The past month has been extremely difficult for Canadian Jews. We have witnessed Jewish businesses boycotted, Jewish organizations targeted, Jewish students intimidated, and Jewish citizens assaulted, all ostensibly triggered by the recent conflict between Hamas, an organization long recognized by Canada as a terrorist entity, and Israel.
What is most frightening is not the brazen assaults, vandalism and harassment our community has endured – as terrible as they have been – but the reluctance of many Canadians to stand in solidarity with their fellow citizens who are under attack.
Antisemitism, especially in its modern guise of anti-Zionism, is not simply an issue of masked extremists who beat Jews and destroy their property. It is also an issue of some of our society’s most esteemed institutions – universities, school boards, political parties, unions, the media – ignoring Jew hatred, and in so doing, providing cover for it.
How else are we to consider the fact that there are dozens of news articles detailing “peaceful” anti-Israel protests across Canada that failed to mention the explicit calls for violence against Jews or the actual violence against Jews that took place at these events?
“Anti-Zionists” claim they are not antisemitic, that they are merely criticizing Israel and its supporters. This argument is false.
When Canadian Jews are demonized and targeted for supporting Israel, that is antisemitism.
When in the name of criticizing Israel, anti-Zionists pelt Canadian Jews with stones, that is antisemitism.
When Jewish businesses in Canada are boycotted, that is antisemitism.
When Jewish youth are subjected to merciless harassment and bullying online, that is antisemitism.
When Canadian institutions whitewash or simply ignore these acts, this too contributes to antisemitism.
As the ceasefire in the Middle East takes hold, the protests in Canada may eventually subside. But it is clear that antisemitism persists in our country - a toxic threat that must be combated not just by Canada’s Jewish community, but by our entire society. We call on our fellow Canadians to stand up to antisemitism in all of its forms and to challenge it wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. Hate of any kind has no place in our country.