Israel and my Vote
(Version anglaise seulement)
As a dual citizen of the United States and Canada I must decide how I will vote in two elections. I must admit that Israel is not high on my list of concerns for several reasons. My primary loyalty is as a citizen of the country I am voting in, to choose the best candidates for the general welfare of my two countries.
My primary concern is at this moment, as it is for many of you as well, for the economy and providing good management in a time of economic uncertainty. I will certainly not trust in those who brought us to this state of affairs, those who have offered phony arguments for deregulated markets. Nor, will I vote for those who would just bail out the wealthy speculators at public expense. One critic of the Bush handouts has pointed out that the United States has now socialized losses and privatized profits, meaning that the risk has been taken out of speculative capitalism and put on the backs of the tax payers. I recognize that the situation is better in Canada but Paul Martin’s long fight against deficits is now in jeopardy, as ill-advised corporate tax cuts have threatened our economic position and ability to respond to the growing crisis.
Secondly, I am vitally concerned about the environment which is an immediate issue and cannot be postponed until 2050 as conservatives on both sides of the border would have it. Republicans in the United States and Conservatives in Canada have now seemed to have shifted from climate change deniers, and I specifically mean Bush and Harper, to environmental sluggards who would postpone all actions until they are safely out of office. I am not an advocate of the carbon tax or of a cap and trade system but we must surely act now and opt for tough measures, even if they impact on Harper’s beloved Alberta Tar Sands. Climate change is already, according to the conservative Economist magazine, now threatening the lives of many in the developing world. But I am also concerned about my own children and grandchildren and will not vote to delay meaningful action on the environment. A leading environmental group has awarded four of our parties with a B grade or better but gave the Conservatives a much deserved F+.
My third concern is for the foreign policy of my two countries. The Iraq War has cost the United States dearly, undermining its financial health, damaging its relations around the world and constraining the ability of its armed forces to respond to new crisis. One should recall that while most of our political parties in Canada opposed going into that war, Stephen Harper was all for it. That brings me back to Israel and this election.
There is no doubt in my mind that Israel is less secure today than before the Iraq War and those who urged it and supported it were not the good friends of Israel. Unlike his father, Dubya was not mindful of the balance of power in the Middle East. When he destroyed Iraq, he made Iran the dominant player in that part of the world, threatening Israel’s security. He committed America’s strength not to the battle against terrorism but to the battle for oil. Ask yourselves the question, is Israel better off today, more secure under the leadership of Bush, Cheney and their ilk, than it was under a Clinton administration which pursued peace between Israel and her enemies?
You will understand that I will have little difficulty in casting my American ballot. I do not suffer from Obamamania but consider Obama and Biden best prepared to meet America’s challenges. In Canada I will cast a strategic vote, having no enthusiasm for the opposition parties and in the realization that whatever I do, we seem headed towards a Conservative majority government and one man rule. I am not reassured by sleeveless sweaters or softer tones. Canada seems doomed to four years of no action on the environment, corporate rule with little or no regulation and a friendship not for Israel but for the right-wing Likud and its greater Israel policies.