True North Humanist Perspective - April 2015

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A Jew reports from Israel

Lia Tarachansky

Third of a three-part series. For the first two see March, April issues

Brilliant writer of critical analyses in prose and poetry
provides a new series about the Israeli-Palestine crisis
Editor's Note: In 2012 I had the privilege of a brief conversation with Lia Tarachansky at a dinner table in Ottawa Canada. During more than half a decade of publishing True North Perspective I was wary of stepping into the churning cauldron of Israeli-Arab relations. I just didn't have the depth of background to make sense of it all. During the half-hour I spent talking with Lia Tarachansky I learned that she was working as a journalist in Israel and, most important, I concluded that she had a profound grasp of the conflict and a brilliant, critical, creative mind. She gave me permission to use  her work in True North Perspective. I'm happy to say here that we will begin with a story of her life and will continue in each issue with her journalism and creative work. This way, True North Perspective readers will be able to learn in prose and poetry about the reality of that tortured area of the world, well away from those who lie by commission and omission for narrow vested interests. Lia Tarachansky's copy will go a long way to satisfy True North Perspective's abiding quest for learning, and knowledge, and seeking the truth. — Editor, Carl Dow.
Click here for the link to Lia Tarachanky's interview with Paul Jay of The Real News  titled Identity and Collective Denial this is the third of three. Ms. Tarachansky talks about her journey from growing up in a settlement to opposition to the Israeli occupation. For the first contribution, please click here.

​Ex-Chancellor Schroeder criticizes Merkel’s Russia policy

German leader urges West to stop sabre rattling toward Russia

28 March 2015

German ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has slammed Angela Merkel’s policy toward Russia, saying he understands Moscow’s foreign policy concerns and sees no reason to fear a possible Russian threat in Eastern Europe.

Schroeder, the chancellor of Germany from 1998-2005, fully recognized Russia's concerns, which are linked to the growing isolation of the country. “The Warsaw Pact ceased to exist with the end of the Soviet Union, while NATO not only survived, but also has extensively expanded to the East,” he said in a Saturday 28 March interview with Der Spiegel. (More)


China's Xi defies expectations

Xi is the mother of all boat rockers

By Felicia Sonmez, Kelly Olsen

Agences France Presse
13 March 2015 BEIJINGTwo years into his presidency China's Xi Jinping has overturned his image as a consensus-builder, with some analysts questioning whether the Communist Party would have chosen him as leader if the full scope of his ambitions and his signature anti-corruption drive had been known.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party, was widely viewed as a compromise candidate between rival factions when he took office two years ago Saturday, winning approval from both influential former president Jiang Zemin and Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao.

At the helm of a party whose prime goal is ensuring its own continued rule, Xi was expected to continue the leadership's risk-averse approach — but instead, experts say he has confounded expectations by presiding over a far-reaching anti-graft campaign and a harsh crackdown on activists, sending shockwaves through the ranks of the party elite and civil society alike.

"If anybody had had any inkling of what was going to happen, he would not have been picked," said Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College who has written two books on contemporary Chinese politics.

After the death in 1976 of Communist China's founding father Mao Zedong — who was at the centre of a huge personality cult — the party became deeply conservative politically, Pei said, with its innermost circle selecting top leaders who would respect a new set of norms.

There was to be a consensus-based decision-making process, a respect for the physical safety of other party members and — crucially — no strong leaders.

"Both Jiang and Hu were in that mould," Pei said, noting that other than Xi, the six remaining members of the party's elite Politburo Standing Committee "are people who will not rock the boat".

But Pei added: "In the case of Xi, they've got the mother of all boat-rockers. The people who picked him must be regretting bitterly that they picked somebody who turned out to be completely different." (More)