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Posted on on March 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (





Uri Avnery

March 8, 2014


                                                God Bless Putin


BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is very good at making speeches, especially to Jews, neocons and such, who jump up and applaud wildly at everything he says, including that tomorrow the sun will rise in the west.


The question is: is he good at anything else?



HIS FATHER, an ultra-ultra-Rightist, once said about him that he is quite unfit to be prime minister, but that he could be a good foreign minister. What he meant was that Binyamin does not have the depth of understanding needed to guide the nation, but that he is good at selling any policy decided upon by a real leader. 


(Reminding us of the characterization of Abba Eban by David Ben-Gurion: “He is very good at explaining, but you must tell him what to explain.”)


This week Netanyahu was summoned to Washington. He was supposed to approve John Kerry’s new “framework” agreement, which would serve as a basis for restarting the peace negotiations, which so far have come to naught.


On the eve of the event, President Barack Obama gave an interview to a Jewish journalist, blaming Netanyahu for the stalling of the “peace process” – as if there had ever been a peace process.


Netanyahu arrived with an empty bag – meaning a bag full of empty slogans. The Israeli leadership had striven mightily for peace, but could not progress at all because of the Palestinians. It is Mahmoud Abbas who is to blame, because he refuses to recognize Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.


What…hmm…about the settlements, which have been expanding during the last year at a hectic pace? Why should the Palestinians negotiate endlessly, while at the same time the Israeli government takes more and more of the land which is the substance of the negotiations? (As the classic Palestinian argument goes: “We negotiate about dividing a pizza, and in the meantime Israel is eating the pizza.”)


Obama steeled himself to confront Netanyahu, AIPAC and their congressional stooges. He was about to twist the arms of Netanyahu until he cried “uncle” – the uncle being Kerry’s “framework”, which by now has been watered down to look almost like a Zionist manifesto. Kerry is frantic for an achievement, whatever its contents and discontents.


Netanyahu, looking for an instrument to rebuff the onslaught, was ready to cry as usual “Iran! Iran! Iran!” – when something unforeseen happened.



NAPOLEON FAMOUSLY exclaimed: ”Give me generals who are lucky!”  He would have loved General Bibi.


Because, on the way to confront a newly invigorated Obama, there was an explosion that shook the world:




It was like the shots that rang out in Sarajevo a hundred years ago.

The international tranquility was suddenly shattered. The possibility of a major war was in the air.


Netanyahu’s visit disappeared from the news. Obama, occupied with a historic crisis, just wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible. Instead of the severe admonition of the Israeli leader, he got away with some hollow compliments. All the wonderful speeches Netanyahu had prepared were left unspeeched. Even his usual triumphant speech at AIPAC evoked no interest.


All because of the upheaval in Kiev.



BY NOW, innumerable articles have been written about the crisis. Historical associations abound.


Though Ukraine means “borderland”, it was often at the center of European events. One must pity Ukrainian schoolchildren. The changes in the history of their country were constant and extreme. At different times Ukraine was a European power and a poor downtrodden territory, extremely rich (“the breadbasket of Europe”) or abjectly poor, attacked by neighbors who captured their people to sell them as slaves or attacking their neighbors to enlarge their country.


The Ukraine’s relationship with Russia is even more complex. In a way, the Ukraine is the heartland of Russian culture, religion and orthography. Kiev was far more important than Moscow, before becoming the centerpiece of Muscovite imperialism.


In the Crimean War of the 1850s, Russia fought valiantly against a coalition of Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia, and eventually lost. The war broke out over Christian rights in Jerusalem, and included a long siege of Sevastopol. The world remembers the charge of the Light Brigade. A British woman called Florence Nightingale established the first organization to tend the wounded on the battlefield.  


In my lifetime, Stalin murdered millions of Ukrainians by deliberate starvation. As a result, most Ukrainians welcomed the German Wehrmacht in 1941 as liberators. It could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but unfortunately Hitler was determined to eradicate the Ukrainian “Untermenschen”, in order to integrate the Ukraine into the German Lebensraum.


The Crimea suffered terribly. The Tatar people, who had ruled the peninsula in the past, were deported to Central Asia, then allowed to return decades later. Now they are a small minority, seemingly unsure of where their loyalties lie.



THE RELATIONSHIP between Ukraine and the Jews is no less complicated.


Some Jewish writers, like Arthur Koestler and Shlomo Sand, believe that the Khazar empire that ruled the Crimea and neighboring territory a thousand years ago, converted to Judaism, and that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from them. This would turn us all into Ukrainians. (Many early Zionist leaders indeed came from Ukraine.)


When Ukraine was a part of the extensive Polish empire, many Polish noblemen took hold of large estates there. They employed Jews as their managers. Thus the Ukrainian peasants came to look upon the Jews as the agents of their oppressors, and anti-Semitism became part of the national culture of Ukraine.


As we learned in school, at every turn of Ukrainian history, the Jews were slaughtered. The names of most Ukrainian folk-heroes, leaders and rebels who are revered in their homeland are, in Jewish consciousness, connected with awful pogroms.


Cossack Hetman (leader) Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who liberated Ukraine from the Polish yoke, and who is considered by Ukrainians as the father of their nation, was one of the worst mass-murderers in Jewish history. Symon Petliura, who led the Ukrainian war against the Bolsheviks after World War I, was assassinated by a Jewish avenger.


Some elderly Jewish immigrants in Israel must find it hard to decide whom to hate more, the Ukrainians or the Russians (or the Poles, for that matter.)



PEOPLE AROUND the world find it also hard to choose sides.


