Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

Never Again.Again?

April 5, 2010 

When the truth about the unspeakable crimes committed against the Jewish people by Hitler’s thugs dawned on everyone, the guilt-stricken citizens of all free nations agreed:”Never Again” must such evil occur.

>We have come a long way from that noble intention. The reality is that the state of Israel, founded in 1948 to ensure that the Jewish people would always have a safe haven, is in dire peril. Not only is it threatened by its Arab/ Muslim enemies, including the Iranian madman who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map; but anti- Semitism in the free West is also on the rise again.

Many now consider Israel the biggest stumbling block to peace in the Middle East, because it is unwilling to surrender any more of its tiny territory and to have its population expand by a few million Palestinians who demand their “right to return.”  Even former president Jimmy Carter has lent his prestige to finding Israel guilty of sabotaging the so-called peace efforts.

Closer to home, the Canadian universities have become a front in the battle about Israel’s right to exist. Of course, this conflict is not put in such stark terms. But this is what is at stake in reality. That’s why the Palestinians and their Arab supporters have maps without showing the state of Israel.  They have coined such terms as “occupation” and “Apartheid” as code words for inciting hatred toward Israel.

This is the sixth year that Arab and Muslim and students at all major Canadian universities have conducted an “Israel Apartheid Week” (March 1-8).  These anti-Israel events feature speakers who  denounce Israel as an illegitimate state that must be forced (as South Africa was by the use of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) to drop its “Apartheid “policies, and agree to Palestinian demands that in fact would ensure the demise of the state  of Israel. (Neither Hamas nor Fatah, supposedly a  peace partner, has shown any indication that they have abandoned their ultimate goal of eliminating  the state of Israel.  How can peace be established with such partners?) 

A Hostile Environment

David Frum reported  that the York university (Toronto) had turned down a request from the campus group Christians United for Israel  to schedule a  program of pro-Israel speakers in late February. The university demanded that this group pay for  a heavy security presence  of campus and Toronto police. Furthermore, the university  requested  a list of the attendees  and  a summary of all the speeches. No advertising was permitted on the York campus or on other campuses connected by remote video.

A university representative told the Jewish Tribune that these stringent requirements were needed to prevent “anti-Israel campus agitators” from causing  trouble. The students were unable and unwilling to be subjected to the conditions of the university.  Frum aptly summarized its double standard as follows:

The logic is impressively brazen: Since the anti-Israel people might use  violence, the speech of the pro-Israel people must be limited. On the other hand, since the pro-Israel people do not use violence the speech of the anti-Israel can proceed without restraint. (National Post, >Feb. 27, 2010)

Two weeks later, Frum wrote that this statement  elicited more reactions from Canadians and readers in other countries  than anything he has written over many years in the National Post. Their main criticism was that the atmosphere at York is heavily influenced by political correctness and therefore it is antagonistic to freedom of speech and thought.

Frum concluded that  students and former students, alumni and teaching staff agree  that York is  a hostile environment for Jewish students. They are forced  to subordinate  or disguise their identity, suppress their views, and avoid cultural expression. The university’s strategy  seems to be: do not admit there is a problem, hunker down  and hope that the storm will pass.  But you have to wonder:

What can the future hold for an institution  of learning that seems to be telling Jewish students and teachers: ‘Do everybody a favour – please go elsewhere.’

>Where have we heard all  of this before? Yesterday, in Nazi Germany. Today, at Canadian universities. Tomorrow, the state of Israel?

But where is  the public outcry against such bigotry? Are we listening to the  David Frums in our midst? One thing is sure. This time it will not be only the Jews who are told to go elsewhere. If the West is prepared to look the other way again, and abandon Israel and the Jews in the Diaspora, there will come a time that the rest of us, too, will be told to go elsewhere. The big question is, what are we going to do about that?

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