It was nice to see Rick Salutin the former rabbinical student state what other columnists or editorial writers won’t dare say about Trudeau’s snub for the Security Council seat. It’s Palestine, stupid!
Salutin, like Philip Roth and Mordecai Richler has always been a pain in the ass to the Jewish community and he seldom writes about Israel any more but the column below was a welcome riposte.
In the 90s Mordecai Richler left the Zionist train.While admiring many accomplishments of the state he told the truth “that much of it was achieved on land where another people, however unambitious, was rooted. ‘And their failure to cultivate their gardens does not justify their displacement by a stiff-necked people turning up and saying, “This is the turf God Almighty promised me and mine thousands of years ago. we took it by force of arms in the first place…Now we’re back, what’s left of us so move over or get out.”
Over the years those three scribblers drove the tribalists crazy and then moved on, tired of the drubbing they got of the “self-hating Jews” rap.
In this day of plunging print subscribers no mass circulation paper wishes to offend the Zionist truth squad which gets angrier week by week as Israel continues to shoot itself in its head with its failure to deal with the elephant in the room, the brutal occupation. This is the grievous original sin which created the state, and produced the Nakba, the catastrophic dispossession of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians.
What is really bugging the Jewish establishment is not so much old guys like Salutin but the defection of their children from the false Zionist narrative which took the place of the universal values of Judaism.The kids have woken from this bad dream and rediscovered the true beating heart of Judaism, social justice. Salutin, partially edited, follows below. Globe June 25.
There is one and only one reason, IMO, for the resounding defeat of Canada’s bid for a Security Council seat at the UN: Palestine. It has been a UN focus — almost obsession — since the vote for partition in 1948, though it’s taken various forms. The current version is opposition to Israel’s intention to annex large chunks of the occupied territories that it conquered 53 years ago, on which it has planted many settlements.
UN attention to this issue is so intense that you can readily access voting stats of contenders for the seat, the way you could once check how teams are doing in the sports world. So, just in this century, on votes backing, somehow or other, the Palestinian cause, our rivals for the seat, Ireland and Norway, voted yes 251 and 249 times, while Canada did so 87 times — and 85 of those were from 2000 to 2010. Post-2010, one of our only two yes votes came last December, with the Security Council vote looming. So that might merit an asterisk, like this year’s World Series winner, if it’s played.
On these effectively “pro-Palestinian” motions, Canada voted no 166 times. The other two never did.
None of the other arguments mounted by critics, especially Canadians, really mattered: our failure on climate targets, the government purchase of a honking big pipeline company, or our mining companies that ravage African and Latin American countries. Those countries though, have many votes at the UN and long memories of bitter settler and colonial experiences.
I’m not saying former colonies are morally pure. Power warps everyone and foreign policy is a swamp. But Palestinian rights are iconic in most of the world, as opposing apartheid once was. That regime’s few supporters, like the U.S. and U.K., used to complain there were lots of situations as bad or worse that didn’t get the same attention. Canada made a similar argument to justify why it voted against pro-Palestinian resolutions: that they unfairly singled out Israel.
In the vote for the Security Council seat, it was irrelevant. The world has made up its mind on this. Can’t anyone at Fort Pearson count?
Liberals whose judgment I trust have told me the main reason for the “anti-Palestinian” tilt is electoral concern about a batch of ridings that Stephen Harper snatched by portraying himself as a staunch “friend of Israel.” If that’s how they want to play it, fine. But I don’t understand why they thought they could pull off a Security Council seat with the lofty slogan “Canada is Back.” The problem isn’t the hypocrisy; that’s perfectly normal. But it’s stupid and obtuse.
They show a similar dimness on their other high-minded promises, like our climate obligations or rectifying the relationship with Indigenous peoples, which would mean eliminating the Indian Act. Or Justin’s proud boast in 2015 that we’d never see another first-past-the post election. They dropped that casually one day as they crossed the street and haven’t mentioned it since.
Oddly, the one area where they’ve been brave and bold is their economic response since COVID. They’ve shaken off the timidity about deficits that hobbled Chrétien and Martin, and which makes all Tories cower. And given the money not to the rich, as in 2008, but to those in real need, for the most part.
Do I have a theory on why they’ve unexpectedly done that in the face of the rest of their rancid record? Not a clue, I’m afraid.