By Goodwin Ginger
There is some irony that a man who was once a proud member of the liberal party could end up shilling for the Tories. Diefenbaker’s Tories were notoriously anti-semitic; Mulroney’s Tories, though less shrill, were still no safe harbor for the Canadian Jewry; Joe-Clark’s Tories were a little better but still liberally (no pun intended) salted with laggard anti-semites. Indeed in the back rooms of the more provincial Tory watering holes the Jews were often and still are the subject of many an old saw. Stephen Harper’s Tories we are told are a much improved lot because its millenarian and militant Christian contingent from the west are banking (again no pun intended) on the rapture.
What has changed is that the Tories are now much less nationalist then they have ever been and that a vocal minority within the Canadian Jewry, possessed as it is by a massive bout of diasporic guilt, has become the vanguard of the first generation of Jews in Canada to actively and vociferously get involved in the dirty business of mainstream Canadian politics (much the same thing could be said south of the border). Make no mistake this vocal minority is playing what can only be described as vicious identity politics whereby they determine who is a good Jew, who is a bad Jew, who is a friend to the Jews and who is not. And this is why what a naïve liberal youth has described elsewhere and redundantly as “violent Zionism” is far and wide of the mark. What hard core nationalist ideology is not overdetermined by a heavy dose of violence? Lets just remember where Europe’s nationalism ultimately ended.
And that last sentence brings us back to poor old Warren. In the middle of fight he does not understand with the intellectual capacity of a ten year old; but to be fair with the empathetic heart of a real human being.
Poor old Warren indeed. It is hard to be a Catholic and not feel a little guilty about both your country of ancestral origin and faith: having been conspirators in the biggest anti-semitic plot of all time since the Romans. Who can blame Warren for attempting to track as much distance as possible between himself and a shameful fascist religious past. Once the Pope finally confessed and apologized to the Jewish people of Europe for the Church’s unforgivable role in the Holocaust it was just a matter of time before others entered the confessional. Warren is working, as he should, through his own personal mea-culpas. The problem is that Warren has not intellectually grasped the extremity of the position that his guilt has nonetheless driven him to and which betrays a deep seated anti-semitism.
For Kinsella has taken Gerry’s midnight jet stream express to a land and history he cannot comprehend. Surrounded by well meaning although guilt ridden members of the Canadian Jewry Warren now feels comfortable to declare anyone who dares criticize the Israeli state, IDF, his hawkish friends, or who god forbid empathizes with the Palestinians or Lebanese as anti-semites. By Warren’s formula, i.e., anti-Israel = anti-semite, the hundreds of thousands of orthodox Jews who hold that the Jewish state is a heretical entity must be anti-semitic.
Now “Warren Gentile Lord of the Jews Kinsella” thinks he knows who is Jewish and what a good Jew believes. This kind of stereotyping and cajoling of dissent is nothing other than a contemporary form of fascist politics and when carried out by Kinsella betrays a deep seated anti-semitism. For apparently Warren cannot tell one Jew from another nor can he allow them or their history to be complicated enough to merit serious political engagement. No for Warren all good Jews think like Gerry and Asper and all good friends to the Jews step in line and march in step. Indeed, his un-refracted guilt has lead him, and some would argue his friends, to the new true anti-semitism and for that he deserves more than a good punking.