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Israel’s war effort is CAUSING antisemitism?

I have to say that throughout this war, I have felt no safer than on a what’s app group of fellow Quebec Jewish doctors. I love how we share relevant news about Israel and antisemitism. I love the support we give one another. And I love the safe space we have created for us to vent our frustrations and pain that we are living through.

In that vain, I wish to express my frustration about something. Allow me to explain.

I have had a general sense that most of us feel on the same page about this war – namely that Hamas/Iran/islamism is to blame; that we must continue to support Israel to do whatever she can to achieve her war aims of bringing the hostages home and eradicating Hamas in the name of security for the Israeli people; that the world is judging Israel in the harshest of terms while she wages an impossible urban war with terrorists who intentionally put their own civilian lives in harms way; and that every death is painful and that death is sadly what happens in war.

I thought we were all united on these things. But it pains me to see and hear that some members of our tribe feel justified in criticizing Israel’s government because of the inconvenience we are experiencing as Jews in the diaspora facing mounting antisemitism. As if Israel should just lay down its arms, give up on our hostages, let Hamas regroup, let the world forget about the conflict for a while, let our lives go “back to normal” again in the diaspora while antisemitism goes back into hiding, and wait for the next violent massacre of Israelis by Islamist groups. I have been shocked and deeply disturbed to hear this view expressed by a few fellow Jews in recent weeks. Jews whom I thought were Zionists like me.

I am not saying that the Israeli government is perfect or without flaws. But as a people I would hope that we are united in fighting this threat to our very existence. We all want peace, but we must remember our history of trying to make peace with the Palestinians. Every single attempt failed because they do not want to live side by side with us. They want to replace us completely. And each time they started a war with us and we fought back, we stopped short because the world told us enough. Where did that leave us? Succumbing to international pressure merely relieved us from seeing and experiencing overt antisemitism for a short time. But it did not bring us any closer to peace.

I don’t pretend to know about war or about what the day after looks like. All I know is that we are fighting for our survival and we must be united in this fight. People will always hate us, no matter what we do. So we need to do what is right and that is exactly what the IDF – the most moral army in the world – is doing. I believe this is the message we should be sharing with the world.

About the Author
Dr. Samantha Balass is a Jewish physician practicing in Montreal, Quebec in family medicine and has a special interest in dermatology. She is married and has 2 children. She has completed her medical training at McGill University and UBC. She is the descendent of Iraqi and Iranian Jews who fled their countries due to antisemitic persecution. Having had a solid Jewish education and having grown up visiting her large family in Israel often, Dr. Balass is a passionate zionist and is currently serving in the antisemitism committee of the Association des Médecins Juifs du Québec.