needing to hunt animals or raise them only to slaughter them for their flesh.

A New Era of World Government

What I think will be the most important change to our world after the devastation of the Third World War will be an end to an era in which nation-states act both internally and externally with impunity. Shortly after the end of WWIII, all of humanity will be united under one global government. This is not to say that nation-states will no longer exist. Rather, they will each become units of a global confederation whose mandate it will be to create and enforce international law and keep the peace between the world's nation-states. Now of course, we've already had organizations with similar mandates, such as the League of Nations, which was created after WWI, or the United Nations, created after WWII and still in existence. So what will be so different about the network of nation-states that emerges after WWIII? The simple answer is that unlike previous attempts at keeping nation-states in line, the new world government will have a military force of its own that it can use to enforce international law. It will no longer have to depend on the armies of nation-states. In fact, national military forces will eventually cease to exist as will military conflict altogether.

Humanity's New Golden Age

After a number of generations, Earth and its people will have fully recovered from the devastation of WWIII, culminating in a new golden age of world peace and prosperity. Global poverty will have been eliminated, and although capitalism will still exist and some will still have more than others, no one will be in a situation in which they cannot meet at least their basic needs. Disease will still exist, but no one will go without necessary and appropriate care. No more will humanity harm the environment. By the time of the golden age, Earth will be in the best shape it's ever been in since before the age of fossil fuels. In fact, by this time new technology will have been developed that will be able to resurrect the plant and animal species that were rendered extinct because of humanity's lack of respect for the environment. And for the first time in human history, democracy will span the entire globe. No longer will dictators be able to rule over the masses, because anyone who attempts to impose tyranny over a population will be almost immediately crushed by the forces of international law, enforced by the world's first global government - a government that is itself faithful to the rules of democracy.

The coming of the golden age will also usher in a new era of expansion for the human race. Humans will migrate throughout our solar system and beyond, and I have no doubt that by this time, we will discover that we are not alone in the universe. To sum it all up, we will probably come as close to a utopian world as we'll ever get.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Kurds Need Support, NOW!

What is happening to the Kurds in Iraq as I write this is absolutely disgusting, to say the least.  This past week, the Iraqi army, supported by Shia militias, overran the province of Kirkuk. Once again, Kurds are being driven from their homes, deprived of their possessions and stripped of their liberty. Once again, they've been abandoned by their allies. Worse, their supposed allies have turned against them. Yet, if it weren't for the Kurds and their Peshmerga forces, the so-called Islamic State could never have been defeated in Iraq. Kurdish forces are also responsible for all but vanquishing ISIL in northeastern Syria, culminating in the recent fall of Raqqa, the terrorist group's proclaimed capital.

Leaders all over the Middle East and especially in Iraq should be kissing the feet of the Kurds, not stepping on them. Without the sacrifices the Kurds made to defeat ISIL, the same leaders who are now pulling out all the stops to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state might themselves have been burned alive or had their heads chopped off at the hands of the Islamic State. But instead of being grateful, the whole region seems to have ganged up on the Kurdish people, while the Kurds' western allies sit idly by and do nothing but blame the victim, criticizing the leaders of Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region for holding a referendum on whether their people should exercise their inalienable right to self-determination by breaking away from the European colonial construct we now know as Iraq.

My question at this point is, who in the international community will come out and support the Kurds' legitimate struggle for independence? Unfortunately, only one world leader has come out in support of the Kurds - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone as Israel has had clandestine ties with the Kurds of Iraq for decades. But this is first time I know of that an Israeli prime minister has publicly come out in support of Kurdish independence. Indeed, Prime Minister Netanyahu has even said that he is encouraging world leaders to support the Kurdish cause. It's nice know that the Kurds have someone rooting for them. But Israel is but one small country and although it punches way above its weight in many respects, it is not a superpower. It cannot, for example, enforce a no-fly zone the same way the U.S. did over Iraqi Kurdistan for many years when Saddam Hussein was still in power. Hence, the Kurds of Iraq will need more support than Israel can give in order to win their struggle for independence. If only they had the kind of support that the Palestinians have managed to garner from the international community.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Stop the War on the Car!

A couple of days ago, I read an article written by the Toronto Sun's Antonella Artuso about how the folks at the City of Toronto intend on shutting down subway parking lots in order to force commuters onto transit (see: City eyes shutting subway parking lots to drive commuters onto transit). It's yet another salvo fired by Toronto City Hall in their seemingly neverending war on the car. I just don't get it. Why can't the stiffs who govern Canada's biggest city and commercial capital get it through their thick skulls that people are going to drive no matter how inconvenient politicians make it for them. How do I know this? Because as long as public transit is slow, inefficient and overcrowded, people who are fortunate enough to have private vehicles will always use them to get where they're going.

The fact of the matter is that people who have the choice would rather get wherever they want to go in a nice, cozy private automobile instead of a smelly, overcrowded bus, streetcar or subway that doesn't take you to your destination without stopping at a bunch of places you don't need to be. So it's very unlikely that these people will switch to public transit no matter how bad the traffic is. And even if some of them do, it'll just make public transit worse by adding more people to an already overcrowded system. I have just about had enough with politicians who worry more about how people get from point A to point B than what they should be worrying about - making it easier to get from place to place in Toronto no matter what means of transportation people use. Besides, if the so-called progressives and social engineers want more people to use public transit, they should concentrate on making that public transit better, not making driving worse.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I Stand With Kurdistan and Catalonia

Yesterday, the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq held a referendum asking people if the region and adjacent Kurdish territory should become an independent state. On October 1st, people in the Spanish-ruled region of Catalonia will vote in their own referendum on independence. Both the Kurdish and Catalan people face overwhelming odds in their quest for self-determination. In fact, it seems that everyone is dead set against either of these peoples having a country of their own.

