It's nothing new really - the right wing, who can barely make their lips form the words "anti-racism", spend boatloads of cash to "take a stand" against anti-Semitism. Except that what they're really defending are the odious actions and policies of the state of Israel. That's exactly what this hokey Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism is all about.
When there was serious, life-threatening anti-Semitism prior to and during the Second World War, with the rise of Jew-hating fascism, did the Canadian Parliament set-up any special committees? No, the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King pronounced that "none is too many" and turned away desperate Jewish refugees. Back then the Jews weren't of any particular political use to the ruling class in Canada or the US or the UK - or numerous other countries that turned them away. It's still the case that most Jews aren't of any particular political interest to the Canadian political elite. Most Jews don't live in Israel and aren't any more pro Israel than the rest of the population. In fact, this bullshit "coalition" specifically excluded a Jewish organization that didn't have a pro-Israel agenda, Independent Jewish Voices of Canada.
It's also worth noting that Parliament has never set up a committee to combat Islamophobia - even as Muslims suffered job and income losses, suffered harassment and attacks in the streets, campaigns against their places of worship and demonization in the media, not to mention no-fly lists that disproportionately target Muslims, etc. But then Canada's Parliament has facilitated that particular form of discrimination and oppression.
Nor has there been a coalition to combat homophobia, a fact that gay, former MP Mario Silva might want to ponder as he stands shoulder to shoulder with Tory MPs who would happily take away his right to get married, enjoy same sex spousal benefits or any other legal equality that has been fought and won in the last thirty years.
But, besides demonstrating an utterly craven hypocrisy on the question of racism, the existence of this committee also demonstrates something of greater significance - after all, we knew that Parliament was a corrupt dung heap filled with sycophants and toads. Israel and its racist, genocidal policies - it's Apartheid - is suffering the deepest international crisis of legitimacy in its history. The old methods of justifying Israel's uncivilized and inhumane practices by referring to the inhumanity suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust and, more generally, as a result of European anti-Semitism, has faded in potency. After all, why should the Palestinians be punished for crimes committed by Europeans over half a century ago?
Nor is the underlying racist, colonialist justification holding the same weight as it once did. The argument that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is less impressive when not only are their Arab neighbours overthrowing dictatorships in favour of democracy, prominent Israeli officials have more than once expressed their dismay that they are losing "reliable" leaders. The truth is revealed that Israel's existence depends precisely on neighbouring dictatorships to suppress the solidarity felt by the Arab peoples of the region for their Palestinian brothers and sisters. The $2 billion/year that the US spent to prop up Hosni Mubarak actually saved billions more that Israel didn't have to spend on its military in fear of being swamped by the hostile nations around it. Israel could instead focus on their real goal and pleasure - squeezing the Palestinians bit by bit, through illegal settlement expansion, though constant harassment and humiliation, through economic destruction of any indigenous economy, with the goal of driving them out and taking over the whole of "eretz Israel" - from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. This has been the goal from before the founding of Israel and has never been particularly hidden.
And just as Israel's "democratic security" depended upon pliant dictatorships for neighbours, it is dependent upon a pliant dictatorship to rule over the Palestinians. The real outrage over Hamas, and the illegal and ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip is entirely about the fact that the Palestinians - even faced with the full horrors of Israeli Apartheid, refused to submit and voted for a party not sanctioned by their Israeli/American overlords. They are to be punished in perpetuity for voting incorrectly. But as the recent high profile fiascos (and massacres) involving anti-Israel protestors has revealed - whether it is blockading aid boats or shooting unarmed protestors on Israel's border - Israel is just another tinpot dictatorship that allows a small minority within its borders to vote and have full rights.
What Mario Silva - happily voted out in my riding of Davenport - and the goons on Toronto council who tried to deny funding to Pride based upon the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid don't realize is that they are fighting against the wheels of history. And with the revolutions in the Middle East still roiling and reshaping the region (and the world), the wheels of history have just sped up. Their pathetic committee will have no real impact on the inevitable: Israeli Apartheid will be revealed for what it is and defeated.
Anti-Semitism on the rise at Canadian universities, committee says - The Globe and Mail