Ads Published to Incite Anti-Semitism

There is an ad campaign in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada funded by a Pro-Palestinian committee that depicts maps of what they refer to as Disappearing Palestine: from 1946 to the present.Vancouver pal


The leaders of the Palestine Awareness Coalition are not stupid. They made use of facts then twisted them by implying that the land pictured on the first map, the land they labeled Palestine 1946, was an independent country, and that “their” land has been stolen by the Jews to the point that almost nothing is left.

Needless to say there has been a push back from the Jewish community. These ads are full of half-truths and outright lies. “Truthiness.” And they have one purpose-to incite hate.

I was more upset with the comments in two national papers that derided the Jewish community for requesting that the ads be taken down than the ad itself. The Jewish community is behaving poorly, they say, trying to prevent free speech in the “market place of ideas.”

Free speech does not give an organization the right to advertise patently false information whose sole purpose is to incite animosity. Free speech is not a license to lie. Free speech does not give one the right to deny the Holocaust or the Armenian genocide.

One of the columnists compared the ad campaign against Israel to a Big Mac ad.

Was he suggesting that all ad campaigns stretch the truth a little? Maybe. Good PR highlights the good and obfuscates the negative. But it’s political correctness gone awry when we open the door to defending the spread of untruths, half-truths and outright lies in the name of free speech in the market place. To compare a pro-Palestinian ad-campaign filled with lies and half-truths to an ad campaign for a Big Mac is intellectual bankruptcy writ large. It’s moral relativism: the mainstay of fundamentalist ideologies.

What I found deeply offensive was the promotion of the canard that if a prominent Jew is on the committee, well, it can’t be anti-Semitic or associated with Hamas. We know that statement is patently false. Orthodox Rabbis embraced the leadership of Iran. A Jew on a committee that promotes hate toward Israel doesn’t make the committee or cause “Kosher.”

This same journalist accused the Jewish community of hypocrisy regarding free speech. Not too long ago there was a prolonged Human Rights Tribunal case about free speech against two  journalists Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, regarding statements that offended one man.

To compare the Jewish communities’ complaints about removing the pernicious Palestinian propaganda from the bus line with the protracted fight that Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant had to undergo for their right to write about Islam without fear demeans the legal battle these two journalists withstood.

These maps, along with the month-long pro-Palestinian campaign will encourage anti-Semitism. A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. These maps will drown out any attempt at constructive discussion because they leave all with the impression that Israel is the perpetual aggressor.  Omission of facts is as much a sin as reporting incorrect facts. And that doesn’t seem to ruffle any politically correct people.

Both national columnists wrote that all the Jewish community has to do in a free market place is take out ads to refute the map. One wrote “…if Jewish groups want to pony up their own $15,000 so they can supply their own story…”(Emphasis mine) . Pony up? As if the Jews are too cheap?

It’s a lovely sentiment in the free market place that one can take out ads to get a point across. How does one counteract the pernicious propaganda when the “One” is the Jewish community, a mere 1% of the population of Canada? If the scourge of anti-Semitism could be removed by placing ads, believe me, the Jewish people would have succeeded by now.

No amount of money can stop anti-Semitism.

How do we as Jews respond to editorials that suggest it’s OK to lie about facts about the Middle East? It’s just propaganda, like promoting a Big Mac.

It requires that those who have a voice, a pedestal from which to preach, stop the lies and fantasy history by calling them out; by admonishing the truth-benders. Unfortunately there is a dearth in balanced reporting. Moral relativism is prioritized over morality.

Anti-Semitism is a 2000 year old cultural meme deeply embedded in the collective unconscious of our citizens. It takes so little to awaken the anti-Semitic beast within. It has become politically correct to attack Jews with impunity.

Where was the front-page outrage over  al-Quds day in Toronto, Canada when Hazineh said to kill the Jews in Jerusalem? And now in South Africa, it’s OK to say kill the Jews at a concert?

Is it OK to say kill gays? Is it OK to say kill abortion providers?

But, kill the Jews?

How did it come to be the responsibility of the Jewish community to provide truth-through advertising?

Our society has given moral relativism the good housekeeping stamp of approval. What happened to well-thought out commentary, editorials based on facts? What happened to moral outrage, to courage to oppose what is patently wrong? Is that not the responsibility of a well-educated media whose job is supposed to be balanced reporting based on facts; not “truthiness” in the name of political correctness?

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "