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  • Writer's pictureAvi Abraham Benlolo

TheFridayReport: We Need Some OUTRAGE

05/28/21: Dear Friends, Shabbat Shalom! I hope you had a relatively peaceful week.

In my National Post column today, I write about our friends in the world community who have not spoken out against Antisemitism. "There is no monopoly on discrimination! Our people have proudly walked alongside every modern liberation movement, including participating in and supporting Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement, the feminist movement and most recently the LGBTQ2 movement.

Heck, they just made a film on the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - a committed Jewish woman who is remembered for fighting against gender discrimination in the courts and she became the first tenured female at Columbia Law School. We have always been at the forefront of promoting tolerance, justice and human rights.

We have taken in refugees, extended our hand to the poor and worked with every religious group to build a landscape that protects the dignity and freedom of others.

Shockingly, despite our goodwill, there has been silence over the last couple of weeks given the rise of antisemitism almost everywhere. Jewish people are being attacked violently in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto - and all we hear is silence. Where are the mass demonstrations?

I was pleased this afternoon to read President Joe Biden's new statement condemning Antisemitism. In that statement he said, "in the last weeks, our nation has seen a series of anti-Semitic attacks, targeting and terrorizing American Jews.These attacks are despicable, unconscionable, un-American, and they must stop".

But it was difficult to ignore Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's disturbing tweet: "vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi's forced Jewish people to wear a gold star". Despite the wide range of condemnations, to equate vaccines with the Holocaust was disturbing. A vaccination saves lives. The Jewish Star of David the Nazis made Jews wear marked them for death.

What we are witnessing almost immediately, is people and organizations taking advantage of the anti-Israel momentum building up. Students and parents are sending me new university group proclamations that condemn Israel; public school teachers are telling me about hurtful comments made by other teachers on their social media forums - while some of their colleagues release biased information about Israel; unions are pushing through more anti-Israel resolutions and young Jewish kids are tweeting that they are removing their mezuzas from their doors in Europe.

Where is the outrage we ask? But instead of outrage and some self-control against fanning the flames of hate, we get a shameful resolution from the UN Human Rights Commission that declared just yesterday that it is placing Israel under investigation for alleged human rights violations. Those voting against Israel included Sudan, Pakistan, Cuba, Libya and Venezuela - nations with a beautiful human rights record - not.

And then to add insult to injury and fan the flames of hate further, Le Devoir - a leading French speaking newspaper in Quebec published a cartoon of what appears to be an Israeli soldier's knee on the neck of what appears to be a Palestinian. The cartoon was published on the one year anniversary of George Floyd's murder - a travesty to draw such parallels and to dishonour Floyd's memory.

Unfortunately, Israel is being thrown under the bus once again. No other nation would sit back and absorb 4,000 rockets targeting its citizens for murder. Israel had little choice but to defend itself and deter future aggression from the terrorist group on its boarder. But this did not matter to Ireland. This week, the country viciously condemned Israel in its parliament and nearly asked the Israeli ambassador to leave - no surprise given its continued hostility to Israel for many years.

As the rebuilding of Gaza starts earnestly again, to enrich its masters, today Canada joined the effort by announcing $25 million in "funding to support Palestinians in the region". According to Prime Minister Trudeau's statement, "Canada's aid will include an immediate $10 million for urgent food assistance, shelter, water, sanitation, etc". Last December Canada had already pledged to allocate $90 million over the next three years.

While the people of Gaza need aid as a result of the conflict, what about the people of Israel? Why the double standard? Having visited Israeli towns and villages near Gaza, Jewish and Muslim children suffer heavily from trauma as a result of Hamas rockets. Additionally, many homes in the south including in Ashkelon (a major city) have been destroyed or badly damaged. Will Canada allocate funds to help Israeli citizens who are victims of terrorism?

Given the antisemitic hostilities against Jewish communities all over the world and the piling on Israel by nations including the UNHRC, Jews are feeling vulnerable almost everywhere. In my article today I called for more "outrage". In the coming days and weeks, we need to see some outrage against antisemitism. I am calling on my friends outside the Jewish community to stand up and speak out. Silence is NOT Golden.

Note: Dear friends, please share this request with your friends outside of the Jewish community.

- Shabbat Shalom


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Avi Abraham Benlolo, BA MA, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa)

Order of Vaughan, Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Race Relations Award

ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.

As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.

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