The usual Cold-War zealots have it easy – they either hate the Americans or the Russians, out of habit.


As for me, the more I try to study the situation, the more unsure I become. This is not a black-or-white situation.


The first sympathy goes to the Maidan rebels. (Maidan is an Arab word meaning town square. Curious how it travelled to Kiev. Probably via Istanbul.)


They want to join the West, enjoy independence and democracy. What’s wrong with that?


Nothing, except that they have dubious bedfellows. Neo-Nazis in their copycat Nazi uniforms, giving the Hitler salute and mouthing anti-Semitic slogans, are not very attractive. The encouragement they receive from Western allies, including the odious neocons, is off-putting.


On the other side, Vladimir Putin is also not very prepossessing. It’s the old Russian imperialism all over again.


The slogan used by the Russians – the need to protect Russian-speaking people in a neighboring country – sounds eerily familiar. It is an exact copy of Adolf Hitler’s claim in 1938 to protect the Sudeten Germans from the Czech monsters.  


But Putin has some logic on his side. Sevastopol – the scene of heroic sieges both in the Crimean War and in World War II, is essential for his naval forces. The association with Ukraine is an important part of Russian world power aspirations.


A cold-blooded, calculating operator, of a kind now rare in the world, Putin uses the strong cards he has, but is very careful not to take too many risks. He is managing the crisis astutely, using Russia’s obvious advantages. Europe needs his oil and gas, he needs Europe’s capital and trade. Russia has a leading role in Syria and Iran. The US suddenly looks like a bystander.


I assume that in the end there will be a compromise. Russia will retain a footing in the coming Ukrainian leadership. Both sides will proclaim victory, as they should.


(By the way, for those here who believe in the “One-State Solution”: Another multicultural state seems to be breaking apart.)



WHERE WILL this leave Netanyahu?


He has gained some months or years without any movement toward peace, and in the meantime can continue with the occupation and build settlements at a frantic pace.


That is the traditional Zionist strategy. Time is everything. Every postponement provides opportunities to create more facts on the ground.


Netanyahu’s prayers have been answered. God bless Putin.



Posted on on February 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Dear Pincas Jawetz,

One month remains until GLOBE 2014 kicks-off on March 26, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada – and GRI is ready to ignite the dialogue on corporate transparency with a dynamic and inspiring line-up of speakers from around the world!

The GRI-hosted Transparency Track will put the topic of corporate transparency on the agenda at GLOBE for the very first time, and we invite you to join us in moving this conversation forward.

Registration for the event is available on the GLOBE 2014 website. Registration fees rise after March 4, 2014 – register now to save 20%! What’s more, GRI network supporters receive an additional reduction of 15% by registering with the following code: GRI-OS-GL14.

We look forward to welcoming you and the following speakers in Vancouver next month! The complete conference program is available on the GLOBE 2014 website.

Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

All the best,
The GRI Focal Point USA & Canada Team

Architects of a better world: corporate responsibility in a new age of transparency

  • Christy Wood, Chairman, GRI
  • Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
  • Helle Bank Jørgensen, Special Advisor, UN Global Compact Canada
  • Gord Lambert, Executive Advisor Sustainability & Innovation, Suncor Energy
  • Anthony Hodge, President, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM)
  • Bruno Sarda, Global Sustainability Director, Dell

The changing regulatory landscape: catalyzing business in the 21st century

  • Tom Carnac, President CDP North America, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
  • Mark Pearson, Director General External Relations, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)
  • Nelson Switzer, Director & Leader Sustainable Business Solutions, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
  • Simon MacMahon, Global Director Advisory Services, Sustainalytics

Financial markets and the move towards responsible capital management

  • Susan McGeachie, Market Leader Climate Change & Sustainability, Ernst & Young
  • Adam Kanzer, Managing Director and General Counsel, Domini Social Investments
  • Barbara Pomfret, ESG Analyst, Bloomberg L.P.

Green is the new black: the growing role of the C-Suite in sustainability

  • Jessica Fries, Executive Chair, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S)
  • Henry Stoch, Partner Sustainability & Climate Change, Deloitte
  • Warren Allen, President, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
  • Beverley Briscoe, Chair of the Audit Committee, Goldcorp
  • Patrick Daniel, Director at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; Member of Board of Directors at Cenovus Energy


Posted on on August 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Learn more about the Decision Making for Climate Change certificate program at an information session tomorrow, 14 August at 12:00, noon Pacific Time.

· Find out if this online program is right for you.

· Learn more about course content

· Speak with instructors

· Learn about the unique partnership between the four Universities who teach these courses (University of British Columbia, University of Washington, University of California-Irvin and Northwestern University)

RSVP for the information session (webinar) here:…

McKay Caruthers| Program Manager | UW Educational Outreach| 206.685.9682 |  mcaruthers at


Posted on on August 2nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

A Brief Message for Canadians: Get Over It!

By Andrew Gavin Marshall,…

01 August 13

CANADIANS: Be ashamed that this newspaper column is what passes for the “public discourse” in this country: a raving, ignorant, arrogant, idiotic and racist rant telling Indigenous people to “get over it” – referring to the state-sanctioned racism, genocide, and imperialism – all of which is still taking place.

Naomi Lakritz wrote a syndicated column for the Calgary Herald on July 31, that First Nations people “need to quit blaming the past” for the circumstances in which they live, because they “have nobody to blame but themselves.” First Nations people, suggested Lakritz, need to drop “the victimization mantle” and instead, start “with the concept of individual responsibility.” In other words: get over it!