The Kurds are being threatened with sanctions and even military force if they attempt to secede from Iraq. Indeed, if the Kurds were to declare independence, they would be surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides. Gee, where have I seen this scenario play out before? Well, 69 years ago, a little country called Israel declared independence. For the first time in two thousand years, the Jewish people had a country to call home. But almost immediately, the neighbouring states attacked the nascent Jewish state, seeking no less than its utter annihilation. The Kurds are basically facing the same almost insurmountable odds that Israel's founders did nearly seven decades ago. Actually, one could argue that the Kurds face even greater odds. Israel ultimately had to fight for its independence and still fights to maintain it to this day, but its establishment had at least been sanctioned by the international community in the form of the United Nations resolution to partition the then British Mandate of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Moreover, on the eve of declaring independence, Israel received diplomatic recognition from the United States. In contrast, there has never been a resolution at the U.N. calling for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state, at least to the best of my knowledge. And unlike in the case of Israel, the U.S. has come out against Kurdish independence, calling on the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq to cancel the referendum on independence. The only meaningful international support the Kurds have received has been from, guess who? The State of Israel, both officially and unofficially. As a matter of fact, leaders in countries neighbouring the KRG have recently referred to an independent Kurdistan as a "second Israel" (see: Turkey warns Kurds 'Israeli flags won't save you'). In a way, I think they're right, because the rise of an independent Kurdistan would effectively be the second instance in history in which an indigenous people in the Middle East throws off the chains of their Arab, Islamist conquerors and takes back what is rightfully theirs.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Catalans are hoping to achieve their right to self-determination. Fortunately, the Catalans don't face the threat of military force like the Kurds, though it doesn't mean that they don't face consequences for their efforts. Indeed, pro-independence leaders in Catalonia have been threatened with criminal prosecution for trying to bring the independence referendum to fruition, and the Spanish government is doing everything it can to disrupt the vote and prevent it from taking place. But as with the Kurds, the Catalans have very little support from abroad. No country in Europe wants an independent Catalonia, because it could bolster support for an independent Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Brittany, Corsica, etc.

I find the lack of international support for the independence of Kurdistan and Catalonia distressing, not to mention the lack of support for other peoples deserving of independence, like the Tibetans or the West Papuans. Right now, it seems that the only people the international community has deemed worthy of self-determination are the Palestinian people. It should be no surprise, then, that more international attention is paid to the aspirations of the Palestinians than to anyone else seeking self-determination, even if those aspirations include the destruction of another people's state, namely the Jewish people's State of Israel. The drive to annihilate another state is actually unique to the Palestinian national movement, because no other credible movement for self-determination calls for the destruction of another people's country. The Kurds do not call for the destruction of Iraq or any other country in which large Kurdish populations reside. The Catalans do not call for the destruction of Spain. The Tibetans are not intent on eliminating China as a country, nor do the people of West Papua seek the annihilation of Indonesia. And yet, it is the Palestinian movement, the only movement that promotes the extinction of another people's independence, that gets all the love and respect of the international community. I don't know about you, but I see something seriously wrong with this picture.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Hands Off Our Dope!

Today, I have yet another reason to hate Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government. They just announced their plan to regulate marijuana once their federal cousins legalize it. They plan to make it so that no one other than a soon-to-be created subsidiary of the LCBO will be able to sell and distribute marijuana products. I knew this was coming and I'm sure a lot of other people did, too. It shouldn't be a surprise. Wynne's government is a power-hungry, nanny state-loving cabal that will stop at nothing to control the lives of Ontarians as if we were children. It's bad enough there's a government monopoly on booze. Now there will be one on our dope.

Actually, to tell you the truth, I don't use marijuana. I never have, so the new regulations won't affect me personally. But they will affect many Ontarians who use the drug for recreational or medicinal purposes and who will soon have to rely on a government monopoly that will likely sell them an overpriced and poor quality product. To top it all off, the Wynne government has also announced an impending crackdown on currently-existing marijuana dispensaries. But of course! They want to make sure that no one stands in their way of reaping all the profits to be had from the sale of the popular green leaf. When all is said and done, it will probably be harder to get your hands on some high-quality marijuana when it finally becomes legal. How ironic and stupid is that?

In my humble and honest opinion, monopolizing the sale and distribution of marijuana is an attack on our freedom - the freedom that is supposed to come with the legalization of the substance. So I'm calling on those of you who love freedom and oppose this latest attempt by the Wynne government to control our lives to fight back. Support your local marijuana dispensaries. Don't let Wynne's henchmen close them down. Hell, barricade them if you want to. Fight for your right to freely buy and sell marijuana and tell Wynne and her government to keep their hands off our dope!

Monday, 7 August 2017

NAFTA renegotiation may be good for Canadian consumers

Megalomaniac U.S. President Donald Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. He's even threatened to terminate the agreement if he doesn't get what he wants. Yup, sounds like Trump. But believe it or not, renegotiating NAFTA to make it more favourable to U.S. business interests may actually be a good thing for Canadian consumers.

For example, Trump wants Canada to open its dairy sector to U.S. competition. I didn't know this until recently, but Canada has a very tightly-controlled dairy market that relies on supply management. And unbeknownst to many if not most Canadians, supply management is the reason why Canadian consumers pay higher prices for dairy products than we would be paying if the market was more open to competition.

Another economic sector in Canada that Trump is demanding greater U.S. access to is the telecommunications sector. You know, TV, cable, satellite, wireless service and so forth. It's no secret that Canadians pay a lot more for internet and wireless than people do in other jurisdictions. So would it hurt to allow American companies to come into Canada and provide services that are now mostly provided by the oligopoly that we call Rogers, Bell and Telus? No, I think it would help. The inevitable result would be lower prices for Canadian consumers. I am well aware that government has tried time and time again to create regulations to prevent the gouging of Canadians. But these regulations have had little impact, if any, on what Canadians pay to use the internet or a wireless device. What we really need is more choices and more competition, which Canadians will have if the folks in our federal government would get off their protectionist asses and let the American companies in. 

Now I know there are many people out there among my fellow Canadians that will say we need to protect our industries to protect Canadian jobs. I think it's just the opposite. I think we have to open up our economy more so that Canadians have access to more markets, both across the border and overseas. Closed economies never work. They never have and they never will. If you want to see what it's like to live in a closed economy, then I suggest you hop a plane and travel to North Korea, or get a time machine and go back to the days of the Soviet Union. But trust me, you won't like what you see. 

Do The Regimes of Iran and Turkey Have a Plan to Divide the Middle East Amongst Themselves?

Both Turkey and Iran are ruled by despotic, Islamist regimes. But they, of course,  do have their differences. Turkey is overwhelmingly Sunni and Iran is overwhelmingly Shiite. Aside from this religious difference, Turkey is still, at least in theory, an ally of the United States and the West. It remains a member of NATO, but I'm not sure how much longer its membership in the alliance will last. In contrast, Iran is a sworn enemy of the U.S. and has been since its Islamic Revolution in 1979. So what do Turkey and Iran have in common other than the fact that they are ruled by dictators professing an Islamist ideology?

