Friday, April 28, 2006

A warning from the Canadian branch

Via YayaCanada, a curious editorial from a Canadian branch office of the Lobby:

“While the crazed rantings of overseas terrorists should be placed in the context in which they exist, so should the sometimes careless words of Canadian activists and leaders. Repeatedly, anti-Israel activists in Canada have refused to acknowledge even the possibility that the extreme language employed in discussion of the Middle East conflict might unintentionally encourage individuals or groups for whom violence carries no stigma. It is simply not adequate to contend that any violence preceded by extreme language is an unintended consequence. Citizens in free societies are called upon to exercise a degree of sensitivity not only to the impact their words are meant to have, but the impact their comments might have unintentionally. Abdicating this core civic responsibility is a major failing of Israel's critics in Canada and elsewhere.

Now, when we have explicit, if vague, threats to the security of overseas Jews, Israel's critics must be held to a higher standard than before. The issue is not so much the veracity of the accusations - criticism of Israel, like certain accusations against Jews throughout the ages, are usually grounded in a seed of truth - but they have often been misused by malcontents to sway the ignorant. The fear, of course, is that people who are inclined toward violence will be emboldened by the hateful imagery and language employed by otherwise peaceful anti-Israel activists. As unpleasant and unfair as this connection may seem, it is rejected only by people whose concern for the safety of Jews is eclipsed by their dislike of Israel.

Individuals and groups in a multicultural society have an obligation not only to choose their words and approaches respectfully, but to give some thought to the way their words could be interpreted by people whose intentions are less pure. This is the core failure of the anti-Zionist movement in Canada (as well as Europe and elsewhere). There is insouciance toward the presumably unintended consequences of their rhetoric. If this was ever forgivable, it is not anymore. Canadians of goodwill, critics of Israel and others, must temper their language in the context of the times. Meanwhile, Canadian governments should be playing a role in alleviating the financial and other burdens of protecting communities who are the subject of explicit threats.”

The editorial begins by expressly requesting extra protection for Canadian Jews from the Canadian government against the threat of attack from al Qaeda.  Would the next logical step not be to request Canadian government protection from those who might want to criticize the policies of the State of Israel?  Consider yourselves warned.

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