Toronto Star’s Shree Paradkar Devotes Column To Framing Opposition To Palestinian Propaganda As Racism

In a June 28 commentary published in the Toronto Star entitled: “Why the term ‘anti-Palestinian racism’ has an uphill climb to recognition,” columnist Shree Paradkar preyed upon the caring nature of Canadian values to distort narratives through an Orwellian inversion of reality — cheapening the experiences of other oppressed minority groups in the process.

Paradkar — a long-time serial anti-Israel offender with a bizarre obsession with reflexively attacking the Jewish State’s supporters and defending its detractors — failed to genuinely engage with any substantive reasons why common actions and beliefs of the pro-Palestinian movement are widely criticized as problematic, while arguing that opposition to such things is a “systemic” form of “racism” that deserves to be specifically named and included for equal mention in classroom discussions of historically significant scourges such as antisemitism, anti-Black racism, and anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination.

Paradkar stated that society unfairly “resists the term that describes the experiences of Palestinians worldwide: anti-Palestinian racism,” and that governments and school boards should formally adopt the term and “reckon” with it. She cited an explanation of the concept of anti-Palestinian racism as including anything that “excludes…their narratives.”

Any form of racism or hatred against any group of people based on their ethnic or national origin is unacceptable — including hatred directed at Palestinians. The vast majority of good-natured Canadians would agree unequivocally with this statement, as Paradkar is well aware.

That’s why the rest of her article is so hypocritical and disingenuous, and why its implications are so nefarious.

As an example to illustrate the phenomenon of alleged anti-Palestinian racism, Paradkar shared an anecdotal story about a few unidentified Jewish students feeling uncomfortable when Palestinian students served falafel at school. Despite the whole article hinging on the suggestion that anti-Palestinian racism is some kind of serious “systemic” problem that deserves the same kind of urgent attention and prioritization as society’s worst plagues, this bizarre example of an isolated minor annoyance (and an unverifiable one that barely makes sense at that) is important enough to make the cut as one of the few examples singled out for mention by Paradkar. How few actual incidents of this phenomenon must there be for this to be the case?

The very same weekend as this article came out, a Toronto synagogue had its windows smashed in. Earlier that same week, riots and assaults took place by pro-Palestinian protesters against Jews outside a synagogue in Los Angeles. A few weeks earlier, a Toronto student had to be escorted to school by a large crowd due to incessant bullying over his Jewish identity which went unaddressed by the school system. These are just a few very recent examples of the kind of serious, dangerous, widespread, and often violent antisemitism that the Jewish community is currently facing. These follow months of similar incidents around North America. If at any point Palestinian students got annoyed at their Israeli peers for eating their version of falafel in front of them and made an insensitive comment about it, it did not make the news as they had significantly more serious things to worry about.

While Paradkar has not chosen to devote an entire article to this very alarming and very concerning current trend physically targeting her local Jewish community, she is aware enough of it to give some noteworthy recent antisemitic incidents a passing mention — in the context of saying they are totally fine. Sure, she vaguely states once or twice that antisemitism is a bad thing, but she also opened her whole piece by citing complaints against Palestinian protests “in front of a synagogue” and “in front of a bookstore” as anti-Palestinian racism.

Not only is the comparison between this and the allegedly ‘systemic’ anti-Palestinian racism described ridiculous on the surface, it’s also grossly insulting and dismissive.

Surely if people of Palestinian origin were being systematically discriminated against or attacked based on their ethnicity, it would deserve equal attention to other such phenomena. But defining such hate as objection to Palestinian national narratives is preposterous and unfair on multiple levels.

The idea that criticism of the Palestinian efforts to wipe out the Jewish State and murder the Jewish people should be treated as equivalent to antisemitism and racism is little more than a cynical marketing ploy to stifle this legitimate criticism while also manipulating the sensitive emotional wounds of the public into misunderstanding the nature of the political issues at hand.

When and if there is legitimate discrimination against Palestinians, their Jewish neighbours and other Canadians will without a doubt come to their defence. Yet sadly, when the reverse is true — and when the offenders are Palestinians and their supporters — Paradkar and many others are choosing to defend the offenders.

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