Well, one thing that unites the two countries is an intense hatred of Israel and the West. Another is the desire on the part of both countries' regimes to assert a kind of hegemony over the Middle East region. Neither Iran nor Turkey want the role of regional hegemon to go Israel, Saudi Arabia or any other country. But of course, neither of them want the other to be the region's primary superpower either. This can only mean that the two will inevitably conflict, right? Yes, at least to some extent. Both states, for example, support different sides in the Syrian civil war. While Turkey backs the rebels fighting against Syrian dictator, Bashar Al-Assad, the Iranian regime supports Assad's forces, along with Vladimir Putin's Russia, another power trying to make inroads in the Middle East. But believe it or not, the fact that the autocratic regimes of Turkey and Iran support different sides in the Syrian conflict has not led to a significant strain in relations between the two dictatorships. Why is this? Perhaps because Turkey's Erdogan and Iran's Islamist regime have a long-term agenda to divide the Middle East between themselves, with the former gaining dominance over the region's Sunni states and the latter taking control over Shiite-majority territory.

A Dual Caliphate?

I believe that the ultimate goal of Turkey's dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is and always has been the creation of a new Ottoman Empire. In the short run, he wants Turkey's sphere of influence to cover all of the Sunni-ruled states in the Middle East. In the long run, he wants complete control of these states, just like the Ottoman rulers had. Don't think for a moment that Erdogan does not fancy himself as the caliph of a new, Turkish-dominated, Sunni Muslim empire. Furthermore, I think everyone should know that the ultimate goal of the Iranian regime is a caliphate of its own. A Shiite caliphate under the control of the Iranian mullahs.

I believe that rather than compete with each other to see who will create and rule the next Islamic caliphate, the dictators of Turkey and Iran will settle for creating two separate caliphates between themselves, simply because both of them hate the U.S., its Western allies and Israel a lot more than they hate each other. There is a historical precedent for this kind of arrangement. Before World War II broke out, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin agreed to divide Europe between themselves. This was the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the end result of which was the invasion of Poland by both dictators in addition to the Soviet invasion and conquest of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. So, if my theory is correct and history repeats itself, the dictators of Turkey and Iran will agree to divide the Middle East between themselves with Turkey taking control of the Sunni states and Iran taking control of Shiite-dominated territory in places like Iraq, Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia.

The first indication that such an arrangement could be taking shape may be a peace agreement in Syria that gives Assad control over Latakia, Syria's Shiite majority region, while handing the rest of the country to groups with strong ties to Turkey. We'll have to wait and see. I certainly don't want the Middle East to be controlled by the dictators of Turkey or Iran. I don't think the leaders of Israel and the Sunni Arab states want it either, so my suggestion to these leaders is to put aside their differences and engage in measures of collective security before the tyranny of the Iranian and Turkish regimes encompasses the whole region.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Overt Racism, Hidden Racism and the Negation of Canadian Values in Favour of "Accommodation"

This past week, a video surfaced of a woman in Mississauga demanding that her son be seen by a white doctor. I think that most Canadians would agree with me that this woman's behaviour was absolutely disgusting and has no place in our society. But inasmuch as we would like to condemn her racist rant, perhaps we should take a deeper look at ourselves, because I think we'll find that many of us are guilty of the same kind of prejudice that she was extolling.

Why do you think, for example, major Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have so many so-called ethnic neighbourhoods? The simple reason is that many if not most human beings feel more comfortable being amongst people who are of a similar ethnic, racial, religious or linguistic background. This is especially true of people who are newcomers to a country. In fact, for new immigrants to Canada, so-called ethnic neighbourhoods help these people make a smoother transition to Canadian life, although I would argue that sometimes they can do just the opposite when members of those communities ghettoize themselves and refuse to inter-mingle with the rest of society. It's just basic human nature. People often want to be with other people who they view as being more like them. And it's not just about where you live. It's also about who you work with, where you shop and who you choose to provide you with certain services. Yes, we may all want to chastise this rude woman in the aforementioned video, who went into a racist tirade demanding to see a white doctor, but how many of us have doctors or other professionals who we choose to serve us in part because they belong to the same ethnic, racial, religious or linguistic group that we do? Let's be honest, folks. At some point or another, we would all rather be with the people we call "our own". Does that make us racist? Yes, it does. Hence, the only difference between the woman in the clip and most other people is that she chooses to make her racism explicit and public, whereas the rest of us try to hide it and pretend it isn't there.

I should also add that whereas most of us think of someone explicitly demanding to see a white doctor as being offensive behaviour, many Canadians don't seem to mind when someone insists on seeing a male or female doctor because of their religious beliefs. In fact, rather than characterize this kind of insistence as sexism, we call it accommodation. So basically, respecting and accommodating someone's different beliefs means negating gender equality, which is something that I would consider to be amongst Canada's fundamental values. And this is just one example. How about when public schools are used as prayer spaces where males and females are segregated? Or, when we allow a woman to take a citizenship oath while wearing a veil over her face in deference to a sexist religious doctrine that dictates that women must cover their faces while men don't have to? My point is that in attempting to accommodate other people's differences, we fail to adhere to some of the fundamental values that are supposed to define Canada. Demanding to see a white doctor due to a racist bias is offensive, but demanding to see a male or female doctor based on sexist religious doctrine isn't!? I just don't get it.    

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Trudeau's Refugee Policy: It's All About the Votes

Toronto Sun columnist, Candice Malcolm, has used some of her latest columns (which can be found at the bottom of this post) to hammer Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his reckless policy as it regards bringing refugees into Canada. And I'm behind her one hundred percent. At least someone has the courage to overcome political correctness and hold our federal government to account for their incompetence.

The Trudeau Liberals won the last federal election in part thanks to their seemingly compassionate response to the plight of refugees fleeing Syria's civil war. Indeed, during the election campaign, the Liberals promised to bring in more Syrian refugees than any of the other federal parties. But Trudeau's refugee policy, not to mention his immigration policy in general, has never been about compassion, regardless of what the Liberals and their friends at The Toronto Star or the CBC would like you to think. Rather, it's been all about the votes. How do I know this? Because as Candice Malcolm reveals in her Toronto Sun columns, the feds don't seem to care how well the recent refugee arrivals integrate into Canadian society. That's why they have preferred to take in government-sponsored refugees over privately-sponsored ones, even though privately-sponsored refugees are more likely to find work, more likely to have basic knowledge of English or French and more likely to find suitable housing. After all, government-sponsored refugees will be eternally grateful for the assistance that Trudeau Jr. and his bunch give them, as meager and as haphazard as that assistance may be. And that gratefulness will no doubt translate into votes for the Liberal Party from the refugees who become citizens and from their respective communities. So why should the Trudeau government care whether or not the refugees find jobs, learn our official languages or find decent housing, so long as they and their communities will vote Liberal come election time? The simple answer is, they don't care. They just care about the votes.

