The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism. As Holocaust historian Professor Deborah Lipstadt put it, "what we saw from the White House was classic softcore denial. The Holocaust was de-Judaized."
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I think Americans have a lot to be concerned about unless, among other things, they don't care about their freedom to choose and their basic human rights. Have you been paying attention to Donald Trump's nominees? Do you know what they believe in and stand for? I have been keeping up with his picks and their platforms. And let me tell you, unless I was an affluent, white, heterosexual, conservative Christian man, I'd be more than a little nervous.
Last Thursday I arrived at my synagogue to find it vandalized. It was heartbreaking to see blatant anti-Semitism and racism displayed in our nation's capital. But after a difficult week, far more than a silver lining has emerged. Ottawa has united to send a clear message to anyone who would target communities based on their faith, race, or other characteristic.
Canadians need to stop being polite about their racism and start owning it. Resist the urge to get defensive of multiculturalism and realize not everyone experiences Canada in the same way. Multiculturalism alone cannot mitigate prejudice, not without action. Canada is not devoid of racism because of our multiculturalism and the 'Trump Effect' must not eclipse the domestic racism that has long existed in this country.
There have been many calls to better understand the white working class voter and placing blame on "political correctness" for what Van Jones dubbed on election night "a whitelash." In other words, that the real problem was that we weren't paying enough attention to straight, white people and shouldn't have been calling for diversity, equality and respect. But arguing that if you just didn't challenge straight white male supremacy then they wouldn't have elected a straight white male supremacist is no different than blaming a rape victim for what she wore, or a gay-bashing victim for kissing his boyfriend, or a Jew for wearing a Star of David necklace.
Canada's parliament adopted unanimously a motion to condemn all forms of Islamophobia in the country. The fact that the motion received no objection from any of the federal parties shows that the Liberal, NDP, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois members have a clear understanding that Islamophobia is a severe form of bigotry.
Like it or not, Canada is a country that celebrates freedom of expression. Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that "Everyone has freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." That "Everyone" includes people who say objectionable, false, foolish, misguided, or even ugly things.
Last month, Toronto Police released a report on hate crimes in the city during 2015, and for the tenth year in a row Jews topped the list of most targeted communities. The facts suggest that certain people are seriously misjudging the state of anti-Semitism in Canada today: It is, unfortunately, far from being an "abused" term.
Truthfully, unless you are a member of our indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants, regardless if you gained your citizenship yesterday or 16 generations ago. Historically, immigrants and refugees who adopted Canada as their country of choice contributed to the development of Canada's social, economic and civil fabric.
I am an orthodox Jewish woman and it's something I'm proud of. I know I may seem different to you, strange even. We look different, we keep mostly to ourselves and basically live in our own little bubble. I understand you don't "get" us. But I don't understand why we deserve the hatred directed at us.