I Watched Anti-Semitism Wither. Now I'm Seeing it Come Back to Life: Robert Fulford, National Post, Nov. 17, 2017— One day in the 1940s a man knocked on the door of my family’s house in the east end of Toronto, seeking signatures for a petition.
Normalizing Anti-Semitism in Student Governments: Richard L. Cravatts, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Nov. 9, 2017— In the campus war against Israel…
Pre-Apology for the St. Louis, a Look at Canada’s Former Determination to Keep Jews Out: Allan Levine, Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 11, 2017— On June 8, 1939, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King…
Canada Bids to Return to the Security Council: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Sept. 19, 2017 — Shortly after his election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his Liberal government will be actively pursuing assignment to the next seat available on the United Nations Security Council.
Why I Don’t Want an Apology for the St. Louis: Sally Zerker, Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 10, 2017
Excusing Jew-Hatred in Canada: Bradley Martin, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 7, 2017
An Anti-Semitic Purge at McGill University: Ari Lieberman, Frontpage Magazine, Nov. 7, 2017
Let's Hope Canadian Courts See the True Meaning of the Niqab: Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov. 15, 2017
National Post, Nov. 17, 2017
One day in the 1940s a man knocked on the door of my family’s house in the east end of Toronto, seeking signatures for a petition. After he said the petition was an attempt to keep Jews off our street, my parents declined to sign and he went away. Later I asked my mother why he and others were against Jews. She answered with probably the least offensive accusation she had heard about them: “People say they give loud parties.” She was not interested in the petitioner’s more virulent arguments.
That was my first brush, at age 10, with anti-Semitism, a prejudice I’ve tended to watch with great interest over the years. By the time I was grown it was much diminished. The barriers to Jews in the professions and business fell, one after another. Eventually, it seemed reasonable to say that, while anti-Semitism still existed, it no longer played a significant role in shaping Canadian society. But lately it has re-appeared, not just in Canada but across the West. Now, however, it takes the form of hostility to Israel. And now it is significant.
There are many people who campaign against Israel but claim not to be anti-Semites. They have nothing against Jews, they say, but they passionately oppose the alleged imperialism, militarism and racism of Israel. That’s intended as a reasonable proposition, but it ignores the alleged imperialism, militarism and racism of many other countries. Their foreign policy is focused on a single state, the Jewish state. How did they choose Israel over other states deserving of their critical attention?
In 2017, news of anti-Semitism is hard to avoid. A letter from the Gatestone Institute a few days ago noted that “Anti-Semitism has returned as one of Europe’s worst diseases.” Recently, at McGill University, an anti-Semitic email was used in a campaign against a Jewish candidate for the board of the student union. Noah Lew, a third-year arts student, posted on his Facebook page that “I was blocked from participating in student government because of my Jewish identity and my affiliation with Jewish organizations.” At the University of British Columbia, vicious anti-Semitic signs have recently appeared on campus. A news report from Paris yesterday announced, “Anti-Semitism is devouring the French Republic.”
Now the political context of anti-Semitism sharply differs. A few decades ago it usually emerged from those with right-wing views. In the U.S., the race-conscious “alt-right” falls within the traditional view of anti-Semitism, as do the advocates of “white supremacy.” But now anti-Semitic opinions are often held and spread by leftish forces. Last summer, a vast, nearly 1,000-strong convention of the Democratic Socialists of America endorsed the anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement. They are no doubt sincere and virtuous socialists, and they believe that trying to hurt Israel is a sincere and virtuous expression of socialism, a thought they hope to install in the campaign of the Democrats.
This week brings a report titled The Anti-Israel Agenda: Inside the Political War on the Jewish State (Geffen Publishers), by Alex Ryvchin, an Australian Jewish writer who details the anti-Israel activities of Oxfam, the UN and other forces. Ryvchin criticizes members of the anti-Israel movement as “self-righteous Westerners.” He points out that since 1948 Israel has withstood three invasions on multiple fronts, and hundreds of terrorist attacks, yet has emerged intact. So, he says, its enemies have opened a new front — “a full-scale political assault on Israel’s legitimacy.” Institutions of moral and political influence, including Western governments, the universities, the UN and the churches are being turned against Israel.
Their purpose is “to isolate and cripple the state until it can no longer defend its interests or its people.” He believes the campaign began at the UN’s World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The Durban Conference developed a strategy for attacking Israel on moral grounds. Creating the image of Israelis as occupiers, colonists and oppressors has become a triumph of modern propaganda, a project both impressive and totally unfair. Ryvchin has given Israel’s supporters and fair-minded observers an explanation of how this outrageous libel became so widespread.
