People's Voice Editorial


Yet again, right-wing politicians and pundits are setting their hair on fire over an alleged outbreak of anti-Jewish propaganda. This time, their ire is directed against a group of Palestinian students, for inviting the supposedly "notorious anti-Semite" Norman Finkelstein to speak at the University of Toronto-Mississauga campus. With an air of grim foreboding, commentators warn that Finkelstein may even repeat his arguments from previous talks, such as the fact that Israeli Defence Forces wars against Gaza invariably result in a far higher death toll among Palestinians than Israelis. In the name of protecting free speech, we are told, campuses should crack down on this event and "Israeli Apartheid Week" activities in general.


Of course, this view makes no sense, but it has become the prevailing line among Canada's ruling parties. Anti-Jewish hatred is indeed a serious problem in Canada, along with hatred and bigotry against Muslims, women, racialized peoples, Indigenous peoples, the LGBTQ+ population, and others. In the same city as Dr. Finkelstein's speech, the nauseating Your Ward News continues to publish, despite being found guilty of promoting hate speech against Jews and women. (The ruling ignored the publication's violent attacks against Marxists).


The truth is that anti-Jewish hatred in Canada is almost exclusively promoted by ultra-right activists, not by anti-war movements or Palestine solidarity supporters. Anyone who believes that Norman Finkelstein and the "Israeli Apartheid Week" campaign are "anti-Semitic" should do some reading or attend a few public forums. Nowhere on the political left is there any tolerance for anti-Semitism. There is, of course, justified anger at Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, its racist and exclusionary policies against Arabs and Palestinians within Israel, the IDF attacks against Palestinian children, etc. But those who hypocritically condemn resistance to Israeli apartheid should be told to take action against the real sources of anti-Jewish hatred.


(The above article is from the March 16-31, 2019, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)