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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘israel

[BRIEF NOTE] On Paul Bronfman’s decision to hurt York University students

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The above mural at York University, the Toronto Star‘s Nick Westoll tells us, was cause for media mogul Paul Bronfman

A Toronto film industry executive is pulling his company’s support for York University’s Cinema and Media Arts program due to a mural he said is “anti-Israel.”

“It made me sick to my stomach and very angry,” Paul Bronfman said this week when describing his initial reaction to learning of the portrait. “We live in an amazing city, an amazing country, and to have this happening under our noses is disgusting. It’s subtly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. It’s anti-Canadian.”

The mural is currently displayed in the York University Student Centre. It shows a person looking at a bulldozer close to a building while holding rocks. The person is shown wearing what looks like a Palestinian flag with a map of Israel without its borders. At the bottom of the mural, the words “justice” and “peace” can be seen along with other text.

[. . .]

Bronfman is also chair and CEO of William F. White International Inc., a provider of movie and theatrical production equipment. He said the company provided thousands of dollars of equipment and technical services as well as access to seminars, student lectures, trade shows and open houses.

“I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is. I’m withdrawing all of our student filmmaker support from William F. White International,” Bronfman said. He said he withdrew the support as of Friday.

May we be saved from diasporids who, in their outrage that their country does not support their particular parochial cause, decide to hurt countrymen to prove a point.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 9, 2016 at 8:29 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly advises readers how to conduct interviews.
  • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla thanks Obama for quoting his letter on Islam in America.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with The New Yorker‘s stance on Sanders.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the complexity of interactions between stellar winds and the magnetospheres of hot Jupiters.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that ex-gay torturers in the United States have gone to Israel.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the scale of the breakdown in Venezuela.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at changing patterns in higher education.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that carbon capture is difficult.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a preliminary printed map of Charlottetown transit routes.
  • Savage Minds notes the importance of infrastructure.
  • Strange Maps shares very early maps of Australia.
  • Torontoist notes an early freed slave couple in Toronto, the Blackburns.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the implications of global warming for Arctic countries.

[LINK] “U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress”

Adam Entous and Danny Yadron’s Wall Street Journal article takes a look at how the National Security Agency’s surveillance of foreign leaders ended up catching Netanyahu inserting himself quite fully in American domestic politics. This can have serious conséquences.

Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.

Before former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed much of the agency’s spying operations in 2013, there was little worry in the administration about the monitoring of friendly heads of state because it was such a closely held secret. After the revelations and a White House review, Mr. Obama announced in a January 2014 speech he would curb such eavesdropping.

In closed-door debate, the Obama administration weighed which allied leaders belonged on a so-called protected list, shielding them from NSA snooping. French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders made the list, but the administration permitted the NSA to target the leaders’ top advisers, current and former U.S. officials said. Other allies were excluded from the protected list, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of NATO ally Turkey, which allowed the NSA to spy on their communications at the discretion of top officials.

Privately, Mr. Obama maintained the monitoring of Mr. Netanyahu on the grounds that it served a “compelling national security purpose,” according to current and former U.S. officials. Mr. Obama mentioned the exception in his speech but kept secret the leaders it would apply to.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO notes the quiet death of the payphone in Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Centaurs as possible impactors.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the exotic materials likely to exist on super-Earths.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a Taiwan presidential candidate opposed to union with China.
  • Far Outliers notes the origins of the Soviet ethnofederal system.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the questioning of Bowe Bergdahl’s Taliban captors as to whether Obama was gay.
  • Marginal Revolution notes
  • The Russian Demographics Blog takes a look at Russia’s Turkic minorities and polities, like Tatarstan, and how the anti-Turkish policies are playing there.
  • Towleroad notes the Israeli lawmakers who boycotted the swearing-in of the first out gay member of the Knesset.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Tatarstan and Sakha are continuing their relationships with the Turkic world.

[LINK] “Will Syria become Russia’s Vietnam?”

Ben Caspit’s Al-Monitor article describes the extent to which Russia is getting involved in Syria, boosting its participation even as allies like Iran seem ready to withdraw. Israel, for one, is concerned about the prospects for an extended Russian deployment.

Russia’s newest surprise from its bag of tricks in Syria has come from deep in the water: It’s the Rostov-on-Don submarine that, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, has begun to cruise the eastern Mediterranean Sea along the coasts of Syria, Lebanon and Israel. The submarine is almost undetectable, armed with a large number of cruise missiles and regarded as a sophisticated, almost invisible intelligence-gathering vehicle. The Rostov-on-Don has already fired cruise missiles toward Islamic State targets in Syria, but it is the submarine’s other capabilities that are causing far greater concern to other players in the region, such as Israel.

It is still unclear what the ratcheting up of the combined efforts of Russia and Iran will achieve on the Syrian battlefield. A Dec. 10 Bloomberg News article stated that the Iranians have begun withdrawing their forces from Syria after heavy losses there, including the wounding of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. The source of the news tidbit was, evidently, American intelligence that discovered convoys of Iranian fighters returning to the land of the ayatollahs, their tails between their legs.

This week, Israeli intelligence sources denied this information. “We are not convinced that this points to desertion of the battleground,” one source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “There is movement of Revolutionary Guard soldiers within Syria, and it is actually unclear whether they are leaving or not. Perhaps it is redeployment. It is too early to say that Iran is giving up on Syria, though. In light of their meager results so far, anything is possible.”

In October, a record number of 7,000 elite Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers fought together with Hezbollah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against the rebels in Syria. They were recently joined by the Russians. This coalition set far-reaching goals for itself: stabilization of Assad’s regime, ensuring his continued rule and enlarging the regions he controls by retaking a number of key cities, including Idlib.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 22, 2015 at 3:27 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams wonders if human space travel will stop at Mars.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that orange giant HD 155233 has a gas giant.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes skepticism in the European Union towards a new German-Russian pipeline, notes China’s weapon of hypersonic weapons, and looks at Chinese aircraft coming near Japan.
  • Far Outliers notes the debate as to whether the South Caucasus is European or Asian.
  • Geocurrents continues its exploration of Kiribati’s Line Islands.
  • Language Hat notes discussion of the Taiwanese aboriginal language of Seejiq.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money hosts a great discussion about Jessica Jones.
  • pollotenchegg notes the types of homes of different Ukrainians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the Paris attacks seem to have helped Donald Trump.
  • Torontoist reflects on the closure of Brunswick House.
  • Towleroad notes that an Israeli trans woman can be buried according to her own will, not that of her family.
  • Transit Toronto notes TTC workers’ toy drive.
  • Window on Eurasia reflects on the forced return of Ukrainian refugees from Russia, wonders if Russia’s anti-Turkish policies will have consequences for Turkic populations like that of Tatarstan, and reports on one Russia who wants to organize Eurasian security organizations after the model of the Warsaw Pact.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO notes the plans to build a large park under the western Gardiner.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Pluto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales goes to Syria.
  • Far Outliers reports from a despairing Siberian village.
  • Geocurrents notes that most Moravians live in Tanzania.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Ireland’s marriage laws have gone into effect.
  • Language Log looks at the spread of the shawm, a musical instrument, across Asia.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes David Frum’s proposal to ethnically cleanse Muslims from Europe.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers the prospects for a widened French war in Syria, noting that despite the popularity of intervention France cannot do much more.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy is critical of the European Union’s policy requiring the labeling of goods made in the West Bank.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the growth of barriers hindering the departure of Russians and looks at Stalin’s rivalry with Hitler in the Balkans and elsewhere.
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