Commentary  Letters

Good luck with that peace thing

Re: “Israel supporters want peace” | News | January 22

Oh! A peace protest!? Oops, I think I passed the wrong protest that day. The one I passed certainly wasn’t asking for peace. I mean, my friends and I were called “Fascist Arabs” – highly annoying given two of us are, like, so not Arab.

Also, there were about 150 students, primarily CEGEP, at the protest I passed – according to McGill security. Additionally, I remember a Rabbi saying something about how only when Palestinians will start loving their children will there be peace in the Middle East. Also something about Arabs not knowing what peace is. Too bad I missed the Hillel peace protest though! Good luck with stuff.

Sana Saeed

U3 Honours Political Science

Daily columnist

Arab parties aren’t banned

Re: “Censorship a sign of desperation?” | Letters | January 26

Moral relativism in leftist politics drives me batshit insane. But let’s not get into that: there’s a bit of misinformation that’s been flying around I feel the need to correct it. Shirley mentions the “arbitrary ban” of the Arab parties in Israel. That is false. The Central Elections Committee of the Knesset has indeed voted to stop Balad and United Arab List from running in the next elections, but the committee knew the decision would never be implemented. While it’s tempting for many to jump on this shiny argument against Israeli democracy, it’s invalid. The Supreme Court must accept or deny the committee’s requests – and it has revoked the ban. Balaad and UAL are not disqualified, and I am happy about it. Ahmed Tibi has every right to speak in the Knesset, and he will run in February.

However: every election, Beiteinu/Jewish Home and other right-wing parties issue a disqualification request to grab more votes from the extreme right. Every time, it is revoked by the Supreme Court. I don’t expect any better from those parties, nor do I expect the court to grant them the ban. True, Kadima and Labor’s condoning the ban this time around is disturbing and frankly appalling, although the decision has been widely disputed within Labor ranks. What irks me is that many people have pointed to this “ban” as a sensational antidemocratic and fascist result of the Gaza onslaught, when it’s merely a ritual of Israeli right-wing politics. It’s nothing new. Please remember the only party to have ever been banned by the Supreme Court in the 60 years of Israel’s history is Zionist racist extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane’s in 1986.

Steph Ouaknine

U3 Theatre and History

Hooray for lifting the stupid and lazy tax

Re: “I want my bottled water” | Letters | January 26

I applaud Residence Food Services for stopping bottled water service in their bagged lunch. Bottled water is a scam – taking water, cleaned by the municipal government funded by taxpayers, and putting it in a wasteful, plastic bottle to sell back to us gullible idiots for more then the price of gasoline. Furthermore, any explicit condoning of the privatization of our water is abhorrent. This parasitic industry is below our dignity, let alone our monetary support.

Mr. Majumdar mentions his concern about losing alternatives for lunchtime, citing health problems and the loss of choice in this decision; I think he is missing the fact that, unlike every other available drink, water comes out of the numerous fountains spread about our campus for free, and all we need to do is bring a reusable water bottle from home!

This “tapwater” has the added benefit of not being exposed to polyethylene terephthalate for an unspecified time, which has been shown to leak endocrine-disrupting phthalates into the water. Not to mention the fact that tapwater must pass government wide standards to even enter the supply, but the bottled water he is so keen to drink is not. I question his thought that the 30 per cent waste generated from a completely redundant industry is really a “green” solution.

Residence Food Services should be thanked for lifting this tax on the stupid and lazy.

Andrew Komar

U2 Civil Engineering

Defending the born

Re: “Pro-lifer seeks liberal

support” | News | January 22

Pro-life speaker Mary Meehan argued that we should defend the unborn. I would argue that we should defend the born.

First, it is simply for arithmetic reason as we live 100 times longer than we “do” inside the womb. Secondly, the suffering outside of the womb is graphically more gut-wrenching than all the photos of aborted fetuses put together. But don’t ask me – ask the 30 per cent of families in Toronto who are living in poverty!

