Archive for May 10th, 2017

Zionist thought police

May 10, 2017


15 years ago the local Zionist thought police descended on me, in effect canceling a lecture i was to give at the Jewish library. I asked my timorous host why I was being cancelled for a gig i had never sought but agreed to.The occasion was the launch of my Toronto memoir Shabbes Goy: A Catholic Boyhood.

The host a local rabbi told me that they had done research on me and found out (horrors!) that I actually agreed with Nobel laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu who likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid. Tutu had asked,””Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?”

I told the rabbi that it was his call and that he was making a mistake. However much I had agreed with Bishop Tutu my talk was on my own teenage experience of anti-Semitism in downtown Toronto .I would not be delving into the present morass.

The next day i received several calls from Jewish friends who upbraided me for my “no show,” I asked what the rabbi said. I could not come. Wow, the rabbis lied. I brushed it off and laughed when one of the emailers, a well known Jewish folk singer told me that he had got in his car and went up and pinned the rabbi to the wall for his less than honorable activity.

The I was invited to the downtown Jewish Y to speak as the only goy at Books and Bagels, a Sunday discussion on a relevant book. The lady in charge called me and informed me the thought police had assured the Y that was no longer a friend of the Jewish community and they should cancel me. To their everlasting integrity, the Y refused and a large crowd—many old friends from my Harbord baseball days–came and we had a ball. I never even addressed the Palestinian question as it was outside the purview of this book.

Another time, a chagrined congregant at a local synagogue sadly informed me that “they had received phone calls” and it would be best if I did not come.”

I simply chalked this up to the rising tide of fear and paranoia which was gripping the Jewish community at this time.


15 years later things have gotten considerably worse as the computer, cell phones and brave Jews of conscience have unmasked the real situation in Israel/Palestine.

Israel, triste dictu,l is descending into almost a McCarthyite simulation of a failed democratic state, now run by the most rightwing government in its history. The world has gradually caught on to its cruel occupation and Israel now runs a little ahead of North Korea as a pariah state. All this is sad to me, a former Catholic Zionist who really wants Israel to join the nations a s a true democracy rather than not an ethnocracy which favors one people.


Recently the cruel hysteria has ramped up its venomous attack and the thought police has in their sights on critics of Israel who happen to be Jewish. To this I return tomorrow.