No, instead of Canadians acknowledging our history as a nation – the violent destruction, exploitation, domination, murder and discrimination exerted against the indigenous peoples of the land we invaded and occupied – this “journalist” thinks that Indigenous people should “stop blaming their history.”

They are not blaming their history: they are pointing to their history so that we may learn our own. We have a ‘shared’ history, and it has led us to the present. If we – as Canadians – actually looked at our history, and traced its evolution up to the present, we would realize that our ‘colonial’ history has now evolved into a modern state-capitalist imperial present. Our historical injustices imposed upon Indigenous peoples have modern incarnations: the system of domination, exploitation, segregation, discrimination and – yes(!) – genocide, continues today.

If we learned about all that, we might want to change it. We might develop something called ’empathy’ which can lead to something called ‘solidarity.’ These are very human characteristics, so I understand that they seem challenging to relate to in a deeply dehumanizing society; but remember, we have a shared history and we share the present. Our histories are intertwined and interdependent, and so too is our future.

We might look out at the fact that Indigenous people, not only in Canada but around the world, are rising up in rebellion against the rampant and accelerating destruction of the environment, which will lead the species to extinction. Indigenous people are on the front lines of the global struggle against human extinction and the preservation of the environment and earth we live on. If we looked at all that… we might join them.

Instead, we read articles like this gutter trash, intellectual abortion, which has been published in the Calgary Herald, The Province, Victoria Times-Colonist, and the Edmonton Journal. Interesting how in the two provinces of BC and Alberta where the Indigenous struggle against environmental destruction is currently very active, are the same provinces where this ‘article’ is published in the main newspapers for the four largest population centres… just in case you might get the ‘right’ idea.

Canada’s corporate-owned media wouldn’t want that, would it? Not when the corporation that owns all these newspapers – the largest newspaper company in Canada, Postmedia Network – has a board of directors who are reaping profits and power off of the destruction of the environment, sitting on multiple other corporate boards for banks, energy and oil companies.

Take Jane Peverett, on the board of Postmedia. Jane also sits on the boards of CIBC, the Northwest Natural Gas Company, and Encana, a major energy company. As recently as November, an Indigenous group in BC was taking action against the construction of a major pipeline project partly owned by Encana.

I’m not blaming Jane for this article; I think the author deserves the blame. But Jane – and her compatriots who sit on the boards of Canada’s highly concentrated media system – maintain and wield significant influence over a media institution which promotes articles like this as contributing to the ‘public discourse,’ when all it does is promote ignorance, propaganda, passivity, and protects the interests of the powerful who own it. It’s an institutional function. Jane is merely a cog in a much larger wheel, while Naomi Lakritz can barely be said to be cognizant.

It’s institutional propaganda. Just as the discrimination, exploitation, domination and destruction of Indigenous people is institutional to our society. For a population currently struggling against the rapacious ravaging of the environment, let alone for survival, being told to “get over it,” is another way of saying: “just die, already.” And because the struggle is against the extinction of our species if we continue along our current path, saying, “get over it,” is also like saying, “we’re all going to die, but I don’t want to do anything about it… and neither should you.”

So for those Canadians who think the article above presented a ‘reasonable’ argument (and I KNOW you exist), and for those Canadians who think Indigenous people should stop “blaming history,” take a piece of your own advice: get over it. Learn your history, know your world, find your brothers and sisters and join them in the struggle to save the species and the planet we live on.

When it comes to having people like Naomi Lakritz of the Calgary Herald lower the public discourse – or rather, maintain the public discourse at painful lows – it’s really time that we get beyond this. Naomi Lakritz also thinks pot is a “dangerous drug” and legalization a “bad idea” (because once again, “get over” history, don’t learn, just delude!), and who (shockingly) has problems with immigrants, and it’s too perfect: she wants them to “leave [their] history at home” when they come to Canada… the nation with no history, apparently.

The deranged attempts by Lakritz to support the status quo when it comes to matters of injustice cannot be left as the level of discourse in a country which boasts the title of “the most educated country in the world.” It’s time to start acting like it. So it’s time to stop listening to Lakritz and other ‘rebels against rationality’, and START listening to Indigenous people, who have a great deal that they are trying to teach us about our country, and are showing us ways that we can help change it for the better.

It’s only our fate as a people, species, and planet that is at stake … Get over it.


Posted on on May 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Norway, Canada, the United States, and the Tar Sands.

9 May 2013
by James Hansen
Today 36 Norwegian organizations sent an open letter to Prime Minister Stoltenberg expressing opposition to development of Canadian tar sands by Statoil (the Norwegian state is majority shareholder of Statoil). Signatories include not only environmental organizations, but a broad public spectrum, including, appropriately, many youth
It is encouraging that Norwegian youth press their government to stop supporting tar sands development, given
the fact that Norway saves much of its oil earnings for future generations and given the fact that Norway is not
likely among the nations that will suffer most from climate change.
I wonder if the Norway government response will be better than their response in 2010.
The gap between public preference and government policy is not unique to Norway. Similar situations were found in other nations, as described in “Storms of My Grandchildren.”
Governments talk green while doing black, supporting or even subsidizing the fossil fuel industry while
doing little to solve fossil fuel addiction.
The Canadian public is also impressive. Most messages that I receive from Canadians are ones of encouragement, apologetic that some government ministers speak out of both sides of their mouth at the same time. On one hand,
they say that tar sands will make Canada the Saudi Arabia of oil. On the other hand, they say that the amount of carbon in tar sands is negligible.
The truth is that the tar sands gook contains more than twice the carbon from all the oil burned in human history.
If infrastructure, such as the Keystone XL pipeline, is built to transport tar sands gook, ways will be developed to extract more and more. When full accounting is done of emissions from tar sands oil, its use is equivalent to burning coal to power your automobile.

