Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The beast that will not die

What on earth is flowing in the mainstream waters of Quebec these days? Anti-Semitism (and I don't mean criticism of Israel) appears to be flourishing
once again, despite the Quiet Revolution, despite Quebec's progressive politique sociale, despite the enlightened social attitudes that most Quebeckers express on such issues as same-sex marriage and a woman's right to choose, despite the waning influence of the Church.

There has been an ugly strain of this in Quebec culture and politics since the bad old days of Abbé Lionel Groulx and Le Devoir in the 'thirties and 'forties, even if it has been exaggerated for political effect by commentators like Mordecai Richler. (He distorted the record, in my view, by ignoring English anti-Semitism in Quebec--e.g., the McGill student quota--as he laboured to grind his anti-sovereignist axe.
The reception of the scholar Esther Delisle's controversial work on Quebec's anti-Semitic past was not helped by having him as a booster.) Anti-Semitism was rife in both English and French populations of Quebec in those days, and all across the country--one thinks of Charlotte Whitton, later the Mayor of Ottawa, crusading to stop Jewish refugee children from entering Canada at the height of the Holocaust. But it is still a dirty little secret that most francophone, souverainiste Quebeckers would prefer to see kept.

A commenter over at Small Dead Animals first brought this to my attention. But so ingrained is the "Left anti-Semitism" meme in those quarters that he wrote: "
Official Leftist racism rears its ugly head in Quebec MSM." Here is what he linked to.

"Leftist," my eye. La Presse endorsed Stephen Harper. As Mark Collins points out at Daimnation, the worst of the cartoons appeared in La Tribune--owned by Power Corporation. And Le Devoir, it appears, is simply reverting to its old traditions. This is classical right-wing anti-Semitism,
in fact, in the form of cartoons that revel in ugly caricatures and stereotypes of "the Jew"--and it's getting a pass (so far) in the English-language media.

Why? For once I'm at a loss.

No comments: