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Today’s Letters: George Burger on anti-Semitism
Posted: February 25, 2009, 5:30 PM by Kelly McParland
Re: George Burger: Anti-Semitism and its enablers
George Burger’s indiscriminate use of the term anti-Semite is an insult to the memories of the millions of Jewish dead who have been murdered in the name of real anti-Semitism. (Anti-Semitism and its enables, Feb. 24.)
According to Burger, not only is Sid Ryan an anti-Semite, but so is CUPE, the York University student union, the entire York University administration, and every last individual who has enabled them by not denouncing them all as anti-Semites. What about the hundreds of Jews across Canada who have supported CUPE in its boycott campaign or organized Israeli Apartheid Weeks on campuses or who stand in vigil every week outside the Israeli consulate in protest. Are they all anti-Semites? Can there be that many Jewish anti-Semites?
When everyone is anti-Semitic, then no one is anti-Semitic. It’s bad enough that Burger can’t distinguish between opposition to the policies of the Israeli state and real Jewish oppression, but he’s taken a serious accusation and diluted to the point of meaninglessness so that no one can take it seriously.
George Burger’s viscious attack on Sid Ryan is nothing short of slander and as a Jew I am embarassed that Burger would thoughtlessly make this most serious of accusations. If Burger disagrees with the boycott, divestment, sanctions call against Israel he should use logic and facts in his argument rather than sling slurs. The fact is that the union movement has called for sanctions in the past against countries or states that violate human rights. There are currently calls to boycott Utah for its opposition to same-sex rights. Does this mean those who support a boycott are anti-Mormon? The union movement boycotted Chile for its human rights abuses under Chile. Does this make them anti-Hispanic? Furthermore, it is normal for sanctions (or worse) to be imposed on countries that violate UN resolutions. Israel is violating a number of resolutions regarding both the occupation of the West Bank and in particular the continued construction of settlements despite international opposition. That the world community is not taking action to force Israel’s compliance with UN resolutions means that Israel is being treated as an exception. If Burger is serious in wanting Israel to be treated like every other nation he should be applauding Sid Ryan, not calling him names.
George Burger confuses anti-Semitism with criticism towards Israel. It is very interesting that one can criticize any country for human right violations, but if one is to speak up about war crimes and human right violations committed by Israel, one is to be called Anti-Semite. Sid Ryan has raised his voice and is active in protecting human rights in Ireland, Sudan and many other places, but when it comes to Palestinian human rights, he is attacked by people like George Burger. Maybe he believes that by demonizing Mr. Ryan he can silence him and keep it all under control. Unfortunately, the grave atrocities committed by Israel again and again speak from themselves and also the Canadian public is not that stupid. I am one of the women who has been standing in front of the Israeli consulate for the last nine years. We are there to alert and educate the Canadian public about the over sixty years of occupation in Palestine. I proudly do so.