NOTE: Background to this editorial follows. All images added by Israel Truth Week.
Tarek Fatah: Stop Being Jewish, And Become Good Communists
by Gary McHale, Nov 28/12
Normally I would not take the time to publicly respond to a radical leftist rant because most people already see the foolhardiness of such views. However, Tarek Fatah’s recent anti-conservative and, dare I say, anti-Jewish-identity tirade at a conference held at a Toronto synagogue November 18, 2012 concerned me enough that I must respond to his views. It is not possible to debate all the points Mr. Fatah raised in his speech, so the following is merely an attempt to encourage people to think through the issues carefully.
Mr. Fatah is hailed as a Muslim moderate and is often presented on SunTV as a reasonable person expressing rational ideas. While there is little doubt he is a moderate Muslim this may be more due to his radical socialist views than religious principles.
For background on what Mr. Fatah said I recommend that you review Miroslav Marinov’s article at Blogwrath.com [link] where he published a transcript of the remarks based on his audio-recording. Also, review the ‘Scaramouche’ article [link] by a blogger who was also present.
I would like to address four key issues: First, are Republicans (conservatives) who support Jewish people and Israel a group of “Nazis” (Mr. Fatah’s words, not mine)? Second, is it a good idea to attack the people who support you? Third, is Communism the way of the world, and should we all get on board? Fourth, must Jews stop being Jewish and become good Communists in order to get the world to support them?
1. Are conservative allies of Israel truly deserving of the ‘Nazi’ slur?
Mr. Fatah stated:
“You better get inside the Democratic Party and the NDP. […] Don’t deceive yourselves – you lost out on the NDP that was the single biggest supporter of the state of Israel and the Jewish community…”
“Do you know that the fact that Republicans support you is your undoing? The same person who is against abortion, the same person who thinks that the immigrants should be thrown out to Mexico, the same guy who doesn’t want black people to come in, the same guys who want gated communities, the same guys who are against the civil rights movement, are supporting you! That’s a kiss of death!… You are being supported by right wing Nazis for crying out loud! This is a problem; we cannot accept that, you cannot get somebody from the religious right.” [full transcript]
Everything Mr. Fatah said about the Republicans he could have said about Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada. The Harper government has made many changes to our immigration laws and has taken steps to stop illegal migrant ships from arriving in Canada. Harper is personally against abortion – is the idea that all life has value and should be protected the same view that the Nazis had? Of course not. The Republican Party, during the past election, wanted people to have to show identification before they voted – apparently this is racist. In Canada we have always demanded people identify themselves before they vote but somehow this is reasonable in Canada but racist in the USA.
It is easy for Mr. Fatah to attack American politicians – it is considered a sport by liberals in Canada – however, will he attack Harper who is seen as Israel’s greatest friend in the world?
The single greatest support for the State of Israel in the past 70 years has not come from socialists, but conservative Christian groups. On just one Christian website alone (Christians United For Israel), they recently gathered over 400,000 signatures pledging support for the state of Israel [link]; I would ask Mr. Fatah to please point me to any socialist website that has that type of support for Israel. So far, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority has listed more than 24,000 individuals who have been honoured as ‘Righteous Among The Nations’ for risking their personal safety to aid Jewish people during the Nazi reign of terror. Those honoured include “Christians from all denominations and churches.” It isn’t the liberal Christians that support Israel but conservative Christians, in stark contrast to the United Church of Canada’s current position on boycotting Israeli products.
What is remarkable about Mr. Fatah’s tirade is that he is either misguided or dishonest about the truth of historical events. It was President Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party that ended slavery in the USA.’ According to Encyclopedia Britannica [link] “…the [Republican] party…attracted the most zealous antislavery advocates.” Within the party was a group called, ‘Radical Republicans’ who wanted him to go even further in establishing Blacks as equal citizens while ensuring white supremacists in the South could not rise again. After Lincoln’s death President Andrew Jackson Democrats, the party Mr. Fatah supports, steadfastly opposed these goals [link].
