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Like Netanyahu, Canada’s main Jewish organizations exploit the Holocaust for political ends

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By blaming Palestinians for the Nazi Holocaust Benjamin Netanyahu wildly distorted Jewish suffering for Israel’s ends. The lack of comment by Canada’s main Jewish organizations speaks to their own use of Nazi crimes to serve Israel and power more generally.

Using words that would have destroyed the political career of any mainstream North American, or western European leader, Netanyahu said the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini convinced Hitler to gas European Jewry. “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to Palestine].’” Hitler, according to Netanyahu, then asked: “What should I do with them?” with the mufti allegedly replying: “Burn them.”

The Centre for Israel Jewish Affairs (CIJA), B’nai B’rith and other Canadian Holocaust organizations have stayed silent in the face of Netanyahu’s ridiculous effort to blame Palestinians for Nazi crimes. While telling, this silence not surprising. These groups aggressively backed the outgoing Harper regime despite government officials repeatedly minimizing the Nazi Holocaust.

In 2009 Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said “Israel Apartheid Days on university campuses like York sometimes begin to resemble pogroms,” and told a European audience that pro-Palestinian activism spurred anti-Jewish activities “even more dangerous than the old European anti-Semitism.” Similarly, in May 2008 Canwest reported: “Some of the criticism brewing in Canada against the state of Israel, including from some members of Parliament, is similar to the attitude of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned.”

Indifferent to the Conservatives’ Holocaust minimization, CIJA and B’nai B’rith denounced others for lesser transgressions. During the 2012 Québec student strike some protesters responded to police repression by comparing the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to the Nazi SS secret police. Many chanted “S-S PVM, police politique!” while others mocked the police by marching in formation and extending their arm as if saluting Hitler. On what he said would have been Nazi victim and child author Anne Frank’s 83rd birthday, B’nai B’rith CEO Frank Dimant issued a statement attacking a social movement much reviled by the establishment. “We condemn, in the strongest of terms, this inexcusable display of hate by Quebec student protesters”, which Dimant said “defile[s] the memory of the Holocaust.”

The pro-Harper Jewish groups also pounced when Justin Trudeau criticized the outgoing government by, in part, invoking Canada’s refusal to give Jews fleeing Nazi Germany safe haven. In March the Liberal Party leader told a McGill audience “we should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a ‘none is too many’ immigration policy toward Jews in the 30s and 40s being used today, to raise fears against Muslims today.” The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies dubbed Trudeau’s comment a “careless metaphor”, CIJA called it “inaccurate and inappropriate” and Bnai Brith described it a “highly-inappropriate and offensive Nazi-era comparison.”

But, when Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney repeatedly invoked the Nazi Holocaust a week earlier the same groups failed to register any concern. To justify the extraordinary powers of Bill C-51 Blaney told a parliamentary committee the government needed to curtail free speech, among other rights, because “the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chamber, it began with words.”

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, B’nai B’rith and CIJA refused to criticize Blaney’s remarks with CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel performing mental gymnastics to justify them. “Minister Blaney was speaking to an element of the legislation that focuses on the power of words and referenced Rwanda and the Holocaust in that context. Considering the genocidal statements issued by the Ayatollah calling quite literally for a new Holocaust targeting Jews, and the actions of ISIL along with their pronouncements, any discussion about the rationale for legislation that would address such language and its potential toxic influence is not entirely out of place,” Fogel said.

(If a comparison between Bill C – 51 and the Nazi Holocaust is to be drawn it’s in how the bill could pave the way to a Nazi-style police state.)

Netanyahu has demonstrated a clear willingness to distort Jewish suffering for Israel’s ends. And in like fashion Canada’s main Jewish organizations have also participated in this injustice to Palestinians and insult to Hitler’s victims, for their own political ends.

All real opponents of Nazi crimes must cringe at this shameful debasement of the memory of tens of millions victims of fascism.

Yves Engler

Yves Engler’s latest book is The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. He’s also the author of Canada and Israel: building apartheid.

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15 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on November 5, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Thanks for this excellent commentary. I have long been an admirer of Yves Engler! ! !
    It is particularly important to keep up with what is going on in Canada, Australia and the U.K. (in addition to the U.S., of course). These four countries are the biggest enablers of Israel’s Likudnik government and its occupation/colonization.

