The Canadian Parliamentary Committee to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) released its report on July 7th and as a Canadian, I am disgusted by what I perceive as an attempt to stifle freedom of speech in Canada – specifically, the freedom to hold critical opinions of Israeli policy toward Palestine and the Palestinian people.
To criticize or hold critical opinions of any government is not an act of hate, it is not an act of prejudice or bigotry; to criticize or hold critical opinions of government is part of our Charter of Rights. The freedom to believe what we hold to be true, the freedom to hold governments accountable to the people, to the world. Yet the CPCCA seeks to deny that freedom when it is applied to Israel, the CPCCA seems to be saying that Israel is above reproach.
I am angered that this committee was even permitted to move forward, on my tax dollars. It is an insult to me, as a Canadian, that I paid a group of people who seek to deny me and my citizens the right to my freedom of opinion.
Iran, Libya and Syria have, in my opinion, criminal governments. The members of their ruling parties should be condemned and jailed; however, this does not make me anti-Islam. I detest the radical French groups in Quebec; this does not make me anti-French. So how is my opinion that Israel is committing crimes against humanity in its treatment of Palestinians anti-Semitic?
I don’t care what religious flag bigots hide behind; criminal behaviour of government is criminal behaviour of government. Would the CPCCA have me believe that Israel is justified in expropriating lands that legally belong to Palestinians? Would the CPCCA have me believe that depriving children of food, water and medication is justifiable because, after all, it is Israel?
Universities are pointed out in the report as veritable hotbeds of anti-Semitism. Jewish students claim that they feel threatened. I don’t take that claim very seriously. Jewish is not Israeli. Born and bred here? They are Canadian, not Israeli. We try, very hard, to separate religion and state, if other countries don’t choose to see things in this way, that is their issue, not ours. Here, in Canada, anti-foreign government policies are just that, anti-foreign government policies.
I will continue to hold my opinion regarding Israel and its criminal treatment of Palestinians and in the small minds of some, if that makes me an anti-Semite, then so be it.
Israel is not above criticism. It is not a holy state. It is a country, run by men whose sole concern is to be re-elected, regardless of who may suffer.