GOLDSTEIN: Linking Israel to apartheid now ‘acceptable’ anti-Semitism

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If former Green MP Jenica Atwin had tweeted the white supremacist slogan “the Jews will not replace us,” it’s a safe bet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not have welcomed her into the Liberal Party of Canada.

But because hers was the more politically acceptable tactic of describing Israel as an apartheid state, she was welcomed.

That’s unsurprising since anti-Semitism on the left today is politically acceptable, while anti-Semitism on the right is not.

Ironically, Trudeau himself has said comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa is anti-Semitic because its intent is to demonize and delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state through the imposition of a double standard on its conduct not applied to any other country.

The United Nations, for example, year after year, passes more resolutions condemning Israel, than it does for all other nations combined, including China, North Korea, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to name just a few.

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  1. Green Party MP Jenica Atwin rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 29, 2020.

    GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau Liberals are flirting with anti-Semitism

  2. Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.

    EDITORIAL: It’s not easy being Green

  3. Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford spoke out after swastikas were displayed at a recent pro-Palestinian rally at Nathan Phillips Square.

    Toronto mayor sends out strong message about Jew hatred

Listening to Atwin being interviewed by Evan Solomon last week on CTV’s Question Period after her defection from the Greens, where she doubled down on her characterization of Israel as an apartheid state and said other Liberals MPs agree with her, it was clear, at least to me, that she has no idea of what the controversy is about when she compares Israel to apartheid South Africa.

While Atwin later softened her position somewhat in a statement that looked like it was drafted by the Prime Minister’s Office, she didn’t retract her accusation Israel is an apartheid state.

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That’s not surprising because, as the late British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, head of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, explained, no political ideology, either of the left or right, has a lock on anti-Semitism, which throughout history has manifested itself in endless and contradictory ways.

“Before the Holocaust,” Rabbi Sacks wrote, “Jews were hated because they were poor and because they were rich; because they were communists and because they were capitalists; because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they clung to ancient religious beliefs and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing.”

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Sacks said the virus of anti-Semitism survives by mutating over time.

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In the medieval era, when religion was the paradigm of society, Judaism was portrayed as the most evil religion, falsely accused of the “blood libel,” of killing Christian children to use their blood to make matzah.

In the twentieth century, when science was the paradigm, the Nazis attempted to prove through science that Jews were uniquely evil.

Today, with human rights the paradigm, Israel is falsely accused of being the world’s worst human rights violator.

Another anti-Semitic accusation against Jews that has endured through the ages is that they have dual loyalties and that, in a modern context, they will betray their country to serve Israel’s interests.

We have seen this recently in Canada’s foreign affairs ministry, where anonymous bureaucrats have falsely suggested Canada’s former Jewish ambassador to Israel, Vivian Bercovici (appointed by Stephen Harper), had dual loyalties in reports by the state-funded broadcaster, not refuted by the Trudeau government.

In another infamous example, the Toronto Star published an editorial in 1988 giving what it said was “a necessary reminder to members of the Jewish community in Canada that they are citizens of Canada, not Israel.”

As for the canard people cannot criticize Israel without being accused of anti-Semitism, many Israelis condemn the Occupation for its brutal treatment of the Palestinians. That is not anti-Semitic.

lgoldstein@postmedia.com

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