Sunlight In Canada
A few days ago, Toronto Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui wrote Harper's Extreme Position No Way To Support Israel, in which he takes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to task for remarks he made in support of Israel.
What did Mr Harper say that Mr Siddiqui found so outrageous?
"Unfortunately, Israel at 60 remains a country under threat – threatened by those groups and regimes who deny to this day its right to exist," he told a Toronto celebration marking the anniversary.
"And why? Look beyond the thinly veiled rationalizations: Because they hate Israel, just as they hate the Jewish people."
Siddiqui takes great offense when Harper does no more than state the obvious. He goes on to say that
Many groups and regimes, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, do deny Israel's right to exist. But not all others do so solely for the reasons cited by Harper. Some hold back recognition as a negotiating tool in the Palestinian dispute.
To which nations is Mr Siddiqui referring? Which nations that have refused to recognize Israel have not made anti semitism an integral part of their state run media, educational curriculum and publicly funded religious program? What possible reason could any nation that refuses to recognize Israel, a member nation in good standing of the United Nations, WTO and other organizations, have? Are any of these nations free and democratic societies?
Further, since when is diplomatic recognition of a legitimate state ' a negotiating tool'? Why shouldn't the same apply to Hamas of Hizbollah? Why should any democratic state afford Hamas and Hizbollah any kind of recognition? Both organizations make no secret of their intentions, racism, bigotry and hate on a daily basis. Does Mr Siddiqui believe that hatred too, is a 'negotiating tool'? Siddiqui might argue that because those organizations were elected, they have a certain legitimacy. Of course, that is absurd. Adolph Hitler, so revered in the Arab world, came to power by manipulating the electoral process. Had the civilized world dealt with Hitler appropriately instead of trying to appease the beast, 50 million lives would have been saved.
Siddiqui goes on to say that
One wonders what Harper would make of those Israelis, as well as Jewish Canadians and others, who do strongly support Israel but also question some Israeli policies.
What would he say about the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians? This newly formed umbrella organization of 23 groups, critical of some Israeli policies, obviously does not "hate Israel," or "hate the Jewish people."
There is a big difference between the the Jews and others in the western world who criticize Israeli policies. They do not question her right to exist and her right to live in peace and security.
Criticism of Israel by Hamas, Hizbollah, Iran and most of the Arab world is very different and takes on a whole other dimension. Criticism of Israel by those Arab nations and organizations are always followed by calls to genocide and the slaughter of the Jews. In those nations, the institutionalized hate, racism and bigotry, broadcast in their media, taught in schools and preached from the pulpit, criticism of Israel has a very different meaning. Promises by regimes and organizations to 'Finish what Hitler started'' does not bestow moral equivalency to Jewish or other legitimate critics of Israel, no matter how much Mr Siddiqui wishes that to be a reality.
It is no wonder that for Siddiqui, Israel Apartheid Week is an acceptable expression. He writes;
There's an ongoing debate in Canada over when freedom of speech crosses the line into hate. The argument gets played out in universities over Israel Apartheid Week. Despite pressure to cancel it, the universities of Toronto, York and Ryerson have opted for academic freedom...
Perhaps Mr Siddiqui might be a less opaque. There is no 'ongoing debate in Canada over when freedom of speech crosses the line into hate.' When the likes of Hamas, Hizbollah and the policies of the Arab world are given credibility, the question of hate is not in question. What is in question is just how much hate is acceptable- and the answer to that is quite clear: Canadians have a very high tolerance for hate if it is well camouflaged.
Mr Siddiqui fails to see the bigger picture.
...imagine a school that gave each student a glass of alcohol every day. Each day, beginning at tender nursery school age, the child was encouraged to drink the beverage that would come to poison his mind. Suppose that beverage was from the well aged bottle of anti Semitism.
Suppose also that once that child downed that alcoholic beverage, the teacher refilled that glass with more alcohol. This time, the flavor is religious bigotry directed at non Jews.
Suppose once that glass of alcohol was consumed by young dutiful children, the glass was immediately refilled with the beverage from the bottle of anti western and anti democratic values.
After decades, these children, now adults, go home every day, turn on the television and read the newspapers- and they are fed more alcohol. They get more when their kids come home from school, and share the same familiar poisoned ‘fire water.’ They poison they are fed gets the God’s seal of approval when fed to them from the pulpit- or so they desperately need to believe.
