Who Should We Blame for Israel’s Actions?

It’s not often I agree with opinions expressed in the pro-business, pro-Conservative Party and self-proclaimed Canada’s national newspaper. But the editorial board written piece, which appeared Friday in the Globe and Mail makes an important point, captured in the following sentence concerning their suggested motion for the House of Commons.

“We’ve taken the liberty of writing the motion they ought to bring forth and adopt unanimously: This House unequivocally condemns antisemitism in all of its forms, and in particular rejects the idea that Jewish Canadians are in any way responsible for the actions of the State of Israel.”

Any fair-minded person should agree. It is obvious by those marching in the streets over the past months that “Jewish Canadians” are both for and against Israel’s current war on Gaza and just because someone is Jewish does not make them responsible for the government of Israel’s actions.

This is a critically important point. Antisemitism is racism, hostility, prejudice, vilification, discrimination or violence, including hate crimes, directed against Jews, as individuals, groups or as a collective – because they are Jews. Its expression includes attributing to Jews, as a group, characteristics or behaviours that are perceived as dangerous, harmful, frightening or threatening to non-Jews.

If you disagree with the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank do not blame a religion or an ethnicity; blame those who by their actions or promotion of certain ideas contribute to those disagreeable actions.

For example, it is fair and reasonable to blame those who donate money that directly or indirectly supports Israel’s military’s assault on Gaza and occupation of the West Bank. It is fair and reasonable to blame organizations that justify or promote Israeli government’s actions. It is fair and reasonable to blame governments that allow arms sales to the military force that occupies the West Bank and has killed thousands of civilians in Gaza. It is fair and reasonable in a democracy for those who oppose Israel’s actions to criticize and even condemn all those who justify and thereby enable those actions. It is fair and reasonable, even necessary, for those committed to right what they perceive as a wrong to publicly debate the ideological source of that wrong. None of this is antisemitic.

If you disagree with Israel’s assault on Gaza and its occupation of the West Bank and/or want to change what Amnesty International has described as “Israel’s cruel apartheid against Palestinians” direct your displeasure and anger at those who promote the ideas that have led Israel to its current policies. For example, all those who believe governments should never favour one religion or ethnicity over another because it is wrong and inevitably leads to oppression and war have a right and a responsibility to publicly disagree with the idea of a “Jewish state”. This is not antisemitic.

Yes, it may be antisemitic if people who live in countries with histories of colonial oppression and stealing land from the original inhabitants justify what benefited them but condemn Israel’s colonialism. But it is right and good when people see the wrong in all colonialism and condemn it wherever it occurs and try to make amends for what happened in the past.

To sum up, yes, some blame Jews for the current killing of tens of thousands of people and the physical destruction of Gaza. This is wrong. Those who should be blamed are those actually doing and enabling the death and destruction. Some of them are Jews. But many more are Christians of all sorts, atheists, Hindus, Americans, Canadians, Germans, French, English and others.

Gary Engler is the author of Puck Hog and the FAKE NEWS mysteries. Read other articles by Gary.