This is a guest post by Gili Brenner
CiF’s Jesse Rosenfeld is very unhappy with what he regards as Canada’s unprecedented move “in the opposite direction” with regards to criticism of Israel. At a time when anti-Israel sentiment is the norm, Canada dares to self-censure an “open debate about the Palestinian issue”, Rosenfeld laments.
The new heights in Canada’s despicably untrendy behavior occurred last month with Toronto’s Pride Committee’s banning of the term “Israeli apartheid” at the festivities. Clearly, the festival organisers’ decision to focus on irrelevant matters such as, for example, sexual rights at the gay march rather than on bashing Israel is unthinkable.
Rosenfeld does not find it in the least awkward to complain about this wrongdoing and later mention two Israel-based Palestinian LGBT groups which strive to “protest against all forms of oppression” and which are now unable to do so. The fact that they freely operate from the territory of Israel – where more than 100,000 people from all over the world participated in the Pride celebrations last week – rather from their Palestinian homeland, is of course, irrelevant when delegitimization of Israel is at stake. Rosenfeld highlights the tradition of linking sexual rights to other struggles for liberation and social justice. But his passion for struggles to free Gaza from Hamas and fight the oppression of Palestinian women or opposition groups within the Palestinian territories seems to be lacking. He knows all to well that oppression in not worth CiF’s attention if it does not involve Israel. Pro-justice Rosenfeld also seems to forget that only last week a performance of Israeli gay artists in Spain’s Pride celebrations was cancelled by the organisers. I seem to have missed his piece on Spain’s unprecedented moves of self-censorship.
How incredibly inconvenient it is for the Guardian that a great liberal democracy such as Canada dares to stand by Israel. As the anti-Israel wolves are salivating, Canada is simply a party-pooper. With the United States no longer starring as the usual suspect, Canada, if not careful, could very well become the CiF’s next villain on the block.