Of course, to keep a drunk or a junkie hooked, it takes an ever increasing amount of poison to induce the same stupor that blinds the drunk or the junkie to his own surroundings and dysfunction. The supply of poison never ends.
After years of such ‘education,’ it would be reasonable to expect that there would be a lot of alcoholics in the Arab world, poisoned by the hate and ideologies of dysfunctional and corrupt leaders. Like alcoholics and substance abusers, they will tell you they ‘have it under control‘ and that they ‘can quit anytime they want.‘
There is no equivalence, moral or otherwise, that can be made between the legitimate critics of Israel and the Arab world. That somehow Mr Siddiqui would even attempt to make that kind of equivalence is remarkable. To be sure, there are no perfect societies. That said, the collective institutionalized racism, bigotry and hate of one week in the Arab world media, school curriculum and religious outlet exceeds that of the Nazi Germany era- and the Arab world has been engaging in this kind of behavior for decades. It is no wonder that 60 years after the conflagration that was the Second World War, the ugly and Mein Kampf is the second most popular book in the Arab world, after the Quran.
Does Mr Siddiqui really believe that those spewing the most visceral and vile hate are moral equals to the rest of us? He writes
Harper's position is designed to silence and delegitimize even the mildest criticism of Israeli policies.
It's an undemocratic formulation that the Israelis themselves would reject. There's a sturdy debate in Israel on all aspects of its policies in the Occupied Territories.
Mr Harper's remarks are intended to have precisely the opposite effect. His remarks clearly distinguish between those who are legitimately critical of Israeli policies and those for whom criticism of Israel is merely a pretext and another channel to legitimize anti semitism. What Mr Harper has done is to open the window and let in a bit of sunshine. What he and others will not abide is pollution masquerading as fresh air.
Siddiqui remarks that "Canada is not Israel where Israeli Arabs are second-class citizens."
Does Siddiqui really want to play that race card? Does he really want to compare Israeli policies and those of the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors, the ones who proudly proclaim that they will 'Finish what Hitler started'? Does he want to compare the rights enjoyed by Arabs in Israel versus the rights of minorities in Arab countries? Poll after poll indicates that Israeli Arabs would prefer to remain under Israeli administration. Why would that be, Mr Siddiqui?Siddiqui's rationale is not original. In the Totalitarian Mindset, Dr Sanity writes about
The alliance between historical remnants of those failed 20th century ideologies--responsible between them for more human misery and death than ever before known in history--and the Islamic fanatics (who represent the 21st century totalitarian mindset) is clearly visible in the precepts of postmodernism political correctness and multiculturalism, which dovetail perfectly into the rhetoric that rationalizes terrorism and the behavior that appeases and enables it...
...radical Islamic ideology is itself an unexpected combination of several toxic memes that came together over the last 30 years. One thread of this meme is Islam itself--a purportedly "peaceful" religion that is actually historically based on military conquest and coercion of belief through jihad-- entwined with the remnants of the totalitarian ideologies of the last century.
This is why there is an alliance between the totalitarians of the left-- who are the remaining outposts of communism and socialism that thrive in academic and "intellectual" circles in the West; and the Islamic fanatics of the world. Whether this alliance is a conscious or unconscious one (i.e., whether the specific component of the left actively and deliberately supports Islamic terrorism versus enabling and appeasing it) depends on the level of insight and personal depravity achieved by the true believer of today's left...
This sympathetic and synergistic interaction of the seemingly very different totalitarian mindsets--terrorism in the name of religion combined with the secular neo-marxist fascism of the left--have created a very toxic brew, made even more lethal by the rhetorical and political strategies of postmodernism. The result is a pure and perfect poison...
Haroon Siddiqui cannot and will not reconcile the truth that radical Islamist agendas are at odds with the ideas and agendas of the civilized world. Rejection of Islamic extremism is not a rejection of all Muslims.
When we are subjected to the institutionalized visceral hate that is part and parcel of the Arab world regimes and organizations, do not ask western civilization to accept Arab ideologies as equivalent to their own. If the Arab world really wants to be accepted as equals, they must propagate an Islam that is not only tolerant of others, and intolerant of extremist racist and bigoted ideologies. Unless and until the Arab world embraces the idea that human rights are equally applicable to all, they will remain marginalized.
Finally, the ultimate expression of morality and the expression of faith are in the purview of each individual and not tied to a nation, group or political party. When nations, groups or political parties such as Hamas or Hizbollah dictate what is moral and what is an expression of faith, something is very, very wrong.