Richard L. Cravatts
Winnipeg Jewish Review, Nov. 9, 2017
In the campus war against Israel, the all too familiar refrain from student anti-Israel activists, many of whom form the loose coalition of groups and individuals spearheading the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, is that their quarrel is only with Israel and its government’s policies, not with Jews themselves. But that specious defense continues to fall away, revealing some caustic and base anti-Semitism, representing a seismic shift in the way that Jews are now being indicted not just for supporting Israel, but merely for being Jewish.
At McGill University this week, as the latest example, three board members of the University’s Students’ Society were removed from their appointments after a vote at the Fall General Assembly due to what was reported to be their perceived “Jewish conflict of interest.” The ouster was led by a pro-BDS student group, Democratize McGill, which was campaigning against pro-Israel students in the wake of a September ruling by the Judicial Board that, once and for all, rejected the BDS movement on the McGill campus, stating that it was violative of the SSMU’s constitution because it “violate[d] the rights of [Israeli] students to represent themselves” and discriminated on the basis of national origin.
In retaliation, and to eliminate pro-Israel views on the board, Democratize McGill launched an effort to clear the board of BDS opponents, based on the cynical notion that these members harbored clear conflict of interests which arose from their purported biases, those conflicts of interests and biases stemming from the poisonous notion that because the students were Jewish or pro-Israel, or both, they could, therefore, never make informed or fair decisions as student leaders.
Ignoring their own obvious biases and the lack of any balance in their own views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the pro-BDS members nonetheless felt comfortable with suppressing pro-Israel voices and Jewish students on the board, asserting that they sought to remove these students because they “are all either fellows at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), an organization whose explicit mandate is to promote pro-Israel discourse in Canadian politics, or primary organizers for the anti-BDS initiative at McGill.” In other words, they were being disqualified for having views that differed from those student leaders seeking to purge them from SSMU. The Jewish board member and two other non-Jewish, pro-Israel board members were subsequently voted off the board.
McGill has a previous history of seeking to suppress pro-Israel thinking by Jewish students, not in the student government but in its press. An example of that was the 2016 controversy involving The McGill Daily and its astonishing editorial admission that it was the paper’s policy to not publish “pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider oppressive.” “While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the editors wrote in a defense of their odious policy, “we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”
Leading up to this revealing editorial, a McGill student, Molly Harris, had filed a complaint with the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) equity committee. In that complaint, Harris contended that, based on the paper’s obvious anti-Israel bias, and “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets from a McGill Daily writer,” a “culture of anti-Semitism” defined the Daily—a belief seemingly confirmed by the fact that several of the paper’s editors themselves are BDS supporters and none of the staffers were Jewish.
An attempted purging of a pro-Israel student from student government, very similar to the inquisition that just occurred at McGill, took place in February of 2015 at UCLA, when several councilmembers on the USAC Judicial Board, UCLA student government’s highest judicial body, grilled Rachel Beyda, then a second-year economics student, when she sought a seat on the board. The focus on her candidacy was not her qualifications for the position (which no one seemed to doubt), but specifically the fact that she was Jewish and how her “affiliation with Jewish organizations at UCLA . . . might affect her ability to rule fairly on cases in which the Jewish community has a vested interest in the outcome, such as cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” as the student newspaper described it…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 11, 2017
On June 8, 1939, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, head of a Liberal government that had won power four years earlier, was in Washington, D.C. He was escorting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their royal tour and enjoying a splendid lunch with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his family at the White House.
Over tea, the conversation eventually got around to the matter of the SS St. Louis, a ship that had left Hamburg with 937 passengers. Nearly all those on board were German Jews fleeing the Nazi regime with the hope of finding refuge in the United States. The ship, which had departed on May 13, was bound for Cuba. Except when the St. Louis reached Havana two weeks later, the Cuban government refused to accept their landing certificates and transit visas. More than seven days later, no South or Central American country would provide the Jewish refugees with a safe haven. And the U.S. and Canada, both ostensibly still recovering from the Great Depression, did not want them either.
