Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lesley Hughes gets Finkelsteined

Election season is nigh and it’s hard not to get lost in the muzzle and hazing that is typical of the campaigning. Here in North America, we are treated to two elections in the short span of a month, with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for a new government over the “no confidence” and the incumbent youngster Barack Obama taking on the experienced old-timer John McCain, engulfed in the dramatics on who will unseat the ever-more obsolete George W. Bush. You get the mudslinging, the slurs, the jokes, the speeches, and even a fixed vote. It is the time when a nation gets shaken up and we get to hear the elitist-of-the-elite duke it out, using all means necessary in order to embarrass their opponent in defeat by the polls. All etiquette is out the window here; the old adage of “all is fair in love and war” rings true. We had the pinnacle of it earlier this year when Obama was called a Muslim; after all, in these times, being a Muslim is a “smear” when you aren’t one. The odd thing was that this was pushed by members of his party.

The gloves come off and everything and everyone you have ever breached upon is up for scrutiny; well, except if you’re John McCain and his “war-hero” and POW status. Just last week Canada was privy to quite a “nude scandal” when NDP candidate Julian West in British Columbia resigned when it became public that his antics “at an environmental conference in 1996”, which involved “skinny dipping with a group of teenagers”, as well as other reports that had him exposing himself to teenage females. Not exactly the model candidate to run your community taxes, I guess? Naturally, it is just part-and-parcel of the gossip columns that has us steering away from serious issues such as the falling economy and fledgling businesses in Canada. In addition, economist Michael Hudson laid out the nightmare that would befall the Canadian dollar thanks to the casino mortgage crashes down south. These aren’t real issues: what’s really important is if our local candidate was too frivolous in his younger years.

This makes for entertaining viewing/reading about the skeletons in our officials’ past. I mean, who would have guessed that we were close to electing a man with a flair for “nudist” practices. Or even worse, vote for a woman who is so odious that she invokes anti-Semitic notions in relation to the attacks of 9/11. Yes, this is the one Lesley Hughes.

Hughes, to those who aren’t aware or who hasn’t googled her name already, was the Winnipeg-area Liberal candidate forced to step down thanks to Liberal leader and PM candidate Stephane Dion. Rumours are flying abound and the usual canard of “anti-Semitism” is making sparks across Canada, and with Dion being pressured as an unfit “leader”, whatever that means anymore in politics, felt the need to strengthen this attribute to show voters that he has the fortitude to fire someone who is deemed a liability towards the campaign. And with all the configurations about North American politics, it’s hard not to fault that decision by Mr Dion on a realpolitik perspective. But Dion left his fellow party member to the wolves as Hughes, still on the ballot because of the late dismissal, is scraping to keep some sort of dignity amidst all the horror that has her respected image going down the drain.

Not a lot of information has been divulged about Hughes’ career. In fact, it’s a very arduous task to try to find any snippet of it at all online. The fruit of my findings is limited to one article where Hughes herself is the sole figure in exchanging any kind of information about her background, as she

“had written a biography of a leading figure in Winnipeg's Jewish community, had dramatized the Holocaust in a play, and taught the Holocaust for 15 years in her classes at the University of Winnipeg.”

This is by no means ossified as concrete evidence that she is not an anti-Semite. Without further information about her then all we have is her writings, which from the looks of things is pretty clear of anything offensive since she has skimmed through unchecked after all these years. What I mean by this is that anti-Semitism is not a phenomenon that is latent for so long and then manifests itself in some marginal publication somewhere only to dissipate, remaining dormant again for another decade or so. It isn’t like a light switch you can keep off and flick on at a whim. It resembles more like the drunken ranting of Mel Gibson.

Here's where all this controversy is rooted from: her one article written back in 2002 where she hints at prior Israeli knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Of course, this is nothing to new to anyone. Her precise words as thus:

“German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. [about the terrorist attacks] last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August. Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it. About 3000 Americans working there were not so lucky.”

