Do young Jews lack the ability to communicate?

Opinion

“For the most part, sadly they see themselves not as proud Canadian Jews, but Jews who live in Canada.”

by Alan Simons

On March 20, 2017, B’nai Brith Canada filed a complaint with Montreal police regarding a sermon made by Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr at the Dar al-Arqam mosque in Montreal. This Imam in a homily, delivered on Dec. 23, 2016, described Jews as “the most evil of mankind” and “human demons,” and quoted a passage from the hadith that calls for killing Jews.

The complaint was followed-up by an article in the Toronto Sun by Lorrie Goldstein, their Acting Comment Editor. Goldstein, in essence said:

“… yet another video that it says shows an imam in Canada preaching violence against Jews, I have to ask: What is it with you people?”

He adds:

“Do you actually believe, as you keep insisting in your whacko sermons, that the Hadith is accurate in saying that someday the rocks and trees are going to cry out to you that Jews are hiding behind them and for you to come and kill us?

Like, seriously, WTF?

I won’t dwell on the fact Muslims of your ilk (meaning not all Muslims), have been trying to kill Jews for generations, including siding with Hitler in World War II.

As you have may have noticed, you’re not having much success.”

Much to the chagrin of many Jewish friends, I responded to Goldstein’s piece by commenting that I just wonder how many individuals of all faiths, will remain silent to the fact that this article needed to be publicly said!

One of my highly respected Jewish friends did respond to my challenge, by addressing the Goldstein article. “Inciting this kind of hatred takes us down the road of anger and divisiveness. Grateful to the mainstream Muslim groups that have spoken out strongly against this antisemitic hate speech. Looking to other faith leaders to do the same.”

In all sincerity, I’m also grateful to the mainstream Muslim groups for reacting, according to my friend, in the way they did. Yet, should we, as Jews, have to rely just on a small percentage of Muslims, who came out to express their negative opinion of this intolerant imam?

These mainstream Muslims that my friend referred to, are spirit rebels within their community. As Jews we not only need to support them, but also receive their support. Religious hate is hate, irrespective of one’s religion.  And as French writer Pascal Bruckner quite eloquently put it some years ago:  “It is time to extend our solidarity to all the rebels of the Islamic world, non-believers, atheist libertines, dissenters, sentinels of liberty, as we supported Eastern European dissidents in former times…”

Returning to Goldstein. By all accounts, at least to me, there weren’t many from the Jewish community who communicated publicly one way or another about the content of his article. Sad isn’t! Yet, I’m not surprised. These days individual Jews, those we have relied on for far too long, who are in the front line of communicating the increase in hate literature, social media’s role in antisemitism, of Islamophobia and violent acts again Jews and Muslims alike, are part of declining social order within the Diaspora.

“Unfortunately, most of our communication today, and especially from Jews under 40, are floundering in a sea of self-importance, self-centred and swaggering declarations, which are not only communicated to death, but offend others.”

Some years ago Frank Luntz, the US-based political and business pollster stated: “We have developed some very destructive communication habits that have seriously undermined our efforts and the causes we believe in. Our words lose their resonance and our style and tone offend… We push people away when we should pull them in.”

This is highly visible within much of today’s young Jewish community, who lack the ability to communicate in a forthright and articulate manner on issues important to the Diaspora. It would seem they have taken the easier approach, the cause for Israel than looking at the current issues facing our own country. For the most part, sadly they see themselves not as proud Canadian Jews, but Jews who live in Canada.

Our Diaspora doesn’t have the reputation for being circumspect about our achievements, but the young seem to be lost in a quagmire of guarded pessimism with regard to our future. And that simply means more opportunities for the antisemites and hate mongers among us, as well as from external sources, from the Iranians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hizb-ut Tahrir and all their lot, who thrive on our wallowing.

We need more open public and forthright dialogue and cooperation with the rebels and individuals and other religious groups to combat the alarming hate and intolerance now taking place in our universities. How many young Jews do you know who are currently willing to venture out of their closet mind-set and chance that?

To my mind, that’s why Goldstein’s message was written. It should have stirred young Jews to understand that expressing and communicating one’s view is part of who we are. While remembering our past, and be heedful of our future, we must open our doors to others and not be complacent with our own lot.

Well anyway, that’s how I see it.

Alan Simons can be reached at alan@alansimons dot info.

Video photo credit: B’nai Brith Canada

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