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Rex Murphy: An antisemitic menace stalks Canada and Trudeau couldn't care less

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Rex Murphy

Published Dec 19, 2023

There is a need to denounce this hate from the highest office

It is very hard, indeed it may be impossible, to disagree with the flood of online remarks asserting that the treatment of the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel protests differ rather troublingly from the treatment meted out to Canadian truckers.

I’m not aware that Tamara Lich at any point during the trucker’s sojourn in Ottawa, in full voice, and in direct proximity to police officers, gave vent to “I’ll kill you … I’ll put you six feet deep” to either a policeman or to a passerby. During the weeks of the Freedom Convoy protest, as far as I know, and equally as far as the authorities are aware, at no point did she express murderous intent, make explicit death threats, or act with grand insouciance while doing so in the presence of numerous police.

Yet Lich has been arrested, jailed, hounded and is still undergoing criminal proceedings, while a very fresh instance of “I’ll kill you … I’ll put you six feet under,” has — as I write on Monday evening — very little or none of the consequences Lich has been burdened with.

There’s another great difference between the convoy protest and the full wave of antisemitic crowd scenes that have visited the large cities of Canada these past weeks, and some of the smaller ones.

The convoy I freely own may have been very annoying — to some. And it may also have been more than an inconvenience. But at no time — despite lurid and utterly false accusations of attempted arson — did it carry an atmosphere of menace, did it traffic in wild and absolutely hateful accusations, as do the pro-Palestinian mobs who carry signs equating Israel with Nazi Germany, accusing Israel of — of all insulting untruths — genocide and apartheid; nor did it go about the City of Ottawa targeting stores with a specific ethnicity and religion and protesting those stores for “supporting genocide.” Not a coffee shop. Not a bookstore. Not a clothing outlet.

Nor, and here I’ll stop the contrasting, did they have various spokespeople (Harsha Walia, Fred Hahn will serve as illustration) celebrating as savage a mass murder, torture, rape of 1,200 and the kidnapping of 250 innocent people — from babies to the very old.

I suppose I should add that the trucker protest was not accompanied by any firebombs at religious buildings, terror plots uncovered, or quite explicit hateful expressions of any kind.

No wonder the police were so active.

Annoying the convoy may have been, but their cause was rational, their behaviour was lawful, there was no menace (beyond the frightful scenes at the hot tub). However that protest got prime ministerial denunciation even before it began.

The current rampage of obviously orchestrated and scary (ask any Jewish Canadian) manifestations has so far received not a fraction of the invective Justin Trudeau loosed upon the truckers.

Yet the affair at the Eaton Centre — the “I’ll kill you” soliloquy, which was and was meant to be menacing, which crowded a store shouting Zara supports genocide (as far as I know they didn’t smear it with red paint — maybe Canadian Tire was out of crimson) was clearly outside the range of peaceful normal Canadian protest. But all is still and silence from the PMO. I presume, as no one’s pronouns were offended, or Pride banners defaced, all is well as far as the government is concerned.

The Jewish citizens of Canada are correct in feeling if not abandoned, then certainly receiving far less than the support they should be hearing. Such is the tone and bitterness of the spate of pro-Palestinian, and by direct induction pro-Hamas, demonstrations that some special statement from the prime minister would seem to be his very first duty. I won’t go into the mish-mash of the government’s statements and varying positions on the conflict itself.

But it is dereliction of the highest kind when one segment of the Canadian population is the object of such high-powered animus, and Jewish store owners (Indigo) slandered with the supporting genocide slur, and as I know from speaking to many of them when Jewish citizens are in actual fear in their own country — that the prime minister is not on the national airwaves speaking to them or his support and concern. It is matter for a special address.

After all, I remind you — he did give a vigorous address before the truckers came to Ottawa, full of condemnation, accustion (racist, misogynist — not to be tolerated).

Surely in a much much better cause he could step out once again. There is a need to denounce the deliberate antisemitism from the highest office.

Finally in this Post sonnet I’d like to know where the current bunch gets the chutzpah to be mauling the Christmas season, going to malls, masked and intimidating, scaring children visiting  Santa, and issuing threats for a big Dec. 23 outburst designed to cloud and distemper the one joyful (and fully Christian) holiday of the year.

Apart from the menace, there’s a lot of arrogance and insult wrapped up in these gatherings. They are more than a protest: they are a challenge to the leaders of the country, which so far most of those leaders have been too careful or too timid in response.

I wonder if the masked protester who offered the death threats will get any political and police response, even one-tenth of what has been visited on Tamara Lich.

National Post


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