Gerry Chidiac’s assertion that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insinuated that those who support Palestinian rights must therefore be anti-Semitic is a complete misrepresentation of Trudeau’s statement and is categorically false. Furthermore, Mr. Chidiac’s claim that those, like himself, who question the actions of the State of Israel, “have no place in Canada,” is absurd.
That being said, kudos to Mr. Chidiac for being a part of the anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s and 80s, however his depiction of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as being the same type of movement that advocated for the liberation of Nelson Mandela in South Africa is not just preposterous, but an insult to those advocates who risked their lives in the fight to end apartheid.
In reality, BDS is a fundamentally racist global campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction the one and only Jewish and democratic state, the State of Israel. The movement’s purpose is not to protest Israeli policies as Mr. Chidiac claims, but to isolate and pressure Israel until it collapses as a Jewish and democratic state. Furthermore, BDS dehumanizes Israelis and actively harms peace efforts by opposing Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. The BDS movement is actually an expression of the new anti-Semitism that targets the Jewish state of Israel instead of the Jewish people directly. BDS denies the Jewish people their right to self-determination and consistently employs traditional anti-Semitic canards against Israel and its supporters.
Contrary to Mr. Chidiac’s belief, the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is not narrow, it is actually considered to be the most comprehensive and widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism to date. It Is important for the world to adopt the IHRA definition especially at a time when anti-Semitic incidents have reached near historic levels and Jews remain the most targeted minority group in Canada. Without a recognized definition for the term, there’s no way for various stakeholders (school administrators, police, union representatives, judges, etc.) to enforce laws and policies to counter the scourge of anti-Semitism. We need to know how to identify anti-Semitism and its many manifestations to know how to combat it.