Hell, they don't even care if the refugees they bring in may be a security risk, which is why, as Candice Malcolm has also revealed, the screening of refugees from Syria has been lax to say the least. Meanwhile, anyone who sounds the alarm about the potential hazard of having refugees and other newcomers to this country who can't find work, can't speak our official languages and who may even be a threat to this country's security, is usually labelled a racist by the country's liberal media. The same goes for anyone who dares to speak of the notion that Canada is a country of values that are worth protecting. You know, things like democracy, free speech, gender equality and the rest of that good stuff. I'm just glad that there are still people like Candice Malcolm out there who are willing to challenge the obscene doctrines of political correctness and multiculturalism without limits.

Candice Malcolm's Latest Columns:

The real legacy of Trudeau's Syrian refugee program (June 16, 2017)

Syrian refugee process bungled by Trudeau (June 14, 2017)

Trudeau policy causes major backlog of private refugee sponsorships (June 13, 2017)

Refugee background checks may have been flawed (June 12, 2017)

Privately-Sponsored Syrian refugees More Likely to find work: Document (June 12, 2017)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Kurdish Independence Long Overdue

During a recent news conference, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider Al-Abadi, criticized the decision by leaders of the country's Kurdish Autonomous Region to hold a referendum on independence in late September. He was quoted by Al-Arabiya as saying that, "The referendum at this time was not opportune." In other words, it wasn't the right time to hold a vote on Kurdish independence (see: Iraq PM Abadi says Kurdish referendum untimely). You know what? He's absolutely right. Such a referendum should have been held a century ago!

In fact, after the First World War ended, the Kurds of the former Ottoman Empire were promised a referendum on independence in the Treaty of Sevres. But of course, that referendum never happened. Instead, the Kurds were given no state of their own and were forcibly included into the new European constructs of Iraq and Syria, as well as the new Republic of Turkey. To their credit, however, the Kurds have never accepted the injustice that befell them after WWI and continue to fight for independence in several Middle Eastern states to this day.

In Iraq, the Kurds won autonomy after the Gulf War in 1991 and managed to consolidate that autonomy after the American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. In the last few years, the Iraqi Kurds have led the struggle against the so-called Islamic State, liberating Kurdish territory from the grip of the genocidal terrorist group. They are now in a stronger position than ever before, which is why I'm not surprised that they would push for independence now. And I support them 100%!

Kurdish independence, not only in Iraq but also in the other parts of Kurdistan is long overdue. It's a hundred years overdue! Yes, I understand that the idea of an independent Kurdistan has a lot of people trembling - people who now occupy the presidential palaces in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, all of which are occupying powers on Kurdish land. I say let them tremble. Let them be scared, for the day of Kurdish liberation is drawing nigh.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

End the Arab Occupation and Genocide in Darfur

Well before the Syrian civil war began grabbing headlines, the most talked-about part of the world in which genocide was being committed was a place called Darfur, an arid region located in the west of the Republic of Sudan. For well over a decade, the Sudanese government has been brutally murdering the indigenous African inhabitants of Darfur, punishing them for rebelling against their Arab overlords. The Sudanese president, Omar Al-Bashir, has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, but right now there is little chance that he will face justice. Indeed, efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur have been severely curtailed by the same people who protect Syria's Bashar Al-Assad. I am referring of course to the dictatorial regimes of Russia and China. 

Sudan is a textbook example of Arab, Muslim occupation and oppression of indigenous populations. The country is ruled by an Arab-dominated Islamic Fundamentalist government. Like all the Arab-ruled states of North Africa, Sudan has a large population of indigenous peoples, who lived there long before the Arab, Islamic conquests took place. Darfur is one of three regions in the country chaffing under the Islamist, Arab rulers based in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. The name Darfur literally translates as house of the Fur, who are one of the indigenous, non-Arab, African peoples currently rebelling against the central government. The other two regions are the Sudanese coast, largely populated by the Beja, another indigenous, non-Arab, African people, and northern Sudan, largely populated by the Nubians, whose territory is split between the Republic of Sudan and the Arab Republic of Egypt. Sudan's Islamist Arab government also once controlled what is now the Republic of South Sudan, home to an indigenous African population of largely Christian and animist peoples. But six years ago, after decades of bloody struggle, the people of South Sudan finally gained independence and the Islamist Arab occupation of their land ended. It can end in Darfur, too.  

I would argue that ending the conflict in Darfur does not just mean ending the genocide. It also means ridding the region of the Khartoum-based, Islamist Arab oppressors who are responsible for that genocide in the first place. The indigenous African people of Darfur deserve no less than what the people of South Sudan got - Independence.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Israeli Communities in Judea and Samaria: Build, Build and Build Some More!

Prime Minister Netanyahu has once again reaffirmed his commitment to Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank. And I'm behind him 100%, as should all Israelis be. My message to our leaders is simply this: Build, build and Build some more! Let know one tell us, the Nation of Israel, where we can and cannot live in the land of our forefathers. The international community wants so much for us to ghettoize ourselves in the territory that falls within the pre-1967 armistice lines. But as we mark the 50th anniversary of Israel's great victory over the petty dictators of the Arab states, I say that we must never waver in our commitment to resettle all of the Biblical Land of Israel.

Critics of Israel call our presence in Judea and Samaria an occupation. They say that we wrongfully stole the land from the Palestinian Arabs. Nothing could be further from the truth. We didn't steal the land that comprises Judea and Samaria. We took it back! We reclaimed what was rightfully ours. That which was stolen from us by a series of conquering powers. I would actually contend that the Palestinians are the occupiers and we the Jewish people are the occupied. The Palestinians are as a matter of fact descendants of the Arab and Muslim conquerors who swept through the Middle East and North Africa from the seventh century onward. The way I see it, they've been illegally squatting on Jewish land and it is our right to reclaim this land from them.

