In my last column, I reminded readers that much of what the world, and many of us, accept as “normal,” should not be accepted as such, because the world is not as it should be.
As it turns out, the theme of the article rang a bell for many people. Some say that Jews are difficult people, but in reality, our willingness to accept what should be unacceptable suggests otherwise.
It is not normal, nor acceptable, that people who are in subservient positions to others, whether in families or on the job, are abused physically or verbally by those in control. But it is also not normal, in our society of laws, that people are accused and found guilty in the press, without due process, without the right to defend themselves and, in some cases, without even knowing their accusers.
It is not normal, and should not be acceptable, that Jewish institutions – schools, synagogues, etc. – require security at greater levels than other Canadian institutions, with only a part of the cost being covered by the state. It is the responsibility of the state to protect us all, and if one group is in need of additional protection, it is the government’s job to provide that protection.
It is not normal that citizens of a country be required to accept citizens from other countries, whether refugees or not, who were brought up to believe that certain other groups of people, in this case Jews, were to be hated and despised. Here, of course, I am referring to refugees and other immigrants from countries that instill in their youth with hatred and fear of Jews – specifically, Syria. We know this is how they are raised, and yet our elected officials have not taken any steps to mitigate the risk of that hatred continuing.
It is neither normal, nor should it be acceptable, for our prime minister’s senior advisor, Gerald Butts, to define anyone who would criticize Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a “Nazi,” as he recently did in a tweet after the PM came under fire for correcting a woman’s use of the word “mankind.” Overuse of the word “Nazi” minimizes the impact that it should have. The Nazi ideology is so odious that the label should be reserved for extreme situations. Why there was so little coverage of this outrage, and why neither he nor the prime minister were prepared to acknowledge the inappropriateness of Butts’ comment, despite repeated requests to do so, should not be acceptable to any Canadian.
The Nazi ideology is so odious that the label should be reserved for extreme situations.
It should not be acceptable to tag those who disagree with you with highly negative labels of any kind – that is the kind of pernicious behaviour that makes it difficult for a society to have the healthy dialogue on the important issues of the day. This is particularly so for those who have been entrusted to lead us. But it also applies to every one of us who engages in discussions and debates with others who have differing points of view.
It is neither normal, nor should it be acceptable, for religious leaders in Canada to disparage the faiths or beliefs of other Canadians. Here, I am referring to the recorded sermons of imams who have disparaged Jews, and in some cases Christians. It is not acceptable that these actions take place, and also unacceptable that our political leaders do not lead the charge in denouncing such individuals and the things they say.
I encourage all of you to offer your own list of what should not be viewed as normal, either in the form of a letter to The CJN, or in the comments at the bottom of this article.