Popular Articles

So far it seems that there is nothing that will stop creeping antisemitism

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

A pro-Israel rally celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut was attacked with rocks, projectiles, fists and threats across from the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg last May. Major organizations including the local Jewish Federation, CIJA and other groups so feared retaliation if they dared broadcast that pro-Hamas attackers targeted Jews in Winnipeg, they stayed silent on it for weeks - and to this day, have not contacted those victims of antisemitic violence including a food vendor, an elderly Jewish woman, and a teenage boy. (Photo: File)

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

With high intermarriage rates and undoubtedly higher assimilation rates, Western Jews are stunned by the obvious increasing antisemitism in their midst. In 2019, 23% of Canadian Jews intermarried and 50 % of American Jews intermarried.

The phenomenon and the degree of its intensity and universality was unexpected. Uncertain as to how to proceed, leading Jewish organizations have fought antisemitism on five fronts, all of which had limited benefits in the past.

The first idea to counter antisemitism is simply to accept it and hope that it goes away – “They are jealous of us“; “Antisemitism comes with their mother’s milk”; “There is nothing that Jews can do about it” represent this attitude. They are easy, comforting answers, but only partially true.

Eventually this seems to lead to another round of antisemitic rioting, living in segregated areas, or expulsion. None of them is likely to reduce the antisemitism. Left alone, antisemitism, like weeds, will grow. 

Secondly, there is formal dialogue. For Jews, who have a history of dialogue with religious books, dialogue means an opportunity to not only put forth your opinion but also listen to other ideas that might change or improve your conceptions of the truth of certain facts and ideas. For non-Jews, dialogue is the opportunity to put forth your opinion and to try to change someone else’s opinion. So, from a Jewish point of view, dialogues are rarely helpful.  And dialogues where the speakers or the audience are heavily weighted to one side, can lead to violence.

Thirdly, we can ask for change in the antisemitic parts of the two other monotheistic religions The Christians could change their Bible with assertions that Jews did not kill Jesus, and that non-believers in Jesus also go to heaven. Many already do believe these ideas but it is not universal. Muslims could delete all antisemitic statements from their Holy Books. At this point both are completely unrealistic. Neither religion is willing to make literal changes to their holy books.

Fourthly, getting to know non-Jews as friends and neighbours, and expressing a positive view of Jews and Israel, is very helpful but has not solved the problem of antisemitism. 

Too often the neighbour looks at his friend as the Jewish exception to the ideas that he grew up with – of the stereotypical ‘bad Jew’.  More likely, a non-Jew simply keeps quiet when his non-Jewish friends express antisemitic ideas or use common expressions like “Jew him down”. Unfortunately this is just a natural human reaction.

Jews also often keep quiet when a racist term creeps unwanted into the conversation – the banality of evil. On the other hand, truly “righteous Jews and Christians” are numerous, but are the exceptions, not the majority. 

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

If then, non-Jews cannot or will not change, as a final desperate option can we change those parts of Judaism which may offend? It is worth noting that the parts of Judaism that may offend the non-Jew do not necessarily offend Jews, and is often an important ritual in their religious practice.

The following are ideas and practices that, from readings and discussions, are of concern to some non-Jews.

Circumcisions may be harmful

Kosher killing may be less humane than other forms of meat processing.

We are pleased to be a light unto the nations – a spiritual leader or symbol to all other groups. The antisemite is, of course, one of the other groups who may think we are putting him down as not yet as “spiritual” or “good” as the members of our group.

The difficulty, especially in the Orthodox stream, is of converting. It is much easier for a Jew to become a Christian or Muslim than for a Christian or Muslim to become Jewish. This too, can bring on resentment and the feeling that we feel that he is not really good enough or not wanted. It also makes us less numerous, which is another problem.

Because of their early training in Torah discussion, their preferred choice of an intellectual marriage partner, and their constant survival needs, Jews, over the years have become hard-working and intellectually bright. This of course leads to Jewish competence, and non-Jewish jealousy and fear for their jobs.

Our business ethics and our personal ethics don’t match. We are known, as individuals, for our close families, charitable donations, and for helping friends and neighbours. However in business we are sometimes considered to be conniving and on the dishonest side. 

When Ben & Jerry’s decided their “business ethics” included supporting BDS, the response from municipal and state governments – and Zionist families worldwide– was to relegate their ice cream to the trashcan, never to be purchased again. (Photo: Ron East)

Jews are culturally and socially different from non-Jews. We have our own holidays, our own foods, and a God whose numerous commandments we obey. We wear yarmulkes, and black hats, and don’t eat pork products or seafood. All this makes us different from our neighbours and differences make other people nervous. Reform Jews stopped performing many of those different cultural habits, but that does not seem to have affected antisemitism. 

These are all feelings that arise when different groups, who have different customs, live in close proximity and together form a larger community. It is a natural thing that occurs between competing groups, majority and minority groups, or simply different groups. Differences remain and occasionally cause friction. It happens with all groups.

So far it seems that there is nothing that will stop creeping antisemitism. Even if Jews could change their image and their reputations as outsiders and be seen as very honourable and beneficially members of our society, I am unsure if antisemitism would stop. It will continue to ebb and flow despite our best efforts to conquer it.

How can we Jews change our image without changing ourselves and our religion? One idea is to excommunicate Jewish members of antisemitic groups and groups that support the Palestinians. That would give Judaism a sense of pride, honour and self-worth. At the least it would stop the tendency for non-Jews saying – “You see, even Jews believe you are wrong.”

Another suggestion is to ostracize or excommunicate any major Jewish donors to antisemitic organizations like York University or the University of Toronto. This would stop the flow of funds to the antisemitic corporations. At the same time the Jewish public should, as a group, cease purchasing or using these organizations, as another way to limit their finances.

Lastly we could encourage our rabbis and synagogues to tell their congregants about the status of antisemitism, and what people and organizations they consider to be antisemitic. Hopefully the synagogues would encourage Jewish activism and at the same time tell their congregants of any dangers to them from within their society.

Anti-Zionist and antisemitic factions on campuses across the GTA find encouragement from useful idiots such as the self-hating Marxist extremists of “Jewish” groups like IfNotNow. (Photo: INN Facebook)

We must also consider that Canada and the United States are in a state of flux. Christian and Jewish churches and synagogues are losing members, the United States under Biden seems to now be taking a strong stand against Israel, Israel has become the whipping boy for crimes it did not commit, and Israel is continually criticized by the United Nations and a very strong and nasty anti-Israel force in BDS.

Woke culture, the latest ideology, is critical of Israel and Jews. It does not include Jews as a minority, it believes in globalism – which is deadly to Israel, and it does not believe in history, which is so important in understanding political and social matters.

The original Zionists, the developers of Israel, people like Hertzl, believed that antisemitism would exist forever in the Diaspora, and so Israel, as a Jewish nation, was necessary as the only place where Jews could continually live and work in freedom without antisemitism.

Israel is there for all Jews. And the history lesson that we should never forget is that, realistically, antisemitism will not die, and for the safety and benefit of all Jews, Israel must survive.

Jonathan Usher was born in Montreal. He graduated from Queen’s Law School in 1963 and moved to Toronto where he has lived since. In the past 20 years of retirement he has become a very prolific and published letter-to-the-editor writer and conservative, social iconoclast.

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

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!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved