Western society has plunged headlong into the world of political correctness. At first, the reaction to what was not deemed suitable, by those in a position to judge, was a raised eyebrow or perhaps polite commentary in back rooms. Then it became a glare. And more recently, reactions have become far more flagrant, ranging from firings to public chastisement and, in some countries, prosecution. The examples are many, but the underlying theme in each case is that some group in society professes to be uncomfortable, unhappy, challenged or feels unsupported by something that has been said or done by another individual or group, and demands change on the part of the source of that discomfort.
The alleged victims in our own country may be members of the LGBTQ community, followers of Islam, black or brown Canadians, indigenous Canadians or women. Also included are certain select groups outside the country who are deemed to be oppressed, including Palestinians (but for some reason not including many other persecuted groups, such as Christians, Yazidis or the Rohingya, or pretty well anyone not part of the power structure in China).
A new principle called intersectionality is now operative, which in broad strokes suggests that all the oppressed must link together to oppose the oppressors. So self-styled anti-fascist groups in the United States, together with Black Lives Matter and other organizations, including many in the BDS movement who work against “that great demon,” Zionism, are required to come together to fight the “great oppressors in society.” And since there are so many groups deemed to be oppressed, upon further analysis, that only leaves white males as the oppressors.
In my conversations with activists in the social service world, I also learned that I, as a white male, despite being Jewish, was not deemed part of the activist in-crowd. It was not always clear whether my exclusion rests on the fact that I am part of the “white male oppressors” or whether it comes from me being a Zionist and a Jew, or whether the two are additive, which would make me doubly toxic. But either way, it is not easy to be part of the new activist power structure if you are Jewish, unless you disavow the State of Israel and prove that you are not, in fact, one of the oppressors.
This brings me to the title of this article and the incongruity of it all. Jews have been the most oppressed people over the last 2,000 years on this earth. We have lost more of our number, had to move or been killed or forcibly converted to other faiths more times than we can count, and even today, in Canada the free, there are more acts of anti-Semitism per capita than overt acts against any other group in Canada. We are still excluded from some institutions and clubs, and it was only a few decades ago when we fought for our lives against radical anti-Semitism.
And yet, I – and most of you reading this article – would be excluded from the core of what passes for progressive activism in the early 21st century. Our government even passed a motion focused on racism, which has forced a series of hearings with an expectation of recommendations to Parliament, and that motion identified only one group in our society for protection, and for some odd reason, the identified group was not the one that has experienced the highest amount of racism, pro rata, on a systemic basis in Canada: the Jews!
Something is happening here and it is not good. This incongruity is wrong. It smacks of a movement that intends to establish power in the hands of a relatively small group of highly influential “progressive” activists who have banded together with a set of objectives that must be adhered to or you cannot be part of their club. This growing power structure, combined with a lack of tolerance for any views not deemed appropriate, leads us down a path that cannot be good for Canadians, Jews, or the West in general.