Dr. Dawg

Israeli apartheid: aw, Bernie...

| Disqus Comments


An unwelcome surprise for right-wing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: his city manager has exhaustively researched the issue, and found that the phrase “Israeli apartheid” isn’t hateful after all. Well, duh.

But Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, isn’t having any:

Bernie Farber, the chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said Pennachetti “got it wrong.” Pennachetti’s overly legalistic view on what constitutes discrimination, Farber said, ignores the fact that the comparison between Israeli and South Africa’s racist apartheid system “says that Israelis — read Jews — are basically racist.”

“Israelis — read Jews.” Well, no, I’m not gonna.

We’re talking Israeli state policy here. We aren’t even talking about “Israelis,” for crying out loud, many of whom are as appalled by their government’s actions as I am, let alone “Jews.”

There are too many parallels to count between the official treatment of Palestinians on the West Bank, and of minorities within Israel’s own borders, and the South African system in question. Saying so isn’t hateful. Opposing South African apartheid didn’t entail calling all white people in the world evil. There was a white opposition in South Africa back in the day, including senior members of the African National Congress.

But Bernie continues:

“The city manager doesn’t have expertise on the very complicated issue of what hatred is,” he said. “If you want to stick very tightly to the Criminal Code and that kind of thing, that’s one thing, but really, from our point of view, when you’re looking at the overall issue of discrimination, it’s quite straightforward: when you treat one group of people, in this case Israelis-slash-Jews, differently from another based on their ethnicity, country of origin, et cetera, you are discriminating.”

Good grief, “the very complicated issue of what hatred is?” Hatred is completely and utterly uncomplicated. It’s a odious, destructive emotion, best avoided. But now, as with the increasingly empty word “anti-Semitism,” it’s about to be refined and redefined for nakedly political ends to fit a pre-selected target.

This won’t do. Criticism of Israel, like criticism of any other country in the world, is perfectly legitimate. And historical parallels are there to be made in this case, as uncomfortable as that may make uncritical supporters of Israel.

I don’t want to go into those parallels yet again—just nose around in this blog where I made a qualified case in 2009 for the comparison, and stayed up to date on new developments. I hope the thread here will be confined to a discussion of the proposed redefinition of “hatred,” but I don’t exercise control over these things.

Come on over, Bernie. I know you don’t really believe that guff.

Return to the home page

blog comments powered by Disqus

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 13, 2011 4:38 PM.

Ok, the debate was the previous entry in this blog.

Sympathy for the Devil is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 6.3.6