Regarding Mitt Romney, who Mr. Fatah would have you believe is anti-Black and anti-Mexican: it was George Romney (Mitt’s father) who was a key supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. before it became fashionable to be one. George Romney was born in Mexico in 1907 after his father lived in Mexico City for many years as a missionary to the people there.
A recent news story published in August of this year shows a photo of George Romney marching with Blacks in Detroit [link]. Romney supported the American Civil Rights Movement while governor; he reflected, “… I got to know Negroes and began to be able to evaluate them and I began to recognize that some Negroes are better and more capable than lots of whites.”
During his first State of the State address in January 1963, Romney declared, “Michigan’s most urgent human rights problem is racial discrimination — in housing, public accommodations, education, administration of justice, and employment.” Romney helped create the state’s first civil rights commission. When Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Detroit in June 1963 and led the 120,000-strong Great March on Detroit, Romney designated the occasion ‘Freedom March Day’ in Michigan.
2. Is it a good idea to attack the people who support you?
Of particular concern for me is that you should never attack people who have been your strongest supporters. While Mr. Fatah may believe the NDP is Israel’s greatest friend the facts demonstrate that the Jewish state has its greatest supporters among conservatives. What is to be gained by alienating such allies? Is he seriously suggesting Jews should spit in the faces of conservative supporters of Israel in the vain hope that the same leftist radicals who now support and enable Hamas’ goal of extermination will recant their hatred?
3. Is Communism the way of the world, and should Jews get on board?
Mr. Fatah stated:
“… And all the Jews do is quote me the Bible… I am telling you your case is so simple, you’re a people and you deserve a state! That’s got nothing to do with Judaism. I don’t have to tell you that most of your founders were atheists – I have been inspired by communists, who were all Jews, I didn’t know they were Jews, I just knew they were Marxist… Shlomo Avineri, I didn’t even know that was a Jewish name. […] I urge you to take your kids out of private school and put them in public school. And even when you do so, all of you kids are in neighbourhood schools, 80% of them are Jewish… “
“…I am proud to be a socialist. That’s why as long as the right supports you, you don’t have a case in the rest of the world, because 99% of the people are struggling to make ends meet. As long as the Polish in Warsaw supported you, you stood up with dignity, you stood up to the Nazis as left-wing Jews. You show me one right-wing Jew in Nazi Germany! Show me one! Give me a name! Every Jew was respected because they were fighting for the working class!” [full transcript]
Mr. Fatah presents history as if socialism is the great saviour of the Jewish people. During the early 1900s there were many who had a romantic view of socialism and, to be fair, socialism appears quite attractive – on paper. In reality it has failed everywhere. Current socialist governments are China, Cuba and North Korea – hardly the benchmarks for individual liberty.
Socialism isn’t about individual freedom, but group freedom. In socialism it is the collective that is important not the individual. The limitation of individual freedom for the greater good is inherent within the socialist view. Of course, in real life it is the government which decides which values are for the greater good – this always leads to discrimination against one group or another.
It was Hitler’s Nazi party who demonstrated so clearly how group rights for a ‘greater good’ can lead to a twisted sense of reality. In 1927, Hitler stated, “We are socialists, we are the enemy of today’s capitalistic system … [link]” Many people do not know that the term ‘NAZI’ is an acronym for “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” One may argue the differences between Nazi and Russian socialism, but both are based on state control over individuals and resources in favour of the racial/political group collective, and not on individualism, capitalism and liberty. Not to mention that both persecuted Jews.
As with all socialist governments, the Nazis quickly moved to control all groups that expressed contrary public views. While Mr. Fatah appears to believe that communism is a great idea he fails to understand just how badly communism has persecuted Jewish people. Even Hitler was happy to hear how the communists in Russia purged their government of Jewish influence.
Perhaps Mr. Fatah could explain the existence of ‘pogroms’ in the socialist Russian paradise. The term “pogrom” refers to large-scale, targeted, and repeated anti-Jewish rioting, and saw its first use in the 19th century in reference to the anti-Jewish persecution within the Russian Empire. They were created by the Russian government in order to prevent the Jewish population from spreading throughout the country.
