Michael Bloomfield

The Bullies Must Not Win: Hasbara in the Diaspora

Dear readers, I share the following article with you as an example of one of the many ways Jews and our allies are fighting the propaganda war against Israel. We take it as our responsibility to help make people here realize that this fight is not Israel’s alone, that what Iran and its proxies seek to destroy and replace is western society.

Canadians are generally decent and fair people.  We are among the most privileged people in the world, enjoying enormous land and resources that support a well-educated, prosperous and peaceful society.  We put high value on inclusivity and equality but recent events have made clear that exceptions exist ever so subtly.

We Jews are fully accepted and yet we always have been outsiders of a sort.  We saw that clearly during WWII when government policy was “none is too many.”  Post-war things improved; we were no longer subjected to systemic discrimination. We came to be respected for our many contributions to society and fully included, more or less. Nonetheless, conspiracies about Jews persisted and we continued to be subjected to subtle discrimination rooted in Canada’s history of European Christianity and its succession theology. We certainly were not considered white and had no part in Canada’s colonial enterprise. Most of our families arrived as refugees feeling one place or another.

Today, despite the small offences we encounter and reminders in everyday life that we are living in a Christian dominated society we live as freely as Jews have ever lived anywhere in the Diaspora. To no small degree, Israel increased our pride, confidence and sense of security as Jews.

However, over the past several decades we took our place for granted. Immigration brought people from Muslim and other countries and their animus towards Jews. Today there are more Muslims than Jews in Canada and some actively work as jihadists.  Our universities, often funded from off-shore, began to develop and promote their post-modern ideology, sometimes referred to as woke or diversity, inclusivity and equality, and suddenly we Jews were white, privileged and part of the oppressor class because of it.  Israel, despite its incredible diversity and Mizrachi majority, became a white, European, colonial outpost guilty of dispossessing the Indigenous people and committing apartheid.  If truth is not dead, it has been tortured and is being held hostage by these shameless people.

So, we fight on, as we always have done as Jews, not only to survive but to thrive as a people devoted to universal justice and peace and to work as G-d’s partners in repairing the world. Am Yisrael Chai!

Let’s Not be Intimidated by Bullies

Whatever your opinion on the Gaza war, there is no excuse for behavior that uses the rights and freedoms of our open society to intimidate, threaten or harm other people.  As Canadians, we must stand up to bullies whether in our schools, universities or political parties, on social media, in the media or on our streets.

We are witnessing the rise of something very threatening to our way of life. If we choose to be bystanders, we are taking for granted and putting at risk our peaceful, inclusive way of life. Sometimes, as did previous generations, we must stand up for and defend our core values. Otherwise, we are caving-in to the tyranny of the mob, or worse still, supporting intolerance, hate and destructive behavior.

At our best, being Canadian is to be fair and decent. Ask yourself, is it okay when:

  1. A city councilor signs a racist, antisemitic, misogynistic letter denouncing so-called Canada
  2. Feminists, including Victoria’s mayor, doubt documented sexual violence committed by Hamas
  3. Protestors at the legislature put fake dead babies among wreaths at the cenotaph and shout slogans hostile to Jews and Canada
  4. Victoria’s MP speaks to one of these protests, ignoring hateful chants and placards
  5. Pro-Hamas activists in a mall intimidate families waiting for a photo with Santa
  6. A mob disrupts attempted dialogue at the Belfry Theatre and defaces its entrance
  7. Victoria’s synagogues require security to protect our Jewish neighbours
  8. Police and bystanders are threatened by Pro-Palestinian protestors

Others among us are spreading doubt about Hamas’ heinous crimes and casting blame on their victims.  They refuse to acknowledge that Hamas started the conflict by violating an existing ceasefire with rape, torture, murder and hostage taking. They denounce Israel’s right to self-defence and demand a ceasefire favouring Hamas.  Ask them, if you dare, how these angry demonstrations promote peace and why, as feminists, trade-unionists, LBGQT+ activists, politicians and academics, they enthusiastically participate.

If you have any doubt about why this is happening you could read Hamas’ covenant, listen to speeches from their leaders or watch Hamas’ videos of the atrocities they committed against civilians on October 7 while shouting God is great. This conflict isn’t about Palestinian rights or land. It is a genocidal campaign by Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah who hate Jews, deny the Holocaust and seek martyrdom in their fight against western civilization.  How does Israel make peace with that, except by committing suicide to satisfy these martyrs and western apologists enthralled by their cause.

So, it’s up to the rest of us to find the moral clarity and courage to refuse to be intimidated, hijacked and used to promote their anti-democratic campaign.  They are not contributing to peace in the Middle East or to the inclusive, peaceful society we have built here. They are, however, contributing to prejudice, intolerance and hate and if we don’t oppose it, good luck to all of us, we surely will need it.  History tells us the Jews may be first but it never stops there!?

The author has devoted his life to peace, human rights and the environment. Rational comments welcome.

About the Author
Michael Bloomfield's education is in animal science, veterinary science and wildlife biology. His principle organizational ties are Harmony Foundation of Canada where he is the Founder and Executive Director of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He works informally with Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs on much of his advocacy work. Governing Council Global 500 Forum, United Nations Environmental Programme.
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