Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nice Thing to Say about Israel #3

Below is my Letter to the Editor of the Canadian Jewish News concerning the lack of Jewish leadership in Toronto re: Countering Anti-Semitism at University of Toronto. I have attached links to articles on similar subjects. Even if you are critical of Israel (and I would hope you would feel similarily critical of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Myannmar and the list goes on...), I would hope that you would agree that Israel Apartheid Week needs to be challenged.
Where is the Outrage?
Dear Leaders of the Toronto Jewish Community:

I had an unpleasant experience today. As I was walking to a meeting at Sidney Smith Hall at the downtown campus at University of Toronto, a young guy plunked a splashy leaflet into my hands, looked deep into my eyes, and said: “Please, let me invite you to Israel Apartheid Week.”

It took me all of about a nanosecond to look deep into his eyes and pronounce quite loudly: “You are DISGUSTING!” I turned and walked away. No one joined me in my fuss. That the student world of U of T remained glued to their iPhones isn’t shocking. But what is shocking is the seeming lack of any meaningful Jewish protest. I mean really, where are all of you? What were you doing this afternoon as this Anti-Semitic incitement occurs in our publically funded university?

You all know, you rabbis and scholars and community leaders, you know deep in your learned hearts and minds that Israel Apartheid week is not about dialogue or discussion or anti-Zionism whatever the heck that is. It is Anti Semitism and it is directed at you and it is directed at me and at our kids and at our community.

So where were all of you this afternoon? Why when I looked across the street at the Hillel was there no protest being organized? Why weren’t half of you camped out at King’s College Circle in front of the U of T President’s Office demanding that David Naylor ban this week’s activities from his campus. Why weren’t the other half of you on the corner of Harbord and St. George exercising the same freedom of speech that David Naylor gave to the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week?

Why didn’t you all get together and organize a march down Bathurst St. unleashing your thousands of congregants and community centre members and Hillels and get all of us to stand in front of Sidney Smith Hall to sing Hatikvah and then get angry.

Are you that disorganized? Are you that divided? Are you that....afraid?

You implore us every Shabbat and on every holiday to pray for Israel, to be good to Israel, to remember those who have fallen in Israel, but when time came to defend Israel on the streets of Toronto, you are all silent.

Where is the outrage, you guys. Please tell me, where is the outrage.

Where is the page taken out in the Globe and Mail signed by all of you protesting this Week? Where are you on CBC, on The Agenda, on CP24? Where is the sit-in of all the Jewish professors and Jewish students and sympathethizers? Where is the Facebook group that says: Join the Protest against Israel Apartheid Week with a link to a rally that commences with all of you addressing us in front of Convocation Hall calling this poison for exactly what it is and not hiding behind intellectual jargon and infighting.

Surely you know that no one is in love with the Jews these days, so why be quiet. Why not make some noise. At the very least, we can get some of our self-respect back.

Israel Apartheid Week is an outrage that is allowed to happen because we have become mute. As leaders of our fragmented and bored community, you need to get with the program and show some gumption, some spine, some pride. Because right now, I am thinking that the whole lot of you are pathetic. And trust me, I am not alone.

We need you.
Do something. “Police Probe “Kill Jews” Oxford Chant” “Michael Oren Heckled at US College” “Away with Campus Timidity”

Natalie Fingerhut

1 comment:

  1. Great article Natalie! I wonder if the Chronicle of Higher Education might be interested in this issue/letter? Is the same thing happening on other college campuses? If it's happening at an urban university, I hate to think what's going on in smaller areas...