While Mr. Fatah suggests it was because of socialism that the Jewish state came into existence, he seems to be overlooking the reality that socialist countries denied Jewish people help throughout the 1930-40s as did most of the world.
Historically, the world has advanced through the rise of individual freedoms, not group freedoms. It was the introduction of the British Bill of Rights in the 1600s and the various enacted individual freedoms that created the wealth and liberal democracies we enjoy today. Furthermore, it is only when you limit the control of the state that you get, and protect, individual freedoms.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is about controlling the government not businesses or individuals. The Charter is about individual rights not group rights – I have freedom of speech not because I am part of a group that has these rights but because, as an individual, I inherently have this right.
This is not to say that our Charter is perfect or that our system doesn’t have areas that need to be improved. In fact, in recent years, via human rights commissions and government policies, we have moved more towards the social view of group rights. A gay person’s rights supersede a Christian’s rights simply because the gay is part of the favoured group. It is no longer about individual rights, but the group you are part of and, if it is the politically correct group, then your rights will be protected while the other’s will not – for the supposed good of society.
4. Must Jews stop being Jewish and become good Communists in order to get the world to support them?
This leads me to my greatest concern about what Mr. Fatah said in his speech. Apparently the problem with the Jews is that they are, well, too Jewish and if Jews would just forget about being Jews and become good communists then the world would support them.
It is a key tool of socialism to indoctrinate children via the government’s education system as early as possible. Socialism demands that children be taught not to hold their parents’ views of the world but the state’s. God forbid that Jewish parents teach their children the Biblical view of the state of Israel! Instead, socialist governments want to hammer religious views out of children. Do I need to provide any proof of this point? In Canada we have the Quebec government telling Catholic schools they cannot speak about Christmas, the Alberta government is currently reviewing laws to force kindergarten children to be taught transsexual issues and the Ontario government is forcing all religious schools to teach the government views on most moral issues facing our society.
Stop sending your children to Jewish schools so that the state can control how your children think about the social issues of life. Stop quoting the Bible and convert to communism so the world will support you. These are the views of Mr. Fatah.
Somehow Mr. Fatah believes that if Jews stop quoting the Bible then it will be automatic that the Jewish State will be acceptable to all nations. This is hardly supported by the past 2000 years of history nor is it supported by logic. Did Jews deserve the state of Israel in the 1500s, 1600s or 1700s or is it just in the 21st century they deserve their own country? Without using the Bible why should Jews have Israel in the location that it is? Certainly that area of the world has not been in Jewish control for the past 2000 years so why suddenly should it be so now – perhaps the world should wait another 2000 years before allowing a Jewish state?
Apparently Mr. Fatah thinks the mere fact that there is a group of people called Jews means they should have a state of their own – hardly a compelling argument compared to the obvious one made by their ancient historical roots in the region. There are over 600 different Native groups in Canada alone, so should each one have their own state? There are approximately 4200 different religions in the world – should each have their own state as well?
Mr. Fatah calls upon Jewish people to return to their “roots” which in his view is communism – apparently, prior to the 1900s there weren’t any “roots” for Jews to return to. Since he rejects Jewish people quoting the Bible this would leave no “roots” to return to other than communism. While the entire world has switched to the Christian calendar which marks the birth of Jesus, many Jews maintain their own calendar. For them the year 2012 is the year 5773. Many Jews are secular (as are many Christians), but it is hard to imagine talking about Jewish “roots” without understanding the 5773 year history of the people.
While this may appear to be a simple issue the fact is no other group has maintained their own calendar. Russia switched to the Christian calendar in 1917, Japan in 1872, Korea in 1895, China in 1912. North Korea uses their own calendar marking the birth of Kim Sung II – socialist states have a way of belittling religion and worshipping their own leaders.
Mr. Fatah believes Jews should return to their roots – Communism. This is in keeping with anti-Jewish propaganda:
“The label ‘Judeo-Bolshevism’ was used in Nazi Germany to equate Jews with communists, implying that the communist movement served Jewish interests and/or that all Jews were communists. According to Hannah Arendt, it was ‘the most efficient fiction of Nazi Propaganda’. In Poland, before World War II, Żydokomuna was used in the same way to allege that the Jews were conspiring with the USSR to capture Poland. According to André Gerrits, ‘The myth of Jewish Communism was one of the most popular and widespread political prejudices in the first half of the 20th century, in Eastern Europe in particular.’ The allegation continues to be used in anti-Semitic publications and websites today.” [link]
“In 2006, Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin, secretary-general of the new ‘World Foundation for Holocaust Studies’ established at the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, stated: ‘The Bolshevik Soviet government in Lenin’s time, and later, in Stalin’s – both of whom were Jewish, though they presented themselves as Marxists and atheists… – was one of the forces that, until the Second World War, cooperated with Hitler in promoting the idea of establishing the State of Israel.’ ” [ibid]
Whenever you label any group of people as if they were a single unit you inherently create stereotypes. The fact is, a Jew is no more rooted in communism than a British person is rooted in what…. being a conservative?
If Mr. Fatah is to be believed, the problem with Jews today is that there are too many people who believe in Judaism and so Jews need to become atheists and replace their religious views with communist views. Then… the world will love them. Based on both United Nations and FBI reports the most persecuted people in the world are Christians; as a Christian, therefore, must I become a communist in order to get the world to accept me?
To sacrifice one’s beliefs, one’s heritage and one’s fundamental views of life in order to be acceptable to others will always end in disaster. To call upon anyone to do so is foolhardy.
Jewish people should be proud of who they are just like any other group of people should be. They must maintain their heritage because no one else will. They should be particularly wary of those who tell them everything will be better if they just stop being so Jewish and try to conform to those who persecute them.
“Never Again!” means Jews should not rely on the world to protect them – this has failed too many times in the past.
Gary McHale is the founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) which has been at the forefront in the struggle to preserve the rule of law and civil rights during the Caledonia crisis. His work there, modeled on the teachings of Dr. King, was featured in National Post reporter Christie Blatchford’s national bestselling book, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear And Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All Of Us. He was also a keynote speaker at the 2012 Israel Truth Week conference where he delivered a presentation entitled, ‘Dr. King’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’: A Blueprint for Victory Over Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism.’
By Mark Vandermaas, Israel Truth Week
On Sunday, Nov 18/12 I attended an excellent conference at a Toronto synagogue sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) who had brought into the community a number of distinguished speakers from Canada, Israel and the United States who included: Ambassador Alan Baker, a leading Israeli International law authority: Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles; and the Consul General of Israel (Toronto) DJ Schneeweiss (whom I had the good fortune to later meet at London Jewish Community Centre), to name a very few.
One of the speakers was the well-known Canadian author, Tarek Fatah, author of The Jew is Not My Enemy who gave a disturbing speech in which he urged Jews to abandon their conservative “right wing Nazi” allies and turn to the NDP and Democratic parties in order to become accepted once again in the world. I, and many in the crowd, took exception to his remarks.
For me, Fatah’s slurs were disturbingly familiar: I had heard them many times during our ongoing work during the Caledonia Crisis — mainly from the extreme left wing coalition of anarchists, communists, radical unionists, and other anti-Israel groups who actively support the native militants who terrorized the town in furtherance of their own anti-capitalist agenda.
(In 2006, the Niagara Palestinian Association raised their flag on the Caledonia occupation site below the flag of the Mohawk Warrior crime organization which was responsible for the worst of the violence. The Ontario government played the part of the today’s UN in ‘legalizing’ the use of violence against innocents as a political tool through its refusal to enforce the law against the perpetrators all the while unjustly condemning victim advocates who demanded justice.)
The ‘Nazi!’; ‘White Supremacist!’; ‘Racist!’ epithets were a favourite tactic used by the Leftist radicals to try to discredit us (they conveniently ignored our repeated statements on behalf of native victims, including the two native women who were raped on the lawless occupation site).
