They're gunning for Ward 27 front-runner Kristyn Wong-Tam. Apparently she had the temerity to offer a little assistance to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, back when various people were misusing their influence to have the group banned from the annual Pride Parade in Toronto. (They were ultimately unsuccessful, after some wavering on the Pride Parade organizers' part, and they're apparently still licking their wounds.)
Clearly, according to the Sun and to Farber, this is a disqualifying issue. Check out this ripe and smelly little bit of neo-McCarthyism (with my emphases bolded). First, a little dash of homophobia, referencing "the political ties of lesbian art gallery owner..." Note that heterosexual candidates don't have the word "straight" attached to their names.
According to information obtained by the Toronto Sun, Wong-Tam, a self-professed community advocate, is not just affiliated with the controversial fringe group, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA).
But from June 14, 2009 when it was created until less than a month ago, Wong-Tam was the registered owner of the group’s website.
Paperwork obtained on the queersagainstapartheid.org website shows that the “independent” candidate listed her home address in the registration but gave the contact number as her Coldwell Banker real estate office on Yonge St.
Observe, first of all, the slimy use of language: "self-professed," and the word "independent" in shudder-quotes. Columnist Sue-Ann Levy is obviously a seasoned
Her opponents in the council race, of course, have lost no time jumping on the neo-McCarthyist bandwagon:
"You have to be open and transparent about who you are," said [Simon] Wookey, 38, the only candidate to "out" Wong-Tam’s ties as a QuAIA founder at a recent all-candidates debates.
"For me it’s about integrity and transparency," adds Ken Chan, 35. "People have to ask themselves if this is the kind of person they want to lead the ward."
So now, in addition to another little flick or two of homophobia, support for Palestinians has become defined as a negative character issue. And here's more of this dirty little smear:
Wong-Tam also admitted that she’s been endorsed by the labour council and CUPE, noting she’s pleased considering she’s a private sector businessperson who’s never been a union member.
"Admitted?" As though such support is something better left concealed from the eyes of decent folks?
"I can effectively build bridges with the arts, business, labour, environmental and non-profit sectors," Wong-Tam added, her response sounding like the typical socialist pap.
Heaven knows we should be burning bridges, not building them. The politics of division is all that the miserable Levy and her equally miserable newspaper can grasp--us versus them. Lock and load.
It seems, in fact, that the agile Levy has been phoning around to get something going here:
Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said he thinks it's important for citizens in her ward to "understand exactly" who [sic] exactly she supports.
"A member of a group that has called the Jewish community racist might not be the best person to represent a diverse community like Toronto Centre-Rosedale," he said. "We need a person who doesn’t jump on an extremist bandwagon."
Good grief. A citation would be nice: in the absence of one, we don't know if the latter actually called the Toronto Jewish community (which includes members of QuAIA) any such thing. And as for Wong-Tam's alleged membership in QuAIA, she hasn't, at least to my knowledge, been summoned to appear before our latter-day version of HUAC to say yea or nay. But so what if she is?
In any case, only Farber and his ilk could claim that supporting the Palestinian cockroaches in a bottle by opposing their continued suffering under military occupation constitutes "extremism."
Mayoralty candidate Sarah Thomson, who’s contributed to Wong-Tam’s campaign, said she was not aware of Wong-Tom’s strong ties with QuAIA.
"Wow," she said.
And note the phrase "strong ties," slipped in so adroitly. Seems, somehow, even worse than "member," doesn't it?
Just a little more Israel Derangement Syndrome, brought to you courtesy of a newspaper that has called for the mass murder of Tamil refugees. Charming.
*UPDATE: (September 25) I see that I've been a little unfair to Bernie Farber by comparing him to B'nai Brith's indefatigable Frank Dimant. Reader Cyril Blanchette draws my attention to this, which makes my suggestion, together with my Dimant link, unintentionally self-contradictory.