Naturally, whenever you connect 9/11 with Israel that has you in cahoots with Robert Faurisson, David Irving and David Duke: the epitome of evil, a peddler of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and a disciple of the Protocols of Elders of Zion. The reaction of much of the bloggers and the press was normally outlandish and from the Canadian Jewish community, it was predictable. The Black Rod, a notorious right-wing blogland for all things Conservative, was not very courteous when they refer to Hughes, calling her a “wacko nut” and Sylvain Abitol, Co-President of the Canadian Jewish Congress asserted, “Ms. Hughes crossed a line which cannot be crossed under any circumstances because there is no place in Canada for 9/11 Jewish conspiracy theories.” Not to be outdone was Bernie Farber who lavished Dion for his decision to dismiss Hughes and stated that “[t]here is no room in Canada or anywhere for these modern-age twists on the age-old anti-Semitic calumnies with these odious and dangerous conspiracy theories." The only thing missing is for Hughes to be given the illustrious skill of being a Holocaust-denier or even a Nazi. To her credit, Hughes has stuck to her guns and there was even an online poll showing dismay at her removal. But it seems like the damage has been done and this will forever be burned on Hughes’ career.

Not that anything I write here will change the recent events nor even halt the blathering that is gathering steam in the blogs and the press. The National Post had an editorial that was filled with glee at Hughes’ misfortune (and defending Tory MP Lee Richardson). There has been scant reaction from the left spectrum, not wanting to touch the issue as if it was a hot potato that they don’t want to be burned with (with few exceptions, the Canadian Dimension, Paul Graham and Henry Makow).

What seems to have been the common denominator in the flawed analysis of Hughes’ comments is the grave deception of what she really represented or embodied. In comments, it is circulating that Hughes wrote that the Mossad knew in advance of the terrorists attacks and selfishly evacuated their own, meaning Jewish, kept the intelligence for “themselves”, the collective that Jews supposedly have over us Westerners, and left the rest to burn. That seems to have been the summary that everyone is focusing on. The more I see the same quoted line, the more I am under the belief that they are just limiting themselves to the highlighted print and not reading the article in its full text, or even in its full paragraph.

Here’s what The Black Rod is shamelessly accusing Hughes of:

“[T]he Israeli government tipped off their co-religionists who sneakily moved without warning those who don’t share their religion and letting them die in a terrorist attack. Yeah, no anti-Semitism there, not if you look at it with one eye closed and squint with the other while turning in circles till you get dizzy.”

Another blog seems to have followed this line of thought, omitting the earlier part of the paragraph that mentioned

“German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. [about the terrorist attacks] last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August.”

Similarly Jonathan Kay of the National Post was guilty of this pathetic display of journalism. It seems that in their haste to get to the most offensive nature of Hughes' article they decided to skip one part of the paragraph, possibly thinking that it was irrelevant and decontextualised. (To its credit, The Black Rod quoted it fully but seems to have come to the same conclusion anyway.)

Why am I reporting on this seemingly harmless work of journalism? Because I do not find it harmless at all. Not in the least. If you scroll back up the page to the original quote on Hughes’ article and then hit page down to the flubbered one quoted by the right then you really have two different pictures. The entire paragraph had “German Intelligence” warning “the US” in June, the Israelis and the Russians in August.

Let’s step back here: the Germans informed the Americans in June, two months before the Israelis who were informed in August. The fact that this doesn’t seem abnormal to anyone accusing Hughes of anti-Semitism here is rather preposterous or selfish in their own right to benefit from a Liberal candidate having to step down, no matter the issue; it just so happens that this one is around 9/11 and Israel, ie Jew. This sentence contradicts everything that the right has been stating, that the Israelis were selfish in keeping this information for themselves. This seems to be more of a stinging account of US incompetence since they were informed three months before the attack but it was just ignored. The Israelis seemed to have taken this piece of information as sound and did what they had to do. While we can all speculate as to how much the Israelis knew, and I have dealt with this subject before, it is up to the Americans’ own government to inform their citizens of a danger in their country. Israel, as an ally, may have been obliged to do so. I can never know and neither can anyone else here unless there is a major investigation into the operation (which there never will be until it is too late) to what extent the relationship was, but it has been reported consistently that the Bush Administration had ample evidence that a terrorist attack was imminent and did nothing about it.

