Honourable senators, we are witnessing a distressing series of events in Canada that are reminiscent of darker chapters in world history. The first event is the passage of a resolution on February 22 by the Ontario division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees calling on its members to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and, by definition, Israeli academics.
This resolution is a stain on the fabric of the Canadian labour movement as a whole, and on CUPE, in particular. Fortunately, Paul Moist, President of CUPE, has dissociated himself from that resolution. At a time when labour in this country faces disastrous economic situations, it appears entirely inappropriate for CUPE not to spend time on that economic situation and, instead, to spend time purporting to criticize academic institutions 3,000 miles away.
The second event is the supposed Israeli Apartheid Week, an anti-Semitic frenzy that is taking place as we speak at dozens of university campuses across Canada. Protesters at these rallies cry, "the Jews are our dogs." At York University, Jewish women students are called bitches and all Jewish students are so physically threatened that security guards are required to rescue them from the activities of mini-mobs. Caricatures of Jews that would put those published in the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer to shame are posted on campuses with little, if any, activity or protest from the university authorities. Jewish students and Jewish academics are intimidated merely because they are Jews.
We are witnessing a significantly increased rate of anti-Semitism in this country time and again. Over 1,000 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 2007, and 2008 has a worse record.
Honourable senators will recall that during the Liberal leadership race after the 2006 election, the President of the Canadian Arab Federation actively solicited Liberal candidates not to vote for Bob Rae, not because he disagreed with Bob Rae’s political position but solely and only because Bob Rae’s wife is Jewish.
A Jewish day school in Montreal has been fire bombed. Explosive devices, which fortunately sputtered out and did not cause much damage, were placed at the entrance of a Montreal Jewish community centre.
Some are saying that this is simply a reaction to activities undertaken by the Government of Israel. That assertion is false and dangerous. This anti-Semitism is the new anti-Semitism.