This is on top of the grotesque regional tar sands destruction.
There is a basis for optimism that the Keystone pipeline can be stopped and tar sands exploitation phased down before it becomes the monstrosity that oil companies are aiming for.
Tar sands make no economic sense if fossil fuels pay their true costs to society via a gradually rising fee collected from fossil companies in proportion to the amount of carbon in the fuel. Conservatives in the United States are beginning to recognize the merits of a carbon fee, which would be a non-tax, 100% of collected funds distributed to the public on per capita basis.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article endorsing this approach by George Shultz and Gary Becker, a Nobel prize winning economist. Such a fee levels the playing field among alternative energies and energy efficiency, providing a spur for development of clean energies. After 10 years a carbon fee rising $10 per ton of CO2 per year would reduce United States carbon emissions by 10 – 11 times more than the carbon carried by the Keystone pipeline.
The funds distributed to the public, 60 percent of the people getting more than they pay in increased prices, would spur the economy. The energy revolution would create millions of jobs.
So don’t despair re the tar sands.
There are sensible alternatives.
The common presumption that President Obama is going to approve the Keystone XL pipeline is wrong, in my opinion.
The State Department must provide an assessment to President Obama. Secretary of State John Kerry is expert on the climate issue and has long been one of the most thoughtful members of our government. I cannot believe that Secretary Kerry would let his and President Obama’s legacies go down the tar sands drain.


Posted on on March 4th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin – ENB – to be completely honest – that is all what is left at the UN of the activities started in Rio de Janeiro 20 years ago.

This is the Reporting Service that provides the daily roadmap to the negotiators that come to help design a way how future generations might still find themselves on a planet earth that can still support life. Such negotiators have to haggle daily with others that represent interests with much shorter horizons – an immediate monetary gain from this or another resource that have no patience to contemplate on ideals of SUSTAINABILITY. Without the ENBs these different sides could not talk to each other whatsoever.

The following letter we received tells us that this reporting service maybe in financial danger and we want our readers to know that we are in full support of Langston James Goree VI and Chris Spence and their teams. Without their daily bulletins assured – no sense to go to Rio this year – as simple as that!

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the
Earth Negotiations Bulletin, the world’s leading publication on international environment and sustainable negotiations.

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, IISD RS is launching Help Bring the ENB Back to Rio – a fundraising campaign to ensure an ENB presence at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this June.

As part of the world’s first wave of internet and digital media users, ENB writers have been providing daily coverage of meetings and negotiations to a global readership for over twenty years. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin provides ongoing coverage of meetings and events, and serves the role of a trusted intermediary for sustainable development decision makers.

Join IISD RS as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ENB by supporting our fundraising campaign to Help Bring the ENB Back to Rio.With enough financial support and donations from devoted readers, IISD RS will be able to Bring ENB Back to Rio and ensure an ENB presence at the meetings leading up to and during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this June:

With thanks,

Langston James Goree VI
PS – You can help us Bring the ENB Back to Rio by sharing the following message with your friends onFacebook or Twitter:

Today the Earth Negotiations Bulletin turns twenty!

Click here to Bring the ENB Back to Rio –



For subscribers to Climate-L, Biodiversity-L, Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and Linkages Update,

IISD Reporting Services is currently recruiting for several new freelance writers for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and our other conference reporting services. Please see the attached announcement for details and feel free to forward this announcement to your own networks.


Chris Spence

Deputy Director

IISD Reporting Services

United Nations Office:

300 East 56th St. Apt 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA


IISD Reporting Services – Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Posted on on October 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

David Suzuki’s Moral Relativism on the ethics of oil.

October 5th, 2011  |  By: Kathryn on the paertisan of the Canadian Oil industry.…

This appeared as an op-ed on today. AND IT SAYS –

It’s encouraging to see David Suzuki, the godfather of Canada’s environmental left, is finally willing to start thinking about the ethical implications of our oil sources. It would be more encouraging if he was willing to acknowledge, as almost any reasonable Canadian will, that some oil producing countries still behave far more ethically than others.

In a column for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight magazine, Suzuki shows himself open-minded enough to concede that our ethical oil cause “raises an important point about the moral implications of products and activities in the global economy.” He even applauds “the move to raise ethics to greater prominence in discussions around trade and economics,” which, as he rightly points out, have historically led to the curtailment of child labour and sweatshops, boycotts of Apartheid-era South Africa, and led to the fair-trade coffee movement.

But when it comes to oil, Suzuki insists that there are no ethics. He doesn’t take issue with our campaign’s argument that Canada treats its workers, its women, its minorities and its environment infinitely better than almost any other major oil producer in the world. He just seems to think that’s irrelevant. The reason? Because Canada isn’t perfect, either. Canadians, he reminds us, failed to live up to the commitments made by Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government when it signed the Kyoto Protocol. “This meant that, as a nation, we were committed to achieving the targets set by the agreement,” Suzuki writes. “Is it ethical to ignore an internationally binding legal commitment?”

The answer to that might surprise Suzuki. Contracts are, after all, routinely cancelled. If they’re designed properly, they even anticipate as much. People cancel their mortgages early, but they are required to pay a penalty to do so because the contract was prepared with that very contingency in mind. Tenants may break their lease, if they have to relocate. Employees may have to quit their job early. Changing your mind isn’t something we normally consider unethical. Canada changed its mind about Kyoto. We weren’t the only country to do so.

