FIRST READING: The (very few) Canadian politicians unequivocally condemning antisemitism

As in, they can condemn antisemitism without adding ‘and also all other kinds of hate’

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As Canada is struck by rising manifestations of hate and antisemitism, some of the country’s political class is proving conspicuously unwilling to call it out.

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Just last weekend, Palestinian demonstrations in both Edmonton and Ottawa featured the swastika. The weekend before, speakers at a rally in Montreal were cheered as they issued calls to “destroy the arrogant Zionists … kill them all, and do not exempt even one of them.” In Toronto, protest mobs have begun assembling outside Jewish-owned businesses to call for their boycott. And this was in addition to the ubiquitous presence of signs and chants calling for “Intifada,” “resistance,” and the total destruction of the State of Israel.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has mostly avoided comment on the rallies, aside from some anti-Hamas statements made in the immediate days after the Oct. 7 massacres. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a brief statement condemning the Parliament Hill swastika that seemed to place equal blame for the incident on both Islamophobia and antisemitism.

But there are a handful of Canadian politicos that have bucked the trend by delivering unequivocal condemnations of Hamas’s actions, and warning of the extremism the conflict is revealing at home.

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“Showing their true colours. They hate Canada. This anti-Canadian sentiment is festering in our universities and colleges,” reads a Nov. 5 social media post by Goldie Ghamari, an Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP who has been particularly vocal at denouncing the extremism seen within Canadian anti-Israel demonstrations.

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The statement was in reaction to video of a Nov. 4 rally in Vancouver. There, a speaker with the Palestinian Youth Movement — a group that has repeatedly praised the Oct. 7 massacres as an act of resistance — similarly denounced Canada as a colonialist bastion of “racism” and “white supremacy.”

“Can someone explain to me why they’re here if they hate Canada so much? As a first generation immigrant and proud Canadian, I must have missed the memo,” said Ghamari.

Ghamari, 38, came to Canada in the 1980s as a refugee from Iran, and she has been equally vocal in her condemnation of that country’s Islamist theocracy.

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“This is the same radical extremism that Iranian Canadians have been sounding the alarm on,” said Ghamari in a Queen’s Park speech on Oct. 17.

“Those who attended the pro-Hamas rallies … claim it was about freedom and human rights, but where were they when Iranians were calling for the end of the Islamic regime and calling for freedom and human rights in Iran?”

Another member of the PC caucus, Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce, has also been particularly unequivocal in siding against the rallies.

After Toronto’s Jewish-owned Café Landwer was targeted by crowds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators calling for its boycott, Lecce was among the first public figures to make an official visit.

Lecce also instituted what remains one of Canada’s only policy reactions to the wave of public antisemitic sentiments hitting the country’s downtowns in the last month. On Nov. 1, Lecce announced an expansion of Holocaust education in the Ontario public school curriculum, including “the contemporary impacts of rising antisemitism.”

A near-identical policy was similarly enacted in B.C. by a figure who otherwise has few ideological parallels with Lecce. On Oct. 30, B.C. Premier David Eby also announced the introduction of Holocaust education into the public school curriculum with the explicit goal of tamping down rising rates of antisemitism.

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“Incidents of antisemitism have been on the rise across B.C. in recent years, including a surge in violent incidents,” read an accompanying statement.

Eby is one Canada’s two NDP premiers, the other being Manitoba’s Wab Kinew.

Particularly in Ontario, NDPers have represented some of the most extreme views on the Hamas conflict. Ontario NDP MPP Sarah Jama, for instance, was censured by the Ontario Legislative Assembly by reacting to the Oct. 7 massacres with a statement denouncing Israel as an “apartheid” colony.

But Eby’s Oct. 30 statement stands out for condemning rising Canadian antisemitism without citing it alongside Islamophobia — or even in issuing a proviso obliquely condemning “violence on both sides.”

“For our friends and neighbours in the Jewish community, this has been an incredibly frightening time. We have seen a rise in antisemitism in B.C. following the terrorist attacks in Israel, which evokes the history of persecution of Jews,” said Eby.

Federally, Israel’s conflict with Hamas has revealed what is easily the most public ideological rift within the Trudeau government since their election in 2015. At the same time that Defence Minister Bill Blair was declaring that Hamas “has to be eliminated,” Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has mostly championed a unilateral “de-escalation” on the part of Israel — without any requirement that Hamas release the estimated 200 hostages in its custody.

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Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather — who has previously gone against the Liberal grain on issues such as Anglophone rights in Quebec — has been sounding the alarm on what he calls a wave of hate that is mostly being unchecked by the Canadian political class.

As many of Canada’s pro-Palestine rallies have recently taken to organizing under the premise of calling for a “ceasefire,” Housefather’s social media in recent days has been a series of posts warning of Hamas’s stated intention to violently destroy the State of Israel and that it was “naïve” to believe one could be negotiated or respected.

“To say that many within the Jewish community are traumatized and demoralized would be an understatement,” wrote Housefather in a Monday op-ed for the National Post. “They’re fearful for Israel, but also fearful that Canadian society has changed for the worse.”

IN OTHER NEWS

Toronto’s Israeli consulate recently staged a screening for Canadian reporters of some of the bodycam and other footage taken by the Hamas terrorists who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacres. National Post columnist Sabrina Maddeaux was in attendance. She describes some utterly horrifying murders and mutilations of men, women and children, all of them committed by terrorists who never held back on their glee at participating in the massacres. “They hunted their victims in their homes like serial killers in a horror film, peering through blinds, slashing through screen doors with knives, following families wherever they tried to run or hide,” she wrote.

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Canadian High Commission in Nigeria
A deadly explosion hit the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria last week. Thus far, no details have been released from Global Affairs other than the fact that the blast killed two people. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chinedu Asadu

Yet another group of Canadians with multiple degrees has signed their names to a lengthy statement blaming Israel for the Israel-Hamas war, while providing little to no mention of the massive terrorist attack that prompted Israel’s current offensive against Gaza. Thus far, more than 500 Canadian lawyers, law students and law professors have backed a statement saying that Canada’s actual problem is a scourge of “anti-Palestinian racism.” As an example, they cite York University trying to decertify the York Federation of Students after the student group issued a statement praising the Oct. 7 massacres as a “strong act of resistance.” The signatories include Heidi Matthews, the University of Toronto professor notorious for publicly justifying the massacres as an act of “resistance” while they were still happening.

Randall Hopley
If you’re in B.C., keep an eye out for this guy. Randall Hopley is one the country’s most notorious child sex offenders; he abducted a random seven-year-old from the child’s bedroom in 2011 – but the incident ended with the child’s return after an all-out search by police. Before then, Hopley had previously been found building a cabin in the woods filled with toys, restraints and fetish equipment. The Parole Board of Canada approved Hopley’s early release only seven years after the kidnapping, and he just walked away from a Vancouver-based halfway house. Photo by Vancouver Police

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