What Kay, his National Post cohorts, The Black Rod and others want you to think is that Hughes claimed Israel had foreknowledge of these events and decided to evacuate without informing the US about what was going to happen, even though they were already informed two months prior. What is also telling is the word Jew is not evident in Hughes’ original post; in fact, that is a phenomenon that Kay, etc. are guilty of as they have put it upon themselves that “Israeli businesses” means Jew, and therefore that anything condemning “Israeli businesses” means something of an anti-Semitic slant. You’d be hard-pressed to find any of these sites having the word Jew in quotation marks: that means Hughes never wrote that word at all. All she was guilty of was reporting that “Israeli businesses” did something unusual in breaking their lease before a major attack.

This is a classic defense of all Israel’s apologists. What Israel’s defenders have up their sleeve is a major card: the anti-Semitism card. You need not mention the word Jew, or even refer to a Jew; you can complain about Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and you’ll end up in the Jimmy Carter end of the dividing line here. Steve Walt and John Mearsheimer, two scholars who have distinguished careers, were not immune to the attacks when they published a best-seller last year. Israel could be guilty of as many war crimes as possible and that will not be enough for anyone to detach the anti-Semite card. It is the classic defense mechanism that has kept Israel and its supporters in a bubble free from criticism. The list of victims is a long one and we can add Leslie Hughes to the growing list.

And the list can only grow longer, not shorter. As we have it, it is in the interests of those who support Israel to equate Israel with Jewishness. It’s hard not to make that distinction since Israel is known as the Jewish state. But this only curries favour with those who are not in the know about Israel and about the inner workings of the Jewish state and its caliphates. For Israel is not just a state with Jews, it has 1.4 million Arab citizens among it, plus a good portion of non-Jews who immigrated from the former Soviet who have no desire to be Jewish. It also has a healthy number of Bedouin; it even has Arab members in the Knesset (though only in single digits). But yes, immediately we tend to think Israelis as Jewish, as it gets clearer by the day that this Jewishness is the one thing that counts when you are a citizen of Israel. (Let's not forget about those Israelis who do not wish to be identified with the policies of its own government, similar to Americans who wish to be detached from the conflation that Bush and his cronies speak them since he is the leader of the US. These courageous Israelis see the folly in blindly supporting everything Israel does in its name, going to lengths as facing assassination.)

It is a perfect ploy to deflect it from the real issues here: it’s difficult to stem the tide when you are painted as an anti-Semite. No one wants to be invoked as a neo-Nazi, a Holocaust denier or a terrorist sympathiser (unless you are one). When you deride critics of Israel as someone with an axe to grind from anachronisms dating back to past centuries, it minimises what they have to say no matter how truthful it might be. For how can you take an anti-Semite seriously? This is what happened to former President Jimmy Carter and apparently for Hughes also. It is eerily similar to those who fear of being depicted as unpatriotic, not supportive of troops, or, dare I say it again, terrorist sympathiser. These are standard practices to neglect the issues and facts that are presented and instead focus on the presenter’s character; analysis of their background and history is all up for grabs, similar to those running for office.

There is also a spectacular omission from the original blog entry. Hughes averred to internet journalism and their findings, therefore relying on the reports of other journalists, which is what we all do here. It reminds me of what Mehrene Larudee said,

“We rely on the truths of others.”

We must do our own research but we depend on the ability of a reporter to tell the truth. That’s what the academics do and that’s what the journalists should be doing. That really seems to be missing by the guys from the National Post or else they would have done their duty and read the blog entry in full.

Here’s what else you would have missed if you perused through the right-wing blogs and press:

“If the work of Internet journalists is correct, then the war [in Afghanistan] is neither a holy war, not a grand clash of civilizations between East and West, and our soldiers were lost to us and to their families to keep drugs and oil profits flowing in the U.S.

Until we know the truth, we should refuse to add one more Canadian body to the pile of dead in Afghanistan.”

Hughes covered her tracks here. The “If” is the operative word here. She did not testify that what she wrote is dogma as she is relying on the research she has done. For if she believed everything that she wrote, would she have written “if”? She even ends with “until we know the truth”, meaning she doesn’t know the truth of the matter just yet, just that there is a lot of evidence showing that what the leaders of the free world are saying was not airtight when analysed by experts who are not on the company payroll. Rather, it seemed more like a position for a further inquiry instead of a belief in an Israeli role in 9/11. As the saying goes, “inquiring minds want to know”. I’m positive Hughes was not the only one curious to the very covert Israeli activity in the US.

