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Raheel Raza: ‘I will Not Be PC About Anti-Semitism’

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(Photo: Flickr/Marc Nozell/CC2.0)
(Photo: Flickr/Marc Nozell/CC2.0)

The indomitable Raheel Raza lets loose on the new anti-Semites, declaring, I will not be PC about anti-Semitism. After the Holocaust, the world said, “Never Again.”

Yet just in the last few days, a quick perusal of the news shows that this is not the case:

  • In Brooklyn, attacks against Jews have become commonplace
  • In Omaha, Jewish 75 headstones in a Jewish cemetery were overturned, causing $50,000 worth of damage
  • Red paint was splashed on the doorway of an historic synagogue in the UK on the 81th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom against Jews in Nazi Germany

As a Muslim living in Canada, I’m really not able to comprehend the term “Never Again” because it has started all over again: We see the rise of antisemitism globally.

  • There is unabated rise of the BDS movement across campuses in North America. The BDS movement has been deemed an anti-Semitic movement by the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. That definition has been adopted by 31 other countries. It is based on the “working definition”  proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member (see the definition below).
  • We see Israel Apartheid week taking place
  • We see blatant hatred of Jews and Israel being spouted from the mouths of some elected officials

In Canada, according to the organization B’nai Brith, 2,041 incidents of anti-Semitism were recorded this past year, an increase of 16.5% from the previous year.

This is a dangerous trajectory. We have learned that hatred leads to dehumanization of “the other,” which leads to violence and eventual genocide. The Holocaust is a constant reminder of this.

We need to urgently question, “Why?”{ And we need to discuss this issue within all communities. This is not just a Jewish problem. It’s a humanitarian crisis of huge proportions.

Deborah Lipstadt, a world-renowned Holocaust historian and professor of history at Emory University, said it best in an interview with TVO’s Steve Paikin :

“If you’re going to fight anti-Semitism, don’t fight just because you have a Jewish neighbor or Jewish friends and you don’t want them to be hurt or to live in fear.  That’s good, but that’s not the reason. Or, if you’re going to fight anti-Semitism just because you hate prejudice against all minorities, religious, ethnic or whatever it might be, that’s a good thing, but that’s not sufficient.

The reason to fight anti-Semitism is that it poses a danger to the democratic societies in which we live. No healthy democratic society can harbor that kind of animus, that kind of hatred and be called a healthy society.”  

The reasons for the rise in anti-Semitism are many but rarely talked about due to political correctness. However, I will:

  • There has been mass immigration to the West from countries that have institutionalised anti-Semitism and teach hatred for Jews even in their school curricula. So those who have grown up on a diet of hate and conspiracy theories bring this ideology with them. We are witnessing this from elected representatives south of the border in America.
  • With the rise of immigration patterns, the demographics have changed. Western politicians are not only ignoring the rise of anti-Semitism but siding with those who perpetuate it.
  • Adding insult to injury, the Left and Islamists have joined hands to weaponize anti-Semitism. Islamist organizations host the hateful Al Quds Day rally in major cities. Recently, there has been an increase of anti-Semitic attacks by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, who are now using the playbook of the Muslim Brotherhood. This gives the Islamists the daring excuse of, “It’s them – not us,” which is even more dangerous.
  • While the acts of neo-Nazi groups are appalling and horrific, they are localized and obviously being used by the Islamists to further their own subversive agendas.
  • For example, just this week, Britain’s oldest Jewish newspaper, The Jewish Chronicle, urged non-Jews to vote against Jeremy Corbyn in a front-page appeal due to his intransigent anti-Semitism. The Chronicle says the “near total inaction of Mr. Corbyn and the rest of the Labour leadership in dealing with anti-Semites in the party has both emboldened them and encouraged others.”

Maajed Nawaz, a Muslim anti-Islamist activist, wrote a long post on his Facebook page against Jeremy Corbyn and his gang, saying in part:

After the holocaust we vowed in Europe #NeverAgain – then Bosnia happened. Europe is not immune to repeat-offending. We must never be too arrogant to think we are. Brexit or Remain, we do have choices other than Labour. We must not betray our Jewish cousins over a tribal vote

After all this, if we still choose Labour, at least let’s stop pretending we are “progressives”, or that we care about racism & minorities or that we “listen to victims when they tell us we’re hurting them”. It’s all BS. Just admit that you really don’t give a damn about Jews.

Nawaz also wrote:

The issue is Labour Party stands accused of being “institutionally anti-Semitic” (racist) … This is “very” different to finding individual policies you hate, or representatives who utter bigotry. For a body to be institutionally racist (ironically, a phrase coined by a 90s Labour gov. inquiry), “not every member” is necessarily a racist, nor necessarily is the leader.

For a body to be deemed “institutionally racist”, intention & individual behaviour isn’t primary issue. Rather, outcomes are considered. If the totality of this body’s procedures, institutions & structure lead to “racist outcomes”, then sincerity & individual intent is no defence.

There is much denial and confusion about what exactly is anti-Semitism, and there are many Islamists who would like to say that Islamophobia (their favorite term) and anti-Semitism are the same. They are not, and we will never use this as a deflection or excuse.

For this reason, I wish to share the following for clarity:

In June 2019, the Government of Canada announced it adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as part of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy. This is based upon the May 26, 2016, decision in which 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, adopted a non-legally binding “working definition” of anti-Semitism at its plenary in Bucharest:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The document also says that manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

However, it is anti-Semitic to “[apply] double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of by any other democratic nation.” For example, there are at least 100 land disputes across the globe that are not subject to “BDS” movements.

Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

On a personal note, I was raised in a Muslim country where no one spoke about Jews or Israel. But I was curious and intrigued after reading The Diary of Anne Frank and Exodus. So when we came to Canada, the first chance I got, I went to Israel, and as the cliché goes,  the rest is history.  I fell in love.

Why? Because I found sanity in the madness surrounding this small country and saw true diversity there – not TRUE-deau diversity!

Of course, I can criticize Israel just as much as I criticize Canada and my native land of birth – the freedom to do so is what makes Israel great.

This year was my 13th visit to Israel. The immigration officer in Tel Aviv jokingly asked me, “Where is your Israeli passport?”

Editor’s note: November 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada – a day on which we are asked not to forget those who fought for our freedoms. Canadians wear red poppies as a symbol. The day before, Muslims Facing Tomorrow hosted an event in partnership with Holocaust Education Week with the slogan, “Let us Never Forget and Learn from the Holocaust.”

The panel included:

  • Rev. Zenji Nio, CEO of Samurai Center for Human Rights & Holocaust Studies
  • Shaan Taseer, founder of Pakistan for All and human rights defender
  • Rev. Majed El Shafie, president and founder of One Free World International
  • Guido Smit, Holocaust Museum educator
  • Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow and moderator of the panel   

Taking action on this huge issue, Muslims Facing Tomorrow in partnership with others, is in the process of setting up a Committee Against Antisemitism.

 

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Raheel Raza

Raheel Raza is ​an adviser to Clarion Project. ​She is an award-winning author, journalist and filmmaker on the topics of jihad and sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity.

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