Tuesday, August 22, 2006


A few people were asking me why, as a vocal Kennedy supporter, I haven't weighed in on the the whole Thomas Hubert/Borys AlphabetSoup case of Middle East foot in mouth disease. Well, my main reason is that I've been fairly busy over the past few days (and will be for the next few). But, more importantly, I really don't see this as a Kennedy campaign issue.

Take example one. We have a 19 year old kid who said some really stupid things on his blog. No one's denying that. But there are a lot of bloggers who say really stupid things. I couldn't imagine anyone thinking that what Shoshanna Berman writes is representative of the Ken Dryden campaign or Ken Dryden's position. So to even imply that this kid somehow represents Kennedy really seems unjust (after all, it's not like he's the campaign manager or anything). Thomas apologized and resigned over his comments so I don't see any need to keep picking on the kid.

The second example is of Borys who, truth be told, shouldn't have made public comments on this without running them by the party first. But, in all fairness, given that only six countries in the world consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization, I don't think that part of his musings is as extreme as some are painting it to be. As for his other comments which may have offended people, Borys wasn't speaking in his role as a Gerard Kennedy supporter - these were his personal opinions. I didn't see a single blog attack claiming that Michael Ignatieff was anti-Israel after his main Quebec organizer marched in a parade which was described as follows "a virulently anti-Israel rally, and scattered amongst the crowd were a number of Hezbollah flags and placards".

The bottom line is that the Israel question is one of the most controversial in politics and there are people on both sides of the issue who go too far. With respect to the Kennedy campaign, I was very pleased to see their fast response to these incidents. In both instances there was a quick press release reiterating Gerard's position which has been known for a long time (since he was one of the first candidates to comment on the Middle Eastern situation).


  • There is a difference here. I don't work for Dryden's campaign, nor am I on any executive, nor have I ever said Lebanon or Palestine shouldn't exist or are vile etc. Hezbollah yep, but I have supported the Palestinian people when no one in the Liberal blogosphere was, not you, not Cherniak, not Cerberus, not Fuddle Duddle, no one. So, hatred of Muslims or Palestinians or Lebanese people would be a stretch to say the least.

    That being said, this young man apologized quite quickly and should have been allowed to keep his position in my opinion. I don't think he should have been forced to resign, nor do I attribute his statements to the Kennedy campaign.

    I personally have more concern with the conduct and words of MP's working on campaigns such as Mr. Coderre, Mr. Wrzesnewskyj, and Mr. Telegdi. One assumes if these gentleman's choice for leader is elected they will have some influence on policy and direction of the Party and that is a great concern to me. I do believe this is an issue for the Kennedy and Ignatieff campaigns.

    This young man should not take the fall for people with far more influence and experience than he has. He was just an easy target.

    By Blogger S.K., at 10:22 p.m.  

  • Wow, sb. I don't agree with your entire statement, but this is the most lucid comment I've read of yours.

    Just saying...

    By Blogger Karen, at 10:49 p.m.  

  • Yeah well, I work with teenagers at their worst. I've heard 17 year olds or 19 years olds whatever he is say the most outragious things and then feel badly about it afterwards. I've also heard them say amazing things. Things that are wonderful and surprising. Being a young Liberal is supposed to be a learning experience, being an MP isn't. The kid's frontal lobe isn't even fully developed yet ok. To have Kinsella come down hard on you at 17, god forbid, is a bit harsh to say the least. I hope Warren hasn't harmed Thomas' development.

    Anyways, give the kid a break. He apologized. Go after Telegdi, Coderre, Wrzesnewskyj, and Karygiannis (if he even matters anymore) They are the people with influence who should be held very accountable for what they say and do in elected office.

    By Blogger S.K., at 11:04 p.m.  

  • sb; Thomas doesn't have any title or position on the GK campaign and he never did.

    Calicos; I might be incorect. Wikipedia said it was only Canada, the US, and Israel. And it WAS a controversial issue back when the Libs passed it. My point is just that it's a controversial issue and far from extreme.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:15 p.m.  

  • Hubert said some pretty vile things and he should have resigned, but we should all move on.

    Thanks for the post CG.

    An inclusive party like the Liberals (and unlike the Cons, the BC and the NDP) has to accept within its tent a lot of people with a lot of differing points of view. But that doesn't mean they should be given positions in which they represent the party (and Canada) when they hold views that are not supported by the party. Borys should step down.