This real-life perspective is exactly what has been missing in the debate – and not merely debates on morality, freedom of choice, or when life truly begins; all of which are nothing more than just a philosophical masturbation.

Abortion is a painful process. However, in this wretched society where it is getting harder and harder to raise a family because good paying jobs are getting scarce, more often than not you are left with no choice. Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, abortion seems to be the only choice so that you don’t have to raise your family on food stamps.

The pro-life people seem to be obsessed only by the unborn. Once you are born, that’s it. They leave you to fend for yourself in this world of disappearing jobs, plummeting wages, and crumbling social system.

So, if the pro-life people really love life as much as they claim, they should focus on creating a condition where women don’t have to face such a horrifying decision in the first place. That is by providing them a better place to raise their families: reduce the wage gap between women and men, fight for free universal quality day care, longer paid maternal leave, a living wage and not a minimum wage, etc. The Pharisees would have just banned abortion and turned blind eyes to the real suffering of women. Jesus would have done other wise. There lies the revolutionary character of Jesus, of early Christianity – the religion of women and slaves, before it was hijacked again by our modern Pharisees.

Ted Sprague

Master’s II Chemistry

Some rules about the Palestinian conflict

Re: “Applying some logic to conflict terminology” | Commentary | January 22

I am sure Gilad Ben-Shach is an excellent mathematician, but it seems he leaves aside logic when defending Israel. Shouting something confidently and consistently without justification is not sufficient to constitute a proof.

Or maybe he is assuming the well-known universal rules. Let me mention a few of them.

First, some beliefs:

Israel is promoting peace by constructing illegal settlements in occupied areas in the Westbank.

Israel is promoting peace by bombing UN schools that preach hatred and teach Palestinian right of self-determination, which is the biggest threat to peace.

Israel is promoting Palestinians’ well-being by imposing hundreds of checkpoints inside occupied territories; this is for Palestinians’ own security.

Israel is promoting the environment by uprooting thousands of olive trees. These trees are used to hide terrorists.

Palestinians promote hatred.

Then, rights:

Palestinians cannot kill Israeli civilians; this is terrorism.

Israel can kill Palestinian civilians, this is self-defence, and Hamas will be held responsible for it.

Palestinians are not allowed to have rockets, because they will use them for terrorism.

Israel can have nuclear weapons, because they will be used for self-defence only.

And finally, anyone who does not respect the rules above is a pro-Palestinian propagandist.

Omar Fawzi

PhD I Computer Science

Consider tapping into truly sustainable options

Re: “I want my bottled water” | Letters | January 26

While I understand the reader’s concern for choice, and appreciate the skepticism of acts of “sustainability” by McGill administrators, I’d like to ask them to reconsider their position on bottled water.

Yes, it is true that plastic bottles are made of PET and easily recyclable, the reality is that Quebecers don’t seem to do so. The statement that Québec recycles up to 70 per cent of its plastic bottles is misleading. While this province does have a limited deposit return system for certain bottles resulting in a recycling rate of 72 per cent this is specific only to plastic bottles containing soft drinks. The environment and plastics industry council estimates that only 30 per cent of non-soft drink plastic beverage bottles are recycled in Quebec (water bottles included). Furthermore, I would like to ask the reader to consider the various other environmental impacts that are involved in the production and transportation of these bottles, the inflated cost, and potential health concerns.

Yes, it is true that many people drink bottled water as a healthy alternative to sugary soft-drinks. However, with less frequent government inspection and a history of contaminants, is bottled water really a healthier option than tap water? I suggest that the reader, rather than buy a coke, buy themselves a nice re-usable stainless steel water bottle and take it upon themselves to fill it up at the many water fountains found all over campus. The reader should take pride that McGill has taken this small initiative in working towards a greener campus, and tap in to the accessible, affordable, and sustainable alternative of tap water.

Dana Holtby

U1 Environment and Development