Dr. Sawraj Singh’s antisemitic ramblings in a column published on Jan. 7 in the South Asian Link, a leading Indo-Canadian newspaper, is reminiscent of some of the propaganda tactics used by the Nazis to incite hatred toward German Jews in the 1930s (“B.C. paper publishes antisemitic editorial,” Jan. 19). Like Singh, the Nazis exaggerated the number of Jewish doctors, attorneys, professors and scientists among the German population, thereby increasing antisemitism and facilitating the Final Solution. Many ordinary Germans and others actually believed that the Jews ultimately “got what they deserved.”
As a surgeon, Singh was once required to take the Hippocratic oath, whereby he vowed to remain free of intentional injustice, refrain from spreading shameful things, and to preserve and save human life wherever possible, among other things. His offensive statements concerning Jews and Israel, which can only lead to more hatred, violence and possibly death directed at Jewish people everywhere, violate those very principles that Singh once swore to keep sacred.
That Singh can hold such honourable and prestigious positions as the chair of both the Washington State Network for Human Rights and the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice while expounding racist views is both puzzling and highly troubling. His expressed hateful and antisemitic remarks certainly show that Singh is part of an ongoing problem rather than the solution!
* * *
Remembering Kibur Arses
I am grateful to columnist Avrum Rosensweig for bringing to my attention the sad passing of Kibur Arses (“He was a shepherd,” Jan. 26). I got to know Kibur as a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress executive and through the important role he played on our community relations committee.
Kibur was a tireless advocate on behalf of the Falash Mora, and as Rosensweig points out, Kibur was part of a CJC delegation I helped staff to Israel in 2000. I was beside him when he, with great passion and eloquence, spoke with then-prime minister Ehud Barak of the dire need to help the Falash Mora recently immigrated to Israel. Everyone in the room was greatly moved and came to understand how one man can move mountains.
Kibur was a man of great compassion. He spoke in quiet yet sincere tones in a way that provoked you not just to hear, but to listen. He asked little for himself, but gave so much of himself to the causes he so strongly believed in. Our prophet Isaiah tells us that the 613 commandments can be summed up in two principles: do justice and carry out acts of righteousness. Kibur Arses epitomized these principles. May his memory be for a blessing.
* * *
High school reunion
Central High School of Commerce in Toronto, now Central Commerce Collegiate, is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a reunion on May 4 and 5. For more information, visit www.centralcommerce100.com.