Now of course, no one among us who is of rational thought expects the Palestinians to completely vacate the Land of Israel. Indeed, ethnic cleansing runs contrary to Jewish values and anyone who advocates such an idea deserves no hearing. We reclaim our land in a just manner by resettling it. By building homes, businesses, schools, roads and everything we need to live and prosper. Hence, I would not call Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria the "settlement enterprise", but rather the resettlement enterprise, because we are not settling it as if we were new to the land. We are resettling the land in which we were the original inhabitants. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Immigrants Must Integrate, But Not Under the Threat of Bigotry

I just saw a video someone took on his phone that was shown on a CTV News Toronto broadcast. In the video, which you can view here, a woman is seen berating Chinese employees at a food market because they didn't speak English, telling them, "Go back to China!" My stance has always been that any immigrants who come to Canada and want to live here need to do their best to integrate into Canadian society. Part of that integration means learning to speak English or French, depending on where in the country you live. I really resent the fact that there are some people who come to this country, live here for years, and still can't communicate effectively in either official language. That being said, what this woman in the video did was way out of line.

For one thing, she appears to have been looking for a confrontation, assuming witnesses to the whole thing gave an accurate account of how everything transpired. Still, the video itself doesn't lie, and judging by that alone, what she did was unbecoming of a Canadian, at least in my opinion. Telling people who don't speak your language to go back to their country of origin doesn't help anyone. If anything, it makes things worse for people who are trying to integrate into Canada, because a new immigrant who encounters racism may become discouraged from taking steps to integrate and retreat into isolation within his or her own community.

There are a lot more constructive ways of promoting the successful integration of immigrants into Canadian society and they certainly don't involve berating people for not speaking English. For example, instead of yelling at employees in a grocery store and telling them to "go back to China," perhaps the woman in video should instead protest our federal government's easing of language requirements for potential new citizens. Whereas the old rules required people aged 14 to 64 wanting to become Canadian citizens to demonstrate language proficiency, the Trudeau Liberals have shrunk that group to people aged 18 to 54. This recent change means that more immigrants to Canada are going to become citizens without even being able to speak either of the country's official languages effectively. Now how can we blame immigrants for not integrating when we have a government that discourages them from integrating in the first place?

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Ah, the Joys of Parenting!

Today, I read a news story about a 9-year old girl in New Brunswick who was hospitalized after drinking vaping fluid called "Unicorn Milk", believing it was candy. Now the child's mother wants government regulations to ban the use of "child-friendly" names on such products. My first reaction to this was to ask, why didn't the mother think to keep her vaping fluid out of the reach of her young child? Many if not most product-makers already have labels on their products advising buyers to keep them out of reach of children. I obviously don't know if this "Unicorn Milk" had such a label, but even common sense tells me or any other rational person that you shouldn't keep such a potentially harmful product within the reach of a young child. Now of course, no person is perfect and parents make mistakes like any other human beings. But my sense is that this mother needs to be more careful in protecting her child rather than asking government to do it for her.

Now just to be fair, I'm not a parent. I have no children of my own, so it's very easy for me to tell parents how they should go about looking after their children when I don't have any myself. Nevertheless, I was a child once too, just like every other adult in the world. And I was fortunate enough to be raised by two loving parents, so I know what it's like to be parented. We live in age where it seems that more and more parents are demanding that governments at all levels do more to protect their children when they as their children's parents are the ones that should be doing the protecting. For example, some streets have a seemingly endless number of speed bumps and stop signs because of parents concerned about speeding cars hitting their children. This is certainly a legitimate concern. I've heard too many stories about children being hit by cars and sometimes killed. At the same time, however, I think that some parents need to do a better job of making their kids streetwise. I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, I was taught to look both ways before crossing the street. I was also forbidden from crossing the street alone when I was young. Perhaps if parents drilled these rules into their kids' heads a little more, we wouldn't need so many speed bumps and stop signs that when overused can result in traffic jams that lead to road rage, which could ultimately end catastrophically with an angry, frustrated driver accidentally running over a small child.

Sometimes, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for people who are parents nowadays. The reason is that parenting isn't like what it was when I grew up. For one thing, it's a lot harder. When I was a child, families where one parent worked and the other stayed home did reasonably well in the economy. Unfortunately, that's not the case today. The economy of 2017 is one in which even when both parents work full-time jobs, they still might have trouble providing for their children and making ends meet. And if you're a single parent with kids, the odds are really stacked up against you. So if you're wondering why parents want government to do more for their kids, maybe it's because after a long, hard day at the office, they have a lot less time and energy to be parents.   

Terrorism is Terrorism, No Matter Where It Takes Place

Just over a week ago, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. People all over the world expressed their anger, sadness and grief at this heinous act of terrorism all over social media. Some even held vigils for the innocent people that lost their lives in the attack. Fast forward to yesterday, when a terrorist blew up a large truck bomb in the centre of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, killing 90 people; a death toll more than four times higher than that of the Manchester attack. You would think then that the Kabul bombing would get at least just as much attention in the international press and social media as the attack in Manchester did. But you'd be wrong.

Whereas the attack in Manchester was front and centre in the press and social media for days, the attack in Kabul barely merits a mention only hours after it took place. I obviously don't see everything people post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, but I still have yet to see anyone post something conveying their solidarity with the victims of the Kabul attack. No words of condolences, no hashtags, no anything. Even Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, which are news outlets based in the Muslim world, seem to have relegated the Kabul massacre to the sidelines. Why is this?

Why is it that when Islamist terrorists launch attacks in the Western world, there's a huge outcry, but when Muslims kill other Muslims in great numbers, there's a deafening silence? The fact of the matter is that many people who post condolences and hashtags of solidarity for the victims of the Manchester attack won't do the same for the victims of the terrorist attack in Kabul. And I hate to say it, but I'm just as guilty of this double standard as many others are. It's time we ended this double standard and express the same level of support to all victims of terrorism, wherever they may be. Because terrorism is terrorism, no matter where it takes place.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Berbers Resist the Tyranny of Their Arab Rulers

A prominent leader of the Berber (Amazigh) community in the Rif region of Morocco was arrested today (see: Morocco arrests Rif protest leader Nasser Zefzafi). As the Aljazeera news story states, the people of the Rif region have a long history of resisting the control of their Arab rulers, namely the Alaouite dynasty that has ruled the country since the 17th century. Unlike the people of the Rif, who are descendants of the country's original population, the Alaouites are descendants of foreign Arab conquerors. Hence, the Alaouites are simply another part of the Arab occupation that spans North Africa and the Middle East.

As Aljazeera notes, the people of the Rif region were instrumental in getting the current king, Mohammmed VI, to give up some of his powers, but it's not enough. The Alaouites must be stripped of their power entirely. Only then will Morocco's native Berber inhabitants have any hope of regaining their freedom from Arab tyranny.

