Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Once again, spurious antisemitism allegations have destroyed a politcal career

Less  than a week before the Canadian federal election, the NDP candidate for Toronto-St. Paul's, Sidney Coles, has "resigned" (i.e. she was pushed) after incriminating social media posts from some months ago were "discovered".

The tweet in question (now long deleted, so someone was saving up the screenshots for the opportune moment - looking at you Simon Wiesenthal Centre) suggest that Israel was maybe responsible for some missing COVID-19 vaccine doses in the United States. The NDP, of course, jumped on that like a pile of bricks, as would any of the other parties, deeming it racism and antisemitism of the highest order.

Now, maybe you think the tweet was puerile (agreed), maybe you think it was the worst kind of conspiracy theory or just poor humour (agreed and agreed). But am I the only person to think that this is not actually antisemitism? As far as I am aware, nowhere was there a mention of "Judaism" as a religion, or "Jewishness" as a race (a dubious contention at best: there is no separate Jewish race, and Jews being of the same Semitic race and background as the Arabs of the region), just "Israel", which is a country or state, just like Canada. 

Surely, we are allowed to criticize other countries, even in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Aren't we? Organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, B'nai Brith, and the Israeli state itself (and particularly its current Prime Minister) regularly make use of the damning antisemitism allegation whenever the state of Israel is criticized in any way at all, usually in order to close down the conversation and deflect all blame from the state.

Coles herself performed a complete mea culpa and deleted her Twitter account before "resigning". Coles (as well as Dan Osborne, an NDP candidate in a Nova Scotia riding, whose separate social media faux pas was less forgivable) - have "agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism". But dare I suggest that maybe it is the party itself - and probably the other parties too, who are all falling over themselves to be more politically correct than thou, particularly if it is something that might conceivably be construed (or misconstrued) as racism - that needs to educate itself.

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