Was Hughes right?

Despite the obvious condescension from those who simply want to dismiss this as a pure conspiracy theory, there had been a lot of reports that can lead one to believe that the Israelis had plenty of information about the hijackers of 9/11. What happened was
scores of Israelis being detained after the attacks, and there were some 140 who were taken into custody before that also. They were arrested along with 1,000 Muslims under the rubric of “Special Interest”, as INS officials in Cleveland and St. Louis testified that they were “of special interest”.

Now this may seem harmless but coupled with the great expose by
Christopher Ketcham in Salon, Carl Cameron in Fox News, yes, that’s right, Fox News, about the role of the Israeli art student spy ring, then there are too many hunches not snuffed out just yet. The suspicious disappearance of anything related to these events from Fox and Salon only adds more curiousity about its magnitude. The DEA reported “suspicious activities” by Israeli art students, as there were reports of them “visiting the homes of numerous DEA employees” and attempted “to circumvent the access control systems at DEA offices, and when these individuals began to solicit their paintings at the homes of DEA employees.” These aren’t rantings of some sidelined anti-Semite, these are serious reporters doing their job digging at something that happens in the US all the time: espionage. We can invoke Jonathan Pollard, Larry Franklin and even the USS Liberty here.

As we have it,
even the Jewish publication Forward admits to this fact. This does not seem like that Hughes was very far off from what other journalists were reporting about six years ago. If you follow all of this, you will find out that the Israeli spy students had accommodation in close proximity to four hijackers in Hollywood, Florida and had followed their movements very closely for months, some even as early as January 2001. None of this was made public to the US UNTIL they were caught doing so. As one reporter (who I can’t remember) put it, “how could they have not known?”

On top of all of this,
we get the even more suspicious activity of the trio who were cheering as the Twin Towers burned. As it turned out, these were employees of a mysterious moving company called Urban Moving Systems. It’s funny how we want to forget but they were all photographed “smiling” as the towers collapsed. These incidents seem too much of a coincidence to be ignored.

All of this is missing from the right’s account of Hughes’ blog entry. It’s easier to relegate it to conspiracy theories so you don’t have to do any work in debunking her accusations about the Israeli intelligence. One blog even put on the ridiculous
Anti-Defamation League publication that was meant to finally put the myth to rest. The sad thing about it was that this poster had no clue of the contents of the publication and wanted to keep the faith that Abe Foxman was a man of great fortitude, which he is not. The paper is rife with assertations of “myths” without ever citing a fact against the reported findings about the Israeli spy ring. Their best defense is guilt by association: since the neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers all believe this, then it must be false because they are men for white power and people who don’t think the Holocaust ever happened. They can say that AIPAC is powerful and cite many AIPAC members boasting of its power and even Israeli MK members gloating of its lobby in the US, show the numbers of AIPAC donations, and still call it “myth” because the neo-Nazis believe it is true. Not a good defense. Maybe the guys at The Black Rod should read Walt and Mearsheimer’s book since they sneer at James Petras and “affluent Jews” and “powerful Jewish organizations”. What is ignored, possibly on purpose, is that there are many prominent Jews who hold very powerful seats in the Bush Administration and even in past Administrations. This structure and pattern was so adamant and blatant that the Camp David Accords were featuring heavily on Jewish influence with the lack of an Arab voice. Because of this, Dan Kurtzer dubbed them Jim Baker's "Jewboys" in his latest book. It led to some "embarrassing" moments, as "[t]here was no expert on our team on Islam or Muslim perspectives", not surprising since it was filled mainly with Israel supporters.

It has been seven years since the attack and still we are no closer to the truth about these matters, thanks to a very obedient Administration that wants nothing to be exposed that could incriminate its own people who were asleep at the post. It also wants to guard their greatest ally, the special of special friends, Israel; it has many positions paid for and pushes many bills into Congress. The only attempted response was from The Black Rod on the issue of the Odigo messengers that were sent to two employees on the morning of 9/11. While The Black Rod cites a
story from Ha'aretz (unlinked even though I was able to find it) that

"two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, and the company has been cooperating with Israeli and American law enforcement, including the FBI, in trying to find the original sender of the message predicting the attack."

Further down he recalls the interview with one Alex Diamandis, the Odigo Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Not specifically the head honcho or even one that is related to anything about security issues; he's a marketing man and sales person. But there is a discreptancy here: Diamandis revealed that "something big was going to happen in a certain amount of time, and it did -- almost to the minute". That's funny: the earlier account was TWO HOURS prior to the attacks. Diamandis has it happening instantly. Upon further review, a
book available online has the FBI still investigating the matter two months later, with Diamandis and co. unwilling to provide "more details" as it "would only lead to more conjecture." If it was no secret, then what is the harm in finding out or making it public?

While The Black Rod was correct in pointing out that Odigo's office was not located within the World Trade Center (but close enough from Ground Zero), that does not mean the case is closed that Hughes was incorrect in stating "Israeli businesses" vacating "the premises a week before the attacks". The Black Rod assumed that Odigo was the only Israeli business apparent in the 9/11 conspiracy theory: the folk at The Black Rod were
unaware of the Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co. There was a timeframe where the company moved from the 16th floor of the WTC to Norfolk, Virginia, planned six months earlier. The company is half owned by the Israeli government. All attempts for more information from the company about its move, breaking its year lease, were rebuffed.

This is all available to anyone willing to grant more than five minutes of research. I guess that was too much to ask for the right blognuts. I was even able to locate the
English summaries of the Der Spiegel and Der Zeit articles that were published damning the Israeli intelligentsia role in 9/11 and its subsequent role in being idle in the wake of the most sophisticated terrorist attack we have known. Here’s the evidence written:

“According to research by ZEIT, between December 2000 and April 2001 a whole horde of Israeli counter-terror investigators posing as students were on the trail of Arab terrorists and their cells in the United States," SPIEGEL writes. "In their secret investigations the Israelis came very close to the later perpetrators of Sept. 11. In the town of Hollywood, Florida, they identified the two former Hamburg students and later terror pilots Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi as suspected terrorists. Agents lived in the vicinity of the apartment of the two seemingly normal flight school students, observing them around the clock.”

Hughes didn’t even state this, but it may have been implied. She also used the German intelligence line but never alluded to anything close to a spy ring syndicate, only that German intelligence “claims” to have done so. This does not mimic the imagery of Hitler to me; more or less Hughes was relying on the integrity of the German authorities and not of some maligned fascist or noted anti-Semite; Hughes was going on the evidence given by the German intelligence agency. Hughes was just inquisitive on certain auspicious reports about Israel’s Mossad according to these claims; the more appropriate and reasonable thing to do was check out these claims and if it was by some anti-Semite planting falsehoods to give Israel a bad name (and Jews automatically), it would be the German intelligence that’s guilty, not Hughes. None of that was ever undertaken and that’s why these “theories” still fly about.

But why would Israel withhold information from its greatest ally?

Exactly the same reason why it does its espionage: to benefit Israel. Jonathan Pollard divulged American secrets to the Soviets in exchange for a massive influx of Soviet Jews; Larry Franklin eavesdrop key American intelligence on Iran to AIPAC in the hope to push for a hard stance on Iran, ie bombs; and
the USS Liberty? Well I’m not quite sure about that one just yet but we still do not have the proper inquiry on that matter. But what we do know is that Israel cannot be exculpated from spy activity in the US even to the detriment of the Americans. So how can 9/11 be any different?

Thanks to hindsight of seven years, we can really put the pieces together. We knew of the strong pro-Israel crowd that pushed for the war in Iraq. There was the co-ordinated paper of the Project for a New American Century called
“The Clean Break”, authored by key members of the Bush Administration written for then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Its prime objection was to restructure the map of the Middle East in order to benefit Israel.

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

Iraq was the first to go. Iran was meant to be next. Revelations?

Without 9/11, all of this would have been incomprehensible. The attacks was the perfect prerequisite in order to implement the doctrine to reshape the Middle East in Israel’s favour: that puts a different light on why those spy students were so jubilant when the attacks happened, which they may have foreknowledge of. How could they have taken that photo without knowing? How about the getaway with the same type of van and the same company name?

