- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

I learned a lot about parts of the world I would not otherwise have known from anthropologist Margaret Mead; but one find vividly stays in my mind a remote village where the primitive tribe was fiercely anti-Semitic, though no member had ever seen a Jew. Many Europeans, however, saw Jewish neighbors disappear in the Holocaust.
If that primitive tribe discovered by Margaret Mead still exists, I would not be surprised if it continues to nurture anti-Semitism. But even in Europe, with its long, intimate memory of the lethal effects of Jew-hatred, a Washington Post editorial last June noted that "the sad reality is that anti-Semitism has no more died away in Europe than racism has in the United States."
Often overlooked is how extensively anti-Semitism permeates Canada, which claims to prize its openness to all cultures and its courts' intolerance to bigotry.
Having appeared on Canadian television and radio networks, and having greatly enjoyed wandering around Montreal and Toronto and the rugged areas of Saskatchewan, I have pleasant memories of Canada. But with anti-Semitism on the rise even in Scandinavian countries, let alone a forgetful Germany, I was not surprised that Canada is now no more immune to Jew-hating than I was by the number of active American Web sites dedicated to anti-Semitism.
In an editorial last Christmas,the Jerusalem Post reported that "with 360,000 Jews, Canada is home to the fifth-largest Jewish community outside of Israel, and America's northern neighbor has long prided itself for its tolerance, openness, and freedom. But that legacy is now under assault amid a spate of recent, and deeply troubling, incidents."
Even before the Post's report, I already knew that a student riot at Montreal's Concordia University had prevented the not-easily-intimidated Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking there last September. Fomenting the violence was not only fury at Israel's treatment of Palestinians, but also plain old traditional, borderless anti-Semitism. To add a touch of history to the hooliganism, riot eyewitnesses said a 73-year-old Holocaust survivor was kicked in the groin during an assault.
Aside from Concordia University students' contempt for freedom of speech, the Jerusalem Post added that "over the past 12 months, there have been more than 300 anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, or nearly one every day. Four synagogues have been the targets of arson attacks, Jewish day schools have received bomb threats, and there have been numerous property crimes and hate propaganda against Jews and their institutions."
There has also been a religion-directed killing.
In July, outside a kosher restaurant in Toronto, an Orthodox Jew, David Rosenzweig, was killed by (as characterized by the Jerusalem Post) "a neo-Nazi skinhead."
But it was last year's particularly incendiary verbal attack on Jews that sparked debate among many Canadians. The Dec. 22 Toronto Star reported that Saskatchewan Indian leader David Ahenakew, during a Dec. 13 health policy conference in Saskatoon, referred to Jews as a "disease." Amplifying that description in justifying the Holocaust, he added that "the Jews owned nearly all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. That he was going to make … sure that Jews weren't going to take over. That's why he fried 6 million of those guys, you know." Mr. Ahenakew does not come from a primitive village that's cut off from the outside world and its history. He apologized after an uproar from many Canadians.
"Odd," wrote the Toronto Star, "that a member of one persecuted race should so shamelessly stick it to members of another persecuted race. But that is hatred for you. It's an equal-opportunity game."
Anti-Semitism is "the oldest and most continuous hatred. It transcends borders and it transcends time," adds Manuel Frutschi, national director of community relations for the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Meanwhile, the student body at Concordia University has stopped funding the Jewish student group Hillel and banned it from all activities on campus. And the Canadian government tried to cancel the tax-exempt status of the Canadian branch of Israel's health-assistance group Magen David Adom, because some of the ambulances the Canadian branch donated are being used in the territories where both Palestinians and Israelis live. The Canadian Jewish Congress intervened and stopped the pending cancellation.
"It is time," says the Jerusalem Post, "for the Canadian government to step in and take a firmer stand against anti-Semitism before this age-old prejudice claims any more victims" in Canada.
Shouldn't Canadian multiculturalism include Jews?

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