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July 13, 2011

Antisemitism Real and Imagined

Dr. Michael Keefer

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I published the book Antisemitism Real and Imagined last year in response to the already clear evidence of bias, bad faith, and fakery in the work of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism.

Now, more than a year behind schedule, the CPCCA has published its own Report. I hope Canadian journalists will be forthright enough to represent it to the public for what it is: a McCarthyist diatribe that exaggerates the actuality of antisemitism in this country, misrepresents the evidence of the Coalition's own inquiry, makes scurrilous insinuations about human rights activists and NGOs, and draws inflammatory conclusions from discredited 'experts'

The report quotes Dr. Charles Small, Director of the Yale Institute for the Inter-Disciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), as having testified that a "prevalent" minority among Canadian Muslims subscribe to an ideology of "genocidal antisemitism" (pp. 18-19).

It may be helpful, in judging this inflammatory conclusion, to note that Yale University, after deciding in June 2011 that the work of Dr. Small's institute did not come up to the university's academic standards, has shut it down, replacing it with a Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism under the direction of Professor Maurice Samuels. (And yet the Report, on pp. 73-74, proposes Small's institute as a model to be imitated in Canada!)

Despite the testimony of Canadian university administrators that antisemitism is not a significant problem on Canadian campuses; the Report devotes pages to anecdotal claims made by pro-Israel advocacy groups whose clear aim is to stifle campus discussion of Israeli human rights abuses by labelling it 'antisemitic'.

The Report endorses Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney's defunding of several major organizations that have for many years done widely praised work under government contracts (the Canadian Arab Federation, KAIROS, and Alternatives); by implication it also endorses Kenney's scurrilous claims that he was defunding NGOs "that preach hatred or antisemitism" (p. 20).

And the Report smears critics of the Coalition's blatant prejudices by insinuating that their criticisms may have been "sleight of hand techniques to justify and adhere to their own hateful agenda" (p. 13).

The CPCCA's own agenda is evidently to silence any serious criticism--whether on Canadian campuses or in the UN Human Rights Council (p. 79)--of the state of Israel's violent, illegal, and arguably genocidal treatment of the people of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This shameful complicity in violent injustice is rejected by many Israelis. It is rejected by growing numbers of people of conscience and good faith from all communities, including the Jewish community, across Canada.

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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