Well, the man does
say peculiar things. It is as though this purportedly brilliant mind, this academic-in-waiting-to-assume-the-prime-ministership-of-Canada, never really thinks things out adequately in his mind before speaking it; his mind, that is. Unlike the care he takes when writing books; say a book like "Blood & Belonging
" in his salad days, writing of 'journeys into the new nationalism'.
"Germany is one of only two modern states that allow their scattered tribes a right of return. The other state, of course, is Israel. Two nations who believe that nationality is in the blood are in the process of discovering that the blood tie can be thin indeed."
"The illusion that Britain is an island of stability in a world of troubles does not survive a day on the streets of Belfast. In reality, there is more death by political violence in Great Britain than in any other liberal democracy in the world. Since 1969 there have been three thousand political killings and more than fifty thousand people have been seriously injured. More people have died, per capita, of political violence in Great Britain than in India, Nigeria, Israel, Sri Lanka or Argentina, all nations which the British regard as more violent than their own."
"Genocide" is a worn and debased term, casually hurled at every outrage, every violence, even applied to events where no death, only shame or abuse, occurs. But it is a word that does mean something: the project to exterminate a people for no other reason than because they are that people. Before the experience of genocide, a people may not believe they belong to a nation. Before genocide, they may believe it is a matter of personal choice before they belong or believe. After genocide, it becomes their fate. Genocide and nationalism have an entwined history. It was genocide that convinced the Jews and even convinced the Gentile world that they were a people who would never be safe until they had a nation-state of their own."
Theoretically, as a scholar of human nature, Michael Ignatieff - who would be, if he could, and he is determined that he will become the next Prime Minister of Canada - 'gets it'. He understands the scourge and the dreadful pathology of racism, specifically of anti-Semitism. But this is an academic thing, it is nothing he has experienced, and nothing he will ever experience. He can be neutral because it does not move him.
It does, however, move someone like Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who rejects it categorically, naming it for the psycho-social atrocity that it represents.
Mr. Ignatieff, on the other hand, can be emotionally removed from the very concept, even while deploring it, as any thinking human being would be moved to do. And while deploring it, he cannot at the same time, help but utter caveats. Israel is a difficult place in a difficult part of the world, and there are times, he claims, that the country's actions and reactions are of questionable content, as in the matter of 'disproportionate' in its reactions to extreme provocations.
This is the beauty of the academic mind; it lingers happily on the minutiae of human interaction, response, and fallibility. It can stand in scholarly judgement. And it can be quite pleased with itself in the process. So while Mr. Ignatieff is happy enough to repeat that Canada has an obligation within the United Nations to help end the "one-sided anti-Israel resolutions" that regularly emanate from there, he expresses some cautious caveats.
Canada should act and react and behave in a morally-supportive manner, but not without a certain degree of restraint. That restraint would evidence itself in holding its counsel when it is meet to do so; that is, to ensure that no one is offended. Particularly Canada must not be seen to be offensive in its too-enthusiastic support of Israel, by the Muslim Bloc of nations.
Yes, he says, Israel must be defended, and yes, anti-Semitism is a horrible pathology, but Israel is not beyond criticism.
What has one to do with the other? Why enter the criticism of Israel into the narrative when the discussion is the evil incarnate of slandering, abusing, delegitimizing and isolating a country and its people? Setting the stage from emotional, verbal violence to the eventual acceptance through normalcy, of physical violence? Israel is an offence in its existence? Disparage its actions. Set the stage for "we told you so".
Removing yet another international irritant on the world stage. If Israel is attacked for its policies, that has nothing to do with attacking all Jews. Anti-Israel does not equate with anti-Semitism. Does it? If it does, that is unfortunate. But in rushing to defend the country, it is well to remember that there are huge numbers of enemies to be made. Who will combine their influence to refuse Canada votes for the temporary UN General Assembly.
And that is unfortunate. Intolerable, according to Mr. Ignatieff who most certainly would have deported himself far differently, as Canada's chief executive. If that might have been interpreted as leaving Israel to flounder, friendless and alone, so be it. If that is seen as a green light to the hordes of eager anti-Semites, most unfortunate.
Let alone all Jews wherever they live in the diaspora as citizens of nations on a global scale, from India to Sweden, Poland to Canada.
Labels: Anti-Semitism, Canada, Social-Cultural Deviations