Incorrect is the claim that Stephen Harper defends the freedom and dignity of all people. Israel's occupation of the West Bank is an institutionalized system of oppression that every day denies the freedom and dignity of millions of Palestinians. When Canada votes against Palestinian aspirations at the UN, we come across as vindictive.
You walk into a store and the salesperson is a different colour, a woman wearing a hijab, a young man with piercings and tattoos. You walk into a room and realize that no one looks like you. A sense of anxiety sets in from the fight/flight response to fear. That instinctual response to fear begins because we instinctively fear the unknown -- be it a place, an event, a person.
To this day, I cannot watch footage of the faces of Jewish mothers, fathers, and children consigned to the gas chambers in German concentration camps without, as a Canadian, feeling a great sense of sorrow, loss, and guilt. The government of Canada ignored not only the plight of the Jews, but also the protests of the Canadian people and the pleading of the press. Why was nothing done? Because of political expediency; because the prime minister had a visceral distrust of Jews, and in government circles an open-door policy was very unpopular. But prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are elected to provide leadership.
Anti-Semites have a right to speak, but not to convey the impression that they are representative of a major democratic political party in one of the world's most distinguished countries. Britain must reassert its respect for human rights and the social underdog, and cease to placate these hate-mongers.
Rock throwing. Beatings. Bullets. Shouts of "F----ing kike." Ambushes. Theft. Threats. Tear gas attacks. This is not history. This is today. The French Jewish community expects and deserves a far greater degree of respect, as well as a strategic response to the blatant anti-Semitism they are experiencing.
The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that of the 158 Palestinians killed in the November Israeli assault on Gaza, 103 were civilians. Israel's deputy defence minister indicated that Palestinians would bring upon themselves a bigger "shoah" -- holocaust. Unitarian Chaplain Reverend Audrey Brooks questioned how Israel could inflict the horror of the Holocaust on the Palestinians. Time and again, Jews and Muslims, notwithstanding the narrative of bigots in their respective faiths, have reached out to each other.
Recently, Márton Gyöngyösi, the foreign policy critic of Hungary's ultra-far-right Jobbik party said publicly that he wants to catalogue Hungary's Jews in a database simply for being Jewish. Of course, he claims he was misquoted, but his backpedaling cleared up nothing. Disturbingly, the Hungarian government failed to immediately condemn this statement.
Tuesday morning, three of Ottawa's four most read dailies had cover stories about the latest racist graffiti sighting in the city. The narrative seems to suggest that this insidious act has shaken a community which has rarely experiences such hatred. Perhaps short memories from those who are rarely on the receiving end of these not-so-isolated incidents need refreshing.
Tony Burman, current Ryerson University journalism professor claimed "the Harper government's outsourcing of Canada's Middle East policy to Jerusalem is now complete" in the Toronto Star. Without even a modicum of evidence to support his allegation, Burman used only conjecture and specious argumentation to smear Israel, instead of grounding his opinions in facts.
Many queer activists rise above their circumstances and assert their voice for justice that is not limited to LGBT issues. Belonging to a vulnerable minority, they understand prejudice and can empathize with "others." Queer Muslim activists, despite facing immense prejudice, continue their work quietly and with dignity. Their work ends up helping the very Muslim communities that so strongly shun them. They truly know the meaning of spiritual chivalry, to practice good without expecting the same in return.
On July 20, an Egyptian T.V. show prank where famous Egyptian actors believed they were being interviewed by a German T.V. station, turned into mayhem when they were told they were being interviewed on an Israeli network. This should serve as an ominous warning about the prevailing hateful sentiments Egyptian Arabs hold for Jews.
The Jewish lobby is given a lot of media attention. But what people should really focus on is the so-called pro-Palestinian lobby, a lobby that is, when one looks closely, more anti-Israel than pro-Palestine. And one that promotes values that are the polar opposite of Canada's. One can support the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East and support the Palestinians' legitimate national aspirations.
Recently on Palestinian state television, viewers could watch praise being bestowed on the convicted perpetrators of the random murder of three members of the Fogel family, in a nighttime attack on their West Bank home. The terrorists were referred to as "heroes." So far, I haven't found any newspaper outside of Israel that reported on Palestinian television's praise of the terrorists.
It is painful to be called an anti-Semite by a deceased saint. Yet the dead speak, even when we wish they'd keep their thoughts to themselves. There is a tremendous effort to deny that Martin Luther King ever said these words: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism." Unfortunately, he did.