Where does ignorance end and anti-semitism begin?
The Liberal candidate for the Winnipeg riding of Kildonan-St. Paul, Lesley Hughes, has been asked to resign. Sort of. Her name will still appear on the ballot, since it’s too late to remove her from it.
Ms. Hughes is a former CBC radio host who also edited Canadian Dimension, a respected Socialist publication. She’s a devout, though not fanatical, member of the United Church of Canada.
So what’s the problem?
This: “Israeli businesses, which had offices in the [World Trade Center] Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks [of 9/11], breaking their lease to do it.” This is what Ms. Hughes wrote for a United Church newsletter in 2003.
Aside from the grammatical issues, what’s wrong with this statment? Well, a lot. I’ve already addressed one of the problems here, but to quickly rehash…
There were at least two businesses with majority Israeli ownership in the WTC on 9/11. Six months earlier, the Zim Israel American Shipping Company had announced that it was relocating to Virginia, but on 9/11 there were still around a dozen Zim employees at work in the WTC offices. I have not found any evidence that the company’s lease was broken (if you know of some, by all means let me know). The second company of which I am aware was ClearForest, and it did not have plans to vacate the premises. It was operating as usual on 9/11.
The second problem is what is being implied here.
If you received word from a trusted, reliable source that your workplace was going to be attacked by terrorists (or otherwise destroyed) on a specific date, what would you do? You’d alert the authorities, of course. And you’d probably warn all of your colleagues, or at least a superior, ASAP. You wouldn’t just call one or two colleagues who, say, belonged to your bridge club and warn them, telling them to keep the information a secret, would you? Of course you wouldn’t. You’re not a sociopathic a-hole (I’m assuming).
So why would Israelis – Jews – do this?
They wouldn’t. Not any more than Jews would abduct a randomly selected Christian child at Passover, ritually murder him in a subterranean chamber beneath their synagogue, and use the child’s blood to make their matza.
Yet thousands of Canadian voters are criticizing Stephane Dion’s decision to oust this woman. It wasn’t because she’s a 9/11 Truther, as the Truthers are complaining, because her views on that subject were already well-known. She was not ousted for “being critical of Israeli policies“, because she was not even critical of Israeli policies. She was resurrecting discredited rumours about Israel. And she was not ousted simply because the opposition is trying to thin the Liberal ranks, or “sacrificed on the altar of Google”, as one editorial put it. You can’t fire the fatal bullet without any ammo, after all, and that ammo was provided by Ms. Hughes herself. She is not the victim of a smear campaign.
No, Ms. Hughes was ousted because she expressed a truly hateful, reprehensible opinion. She probably didn’t intend to be malicious or hurtful, but she was. She has the right to think whatever she wants about Jews, Israel, and 9/11, but the Liberals have a right to boot any candidate who they believe may damage the party’s credibility and integrity. They did. And I’m OK with that. Ms. Hughes can complain about being sacrified “like a soldier in the trenches” (yes, she actually likened herself to people who have fought and died for their country, but that’s a different post): You simply cannot expect to viciously slander an entire ethnic/religious minority and make it into public office in a multicultural country such as Canada. You have to choose to do one or the other. Ms. Hughes has made her choice.