Thursday, January 28, 2016

Is This Picture Anti-Semitic or Is It Anti-Theft?

As the Toronto Star reports, this picture, displayed in Toronto's York University Student Centre, shows:
a person looking at a bulldozer close to a building while holding rocks. The person is shown wearing what looks like a Palestinian flag with a map of Israel without its borders. At the bottom of the mural, the words “justice” and “peace” can be seen along with other text.
Paul Bronfman, a A Toronto film industry executive, has announced that his company is pulling its support for York University’s Cinema and Media Arts program because of the display of this picture, which, Mr. Bronfman said, "is anti-Israel." He then continued:
It made me sick to my stomach and very angry. “We live in an amazing city, an amazing country, and to have this happening under our noses is disgusting. It’s subtly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. It’s anti-Canadian.
But what is disgusting about being anti-Israel when the Israeli state enables the theft of Palestinian land for the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories?

And what has opposing Israeli state policy got to do with anti-Semitism? To say that the one necessarily implies the other is like saying that to condemn George W. Bush's Iraq war amounts to hatred of Americans.

As for equating anti-Semitism with anti-Canadianism, it amounts to saying that Canada should be subservient to the interests of Israel, just as the Canadian Ukrainian Congress seeks to make Canada subservient to the interests of Russophobic Ukrainian nationalists. Both are manifestations of ethnic politics that are potentially of great harm to Canada.

What the picture depicts is the violent (i.e., rock throwing) resentment of Palestinian youth at the theft of their land by Israeli settlers. So which is worst, stealing land or throwing rocks? Apparently, in Mr. Bronfman's mind, Israeli crimes against the Palestinians are to be ignored, while the World condemns the violent though largely ineffectual Palestinian reaction as a terrible crime.

Moreover, according to Mr. Bronfman, anyone who takes a different view is an anti-Semite. OK, then, on that definition an anti-Semite is an opponent of Israeli crimes against the indigenous people of occupied Palestine, which is not such a bad thing, is it?


The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

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