Here’s another in my Good News Friday series.
The first and most important piece of news is actually something that’s been ongoing for a while: Canada’s transformation, under PM Stephen Harper, into Israel’s strongest supporter in the world.
Back in 2006, Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B’nai Brith, caused a considerable stir when he described Canada’s then-new prime minister, Stephen Harper, as the answer to the Jewish community’s prayers.
To many Canadian Jews, Harper is widely admired as the most unequivocally pro-Israel prime minister Canada has ever had, abandoning what his political, media and diplomatic critics describe as Canada’s historically more “nuanced” position in the Mideast as “an honest broker,” working primarily through the United Nations.
On Wednesday, which was Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the Harper government again bolstered its standing among many Canadian Jews, when Canada’s delegation to the UN walked out of a speech at the General Assembly by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who described Israelis as “uncivilized Zionists.”
That’s just the latest in a long line of moves by the Harper government praised by mainstream Canadian Jewish organizations, as well as the Israeli government, which today appears to consider Canada its strongest international ally and closest friend.
Early in his first term as PM, for example, Harper became the first international leader to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas was elected to power.
In New York this week to pick up a “world statesman” of the year award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Harper will meet with Netanyahu, unlike U.S. President Barack Obama who declined a face-to-face meeting with the Israeli prime minister. Despite opposition criticism in Canada, Harper won’t address the fall assembly of the United Nations, which in 2010 denied Canada a seat on the UN Security Council.
Instead, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, who has described Canada as Israel’s staunchest ally in the world, will address the UN in Harper’s place.
Critics of Harper have attributed his unrelenting support of Israel to his desire to draw Jewish voters away from the Liberals, to the power of the “Israel lobby,” to the fact many Conservatives are “Christian Zionists” who, based on biblical prophecy, believe Israel will play a key role in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
By contrast, many Canadian Jews see Harper as a principled leader in an increasingly unprincipled world.
And, indeed, the answer to their prayers.
We cannot thank Canada enough for standing by us in our hardest hours.
The next piece of good news also falls under the international relations heading, with the media watchdog Honest Reporting succeeding in its efforts to make the British media admit that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital, even though they are still reluctant to acknowledge that Jerusalem is indeed Israel’s capital.
HonestReporting is taking a zero tolerance policy against media promoting the falsehood that Tel Aviv, and not Jerusalem, is Israel’s capital. We launched legal proceedings against The Guardian, forcing it, in August, to unequivocally state:
we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country’s financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital.
But that was just the beginning. We promised that we would not rest until the Press Complaints Commission, that had originally sided with The Guardian, also issued a precedent-setting ruling that The Guardian had violated principles of accuracy when it stated that Tel Aviv was the capital of Israel.
The PCC has now done exactly that, stating:
the Commission concluded that … the unequivocal statement that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel had the potential to mislead readers and raised a breach of Clause 1 (i) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
Commenting on this latest achievement, HonestReporting’s CEO Joe Hyams said:
Together with Asserson Law Offices, Israel’s leading English law firm, HonestReporting has successfully persuaded the PCC that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital. This sets an important precedent that brings to an end any further debate in the British media on this issue. Fatuous claims over the status of Tel Aviv as a means to delegitimize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital will no longer be acceptable.
The PCC has sent a clear message for the UK media to uphold standards on accuracy while HonestReporting has demonstrated the efficacy of pursuing legal action when necessary to defend Israel against media bias.
Thanks to Honest Reporting’s efforts, also the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph amended their reports.
Kol hakavod to the team at Honest Reporting for their persistent efforts in getting world media to report accurately and fairly on Israel and the Middle East.
My last item for today is a load of, um… how shall I put it?… fertilizer.
Ridding Israel’s environment of the poop of chickens and cows is a fabulous way to usher in the Jewish New Year. Once it becomes fully operational in the next few months, the recently inaugurated Be’er Tuviya biogas plant will scoop up the waste of 14,000 cowsand in total roughly 15% of all chicken and dairy farms in the country. All that manure will then be used to generate electricity for thousands of homes.
Israel’s Largest Biogas Plant
Owned by Eco Energy, the $2.6 million Be’er Tuviya plant is not the first in Israel that will convert the energy of farm animals to biogas, but it is the largest.
Inaugurated last Monday, with local and national officials there to celebrate the event, the 4MW facility is expected to provide enough energy to power up to 6,000 homes – giving both the strained national grid.
The Be’er Tuviya Regional Council claims that biogas facilities also help to spare the environment by diverting livestock and poultry effluent from waterways and plugging odors, which attract flies.
The Manure will be collected from farms throughout the country and shipped in closed containers. Upon reaching Be’er Tuviya, it will be pasteurized and then stored in air-tight concrete tanks, where it will produce methane. This in turn will be used to generate electricity.
Any leftovers can be used as fertilizer.
The new plant also helps to mitigate global warming and climate change.
“One cow can produce enough manure in one day to generate three kilowatt hours of electricity,” according to Wikipedia, and “only 2.4 kilowatt hours of electricity are needed to power a single one hundred watt light bulb for one day.”
Converting cow manure into methane biogas could also reduce global warming gases by 99 million metric tons or four percent, according to the same source.
I wonder if this plant could convert some of the cr@p that is spoken about Israel in places like the Guardian or the UN into electricity. There would be enough to fuel the entire world! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea?
Shabbat shalom everyone!