    Couple of corrections:

    - I think he has been reported as being 19 not 17. For what it's worth, he joined the party in May this year after being with the NDP according to TDH

    - 6 countries, not 3, call Hezbollah a terrorist organization (Canada, US, Netherlands and Israel in full, and UK and Australia for just their external security force). The European Union kind of dance around the issue, condemning the terrorist-like activities but not calling them terrorist (sort of like Clinton calling Rwanda genocide-like activities but not genocide, I suppose). Wikipedia

    - Kennedy's statement on the Middle East actually says very little and says nothing about supporting Israel or condemning Hezbollah so I'm glad he came out with such a clear and unequivocal position today. From his website:

    "I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the Canadian victims of the bombings in Lebanon. All of the civilian casualties in the latest escalation of conflict are tragic and highly regrettable and should give rise to a ceasefire by all parties. The safety of remaining Canadian citizens in the region should receive the Canadian government's highest priority. I agree with the G8 call for "utmost restraint" on the part of Israel as it exercises its right of self-defense and I deplore the fact that extremists from Hezbollah and Hamas have once again hijacked the agenda in the Middle East. The situation calls for urgent diplomatic initiatives to help change the predictable dynamics for further escalation now in place. As such, I welcome the G8 communique and I urge the Prime Minister to maintain the balanced viewpoint reflected in it, and exercise a constructive voice for Canada in this regard. In particular, I call upon Prime Minister Harper to use Canadian diplomatic resources to dialogue with all legitimate parties in the region to establish conditions to defuse the current situation. Canada can and should play a leadership role in working with the international community to find a peaceful resolution. I encourage the Harper government to do everything possible to act quickly and with purpose in this regard."


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 11:38 p.m.  

  • Calgary, I said I'm not concerned about Thomas. I'm concerned about Wrzesnewskyj, who does support Kennedy and as an MP work on his campaign. He will have influence if Kennedy is elected leader. This is a problem for the campaign.

    By Blogger S.K., at 11:38 p.m.  

  • "An inclusive party like the Liberals (and unlike the Cons, the BC and the NDP) has to accept within its tent a lot of people with a lot of differing points of view"

    oh brother, ted. but i forgive you.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 11:45 p.m.  

  • Thomas apologized and resigned over his comments so I don't see any need to keep picking on the kid.

    Exactly. At this point, it's just bullying and piling on.

    A sensible person would turn their attention to, say for just an example, Coderre, or Boris W., or Peggy Nash -- high-profile, public payroll, accountable to the public. To keep harping on Thomas is just being a jerk.

    Look, I used to really dislike Thomas - obnoxious, arrogant, stupid, braying. (I had no idea he was 16-19) But he is profoundly regretful, he's learned his lesson, and there's no need to keep at him - it's over. If you have a hard-on for fighting stupidity, great - but Batman doesn't keep kicking the Riddler, he moves on the Joker or Two-Face. If you want to tackle anti-Semitism and you're picking on Thomas, you're in neutral and you're not doing anything useful - go further up the ladder and then keep going.

    Argh, I could go on forever, so I won't...

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 11:50 p.m.  

  • I am tired of the shit everyone says about Denis Coderre.

    The guy was there for a peaceful protest. He was the only politician there to voice his opposition to the terrorist actions of Hezbollah. He was even booed for denouncing violence by both parties : IDF and Hezbollah.

    Denis is not an anti-semite. He is just a good MP that stood up for the very large Lebanese community of Montreal.


    By Blogger Alex Plante, at 12:37 a.m.  

  • Alex a "very good" MP would not have been at a pro Hezbollah rally.

    By Blogger S.K., at 12:43 a.m.  

  • It was not a "pro-Hezbollah" rally. It was a march for peace in Lebanon. There happened to be Hezbollah sympathizers, he didn't have anything to do with them. Out of 2000 flags there, there were 3-4 flags of Hezbollah. It's 3-4 too much but Denis had no control over this and has nothing to do with this.

    Most of the YLCQ exec was at that protest. They were there for peace, as was Denis Coderre.


    By Blogger Alex Plante, at 12:50 a.m.  

  • That's the problem with such rallies. They don't have ironclad control over who is involved (it's pretty much ideological anathema), and yet if you dismiss the whole rally on the basis of the few extremists, you're essentially arguing that anybody who dares march for peace is pro-Hezbollah.

    We saw that argument before, in and around 2003. It led to a lot of dead Americans and a lot more dead Iraqis. Canadians had best not repeat it.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 4:11 a.m.  

  • I've got a pretty summary of what Hezbollah is all about at my own blog. Whether it's only three as the always-reliable and insightful Wikipedia says or every country in the world, Hezbollah IS primarily a terrorist organization that is responsible for the deaths of many civilians in every region of the world. Some have gone so far as to say that the are actually the A-Team of terrorism and more efficient and deadly than al Qaeda.
    Just because they do some social work as a side project should not create apologists for a group whose leader proudly proclaims that there slogan is, was, and will be "Death to America." To see Canadian MPs going wobbly on Hezbollah is deeply disheartening.

    By Blogger RGM, at 7:00 a.m.  