Update, May 30, 2017: Scores arrested in connection with Morocco Rif protests

Click here for video about Rif protests.

Morocco: What is fuelling unrest in the Rif?

Update, June 4, 2017: Authorities stifle women's protest in Morocco's Rif

Update, July 19, 2017: Morocco's al-Hoceima gears up for 'million-man march'

Update, July 30, 2017: Moroccan king pardons more than a thousand protestors

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mideast and North African Ethnic and Religious Minorities Must Fight to Liberate Themselves From Arab Muslim Occupation

This past week, the so-called Islamic State terrorist group attacked a bus in Egypt full of Coptic Christian worshipers and killed nearly thirty of them. It was just another attack in the seemingly endless wave of assaults on the remaining ethnic and religious minority communities in North Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptian Copts are the direct descendants of the original Egyptian population, unlike the current Arab Muslim majority that rules the country today. They are the descendants of the Arab Muslim conquerors that swept through North Africa and the Middle East in the seventh and eighth centuries, exterminating many of the peoples, cultures, languages and religious traditions in these regions. The savage and horrific attacks by ISIL and other Islamist terrorists are just a continuation of the centuries' old campaign to purge the Middle East and North Africa of all non-Arab and non-Muslim elements once and for all.

So what are the remaining non-Arab, non-Muslim people in countries like Egypt to do? I think it comes down to two options. They can abandon their homes and their lands to seek a better life elsewhere. Or, they can stay and fight for their lands and their rights. Over the last century, the overwhelming majority have chosen the first option. I think this is very tragic and sad, because they're basically giving the Muslim Arab occupiers what they want - a region free of non-Arab and non-Muslim people. There is one notable exception - Israel - the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israel's existence proves that it is possible for a country's original inhabitants to take their land and their freedom back from the Muslim Arab conquerors. And I see no reason why the other communities that represent the original inhabitants of North Africa and the Middle East can't do what the Jewish people did. Hence, I don't see why it isn't possible for Egyptian Copts, Assyrians, or any other ethnic or religious minority to reclaim their independence from their Muslim Arab overlords. The Jews are not unique in their ability to overcome overwhelming odds. History is littered with examples of the weak defeating the strong and taking back what is rightfully theirs.

In fact, as I write this, some of the region's minority people are fighting back against Arab, Muslim domination and tyranny. The Kurds of northern Iraq, for example, have managed to gain a wide degree of autonomy for themselves. They are also on the front lines of the war against ISIL. I think it's only a matter of time before they gain full independence. Indeed, I sincerely hope that in the near future, the Kurds, Assyrians, (Coptic) Egyptians and Phoenicians (Lebanese Christians) will join the Jews as peoples who have regained their independence from the Arab Muslim occupation.

See also: End the Arab Occupation        

Friday, 26 May 2017

Don't Waste Your Time With Political Parties in Canada

The federal Conservative Party is electing a new leader today. And you know what? I don't give a damn. I actually used to be a member of the party, but thinking back on it, I don't know why I wasted my time with them. In fact, I wouldn't recommend that any Canadian waste their time with the Conservatives or any other political party in this country.

If there's one thing I hate about politics in Canada just as much as our first-past-the-post electoral system, it's the way parties operate in this country. Party discipline is more excessive in Canada than in any other modern, industrialized democracy that I know of. No MP or MPP dares criticize the leader of his or her own political party in public, lest they be turfed from caucus. This goes especially for MPs or MPPs who are members of the governing party, because here in Canada, every vote is treated like a confidence vote; ie. a vote that could bring down the government and force new elections. Everyone is expected to simply shut up and tow the party line, whether they like it or not. This makes for a very unhealthy democracy.

Contrast this with Israel, the other democracy with which I am most familiar. In Israel, not only is political infighting commonplace, it is very widely publicized. No member of Israel's parliament keeps his or her views a secret, regardless of what the leader of his or her party thinks. And although each political party in Israel has a basic ideology, they don't maintain an ironclad party line that every party member must follow to the letter under threat of expulsion.

Canadian political parties could learn a great deal from how their Israeli counterparts conduct themselves. But as it stands now, Canada's political parties are ruled with iron fists. They're more like armies where soldiers march in lockstep behind their commanding officers. Take this country's excessive party discipline, combine it with an antiquated and undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system that tends to produce majority governments without the accompanying popular support, and what you usually get is one-party dictatorships with term limits. This doesn't sound like real democracy to me.  

Monday, 22 May 2017

It's Not Warm Enough, So Put Those Shorts Away

I don't understand, why is it that once spring comes and the temperature squeaks just above ten degrees, some people are already breaking out the shorty-pants? Now of course, Canada is a democracy and people can wear just about whatever they choose to. Thank goodness for that. Quite frankly, however, I think that people who insist on wearing shorts when the weather isn't even warm enough to ditch your jacket are just plain silly.

Yes, I understand people who think winter is too damn long. I'm one of them. But just because the daytime high finally reaches double-digits doesn't mean it's time to break out the summer wardrobe. Have some common sense, people. Dress for the weather. Face the fact that it's not quite summertime yet. Otherwise, you're in denial. And you know you're in denial, too. That's why you're probably sporting a sweater and maybe even a jacket at the same time you're presenting your bare legs to the world.

Now I understand where you folks are coming from. Believe me, I want summer to come just as much as you do. It's my favourite season. But it's not here yet, so don't try and pretend it is. Unless you're jogging or working out at the gym, don't break out the shorts just yet. You're just making yourself look silly and you'll probably catch a cold.

Friday, 21 April 2017

I Want Bob Cole and Joe Bowen Back Calling Leafs Games on TV Again!

I just finished watching game 5 of the Leafs vs. Capitals first round playoff series. As a die hard Leafs fan, I was obviously disappointed with the result. But the Leafs' overtime loss to the Caps wasn't the only thing I was not happy about. Before overtime even began, CBC showed bonus coverage of game 5 between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators. And who was calling the game? None other than Bob Cole, one of my two favourite play-by-play announcers. This upset me because he doesn't do Leafs games anymore. In fact, he hasn't called Leafs games on a regular basis for years. I have very fond memories of listening to him almost every Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada. To me, he is today's Foster Hewitt (my apologies to those of you who don't know who he was). But now and for the last few years, Leafs fans don't get to hear Bob Cole call games featuring the blue and white. Instead, we have to listen to play-by-play announcers that are amateurs compared to him.

