It has been almost one year since I was standing around casually waiting at a bus stop in Vancouver only to be both be shocked and dismayed at the bus ad on my normal route. The ad featured a map of Israel, and parts of Palestine showing the “disappearing” land as a result of Jewish/Israeli settlement.
The first thing that crossed my mind was the fact that such vile display of prevarication was something you would never see in Vancouver, one of the world’s most ethnically and religiously diverse cities in the world. Yet, there it was in all its anti-Semitic apprehension, undeniably there for two reasons. First, to misinform those who are not well versed in the subject, and second to offend Jews and Israel.
The ad was created by a pro-Palestinian group which placed them on buses and Vancouver’s metro-like lines in order to incite hatred against Israel and Jews.This form of antisemitism although not common in Vancouver, has always been a poisonous entity within Jewish existence. Despite the pure hatred and political distortions that are naturally used to incite it, there is a far graver issue at hand. One that, mind you, is still relevant one year later.
It did not come as a surprise initially, until it started to sink in. I had learned that a great deal of support for the ads, as well for the group that made them possible came from Jews. How could, and why would someone willingly support the denigration of their own background? It does not seem right, yet those Jews who supported the institution of these ads, and their continual presence on Vancouver’s public space must have known that it would only serve to foster hatred against themselves and their families.
Another important issue is that Canada is one of Israel’s greatest supporters, next to the United States. How did it look when one of it’s largest cities, which holds a substantial Jewish community, ran advertisements that pretty much questioned Israel’s existence?
The reasoning and thought process of self-hating Jews is not exactly something that I understand, nor is it something that I think could ever be explained. I am not advocating that the complexity and sensitivity of the Palestinian issue is not something that deserves our attention, especially that of Jews. In fact, I am not denying that the settlement issue has not been contentious.Yet, to support anti-Semitic propaganda is simply a step too far, which leads me to the issue of Zionism.
Undoubtedly Zionism never having been a homogeneous political or ideological entity has drifted into the realm of self-hatred and frankly, such small instances although might be seem as lapses, are in fact salient indicators of the erosion of its political efficacy. In other words, Zionism I fear, in some places is turning to something very different from what it is supposed to be. Whether this is due to the lack of connections between Israel and its diaspora, I honestly do not know, but I can say one thing: supporting anti-Semitic advertisements on buses is simply unjustifiable.