Without 9/11, Israel could not justify their beefed up military package with the US. Without the “war on terror”, Israel would not be able to do what it does to the Palestinians, the Lebanese, and the Arab world in general without condemnation from the rest of the world. Because of the “common interests” of both parties involved, an attack on the US would mean a gung-ho revenge mentality that would have its guns aimed at Israel’s enemies: the Islamic world. By letting 9/11 happen, it would benefit immensely by letting America get rid of its problems of hegemony in the region.

9/11 gave both nations carte blanche for their militarism. Every contraversial measure could be justified as a response to 9/11. The Israelis had a great stake in the aftermath. This is the information that they withheld from the slanders of Hughes.

Now it certainly is not anti-Semitic to bring up these charges against Israel even when the Israeli press reported on these findings also. (It’s normal for Israel to be more open about their role than it is in a very compliant press here in North America.) But it’s a new world order and we are nudging closer to a very broad definition of anti-Semitism here. The classical defintion is being thrown out the window; it is being replaced with a new conglomerate, one that lumps in all that is critical of Israel and its policies into one that is part of a conspiracy to destroy the Jews. This is a dangerous sphere we find ourselves in as this only complicates the matter of accepted speech and dialogue and true anti-Semitism.

We have come to expect this sort of pandering to the Jewish community here in North America. Dion celebrated Israel’s anniversary; Harper backed Israel’s decimation of Lebanon two years ago and Canada was the first country to boycott Hamas. Little will change when every candidate who is deemed a danger to the status quo is fired for being an “anti-Semite”.

Anti-immigrants is alright by us

In glaring contrast,
Richardson caused a bit of a furore when he blamed immigrants for the rise in crime. He excoriated the “kid” who did not grow up “next door”, who worshipped “a difficult culture” and “don’t have the same respect for authority”. Richardson “regretted” the remarks but he seems to have a job still. This just shows how easy it is to demean “immigrants”, the scapegoat of all things wrong with the economy and crime, without there being a threat of losing your job.

Harper came to Richardson’s defense, stating that it was "an extreme example of a non-story being blown up," putting the blame on “gotcha journalism that have nothing to do with anything that voters care about in this campaign." For Harper and his Conservative pals, this does not remind them at all of what happened to Hughes. This was an example of a media too involved in minutae, going through every little detail to sensationalise a story and nitpicking over every little thing said or written by a candidate. The difference is the target of the “attack”: for Richardson, the poor immigrant who aren’t the kids we knew, and Hughes at Israel, which was immediately dubbed equated to affluent Jewish power.

I do not advocate the firing of eithern, or is it a defense of the allegation that Israel was “behind” the horror of 9/11; there is no evidence that points to Zionist responsibility in forming the attack or even colluding with the perpetrators; but it seems both were the victim of Harper’s “gotcha journalism”. But this is an example of who the real whipping boy is and what is accepted, even though Richardson recanted in his statements and Hughes has not. And I do not believe that this is a prime example of the work of a powerful Zionist cabal that wants to control every little thing the media says over Israel, even though there is ample evidence that directs us to that conclusion. Dion was pandering to a political base that he knew he could not offend; Farber and his CJC gang are strong and influential. In the past,
Farber has been known to believe that “the Internet must be tamed”, because it is a medium that is dangerous to control, a “wild frontier”. There is no such equivalent for the immigrant lobby. It is painstakingly clear of their absence here, what Steven Plaut would vouch for (a strong Arab and liberal lobby), but yet they are unequipped to take down a candidate who tied crime to immigrants and unable to defend a woman who uses Israel’s supposed past crime as a beneficiary. Fittingly, this would have been the opportune time to “take control” of the talking points.

Whether Hughes was right or not (a matter that was of less importance to everyone), it seems that she will be another victim of the smear campaign by Israel’s supporters. Pressured into stepping down by her party leader, Dion can only be seen as an opportunist and not a loyal party leader. The momentum is stinging and Hughes will be relegated to pariah status.

The lesson learned is if you are in the political running, know who you are criticising; it might cost you your career. Choosing your words carefully so you can be as benign as possible is the ticket. It makes for a very entertaining election campaign. (One that is absent of any foreign policy debate vis-à-vis Israel. And that’s the way we like it.)

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