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Pushing Jews out of progressive causes opens a new door for creating social change that truly makes a difference

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The Jaffa Institute operates the Musical Minds program to provide disadvantaged 3-12 year olds with biweekly creative enrichment programming in an underprivileged neighborhood of Bat Yam. Three hundred children receive lessons in keyboard, flute, drums, vocals, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video animation, drama, and movement. (Photo: jaffainstitute.org)

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Israel-haters fight using the weapons of lies, distortion, delusion and division. The latter is especially evident on social media. Israel-haters try to break the links between Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora, sowing division and deception where they can. They do so by attempting to create a wedge between supporting progressive causes and being Jewish. “Can’t be both,” they say, as they push Jews out of their movement.

The dangerous philosophy of “intersectionality” underlies this strategy. According to intersectionality, a victim is a victim is a victim. The victim in one cause is thereby linked to the victim in another. Thus Blacks or First Nations individuals or LGBTQ+ people are aligned as victims, sharing a common concern to resist oppression.

In intersectionalist mythology, the Palestinians are a victim group. That’s intersectionality: one victim causes uniting all the others.  It is a powerful strategy for it creates instant allies.

As a result of this outlook, progressive movements like BLM, Environmentalism, Feminism, First Nations rights and LGBTQ+ spawn a horde of instant Middle East “experts.” They, after less a moment of reflection and no detailed study, come out against Israel. Thus we are treated to nonsense speech like Israel is an apartheid, colonialist, oppressive nation.  

We hear this divisive language all the time in the Diaspora. The charges hurt – they are designed to – although they are meaningless and just plain wrong. But they are destructive. People without any knowledge of the Middle East simply spout these lies as if they were true. Nor do they tolerate dissent or debate. Having to solve the problems of the Middle East seems like a long way from making the world better for Blacks, Women, the Environment and LGBTQ Individuals.

These movements come with a lot of baggage that’s problematic for Jews.

Negating a lie is difficult … and also, quite frankly, tedious. It demands courage, patience and a recognition that what Israel supporters are up against is an emotion, not fact. It stems from the desire to do harm to Jews, to use Jews as scapegoats. It’s an ancient story in modern dress.

Telling the Truth About Israel

Defending Israel can take many forms. Exposing intersectionalist lies is one way. Israel is not a colonizing apartheid oppressive nation. These charges are much more applicable to Canada. 

Canada is a colonizing nation whose immigrants oppressed the First Nations peoples, so much so that our prime minister has apologized, even affirming that indeed Canada is guilty of cultural genocide. There are over 600 “reservations” in Canada where First Nations peoples live. These separate geographical areas often lack good medical or educational facilities or even drinkable water. That’s what apartheid means – separateness and that’s how Canada has historically treated Indigenous peoples. Canadian settlers have had a long history of oppression via government-funded Christian residential schools that aimed at depriving First Nations of their language, history and cultural traditions.

Where are the worldwide protests against Canada, the boycotting of Canadian goods manufactured in “occupied” territories such as Montreal, Toronto, Mississauga, Vancouver and dozens of other cities? These protests don’t exist. Hence the selective hatred of the intersectionalist activists is exposed: it is simply Israel-hatred.

Defending Israel against oft-repeated lies demands courage. Speaking up for Israel, for its values and for its remarkable achievements over the past 60 years, requires enormous patience. In the Middle East only in Israel can Jews, Muslims, Christians, Bahai’s and others express their faith. Nowhere else can one find such a variety of mosques, synagogues, churches and temples co-existing. Not in Gaza, not in Jordan, not in Syria, not in Saudi Arabia. Only in Israel can LGBTQ+ individuals hold parades. Nowhere else.

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Building Up Israel One Child at a Time

Shoving activist Jews out of progressive movements creates an interesting opportunity. Being shut out from one path to social change opens up new avenues for participation in organizations that make a difference. Rather than fighting to be accepted by the leaders of progressive movements — causes that have enormous baggage — it is wiser to ignore these odious anti-Jewish judgments and seek out ways of helping Israelis build up their society.

While many of the larger pro-Israel groups are well-known, there are smaller groups that seek participation either through volunteer efforts or by financial assistance. Personally I have enjoyed a month several years ago volunteering with Sar-El, sorting medical supplies on a military base.

Another organization is the Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute (www.jaffainstitute.ca). [Full disclosure here: I’m on the CFJI Board.] Since its founding in 1982, the Jaffa Institute has helped thousands of Israeli youth mature into productive citizens. Focusing geographically on the areas of south Tel Aviv and Jaffa, the Institute’s mandate is to assist at-risk youth and their families succeed.

The Jaffa Institute does so using a holistic approach to address the needs of the child and their family. That includes food distribution, counselling, language tutoring, mentoring and creating high aspirations, generating academic and social success, and developing programs that enrich the lives of each participant.

The approach is innovative and unique in the area. The Bet Shemesh Educational Centre provides over 300 disadvantaged boys, ages 12-19 with educational, counselling and nutritional support.  That’s a key age group where the temptation to drop out looms so large. The Stepping Stone Program helps at-risk teenage girls cope with the challenges they uniquely face. The Jaffa Institute offers English Enrichment programs, Technological Education so vital to children’s futures today, and a Science van that takes scientific education out into marginalized communities.

A special project of the Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute focuses on “Musical Minds.” This innovative program introduces underprivileged children to the arts. Children have opportunities they would not otherwise have – learning about music, drawing, sculpture, photography, video animation, drama and movement, arts and crafts. These programs have enormous side benefits. Participants develop social skills and personal self-esteem as well as discovering talents they would never otherwise get to realize.

One Door Closes; Another Opens

By shunning Jews, progressive causes have opened up a new door to creating social change that makes a difference.

So one way of fighting Israel-hatred positively is by becoming involved in the many Canadian organizations that genuinely help build up Israel. Ignore the hateful progressives and put personal energy and resources towards initiatives that bear fruit.

That’s the best solution.

An award-winning educator, Barrie Wilson, PhD, is Professor Emeritus & Senior Scholar, Humanities/Religious Studies, York University, Toronto. A Jewish investigative historian, he specializes in movements in early Christianity. Books include: How Jesus Became Christian (2008); The Lost Gospel (2014) co-authored with Emmy-award winning Canadian-Israeli film director and producer Simcha Jacobovici; Paul vs James (2018); and Searching for the Messiah (2020).

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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