Articles and books are written about it, TV shows are dedicated to it -- I'm talking about the Jewish lobby. And usually, when it is mentioned, so too are the pejoratives. Powerful. Secretive. Insidious.
In other words, it's the age-old Jewish conspiracy.
Mainstream media outlets are not exempt from this phenomenon -- whether it is Radio-Canada's public affairs show Une Heure Sur Terre or the New York Times.
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.
Let's take a look at a few groups (for a deeper look, I suggest my book A Quebec Jew, From Bloc Québécois MP to Jewish Activist.)
The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) is the cornerstone of the pro-Palestinian lobby in Canada and its main leader is Khaled Mouammar.
CAF received a lot of attention when its January 16th, 2009 Daily Bulletin, containing links to videos praising organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was forwarded to all MPs by Bloc Québécois MP Maria Mourani. She was subsequently forced by her leader to apologize to the House for her actions. Think about it: a Canadian organization sending pro-terrorist links to our elected officials!
Khaled Mouammar is so obsessed with Israel that, following the horrific massacre by lone gunman Anders Breivik in Norway in July 2011, he circulated an e-mail accusing Israel of being behind the tragedy.
Palestine House is one of the most important member organizations of the Canadian Arab Federation.
Palestine House supports the complete return of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, which is contrary to the idea of a two-state solution: two-states for two peoples -- one Palestinian and the other Jewish. The "return" of all Palestinian refugees to Israel would de facto dismantle the democratic Jewish state, resulting in the creation of two Palestinian states and the destruction of the world's only Jewish polity.
It is not only in foreign affairs that Palestine House is extreme. On March 30th, 2009, Palestine House hosted Dr. Ekrema Sabri as the keynote for its 'Land Day' event. Sabri, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, delivered a lecture in 2005 criticizing the West for treating men who force their wives to have sex, as rapists.
I would be angry at myself if I did not mention, if only in passing, the Canadian Islamic Congress, whose founding president Mohamed Elmasry once condoned attacks against any Israeli adult, and its current president Wahida Valiante, who has written that Judaism has "institutionalized racism."
These comments are certainly not mainstream in Canada, nor should they be.
The organization, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, which sees itself as a kind of 'new kid on the Parliamentary block,' has, despite its name, a funny conception of justice.
Indeed, this organization -- which constantly lobbies MPs with writing campaigns and meetings without even being registered with the Lobbying Commissioner -- is obsessed with Israel.
When the so-called "Arab Spring" occurred, Egypt violently shifted from a Mubarak dictatorship to a military regime with the Islamists taking control of its Parliament. Libya suffered from a civil war that was stopped by a NATO intervention, while horrible massacres of civilians continue to take place in Syria.
The religiously fanatical Iranian government continues to repress its population and illegally pursue nuclear weapons and Hezbollah is now the de facto master of Lebanon. Women's rights continue to lag in the region, and yet on the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East website, about three quarters of their communiqués are about one and only country: Israel, the Middle East's only democracy.
I can't help but think about what star New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote:
"Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction -- out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East -- is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest."
Canada has no real pro-Palestinian lobby comparable to the American Task Force on Palestine in the U.S., a group that, while forcefully pro-Palestinian, stays away from all the toxic and inflammatory rhetoric of Israeli apartheid, of boycotts against Israel, and Israel as a colonial state.
Canada has an anti-Israel lobby. One that too often crosses the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism (i.e. the negation of the Jewish people's right of self-determination.)
I have had enough of this black-or-white attitude.This is not a zero-sum game. One can be both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel.
One can support the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East and support the Palestinians' legitimate national aspirations.
One can be both a Zionist and pro-Palestinian. In fact, that is exactly what I am: a pro-Palestinian Zionist.