Synagogue MIA

Amira Hass, an Israeli Jew whose mother was imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen, arguably is one of Israel’s most competent and famous journalists came to Toronto on October 6 but nobody from the synagogue establishment invited her to speak.
In a once vibrant community which prides itself on vigorous debate (“When you have three Jews you have four opinions.”) now there is but a depressing monotone when it comes to Israel.

So why would you turn up to hear such a famous chronicler of life in the West Bank when you already have your mind made up? When you already have surrendered your opinion to the blinkered vision Stephen Harper or his Charley McCarthy dummy John Baird, both of whom have never visited the West Bank.
This of course is a sad snapshot of a once vigorous community in decline.

No rabbi would dare invite Hass to speak.If he or she did they would court the fate of the great rabbi Reuben Slonim—perpetual ostracism.

Slomim unlike the Stepford children who demonized him visited Israel 20 times, sent by the old Telegram and the Toronto Star.What he discovered broke his heart yet he fearlessly spoke out like his forebears Amos and Jeremiah. All of a sudden according to Slonim in his book To Kill a Rabbi after the 6 Day War, Jews changed into raving chauvinists and did not want to hear the universal message of Slonim—the Shoah did not belong to Jews but to humanity.And what modern Israel was doing was betraying its biblical hope of being “l’or goyim”, a light unto the nations.

Now, even the Jewish Defense League does not show up anymore to cast aspersions on people like Hass and Gideon Levy, both of whom write for Haaretz. Even the right wing senses that the propaganda war has been lost everywhere but in the halls of American power.

Amira Hass simply shrugged her shoulders and said, “They do not invite me.”

‘Tis a pity.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1

    Small world. Today, I was looking for something to read and I retrieved an overlooked New Yorker from last March. It contained an excellent article by David Remnick about Haaretz in which Amira Hass is prominently featured. All at once, it’s an uplifting and depressing piece. On the one hand, I’ve found another website that restores my faith in human nature (Haaretz and Theology in The Vineyard), on the other, it makes me wonder what’s happened to this place that I associate with liberal discourse, diversity and self-confidence. What we’re seeing is an increasingly xenophobic society flirting dangerously with the kind of thinking that, a long time ago, sought to eliminate them from the planet.
    ps. I guess I don’t need to send you a link to Haaretz.
    Happy Thanksgiving.


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