  • Hey it only takes a leadership race and a war in the middle east to get the Liberal nutcases to come out of the wood work. Can we start villifying all Liberals as being backwards and anti-semetic because Coddere is marching in Hezbollah parades and Boris is suggesting murdering thugs just needs hugs? Or are you only aloud to villify an entire party for the isolated actions of one member if its some backward hick MP from Saskatchewan saying something dated about homosexuals?

    By Blogger Chris, at 7:45 a.m.  

  • Alex, gimme a break already.

    Anyone who said Coderre is an anti-Semite is a fool making baseless accusations, and he has no control over who shows at a protest, you're right. I agree.

    He still is fairly deserving of criticism for a) signing a condemning statement of Israel without mentioning Hezbollah, b) not speaking out against the idiots who showed at the protest. Lie down with dogs, get up with criticism.

    I don't think he's an anti-Semite - at all. But I think he's a moron and I'm not, er, losing any sleep over people expressing their frustration with his idiocy. We deserve better than him.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 9:18 a.m.  

  • Borys AlphabetSoup


    By Blogger RP., at 9:19 a.m.  

  • I didn't even get that alphabet soup thing until now. That's hillarious. I love it. I have to keep his name written down by my computer and check it every time I write it. It's a difficult name. Anti-polish I doubt it, but I have have tried very hard to get his name right when I didn't really feel like it. I have a difficult first name. It is constantly mangled. I don't care. It's just an unusual name.

    By Blogger S.K., at 9:44 a.m.  

  • Oh yeah he's Ukranian just looked it up.

    By Blogger S.K., at 9:49 a.m.  

  • Everyone that matters considers them a terrorist organization.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 11:00 a.m.  

  • Besides, according to the same source (Wikipedia), on 4 countries consider Al Qaeda a terrorist organization. That should put in in perspective.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 11:53 a.m.  

  • Considering that Al Qaeda is, these days, more of a brand name than an "organization", that makes a surprising bit of sense.

    Besides, that doesn't even pass the smell test. Do you really think the French, who joined the US in Afghanistan in fighting the Taliban, actually don't consider Al Qaeda a terrorist organization?

    The problem with Hezbollah is that they don't play one single role and, thus, are difficult to classify. They attack civilians, but they also act as a paramilitary guerilla army and do all that social service work too.

    Plus, since they came into being fighting an occupation force, it's very difficult to simply toss them in the "terrorist" pile without raising questions about pretty much any guerilla army, including those the United States has supported.

    Doesn't mean they aren't anti-semitic. Doesn't mean Lebanon and Israel wouldn't be better off without them. It DOES mean that classification is difficult, and labelling doesn't serve as the trump card that some people seem to believe it does.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:18 p.m.  

  • Oh, and while I'm here... does nobody remember that this whole debate is a sideshow? The question is not whether Hezbollah is a terrorist organization or whether Israel has the right to defend itself. The question is where the line is drawn between legitimate and illegitimate tactics. "How", not "what".

    All this meandering BS about so-called leftist "anti-semitism" is just a smokescreen intended to obscure that basic point and exploit liberals' own sense of fairness and revulsion at racism and genocide against them.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:22 p.m.  

  • The Cyber Menace here to explain why this has become an issue with Gerard Kennedy.

    It's not so much about isolated incidents, although two coming together at the same time like this certainly doesn't help. It's about the kind of support Kennedy has attracted in his campaign.

    You can see a list of some of his supporters here:


    Of note, especially regarding sensitive issues revolving around Israel and/or race, are:

    Omar Alghabra
    Andrew Telegdi

    In other words, when people are going after Gerard Kennedy on this issue, they're wondering if any potential silence is indicitave of something larger at play.

    That'll be all.

    By Blogger Dennis (Second Thots), at 1:26 p.m.  

  • Joe Green,

    Filling your post up with every random buzz word that you can think of doesn't make your points any more coherent. In fact, it actually weakens them.

    Your forget to mention "George Bush".. although you did manage to sneak the word "American" in there.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 2:54 p.m.  

  • Hahaha...I love the "Klanderized" bit...I'll give Warren the heads up.

    - Omar Soliman

    By Blogger Omar Soliman, at 4:15 p.m.  

  • Fascism?!?

    Read a book.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 4:38 p.m.  

  • I've been disappointed before, but I'm again going to raise the very obvious possibility that "Joe Green" is a troll designed to make the LPC look bad. This refrain of "money and the Jewish lobby" sounds like a Parizeau '95 remix.

    All that we know Joe is right now is a "blank" Blogger login whose quotable quotes will be appearing on the Tory echosphere.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 10:12 a.m.  

  • The "centraliziation" refers to the centralization of control of industry, etc.

    Harper is the polar opposite of that.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 1:36 p.m.  

  • By the way, here's another definition for you:


    It's appropriate for you.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 2:06 p.m.  

  • jason townsend,

    joe green is very real.

    you wanted David Orchard and his gang.

    to quote George Kostanza's father ----

    you got 'eeeeeeemmmmmm.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 9:02 p.m.  

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