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Letter to Lutheran Clergy in Victoria, Canada

I drove by your church billboard the other day and noticed it advising: “Pray for the Students at the University of Victoria Encampment”.

Seriously?

Are you asking us to pray for students and professors in university encampments who actively support Hamas, and describe their sadistic mutilation, decapitation, burning, rape, murder and taking hostage, infants, children, women and elderly, done with glee and filmed on Go Pros, as “legitimate resistance”.

Are you asking us to pray for people, who in their encampments at public universities screen students to exclude any Zionist Jews,  or at disruptive and belligerent marches through the streets of Victoria, shout: “Hands off Iran”, a regime which like Hamas, promotes genocide against Jews and Holocaust denial, oppression  and murder of its own women and LGBTQ communities?  Or pray for people who encourage the Houthis, a jihadist group which legalized slavery in Yemen,  with chants: “Yemen, Yemen, make us proud, turn another ship around”.

Are you asking us to pray for students, professors, politicians, artists and their supporters, who repeatedly shout for Global Intifada against Israel’s supporters (80% of diaspora Jews) at every protest? The intifadas were violent attacks against Israeli civilians, which included 140 suicide bombs.  Do you believe that the intention of “Global Intifada” is to create peace between Palestinians and Israelis?

Are you asking us to pray for these same students, professor, politicians, artists and clergy who chant “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” – a cry to wipe Israel off the map politically or genocidally? Where are the 7.2 million Jewish Israelis, many  of whom are descendants of  Holocaust survivors, and from  the  700,000 ethnically cleansed Jewish refugees from surrounding Arab countries, to go when they are “successfully decolonized”.

Do chants for violence and genocide against Jews (contextual of course) constitute peaceful,  non-violent protest on campuses, streets, theaters, businesses , places of worship and community centers?

Are you asking us to pray for protests organized and funded by terrorist organizations like  the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and  Samidoun?

Why are you not asking for prayers for the innocent, suffering, and displaced Gazan women and children, being used as human shields and sacrifices, in a war started by Hamas, AND the bereaved and scarred families of Israelis, sadistically murdered, or languishing as hostages in Gazan tunnels, or the 80,000 Israelis who have been displaced by this war? Why are you not chanting for Hamas to Ceasefire!, lay down their arms, and return the hostages-moves that would immediately stop the carnage and war.

Are Jewish children, having to hide their school uniforms, Stars of Davids, yarmulkes, or other outward signs of Judaism, just an unfortunate consequence of the “demonic actions” by the State of Israel- collateral damage?

It was welcome to learn about the recent parliamentary motion  by Canadian Members of Parliament, condemning both antisemitism and not holding Canadian Jews accountable for the actions of the State of Israel. But this same group, condemning Israeli Genocide, Apartheid and deliberate baby-killing, over the following days,   is not unlike medieval Popes and Bishops condemning the ransacking of Jewish ghettos,  but preaching about deicide, blood libels and Jewish moneylenders in their Sunday sermons.

De-legitimization, Double Standards and Demonization, leads to Dehumanization and loss of empathy, which ultimately leads to “Othering”, exclusion, harassment, and violence.

Depictions by politicians, professors, students, artists and clergy of “ a White European Settler Colonial, Apartheid, Genocidal regime which Intentionally starves whole  populations and deliberately  bombs and murders women and children” are outright libels and part of an old play book that we know all too well.  What person with good conscience could tolerate such an odious State and its supporters (80% of diaspora Jews)?

We used to be despicable Jews, who did not see the “true light” and refused to abandon our religion in Christian and Muslim countries. We were conspiratorial Marxists undermining European Capitalist countries and rapacious Capitalists in Marxist countries. Now we are Repugnant Zionists, the objects of hatred by advocates of intersectional identity social justice.  We recognize this playbook and will not forget its proponents.

Please spare us greetings for “Happy Pesach and Chag Sameach” on your billboard that also advocates stopping the “Israeli Genocide”.  We have received similar Passover greetings from  Hezbollah or Rosh Hashana greetings from Iran.  Don’t condemn the Tree of Life Synagogue murders with billboard messages saying you are against Antisemitism AND Islamophobia, when you do not say you are against Islamophobia AND Antisemitism, after the cruel murder of a Muslim family. We are not stupid and will not be manipulated by gaslighting.

“Social Justice”, starts with humility, compassion, and empathy for all sides of a conflict, not sanctimonious outrage. It rests upon the pursuit of truth, not over-simplistic slogans that divide the world into a “Marvel Universe” of Evil Oppressors who can do no right and Righteous Victims who can do no wrong.

I am copying my letter to the “interfaith partners” from my community.  I hope that this letter gives you pause and that you will pursue truth with compassion, in a spirit of inquiry, fairness and humility, and explore this muddy complex tragedy by having “difficult conversations” with our true leaders, not just with fringe anti-Zionists like Naomi Klein and “Independent Jewish Voices”.

For now, while our children are afraid to be confronted by belligerent protestors when they go downtown, when our students are afraid to go to universities, when our grandchildren are being taught to hate themselves in lessons about “Israeli Apartheid and Genocide” in primary and secondary schools, and when people are removing mezuzahs from their homes,  all I can say is “J’ Accuse…!”

About the Author
Dr. Ted Rosenberg is physician specializing in home based interdisciplinary care for the frail elderly. He is a former clinical assistant professor in the University of British Columbia who resigned because of their tolerance of antisemitism. He lives in Victoria BC.
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