  2. oldgeezer on November 5, 2015, 2:44 pm

    It will be interesting to see how the liberals govern in relation to the middle east issues. I would hope he will be more pragmatic and take an even handed approach. At this point it is only a hope.

    At the very least I would hope we back off from such outrageous support for the disgustingly racist state of Israel. They need external forces to move them back into the realm of decency and sanity.

  3. lonely rico on November 5, 2015, 6:01 pm

    For Trudeau’s position on Israel, worth looking at his video address to the Canadian Friends of Meir Medical Centre at a special dinner on April 6th, 2014 on the occasion of his being awarded a Medal of Merit by the Friends.

    … Canada is committed … to the state of Israel and her security and well-being. As I have said many times … standing up for Israel is … standing up for the very values and ideals that our two countries share – democracy, openness, tolerance, compassion, respect for the rule of law, and perhaps above all the quest for peace …
    the Liberal Party of Canada will have Israel’s back …
    We must support Israel …
    Canada must always remain a steadfast and true friend to Israel.

    I pray Trudeau’s ideas and opinions have changed and evolved since the spring of 2014; hopefully Protective Edge, Netanyahoo’s election, continued illegal settlement on stolen land, current violence etc. have led him to reflect on how many values and ideals Canada and Israel truly share.

    • talknic on November 5, 2015, 9:15 pm

      Changed? Forget it. His ‘must support Israel’ schtick was to get into power. Now he is.

      The Zionists have had more than a century honing the skill of placing their money and their people where it will suit their vile colonial cause or do the most damage when it doesn’t

      • Popsiq on December 6, 2015, 8:42 am

        In Canada the Zionists have a lip-lock on all the parties. There is no flavor of politics in Canada that does not support Israel. Fortunately there is a growing sentiment among Canadians that this support isn’t directing a peace process and that Palestinian rights are going to have to be equally-supported. Despite a recent lunatic digression toward a ‘warrior tradition’ that Canada has never really had, it remains, essentially, a ‘fair’ country with the possibility of becoming, once again, the world’s singular ‘honest broker’.

  4. Mooser on November 5, 2015, 11:24 pm

    What the heck is it with Zionists. Do they have something against David Unaipon?

    • Citizen on November 7, 2015, 8:23 am

      Early 20th century indigenous inventor David Unaipon, who graces our $50 note, became known as the ‘Australian Leonardo da Vinci’.

      • Mooser on November 9, 2015, 12:52 am

        David Uniapon invented or improved the central mechanism (converting rotary motion to back-and-forth) of motorized clippers, like sheep-shearing appliances and beard trimmers.

  5. Vera Gottlieb on November 6, 2015, 9:35 am

    And I continue to be ashamed of my Jewish background.

    • Mooser on November 6, 2015, 1:02 pm

      “And I continue to be ashamed of my Jewish background.”

      Not me. Recent genealogical research show I may be a descendant of Joseph Silver!

      • Mooser on November 9, 2015, 1:00 am

        Oh, Citizen, don’t believe everything you read about him. That J-the-R stuff is a bit tendentious, pretty theoretical. And even if it is true, you know me, I don’t claim to be anybody special because of who my ancestors were or what they might have done, even if it can be proved against them. I have to carve out my own place in the world.

      • Popsiq on December 6, 2015, 8:43 am

        The step-brother of Long John?

    • YoniFalic on November 10, 2015, 11:29 am

      I don’t have any problem that my ancestors before my grandfather were religious Jews. I just have a problem with using “Jew” as a super-ethnic category that is comparable to “Aryan” in German Nazi usage. There are various proposed demonyms for the descendants of Yiddish-speaking Jewish religious communities, e.g., ethnic Ashkenazi, Slavo-Turk, еврейский (Hebrew), etc. None really work. Jewish Yemeni Arabs have it a little easier. They are after ethnically Arab, but Yiddish speaking religious Jewish communities had their own ethnic group like Armenian speaking Christians. “Jew” is bad as a demonym because it suggests a false connection to Judea and because it has religious connotations that I have come to despise.

  6. bintbiba on November 6, 2015, 1:08 pm

    Dear Vera,

    You stand and speak for yourself and no one can have the right to claim they speak or act in your name .

    Just stand proud as who you are as a cherished member of the vast Human Race … no matter what is your background…. all come from imperfect origins and conditions!

    Common Decency and Justice are inscripted in our common banner.

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