Even if you think it is unethical for Canada to have a change of heart, it won’t do to act, as Suzuki does, as if all ethical deficits are all exactly the same. Speeding and murder are both against the law and are arguably unethical, but hardly to the same extent. Suzuki would have us believe that because Canada failed to live up to its Kyoto commitments, that we are just as unethical as the OPEC nations who produce conflict oil on the backs of oppressed workers, while discriminating against women, murdering gays, persecuting minorities, and funding terrorism and war. No serious person could believe such a thing.

“In today’s world, all fossil fuels are unethical,” Suzuki determines, because all fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide, which, he believes, will eventually set off cataclysmic climate change. Even if you think he’s right about that, the fact of the matter is that we’re going to be stuck with fossil fuels for some time yet.  Non-combustible renewables, such as wind and solar, still comprise less than one percent of the world’s energy supply mix, and for good reason: we still need power to move food to markets, heat our homes, and run our schools and hospitals even when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. We have a ways to go before we’re done with oil. But until we are, we can make choices about which sources raise the biggest moral challenges. Conflict oil from the Middle East emits carbon dioxide and it fuels misery, repression and bloodshed. Ethical oil from Canada also emits carbon dioxide but fuels a country that promotes peace and social justice while upholding a standard of human rights that is second to none.

If we had ever let perfect become the enemy of the good, as Suzuki would have us do, we would suddenly lose all those historical movements that he himself praises: Why shut down sweatshops overseas when there are still American states without minimum wage laws? Why boycott Apartheid South Africa, when other countries haven’t created utopia on earth yet either?  That kind of moral equivalence is not only frivolous; it actually paralyzes good people from bringing about the positive changes we want to see in the world. The truth is that Canada does behave far more ethically than Saudi Arabia, Iran or Venezuela, our oil is more ethical than theirs, and we should be proud of it — even if David Suzuki isn’t.


The ethics of “ethical oil – 2 days ago
Branding the product of Canada’s oilsands as “ethical oil”—differentiating  This is rhetoric, not ethicsand that fact might make many of us inclined to 

13 related articles

to the above react the ARAB OIL INDUSTRY INTERESTS: in a title:Ethic v. non-ethic Oil – does it matter? and clearly concludes that oil does not stink.



Posted on on October 3rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (


The government of Canada took an historic step yesterday by signing the Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism. By doing so, it recognized anti-Semitism as a pernicious evil and a global threat against the Jewish people, the State of Israel and free, democratic countries everywhere. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has noted, “Those who would hate and destroy the Jewish people would ultimately hate and destroy the rest of us as well.”

The protocol is a declaration that hatred of this nature will not be tolerated in this country. It sets out an action plan for supporting initiatives that combat anti-Semitism and provides a framework for other nations to follow.

It also sets out a vibrant definition of anti-Semitism which, for the first time in history, links anti-Semitism to the denial of the right Jewish people have to their ancestral home land — the State of Israel. This, in fact, is what sets post-World War Two anti-Semitism apart from its historic roots. Today’s anti-Semitism is all about denial: denial of the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish movement to reclaim the land of Israel; denial of a Jewish history in connection to the holy land and, in particular, the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people; denial of the Holocaust (while at the same time accusing Jews of Nazism); and denial of Jews to live free of anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance.

In announcing the Protocols, Foreign Minister John Baird has expressed his government’s unequivocal support for the State of Israel. In referring to this week’s turmoil at the United Nations and the Palestinian threat to unilaterally declare a state, Baird said, “Canada will not stand behind Israel at the United Nations, we will stand right beside it. It is never a bad thing to do the right thing.”

According to Baird, more and more countries are refusing to participate in the UN conference dubbed “Durban III” — otherwise known as an anti-Semitic hate fest which began as a human rights forum in South Africa in 2001; the forum ultimately degenerated into an anti-Semitic slinging match in which repressive Arab and African countries blamed all the problems facing their own countries and the world on Israel. The governments of France, New Zealand and Poland joined Canada and 10 other western nations this week by declaring they will not take part.

Unquestionably, the Government of Canada’s stance on Israel is based on the principle of standing by your friends — especially when they are democracies and advocates for human rights. Most Jewish leaders would agree that Israel is indeed Canada’s greatest ally in the fight against hate and intolerance.

But the fight against hatred and anti-Semitism must be won here in Canada as well. The Ottawa Protocol is mostly the result of a report published this summer by a Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism which was comprised of leading Canadian politicians who volunteered their time to probe the increasing and alarming tide of anti-Semitism in Canada.

In a letter accompanying the report, Chairs of the Inquiry Panel and the Steering Committee Mario Silva and Scott Reid wrote, “The Inquiry Panel’s conclusion, unfortunately, is that the scourge of anti-Semitism is a growing threat in Canada, especially on the campuses of our universities.” The report cites numerous examples of anti-Semitism on various campuses including the infamous incident in 2009 when Jewish students at York University were chased and barricaded themselves in the Hillel lounge while a mob outside taunted them with anti-Semitic slurs. The list of examples is quite long and disturbing.

Universities should take note of the report and the signing of the Ottawa Protocols. They should put an immediate end to hateful and fallacious events like Israeli Apartheid Week; they should state unequivocally that freedom of speech should not be abused to provide a cover for anti-Semitism; they should ensure that Jewish students feel welcome on campus and that their learning environment should be freed from anti-Israel occurrences and finally, universities must become accountable for allowing their private property to be venues for hateful conduct among students.

The Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism is a template for every Canadian to consider. But it is especially a document of significance for universities that have allowed themselves to become vehicles of hatred and complicit in its promotion. As my friend, Professor Irwin Cotler said last night at the Ottawa signing ceremony, anti-Semitism is not only the longest known form of hatred in the history of humanity — it is the only form of hatred that is truly global.

Every person of conscience should take note of the Ottawa Protocols and never forget the lessons of the Holocaust when the world was silent.


Also – from latest news:

Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh reiterated that while Hamas wouldn’t object to a Palestinian Arab state he would not accept the existence of Israel, ever, not the idea that Israel is anything other than eternal Arab land.

Hamas “political leader” Khaled Meshal said on Saturday that “resistance” remains the strategic option at all stages in order to liberate all of Palestine is the elimination of the Zionist project.

Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah said that no one is entitled to give up one inch of “Palestine” and the Palestinian Arabs want the entire land from the river to the sea.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini said that any solution that allows Israel to remain in existence in any form is rejected in full.



Posted on on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

from Kreisky Forum <>
date Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010
subject Vortrag Franz Walter,

Montag, 6. September 2010, 19.00 Uhr

Reihe: GENIAL DAGEGEN/ kuratiert von Robert Misik

Montag, 6. September, 19.00 Uhr

Bruno Kreisky Forum für internationalen Dialog | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

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Institut für Demokratieforschung Göttingen


Hat die Sozialdemokratie noch eine Zukunft?

Moderation:   Robert Misik, Journalist und Autor

Vorwärts oder Abwärts?: Zur Transformation der Sozialdemokratie (edition suhrkamp)

Jospin, Blair, Schröder: 1998 sah es so aus, als stünde die europäische Sozialdemokratie vor einem goldenen Zeitalter. Elf Jahre später hat die SPD 10.192.426 Millionen Stimmen verloren und sechs Parteivorsitzende verschlissen, die niederländische Partij van de Arbeid fuhr 2002 das schlechteste Ergebnis ihrer Geschichte ein, die schwedischen Sozialdemokraten 2006, die österreichischen 2008. Der »Dritte Weg« erwies sich als Weg ins Abseits, längst ist vom Ende einer Volkspartei die Rede.

Es sieht so aus, als hätten die Sozialdemokraten keine überzeugende Antwort auf den radikalen Wandel der Arbeitswelt, auf Individualisierung und Globalisierung.

Franz Walter, einer der profiliertesten deutschen Parteienforscher, untersucht die Ursachen für den Niedergang der SPD. Er wirft einen Blick über die Grenzen Deutschlands und fragt, was Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität in unserer Zeit bedeuten.

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna
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fax: ++43 1 3188260/10


Posted on on August 20th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

A new paper released by the Canadian International Council asserts that while Canada may need to wait for the United States before deciding on a carbon pricing system, that should not stop it from exploring other initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Change and Foreign Policy in Canada: Intersection and Influence, written by John Drexhage and Deborah Murphy of the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s climate change and energy program, argues that the Copenhagen Accord has the potential to develop a solid foundation and framework to help countries begin to respond effectively to climate change.

The Canadian government must determine what it wants in terms of a climate and energy regulatory regime; work with the provinces and stakeholders to identify the best way of going forward in Canada; and ensure that this plan would complement US actions and legislation.

The authors recommend the following actions to strengthen Canadian climate change policy:

• A First Ministers’ Meeting to address Canadian energy and climate change policy, and Canada’s profile in the North American energy picture.

• The federal government should develop a credible and comprehensive plan that lays out how Canada intends to meet its target of a 17-percent emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2020.

• Canada should increase support for adaptation strategies and activities at home in the Arctic and in developing countries through bilateral and multilateral assistance.

• Canada’s $400-million contribution under the Copenhagen Accord should create opportunities for bilateral project assistance, including “signature” projects that can be identified with Canada and led by Canadians.

Climate Change and Foreign Policy in Canada: Intersection and Influence can be accessed online at .


Posted on on July 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

The interesting points here are:

– There are 17 countries that total 80% emissions of CO2.

– The Basic Countries (Brazil, South Africa, India China) believe they are among the poor countries that need technology to store carbon dioxide emissions underground – that technology, seemingly they think so, was developed by Canada, Australia or the United States which they define as the rich countries. “We want a common position on technology transfer through partnerships in which poor countries are given access to technology and that they can get help with applying it as well,” a senior Indian government official said.

– Developing Nations, as defined by above Poor Nations, want new technology and billions of dollars in aid to help them move away from fossil fuels, as part of a deal at Cancun.

But it seems they think there is probably no problem with future technologies, but it is the sharing of the existing technologies that involves looking at issues of intellectual property rights (IPR),” said a New Delhi based independent climate change expert.

– From above we wonder if Minister Ramesh of India thinks the CCS technology is already available, and has to be shared equitably now, while indeed true new technologies will be developed by  development front-runners, like the BASIC, so they have no worries of technology transfer in these future days. The financial issue is thus standing only for the technologies dealing with old energy systems – the CO2 emitting technologies – and the concept of storing the CO2 intrigues the Minister. There is no problem, seemingly, as reported, in Mr. Ramesh eyes with the novel technologies like the renewables.

We wonder if what is said in the posting we picked up is indeed what Minister Ramesh said?


India Climate Meet Ahead Of Mexico To Push Tech Deal

Krittivas Mukherjee for Reuters from India – July 13, 2010.

India will try to push climate talks forward at a two-day ministerial meeting in November by focusing on winning agreement on sharing clean technologies, a sticky issue that divides rich and poor countries.

The Nov 8-9 talks are aimed at clarifying rules on sharing future innovations and existing technologies involving contentious intellectual property rights (IPR) issues.