My other favourite play-by-play announcer is Joe Bowen. Thankfully, I and other Leafs fans can still hear him call Leafs games on a regular basis, but only on the radio. I was listening to him call the game as I drove home this evening. But it wasn't too long ago that he was also calling games on television. Why isn't he still doing it!? I just don't get it. As with Bob Cole, none of the people currently doing the play-by-play at Leafs games can hold a candle to Bowen. I don't know about the rest of you Leafs fans, but I want to start hearing "Holy Mackinaw!" on television again. I also want to see Bob Cole call Leafs games on Hockey Night in Canada like he used to. Why should Habs and Sens fans get the privilege of hearing Cole call their games and not us? Leafs fans are the best fans in hockey and we deserve the best play-by-play announcers.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Government Should Represent Average Folks, Not Just the Wealthy and Powerful

In a democratic country, leaders are elected by the people to represent them in government. Ironically, however, the people that often get elected to political office are not truly representative of society at large. It's generally known, for example, that women are underrepresented in the world's democratic legislatures, sometimes to a very significant degree. But do you know who I think is also underrepresented? Average people; the people who make up the majority of voters in a democratic society. Middle class people, working class people. In other words, people who aren't wealthy or powerful. You would think that it is these sorts of people who would make up the vast majority of representatives in a democratically-elected legislature. But you'd be wrong.

The best example of this irony resides on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Two years ago, the Net Worth of the U.S. Congress was estimated to be $7 billion, with the typical member of Congress earning over a million dollars! And this is just America's legislative branch, never mind the president or his inner circle. Clearly, the U.S. government is more representative of the country's rich and powerful rather than the bulk of American citizenry. Yet it is these kinds of people that millions of American voters put in to office each time there's an election. And then these average voters wonder why government policies haven't improved their lives. They ask themselves, why after so many elections and so many promises made by one politician after another are they still having trouble paying the bills? Why does the cost of living keep going up, but their salaries have barely budged in ages? Why do the rich keep getting richer while so many others still struggle to make ends meet? 

There's one logical answer to questions like these. To put it simply, people like to look out for their own interests, so if you put a bunch of millionaires and billionaires into office, they're probably going to do what's best for themselves and other millionaires and billionaires. In contrast, if average people would elect other average people into office, they would probably have a government that would enact policies favorable to middle and working class folks rather than the wealthy few. Over seventy years ago, a Canadian named Tommy Douglas said pretty much the same thing with his Story of Mouseland. Canadians also have the tendency to elect wealthy and powerful politicians, though I would say not to the extend that Americans do. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, rounds out the Top Ten Richest Politicians of Canada, though he's actually a lot less wealthy than Tom Mulcair, who is now the leader of the federal New Democratic Party, the same party that the late Tommy Douglas founded. I guess it's no longer the party of mice anymore, is it?

So why do average people in democratic countries like the U.S. and Canada keep electing rich, powerful people to govern them when they would be so much better off if they elected other average people? The simple answer is that elections cost money. LOTS OF MONEY! And of course, it is the rich and powerful who have the money to pay for election campaigns. This is especially true in the U.S., where regulations on election spending are either lax or nonexistent. But even in countries like Canada, where there are controls on election spending, money still plays a significant role in determining who wins and who loses. And I think that as long as there's money, it will always play a significant role in how we cast our ballots. Now of course, I don't have a problem with the wealthy and powerful being represented in government. I am a staunch capitalist after all and I think every sector of society deserves representation. My concern is that those with money and power are over-represented in many cases, and that's just not fair to the multitudes of people who can't count themselves among society's well-endowed.

The Government of the Average Person:

Just for fun, I would like to outline who I would have as members of a government that I think would serve average middle and working class people well. First, the person who heads the government. Call him or her a prime minister, a president, whatever. He or she will be a person who always considers the interests of others before his or her interests. A person who values the lives of others over his or hers. He or she should be a person who has encountered great adversity in his or her life. Perhaps he or she lived through poverty or through disaster. Maybe a person living with a disability or chronic illness. In short, whoever heads a government of average citizens should be a person who is selfless, experienced, compassionate and empathetic.

Joining the head of the government will be a minister of finance. He or she will have been a single parent struggling to raise three children on social assistance. There will be a minister of education, who will be a recent university graduate who is now more than twenty thousand dollars in debt. Next is our minister of health, a person with a chronic illness that has spent his or her whole life dealing with the healthcare system, or perhaps a medical professional who has spent the bulk of his or her time looking after the well-being of underprivileged children in Canada's inner cities or on aboriginal reserves. The minister of agriculture will be the owner of a small family-run farm. The minister of housing will be a person who was once homeless, or maybe just a person who has spent the majority of his or her life working with the homeless. The minister of transportation will be someone who has been a regular user of public transit. Another minister will be in charge of the government's revenue agency. He or she will be a small business owner. I could mention other potential government portfolios and the kind of people who I would put in charge of them, but I think I've made my point. 


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Why I "Waste" My Time On Social Media

A few months ago, someone accused me of not doing anything to affect change and "wasting" my time on Facebook. I took great offense to this, because it's simply not true. In fact, I've spent the better part of my life trying to affect change, from attending rallies and meetings on various issues to joining a political party. But you know what? None of that seemed to make any difference from my perspective. The ultimate lesson that I've taken from years and years of trying to affect change by working within the Canadian political system is that it's not worth my time and effort and never has been. I actually find social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to be much more effective forums for airing grievances and making change.

In fact, I would argue that social media is the best forum for the average Canadian to make him or herself heard. I honestly can't believe that there are still people in this country who think writing to their local MP or MPP can make a difference. What a load of crap. Do you know what MPs and MPPs are? They're little more than drones or trained seals. In theory, the MP or MPP in each riding represents the people in those ridings. But in practice, they represent the political party to which they belong, unless they've been elected as independents, which of course is very rare. Their bosses aren't the voters, but rather the leaders of their respective parties. All they do is tow the party line. And if they refuse to do so, they're warned to shut up or get booted out of caucus. Your local MP or MPP can't help you get a law or policy changed, unless they happen to be members of the cabinet, where the real power is. But of course, if they are cabinet ministers, they probably don't have time for the average Canadian. So unless you happen to be the head of a lobby group or a sizable corporation, or perhaps a major donor to the party, you won't get any audience with a cabinet member. At best, you'll get to speak to one of that person's office staff, because cabinet members themselves just can't be bothered by the average Joe Canadian.