In one instance they mounted an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to have us ‘dis-invited from speaking at an aboriginal policy conference at Mount Royal University in Calgary, claiming – yet, again – we were neo-Nazi racists. Unfortunately – for them – they only damaged their own credibility once the organizers & administrators realized they were being lied to, and the forum did get to hear about Caledonia’s pain after all.
In another case the second-largest newspaper on the Six Nations reserve was forced to print an apology and give us 1,000 words of editorial space in two consecutive editions in order to settle our Small Claims Court actions for defamation. As a note of interest, the editor responsible, who also works as an activist supporting the occupation he supposedly covers as a ‘journalist,’ received $1,000 from an anarchist organization for his anti-Caledonia work which was funnelled to him through CUPE 3903 from York University in Toronto.
Thus, when Tarek Fatah went down the all-too-familiar road of calling pro-Israel conservatives ‘Nazis’ I could not politely listen while he encouraged Jews to abandon the stalwart support from Christians and conservatives. I left the room whereupon a member of CIJR followed me and suggested that I return and ask Fatah a simple question: ‘Am I a Nazi?’ which I did after a short and polite preamble outlining some of my own work on behalf of Israel and Jewish people. I will not recount the story complete since others have already done so, and are linked-to in the editorial above. Suffice to say that Fatah refused to answer my question, then launched an angry tirade against me and my motives. All of his accusations against conservative Israel supporters and our unfortunate interaction were caught on tape and transcribed.
One of those who read the transcript was the indominatable Gary McHale, co-founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE), from whom I have learned everything I know about applying Dr. King’s effective activisim methods during our six years together fighting racial policing, illegal no-go zones and state-enabled attacks on our precious rule of law during the Caledonia crisis. McHale was far more regularly vilified with disgusting allegations of being a racist Nazi, etc. than was I.
McHale shared my view that Tarek Fatah’s tirade against me was largely irrelevant in the context of the greater issues raised by his view that Jews are somehow at fault for the vicious anti-Semitism arrayed against them from the Left because they are being supported by conservatives and Christians. As Professor Emeritus Sally Zerker, a speaker at the conference, politely and quite rightly pointed out to him afterwards, ‘It wasn’t the Jews who moved away from the NDP, it was the NDP who moved away from the Jews.’ Indeed.
It has been suggested to me by some — including a highly experienced doctor who contacted me to offer his thoughts — that perhaps Mr. Fatah (who has had some serious health issues in the past), was suffering from a medical condition. If that is true, then I am inclined to be more charitable, however, his words and actions were very consistent with those of radical leftists and the tactics they use to further their anti-capitalist agenda, key among these, the vilification of their opponents and the rewriting of history.
One of the key objectives of the Israel Truth Week concept is to unite Jewish and non-Jewish groups in defence of Israel, to encourage co-operation despite differences of opinion or approach. While Tarek Fatah’s tirade against me was personally insulting, my greater concern was the terrible damage he was doing, and could do in the future, to undermine support for Jewish people and the state of Israel at this very dark time in history.
After listening to Gary McHale’s perspective I thought it important he put his thoughts to paper so others can decide for themselves whether Tarek Fatah has the best interests of the Jewish people and Israel at heart or not.
About the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) and their work with students…
The executives of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) (conference organizers) were very kind and gracious. They took time with me to talk about what happened, and to understand the Israel Truth Week project after the conference was over. They apologized for the incident, to which I replied they had no reason to be sorry whatsoever; they had tried to do the right thing by honouring a man whom they felt had paid a serious price for speaking out against Islamic extremism, and they had contributed greatly to my understanding of the issues at stake.
One of CIJR’s most important efforts is in reaching students, Jewish and non-Jewish, on campus through their annual Student Israel-Advocacy Program (SIAP) which is designed to counter anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on campus ‘through a unique series of seminars on Jewish, Zionist and Israel history, on the history and nature of anti-Semitism and the Arab-Israel conflict, and on human rights in Israel and the Arab world. Encouragingly, approximately 40% of students who take the program are non-Jewish.
CIJR and ITW are keeping in touch and my hope is that we can work together to raise awareness of our mutual efforts which dovetail nicely.
POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas
Founder, Israel Truth Week