The talks will come just weeks before a major U.N. climate meeting in Mexico and are an attempt to breathe new life into global climate negotiations after last December’s Copenhagen summit fell short of agreeing a treaty.

Brazil, South Africa, India and China — dubbed the BASIC group — were among more than 120 nations that agreed a non-binding deal in Copenhagen to limit a rise in average world temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) over pre-industrial times.

But the accord lacked details of how to reach this goal.

Several poor countries said the rich industrialized world was not offering to cut emissions enough and they expressed fears they would not receive sufficient technology and funding to deal with global warming.

Indian officials said Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh made the offer to host the November talks at a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) countries in Rome last month.

The MEF, which helped nudge big emitters to support a goal of limiting global warming to less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels, groups 17 nations that account for roughly 80 percent of the world’s emissions.

“We want a common position on technology transfer through partnerships in which poor countries are given access to technology and that they can get help with applying it as well,” a senior Indian government official said.

The BASIC countries say countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States should immediately provide countries like China and India technology to store carbon dioxide emissions underground.

U.N. climate talks are said to have made progress on sharing green technologies, but differences remain.

Developing nations want new technology and billions of dollars in aid to help them move away from fossil fuels, the main source of mankind’s planet-warming greenhouse gases, as part of a deal at the year-end U.N. talks in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

“There is probably no problems with future technologies, but it is the sharing of existing technologies that involves looking at issues of IPR,” said K. Srinivas, a New Delhi-based independent climate change expert.

“The Delhi meet will aim at having some progress in ironing out the differences over the IPR issues I think.”


Posted on on June 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Free Ride for Oil and Coal Industry May Be Over.
Stephen Leahy, back in Germany reporting on the Toronto G20 meeting.…

BERLIN, Jun 29 (IPS) – Every day, governments give away an estimated two billion dollars of taxpayer money to the fossil fuel industry. This unmatched largesse to a highly profitable sector by countries verging on bankruptcy or unable to feed large numbers of their own people is “complete madness”, according to many experts.

In Toronto Sunday, at the conclusion of G20 summit, countries agreed the madness must be constrained if not stopped. “I was impressed. I think the commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies has finally arrived,” said Mark Halle, director of trade and investment at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) European office in Geneva.

“With countries committed to cutting their deficits, it is hard to ignore giving billions of real money away to the fossil fuel industry or to keep fuel prices low,” Halle said in an interview. The two-billion-dollars-a-day public subsidy for carbon- based fuels is a very conservative estimate based on the extensive research conducted by the IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative, said Halle. Not only do such huge subsidies undermine policies on energy efficiency, they make it impossible for alternative energy sources to compete, he said.

“We can’t make the transition to low-carbon economies nor can the energy playing field be leveled without the elimination of fossil fuels. And time for that has finally come,” he said.

Others are less optimistic given the G8 and G20 track record for broken promises.

“It (the G20 commitment) fell short of vision and courage that is expected from global leaders in the light of the disastrous oil spill” in the Gulf of Mexico, said Darek Urbaniak of Friends of the Earth Europe. Urbaniak noted that BP, the company responsible for the spill, receives British and EU public subsidies.

Countries such as Canada and Australia sought to weaken the G20 commitment by making commitments voluntary, he said, but the U.S. stepped up and pushed for a stronger agreement. However, do-nothing clauses remain part of the agreement. It says that countries agree to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” but each country decides what those are. Some countries like Japan, Australia, Italy and others have already said they don’t have any.

“Australia wants to protect its coal mining sector …Canada wants to keep on going with its own subsidies to the tar sands – an environmental and climate disaster in the league of the BP oil spill only in slow motion,” Urbaniak told IPS.

“Our research shows that in the last two years Canada was spending as much on oil and gas subsidies as on climate programmes,” said Albert Koehl of Ecojustice, a Canadian environmental NGO.

“Taxpayers won’t be amused to find out that government spending on climate change is being nullified by spending on oil and gas subsidies,” Koehl told IPS.

He notes that Canada is now investing new billions of dollars into developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for the fossil fuel sector and primarily the enormous Alberta tar sands operations. “CCS a new way of massively subsidising the oil and gas industry, especially the tar sands,” he said.

Most industrialised countries subsidise oil, coal and natural gas production to reduce the cost of finding and producing oil for oil companies. Countries in the developing world subsidise the cost of buying fuel to the public. Experts agree that both forms of subsidies encourage consumption of fossil fuels and thus increase the price of oil.

U.S. President Barack Obama put these subsidies on the chopping block at the previous G20 summit in Pittsburgh last September. The Obama administration is looking for ways to cut its ballooning deficit and thinks taking three or four billion away from fossil fuel companies is achievable, said Halle.

Many other countries are now paying attention to their subsidies, seeing it as money they could put to much better use without increasing their deficits. India, China, Malaysia and others have cut their consumption subsidies, he said. However, this has to be done carefully and over time. While the poor are used to justify keeping fuel prices low, that only applies to heating and lighting fuels. The bulk of subsidies go to transportation fuels which benefits the middle class.

“Subsidy reduction is a new area for everyone and countries have to go carefully,” Halle said.

Since subsidies are deeply entrenched and difficult to get rid of, the G20 commitment provides an excuse and leverage needed in many countries to enact reforms, said Halle. “We’ve spoken to half of the G20 countries and they hadn’t really thought the issue through. Now they are seeing some opportunities.”

In addition to the G20, six or seven non-members have formed a “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform” group to follow the same commitments. And the G20 did agree to have some plans for action in place for their next meeting in November this year.

