In July 1944, some 430,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to Auschwitz in the space of 10 weeks -- the fastest, cruelest and most efficient mass murder of the Nazi genocide. Yet Wallenberg rescued some 100,000 Jews in six months in Hungary in 1944, demonstrating that one person with the courage to care, and the commitment to act, can confront evil and transform history.
Twenty years ago, an Israeli extremist assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. The assassin intended to quash the Oslo Accords Rabin signed with the hope of leading Israelis and Palestinians to peace. Rabin's historic bid was a watershed moment that continues to have an indelible impact on Israelis -- and shed much-needed light on the obstacles to peace today.
In the past two weeks, Israel has borne the brunt of hundreds of terror attacks. Terror doesn't occur in a vacuum and terrorists are born from nurture, not nature. Fanning the flames and provoking this recent terror war is a sustained campaign of incitement to violence, indoctrination of hate and justification of terror.
Despite the vitriol stemming from both capitals, the extremist threat is the appropriate issue to spark a strategic recalculation in Tehran and Tel Aviv, even if temporary. Although the idea of Iranian-Israeli engagement may seem to be rooted in fantasy, the same factors that prompted the United States and Iran to try something new can and should drive Iran and Israel to follow suit.
My first conflict zone gave me reoccurring nightmares that I can't seem to forget. In 2002, I planned my documentary thesis for my Master's in Journalism -- I wanted to show the sacrifice of war correspondents who put their lives in peril in the name of communicating news during conflict. It was the height of the second intifada -- The same week I smelled bomb for the first time.
I made the huge-ass mistake of packing a valuable item -- Luckily, theft was covered by my travel insurance. Or so I thought. The insurance representative regretfully informed me that although stolen baggage was covered, my claim wasn't eligible. It was a baffling and maddening situation, but one that got me thinking: what other insurance loopholes are lingering out there?
Anti-Semitism is what many Canadian Jews experienced who faced quotas when applying for professional degrees, or who were barred from joining certain golf clubs. Anti-Semitism is what my ancestors experienced in Eastern Europe with pogroms, frequent assaults and massacres in Jewish communities. Anti-Semitism is the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. How can it be in any way appropriate to use this term to describe individuals who criticize a modern political entity -- the state of Israel -- which systematically violates the rights of Palestinians?
In a Canada in which our current government has expressed undying loyalty to Netanyahu's regime, and where the opposition parties appear unwilling to publicly shame the government for its appalling disregard for the human rights of Palestinians, we cannot realistically expect the enactment of state sanctions against Israel any time soon. If the NDP wants to prove to Canadians that it is indeed the government in waiting, and that it's visibly different from the Conservatives, then we should all expect it to commit to taking action on this issue. Will the NDP, at the very least, commit to reforming CIFTA to exclude tariff-free imports of illegal Israeli settlement products
The human rights-interfaith dialogue rhetoric employed by President Obama on May 22, 2015 at the Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington DC was wonderful and made people feel warm inside. But this type of rhetoric is, in fact, messianic -- it is for tomorrow, for a time when there is no more war. That day has not yet come, I am afraid. And to speak as if it has is very dangerous.