The everlasting prejudice (2)

I wish I didn’t have to raise this issue again, but …

Several months ago I commented on the rise of anti-Semitism in America and Europe, on both the political left and right wings. Now I see, in an Associated Press report that  “Jewish leaders in the Lithuanian capital are indefinitely closing the city’s sole synagogue and community center following threats sparked by an emotional debate over the country’s World War II-era history.

After decades of Soviet-Russian occupation and rule, many Eastern Europeans want to celebrate those who opposed the Soviets in the 1940s … but many of them were Nazi sympathizers and collaborators. Jews, understandably, protest the glorification of those who ran the trains to Treblinka; and the traditional Eastern European reaction when Jews are involved is a pogrom. It looks like we’re seeing that again.

Meanwhile, in North America, we focus on a totally false, trumped-up (pun intended) threat of “white supremacy” and we fuss about whether or not Andrew Scheer should attend a gay pride parade.

Right here, in Canada, and right now, in 2019, I also see that B’nai B’rith Canada reports (datelined 7 Aug 19) that “An Edmonton imam has been prevented from leading prayers at a local community center after B’nai Brith Canada drew attention to his hateful rhetoric from the pulpit and online, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday … [the report says that] … Sheikh Shaban Sherif Mady, who says he was licensed by the prestigious al-Azhar University in Egypt, told congregants in March that “international Zionism” was behind the Islamic State (ISIS), the recent terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand, and “all terrorism” … [and] … He followed this up with another sermon in June in which he added, “We know that Jews do not like Islam or the Muslims.”

My comments from late last years still stand: anti-Semitism crosses too many political boundaries. There are too many virulent anti-Semites on the progressive political left, including amongst too many main-stream Western left-wing party leaders, and there are also too many on the right, mostly on the far right, but that’s close enough.

I know there is some ‘Islamophobia‘ in Canada, and that is a problem, too, but it is nowhere near as pervasive nor as dangerous as is virulent, often violent anti-Semitism. Governments, politicians and community and religious leaders need to get their priorities straight. One does not counter one prejudice by pretending that another doesn’t exist.

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