There are an awful lot things that could be done with that annual expenditure of 700 to 800 billion dollars in fossil fuel subsidies and countries are really beginning to think about that, Halle said. “The momentum for change is building but it still needs to grow.”


Posted on on February 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

UKRAINE: Back Full Circle
Analysis by Zoltán Dujisin

BUDAPEST, Feb 8, 2010 (IPS) – The 2004 ‘Orange revolution’ saw a pro-Western leadership emerge victorious in a Presidential vote that opposed them to a pro-Russian candidate accused of vote rigging. After six years of political and economic chaos, the once villain Viktor Yanukovich has reclaimed the President’s post.

Ever since outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko and current Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko successfully led the 2004 popular uprising against allegations of electoral fraud that were internationally-backed, the high democratic expectations created gradually gave way to disappointment with the leaders’ inability to work together and to better the country’s depressing economic situation.

Following a campaign filled with mutual accusations of vote-rigging plans, the runoff of the presidential vote saw Yanukovich obtain 48.8 percent of the vote, closely followed by Timoshenko with 45.6 percent. The main outcome of the first round on Jan. 17 had been the sound defeat of President Viktor Yushchenko and his anti-Russian line.

In spite of popular fatigue with yearly elections, turnout bordered 70 percent. Representatives from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and the European Union have all considered the election free and fair, and have called on all sides to accept its results.

Joao Soares, head of the OSCE mission saidd “yesterday’s voting was a very impressive example of a democratic election,” whereas PACE mission head Matyas Eorsi said in a press conference that both candidates “should agree that the election was democratic; Ukraine deserves to be applauded.”

Yanukovich secured victory with a message of national unity, geopolitical moderation and economic and political stability to a country that has been bitterly divided and unstable ever since the Orange revolution.

“I think that we have made the first step towards uniting the country,” Yanukovich said. “I will spare no effort so that Ukrainians, no matter in what part of the country they live, feel comfort and peace in a stable country.”

For years accused of not being truly democratic, Yanukovych has said that, although he considered the period following the Orange revolution a “nightmare”, he is “not opposed to the slogans” of democracy and Europe promoted back then.

While it is clear that relations with Russia will continue on the path of normalisation favoured by both presidential contenders, the main question under a Yanukovich government is to what extent he will be accepted by Western countries as a reliable partner.

Yanukovich is not promising EU membership any time soon, but his support for step-by-step Europeanisation shows that the goal of entering the EU has become consensual among both the population and Ukraine’s political elites. Timoshenko has so far refused to concede defeat as many of her allies make allegations of massive fraud, but analysts believe she will eventually admit defeat.

“Timoshenko was defeated with dignity, the numbers show it was a minimal defeat, but if she decides to fight the results she will lose all international support,” Balazs Jarabik, Ukrainian expert at the Madrid-based Foundation for Foreign Relations and International Dialogue (FRIDE) told IPS.

The election winner Yanukovich recognised Timoshenko was “a strong rival or opponent to me” but called on her to lose “with dignity” and follow “the road all the way and admit defeat just like I did” in the past.

“She probably needs time to consult with her political allies and decide whether to stop being a serious obstacle and focus on keeping her premier position,” Jarabik told IPS.

With Prime Minister Timoshenko still holding a majority in the Ukrainian parliament, the prospect of a continued crisis in governance is more than likely.

If the two bitter rivals don’t reach a power-sharing agreement, the solution may lie in Yanukovich calling early parliamentary elections to consolidate his power with a new parliamentary majority that will prove more cooperative. Shortly after his victory, Yanukovich reminded the Prime Minister she “should start preparing for dismissal. She understands this very well. I think she will get a proposal to this effect.”

However, Yanukovich may not be able to accomplish her dismissal without help. Outgoing President Yushchenko has insisted he is not leaving politics, and Jarabik believes that in exchange for certain guarantees, he might use his deputies to support Yanukovich in dismissing Timoshenko from her post as Prime Minister.

“Yushchenko is willing to finish off Timoshenko in exchange for a high price, which could be asking for a prime ministerial position for an ally of his or even for himself, although that would be a bit extreme,” Jarabik told IPS.

The elections also signaled that Ukrainians are less preoccupied with national, symbolic and historical issues promoted by the current President and more concerned with Ukraine’s difficult socio-economic situation.

Yanukovich will inherit a country in an extremely dire economic condition. He will have to prove a more reliable partner to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) than his predecessors were in order to obtain much needed loans.

Ukraine’s economy continues to be on the verge of collapse, and budget revenues have diminished as a result of the global financial crisis, which may lead to a new round of privatisations.

Representatives of large businesses will continue to have a say in how Ukraine’s economic policy is run, and the business sectors behind Yanukovich are likely to demand policies that promote exports


Posted on on July 20th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

Voyage to the Plastic Frontier: the Alguita sails the Pacific
By Jan Lundberg of

Captain Charles Moore is today one of several men of the hour. But if there
are people on this planet hundreds of years from now, surrounded by all the
non-biodegradable, toxic petrochemical plastic saturating the oceans, he
will be spoken of as the man of the hour — a Cassandra that people started
to seriously heed.

On the tenth anniversary of his findings establishing
the Northern Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, Capt. Moore and his crew are out
there now sailing again.

Before the update on Captain Moore’s voyage for his Algalita Marine
Research Foundation, that started June 10 on the Oceanographic Research
Vessel Alguita, watch his riveting seven-minute mind-blowing presentation
at the TED talks. This is followed by the voyage’s description and blog,
ending with more resources and background. Help stop the plastic plague!

To go to the complete article, see photos and get links, go to