Now of course, at some point the folks in power do have to face the voters. If you don't like what the people in power are doing, make yourself heard at the ballot box. Simple, right? Not quite, especially in Canada where our electoral system is rigged to keep the same old establishment in power and keep those with new ideas out. Why is this? Because our elections don't accurately reflect the will of the Canadian electorate. Instead, it produces a political oligarchy in which two or three big political parties control everything and new players barely stand a chance of gaining representation in our federal or provincial legislatures. Kind of like how Canada's telecommunications sector is dominated by Rogers, Bell and Telus, resulting in the sky high prices for cable, internet and wireless services that we all have to pay. In essence, our elections have become equivalent to choosing a wireless service provider and getting screwed no matter who you pick. It should't surprise anyone that Prime Minister Trudeau Junior reneged on his promise to bring in electoral reform. He never intended to keep this promise. He lied! After all, why would he do away with an electoral system that has served him and the rest of the political establishment so well for all of Canada's 150 years?

So if your local MP or MPP isn't accountable to you and elections just end up substituting one group of fat cats for another, how else are you supposed to make yourself heard? I for one am sick and tired of going through the traditional channels of political power in Canada and getting absolutely nowhere. Therefore, I plan to "waste" plenty more of my time on social media, where I actually have a voice.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

One Country, Two Systems: Another Possible Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

I don't foresee the possibility of establishing an Palestinian state in the near future for the same reasons repeatedly elaborated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Such a state would be undemocratic and would undoubtedly be a base of operations for terrorists seeking the destruction of Israel. For proof, look no further than the current Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority continues to fuel hatred against Jews and incite attacks on Israeli civilians. Its president, Mahmood Abbas, repeatedly pays homage to the families of terrorists with the blood of innocent Israelis on their hands, even paying them cash stipends with the aid that the PA receives from the international community. And to top it off, neither Abbas nor the rest of the PA's leaders have any democratic mandate, having overstayed their terms in office by several years. Critics of the PA leadership are routinely arrested and even tortured.

Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, the Islamist movement Hamas rules with an iron fist, using civilians as human shields in their campaign of terrorism against Israel; a campaign that has seen thousands of rockets launched against peaceful Israeli towns and villages. I am almost certain that if Israel were to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, or parts thereof, Hamas and other terrorists would soon take control of the territory, just as they did in the Gaza Strip. And before you know it, rockets would be falling on us in our eternal capital Jerusalem, not to mention cities, towns and villages in every other part of the country.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the international community continues to ignore the consequences for Israel should a Palestinian state be established and insists on implementing a so-called two-state solution. Now of course, Israel's leaders are not accountable to other world leaders.  They are accountable to Israeli citizens, the folks who voted them into office. Nevertheless, in the real world, one cannot ignore the international community inasmuch as we would like to. Therefore, I believe it is incumbent upon Israel to present an alternative to the two state solution. An alternative that may eventually lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, but not in the near future.

One Country, Two Systems

In a nutshell, what I propose is that Palestinians in the so-called West Bank and Gaza Strip be given Israeli citizenship, but without the voting rights that regular Israeli citizens enjoy. Instead, the Palestinians will have their own government, very much like the Palestinian Authority of today. Since they will not have voting rights like other Israelis, however, they will not pay the same taxes that regular Israeli citizens do.  Rather, they will pay all or at least the majority of their taxes to their own autonomous Palestinian government.  This is the situation that currently exists between the United States and Puerto Rico.  Puerto Ricans are American citizens, but have no elected representatives with voting rights in the U.S. government. Hence, they do not pay many of the federal taxes that other Americans have to pay and the bulk of their tax dollars go to the government of what is known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which is responsible for governing all internal affairs of the U.S. unincorporated territory.

To be more succinct, all the territory from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea will be one country known as the State of Israel, but Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will govern their own internal affairs.  The Israeli government will remain responsible for the external borders, customs, defense and monetary policy. The rest will be responsibility of the Palestinian government.

Borders, Immigration and "Settlements"

Under the plan that I envision, the Israeli government will be in charge of all external borders, including maritime borders. In other words, Israelis will determine who gets in and out of the country, including the autonomous region of Palestine.  This will guarantee that people and goods dedicated to destruction of Israel do not enter its territory by using Palestine as a gateway.

The borders of the autonomous region of Palestine itself will consist of the entire Gaza Strip and most of the so-called West Bank. The borders will exclude the large Israeli communities inside of Judea and Samaria, which the international community and most of the media like to call the major "settlement blocs".  These will be annexed to Israel proper. Palestinians that reside within these annexed territories will be given Israeli citizenship with full voting rights, in contrast to their countrymen in the new autonomous region of Palestine who will not have the right to vote in Israeli elections. Israeli communities not located in the major "settlement blocs" will remain under full Israeli sovereignty as enclaves within what becomes Palestine, but will not be able to expand their communities outside of borders mutually agreed upon by representatives of Israel and the Palestinians prior to implementation of this peace plan, unless the Palestinian government authorizes such expansion.

No Israelis will be allowed to work or reside in the autonomous territory without the consent of the Palestinian government. At the same time, no one will be able to enter Israel proper from Palestine without the consent of the Israeli government. Palestinian refugees will be allowed to reside in the new autonomous region and will be given the same type of Israeli citizenship as Palestinians of the region, allowing them to vote in Palestinian elections but not in Israeli elections. The Palestinian government will determine what constitutes a Palestinian refugee, but the Israeli government will reserve the right to refuse entry to any refugee that it considers a threat to its security. This arrangement will effectively ensure that Israel proper remains Jewish while the autonomous region of Palestine remains Palestinian.


Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel in accordance with Israel's Basic Law: Jerusalem, which means that the Old City and the Israeli communities built in parts of the city after the 1967 war will not be part of the future autonomous region of Palestine.  However, this does not discount the possibility of including some of Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods or its Arab suburbs as part of the future Palestinian capital, to be known as Al-Quds.  This is hardly a new idea. In fact, a similar arrangement was discussed during the failed Camp David summit in the year 2000.

Israel as Guarantor of Palestinian Democracy

I stated above that my plan envisions Palestinians running their own affairs with the exception of borders, external security and monetary policy over which Israel would maintain control. I also believe, however, that inasmuch as the Palestinians should have the right to govern themselves, Israel should have the responsibility of guaranteeing Palestine's nascent democracy so that events like the Hamas takeover of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 do not happen again. I believe that only with Israel's help will the Palestinians be able to establish a strong, genuine democracy. Without Israeli supervision, any Palestinian-controlled entity, whether an independent state or not, will undoubtedly become a bastion of dictatorship, tyranny and terrorism.