King listened attentively to FDR’s views on the matter, about how “immigration laws … placed certain restrictions” on permitting the Jews into both countries, and then decided that this was not Canada’s problem to solve. (From 1933 to 1945, the U.S. allowed in more than 200,000 European Jewish refugees; while Canada accepted slightly more than 5,000.) Other Canadians – including historian George Wrong, B.K. Sandwell, the editor of Saturday Night magazine and Robert Falconer, the former president of the University of Toronto – disagreed. They urged King to show “true Christian charity of the people of this most fortunate and blessed country.”
Yet the prime minister remained firm in his resolve to keep the Jews out. He heeded the advice of Ernest Lapointe, the minister of justice and his influential Quebec lieutenant, who staunchly opposed Jewish immigration because Lapointe knew that the vast majority of Quebecers opposed it – and Liberal power in Ottawa was somewhat contingent on winning most, if not all, of the province’s 65 parliamentary seats in future elections.
King was influenced as well by Frederick Blair, a longtime civil servant, who in 1936 became the director of the Immigration Branch. Blair was one of the most vocal opponents of Jewish immigration to Canada. Classically, as Irving Abella and Harold Troper note in their 1982 book, None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948, Blair did not consider himself to be anti-Semitic, merely “realistic about Canada’s immigration needs and about the unsuitability of the Jew to those needs.” The country did not have an official refugee policy at the time, so the German Jews had to be considered under the restrictive immigration regulations of the day and Jews were not “preferred” immigrants under any circumstance.
In what was to be one of the definitive statements of this whole sorry ordeal, Blair told Oscar Skelton, the undersecretary of state for external affairs, that the Jews on the St. Louis did not meet Canada’s immigration rules and that no country could “open its doors wide enough to take in the hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who want to leave Europe: the line must be drawn somewhere.” By the time Blair had written those sharp words, the St. Louis and its 907 Jewish passengers were on their way back to Europe. Nearly 300 of them managed to get into Britain and the rest found temporary refuge in France, Belgium and Holland. Of the 620 who returned to continental Europe, 254 perished during the war.
Though Blair and King are the villains of this saga – and legitimately so – King, at least, was not unsympathetic to the plight of the refugees. (On more than one occasion, the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews haunted King’s dreams and troubled his sleep.) In November 1938, after King had learned of the destruction of Jewish shops and synagogues in Germany on Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, he was deeply upset by the news of this violence. “The sorrows which the Jews have to bear at this time are almost beyond comprehension,” he recorded in his diary. “Something will have to be done by our country.” But he was not quite certain then, or later, what exactly he could do.
This owed partly to the fact that King shared the anti-Jewish sentiments that were ingrained into Canadian society for the 19th and good part of the 20th centuries. He understood, as he reasoned in a diary entry of August 1936, that “there are good as well as bad Jews and it is wrong to indict a nation or a race.” But two years later, as the pressure mounted to admit more Jewish refugees, he wrote, “My own feeling is that nothing is to be gained by creating an internal problem in an effort to meet an international one.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Bayview Review, Sept. 19, 2017
Shortly after his election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his Liberal government will be actively pursuing assignment to the next seat available on the United Nations Security Council. (The Council is composed of 15 Members: five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. The current non-permanent members are: Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan,. Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.) The current competition is for the term scheduled to begin in 2020. This means that Canada will have plenty of time to play nice to the electors. The electors consist of the nations belonging to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG.)
There is a story that goes with creation of the WEOG. The Arab and Muslim nations would much prefer that Israel and the Jews should not exist at all and most of them are publicly declared in favour of their liquidation. Finding themselves, through no fault of their own, sitting side-by-side with these people in the General Assembly, they have until recently managed to keep Israel off all the main commissions. They had accomplished this by excluding her from the Asia-Pacific Group to which she logically belongs, until May 2000, when , following much arm-twisting by the American delegation, Israel was allowed to became a full member of WEOG, on a temporary basis; in December 2013, Israel became full permanent member of the WEOG group. Believe it or not, the “Others” in this “regional” group are New Zealand, Israel and Turkey. Like almost everything that happens at the UN this odd grouping (WEOG) proved necessary because the Arab States refused to break bread with Jews.
The first rule to understanding behaviour of nation-states in the General Assembly is the inordinate power of the 57-nation Islamic bloc (the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.), Its members are only a minority of the nations of the world, but because it is the only continuing bloc no one on earth knows how many deals its members have outstanding with other nations of the world on matters of no interest to those other nations. This bloc can call in all the anti-Israel spirits at any time.
