In Ontario, the rules are different—especially in Toronto. We play lip service here to freedom of speech. You can say anything you like but do not publicly criticize the State of Israel. I think of it as an open apology for the obnoxious antisemitism I witnessed in this province in my youth. I did not understand it as a child. I consider it despicable as an adult.
But when up-front coverage of the debacle in Ukraine disappeared from the Toronto Star in favour of the new war in the Middle East, I began to wonder. Where is the balance here? Does there have to be exceptions to free speech?
What we need is to be able to discuss the Middle East situation as adults, who understand both sides. I, for one, take a dim view of Hamas and Hezbollah and their ilk. Nor do I particularly like Mr. Netanyahu and his right-wing supporters. Israel has had better leaders in the past.
What I hate to see are bands of Arabic supporters or Israeli supporters demonstrating in Canada for one side or the other. And I don’t think we should all support Israel right or wrong. There is a humanitarian concern in all of this that turns my stomach.
And what I am especially concerned about is blind support from our politicians. I think they need to show more concern for the unarmed innocents in this bloodshed. I am appalled that Hamas would deliberately attack civilians in Israel for the purposes of inflaming and stimulating the hatreds. They are like a cancer and the Israelis need to be more surgical in taking them out.
In the years since the United Nations created the State of Israel there has not been enough effort to establish peace with the Palestinians. We can hardly be proud of the situation that since the time of the Crusades, Europeans have been less than successful in brokering peace in that part of the world.
But what do you expect when university professors in Ontario are criticized by their Queen’s Park minister of colleges and universities for making supposedly antisemitic and pro-Hamas statements. Our universities appear to be the last bastion of free speech in this province. We certainly need better cabinet ministers, who can understand that.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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