In Prince George Citizen, HRC Rebuts Columnist’s Claims That Antisemitism “Largely Absent” At Anti-Israel Rallies 

On October 29, the Prince George Citizen, a newspaper in central British Columbia, published a column by writer Gerry Chidiac who platformed a small number of fringe anti-Israel Jewish activists across North America, and incredulously called the rampant antisemitism at anti-Israel rallies around the world “largely absent”.

On November 2, the publication granted HRC Assistant Director Robert Walker space to rebut these baseless allegations in a commentary, which can be read below.


Cherry-Picking The Facts On Israel And Gaza

Gerry Chidiac’s last opinion column on October 29 in the Prince George Citizen is a masterclass in condescension and tone-deafness.  

Chidiac argues that Jews play a central role in what he vaguely calls the “Palestinian cause,” without any further specifications. He cites this as the reason why Jews in general should not be blamed for the actions of the Israeli government.

Chidiac blatantly cherry-picks the same old batch of loud but fringe radicals of Jewish ethnic background who do not in any way represent the Jewish community at large.

In a 2018 survey of Canadian Jews, a whopping 89 percent of respondents say that caring about Israel is very important to their Jewish identity. 

Yet, while ignoring the actual self-professed feelings of the vast majority of Canadian Jews, Chidiac purports to lecture us on what Jews really believe and want. He reminds us of the existence of fringe groups but fails to provide readers with a full picture. 

Chidiac informs readers that Noam Chomsky is “considered by many the authority on Israel and Palestine,” though it is unclear who these “many” are that consider a linguist the authority on this issue.

It’s shocking that such a baseless, overt case of tokenism was printed in the Prince George Citizen without basic scrutiny. 

Ironically, Chidiac may also be unaware of the various prominent members of the Palestinian and Muslim communities who are loudly voicing support for Israel and criticism for Hamas these days, both in the region and in Canada—figures like Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a prominent Hamas leader, for instance, but who apparently does not exist to Chidiac.

Chidiac’s delusions about the prominence of Jewish anti-Israel activists leads to an even bigger blindness on his part, namely his groundless claim that “anti-Jewish sentiment has been largely absent in the pro-Palestine rallies now taking place in the Western world is because many of the participants are themselves Jewish.” Aside from the outrageous implication that “anti-Jewish sentiment” would be a naturally expected component of these rallies if not for the presence of these fringe groups, this is also a blatantly false statement. 

Perhaps Chidiac isn’t seeing the same rallies that are clear to the rest of the world, but throughout the Western world, pro-Palestine rallies in the past three weeks have been teeming with vicious anti-Jewish slogans and incidents. 

On campuses throughout North America, and in major European cities, Jews are being told to hide their identity for their own safety. In Australia, protesters chanted “Gas the Jews!” In London, protesters taunted Jews with chants about a medieval antisemitic massacre. In New York City, visibly Jewish students had to barricade themselves inside a library as a mob of protesters pursued them, and swastikas were waved at Jewish counter-protesters. In Berlin, Holocaust memorials had to be physically protected by police due to threats of vandalism. In Toronto, a Jewish-owned business was surrounded by protesters. The list goes on, and on, and on.

And, amidst all this, Chidiac couldn’t even find one single opportunity to condemn or even acknowledge the reason that this war began—namely, the barbaric massacre of 1,400 Israelis by Hamas in the largest antisemitic mass murder event since the Holocaust. Remarkably, the word “Hamas” fails to receive a single mention. Neither does the word “hostages” or “rockets,” as Hamas continues to hold hundreds of Israelis and foreign workers as captives and fires hundreds of rockets daily at civilian areas in Israel. He also doesn’t seem bothered by Hamas’ documented efforts to prevent innocent Palestinian civilians from fleeing the conflict zone or hogging fuel for their terror tunnels.

Jews do not need to be told what they think and feel, and the vast majority of them certainly do not support the vile antisemitic and terrorist actions that are currently plaguing their brethren across the globe, regardless of Chidiac’s desire to whitewash and ignore away this fact.

Robert Walker is the assistant director of Honest Reporting Canada: Ensuring Fair and Accurate Canadian Media Coverage of Israel

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