The last time that Canada made a bid for a Security Council seat it was shot down by this Islamic bloc. Despite winning a seat on the UN Security Council every decade since its inception, in 2010, the Conservative government withdrew its candidacy in October, 2010, when it became clear it would not receive the votes required to secure a seat. No one made a secret of the fact that the loss of this prestige opportunity was the price that Canada had to pay for its support Israel at the UN. The seat went, instead to Portugal, a loyal supporter of the EU’s “even-handed” views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a country beholden to the European community for its recent rescue from massive budgetary deficit.
Immediately following the UN rebuff, Canada’s current Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said out loud that Canada’s defeat on this matter was payback for its pro-Israel policy. But, “we will not back down on our principles… Some would even say that, because of our commitment to these values, we lost a seat on the council, If that’s the case, so be it.” … Summoned by the CTVnews to explain this story to the handful of Canadians who cared was Paul Heinbacker, former Canadian Ambassador to the UN: it was “because the Harper government was “selling policies that the international community is not sympathetic to … [among which are] policies that are frankly and strongly in support of the government of Israel, And again, whatever you think of the merits of the policy… they are not vote-getters. There are 57 votes in the Arab and Islamic community.” Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Opposition at that time, bemoaned the decline of Canada’s prestige : Harper “had paid the price …for shifting Canada’s foreign policy away from long-established traditions – among which was the pursuit of balanced policy towards Israel and the Palestinians.” Khaled Moummar, leader of the Canadian Arab federation, told the National Post that his constituency “feared that if Canada gains a seat on the Security Council if may be used against Arabs and Muslims around the world”.
Elaborating upon his pro-Israel policy, Prime Minister Harper told a Conference on Anti-Semitism in Ottawa in November 2010: “History shows us – and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tells us all too well—that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us… And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the UN or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply just to go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to present it as just being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of honest broker. There are, after all, a lot more votes –a lot more – in being anti-Israel.”
Trudeau has accused the Conservative Opposition of falsely asserting that his new government is not being as supportive to the Jewish state as was the previous government. At the same time, he insists, the position of his government is more in line with Canada’s traditional even-handed approach to Israel and the Palestinians. “We won’t hesitate from talking about unhelpful steps like the continued illegal settlements… [After all,] “true friendship does not mean unequivocal support.”
Now, as Canada prepares for another contest for a seat on the Security Council, Trudeau has a huge opportunity to prove his fidelity to Israel. The principle obstacle is again the Muslim bloc. An obvious question occurs: Why is there not a bloc of European nations – or a bloc of Christian nations – or a bloc of Friends of Israel. Our statesmen gag at such thoughts. Indulgence by the majority of Non-Islamic, Non-Arabic nations of this bloc-voting of the Muslim nation is once face of a very large fact of life: No one familiar with the facts of world politics would expect any politician, in out of office, to stand up and identify his nation with our religious or cultural legacy, but at the same time they all fall over each other validating Islam. No one dares to suggest that an Islamic bloc, lobbying constantly against Israel, is inconsistent with the original goals or the ideals of the United Nations…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Why I Don’t Want an Apology for the St. Louis: Sally Zerker, Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 10, 2017—On Sept. 27, at the inauguration of the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted that his government is considering apologizing for the 1939 MS St. Louis incident, when Canada turned away a boatload of Jews who were seeking asylum from Nazi persecution. To which I say: no, I don’t want an apology. And here’s why.
Excusing Jew-Hatred in Canada: Bradley Martin, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 7, 2017 —The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, recently published a disgraceful article defending a Toronto imam who called for the genocide of Jews. Ayman Elkasrawy is a former teaching assistant at Ryerson University and junior employee at his mosque, Masjid Toronto.
An Anti-Semitic Purge at McGill University: Ari Lieberman, Frontpage Magazine, Nov. 7, 2017— Despite suffering several public and humiliating reversals in various forums and venues, those pushing for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel have not dispensed with their pernicious campaign of hate. The latest outrage perpetrated by BDS activists occurred at McGill University, where a Jewish student and two non-Jewish students identified as pro-Israel were removed from their positions as directors of the Students Society of McGill University (SSMU).
Let's Hope Canadian Courts See the True Meaning of the Niqab: Barbara Kay, National Post, Nov. 15, 2017— As was widely anticipated, Quebec’s Bill 62, banning face cover in the realm of public services, will be legally contested: by an individual niqab-wearing woman, supported by the CCLA and the National Council of Canadian Muslims. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is considering how his government too may “weigh in” on the challenge.