Tuesday, February 03, 2009

¡Hola, Canada!

Picture this. A Jewish cemetery in Ottawa is vandalized. And a synagogue in Montreal. And another in Richmond. And another in Moncton. And now one in Edmonton.

The President of, say, Chile, issues a condemnation, and demands that the Canadian government do something immediately to stop this rash of attacks. And Israel denounces Canada, claiming that such incidents could only happen with "the approval of authorities at the highest level of the state."

It's an interesting little thought-experiment. Our first reaction might be to wonder why far-off Chile is even involving itself in these domestic incidents. Our second might to be speculate about possible shortages of
tinfoil in Israel.

But somehow the same bizarre scenario makes perfect sense in reverse, as we continue to be conditioned by media commentators and right-wing politicians.

A synagogue is vandalized in Caracas. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez denounces the act in no uncertain terms, while mischievously suggesting that his opposition might be to blame. He has recently sent the Israeli Ambassador packing because of Israel's recent assault on Gaza. Now Israel says that the Venezuelan state is behind the attack on the synagogue.

Those inclined to disapprove of
Chávez put their usual two and two together: opposition to Israeli policies = anti-Semitism. Therefore the vandals (who clearly are anti-Semitic) acted with Chávez' personal approval. Something like that.

Our new junior foreign minister Peter "all Israel, all the time" Kent swings into action. (Recall his involvement with the shady Canadian Coalition for Democracies.) An occurrence of vandalism in another country, which that country is quite well equipped to handle, warrants an obviously politically-motivated outburst on the international stage from a Canadian minister.

I do hope that President
Chávez, known for his sense of humour, takes a moment from celebrating his tenth year in power to hold our Prime Minister publicly accountable for the rash of anti-Semitic acts that have been taking place across Canada under his watch. Does anti-Semitism pervade the highest levels of our state? Do Peter Kent and Stephen Harper protest maybe a tad too much?

As Kent so succinctly puts it, "
The scourge of hate-filled bigotry must be confronted and rejected whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head." Best start in our own backyard, perhaps?

UPDATE: (February 9) Commenter greenmamba notes that arrests have been made. Eleven suspects have been rounded up--including seven police officers, and a person reportedly working security at the synagogue. Stay tuned.

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