Canada Gets Tough on Anti-Semitsim, Avi Benlolo, President and CEO, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Canada, Huffington Post, 21 Sept 2011:
The government of Canada took an historic step yesterday by signing the Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism. By doing so, it recognized anti-Semitism as a pernicious evil and a global threat against the Jewish people, the State of Israel and free, democratic countries everywhere. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has noted, “Those who would hate and destroy the Jewish people would ultimately hate and destroy the rest of us as well.”
The protocol is a declaration that hatred of this nature will not be tolerated in this country. It sets out an action plan for supporting initiatives that combat anti-Semitism and provides a framework for other nations to follow.
It also sets out a vibrant definition of anti-Semitism which, for the first time in history, links anti-Semitism to the denial of the right Jewish people have to their ancestral home land — the State of Israel. This, in fact, is what sets post-World War Two anti-Semitism apart from its historic roots. Today’s anti-Semitism is all about denial: denial of the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish movement to reclaim the land of Israel; denial of a Jewish history in connection to the holy land and, in particular, the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people; denial of the Holocaust (while at the same time accusing Jews of Nazism); and denial of Jews to live free of anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance.
Unquestionably, the Government of Canada’s stance on Israel is based on the principle of standing by your friends — especially when they are democracies and advocates for human rights. Most Jewish leaders would agree that Israel is indeed Canada’s greatest ally in the fight against hate and intolerance.
But the fight against hatred and anti-Semitism must be won here in Canada as well. The Ottawa Protocol is mostly the result of a report published this summer by a Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism which was comprised of leading Canadian politicians who volunteered their time to probe the increasing and alarming tide of anti-Semitism in Canada.
The Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism is a template for every Canadian to consider. But it is especially a document of significance for universities that have allowed themselves to become vehicles of hatred and complicit in its promotion. As my friend, Professor Irwin Cotler said last night at the Ottawa signing ceremony, anti-Semitism is not only the longest known form of hatred in the history of humanity — it is the only form of hatred that is truly global.
Every person of conscience should take note of the Ottawa Protocols and never forget the lessons of the Holocaust when the world was silent.
We remain alarmed by ongoing state-sanctioned genocidal antisemitism and related extremist ideologies. If antisemitism is the most enduring of hatreds, and genocide is the most horrific of crimes, then the convergence of the genocidal intent embodied in antisemitic ideology is the most toxic of combinations.
We are appalled by the resurgence of the classic anti-Jewish libels, including:
+ The Blood Libel (that Jews use the blood of children for ritual sacrifice)
+ The Jews as “Poisoners of the Wells” – responsible for all evils in the world
+ The myth of the “new Protocols of the Elders of Zion” – the tsarist forgery that proclaimed an international Jewish conspiracy bent on world domination – and accuses the Jews of controlling government, the economy, media and public institutions.
+ The double entendre of denying the Holocaust – accusing the Jews of fabricating the Holocaust as a hoax – and the nazification of the Jew and the Jewish people.