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September 20, 2009

Re: Antisemitism in Canada (Part 1: A Disgraceful History)

Jim Reed, Dungannon, Ontario

Reg: Antisemitism in Canada (Part 1: A Disgraceful History)

  By Dr. Michael Keefer

This is just a brief comment on Dr. Keefer's piece on racism/anti-Semitism.

Perhaps the most important task a nation can carry out is an honest review of its own history. Our racism of course stems mainly from our British roots and is closely linked to colonialist and imperialist practices. Happily, the post-WW2 generations have started to come to grips with racism, but it is an endless struggle that must be carried on unceasingly.

This could not have happened however, without the efforts of many decent people, who - over the years - have abhorred the racist behaviour of so many, including those in high places in our various governments.

If we are to continue this struggle in a rational and sensible way, then surely we must - as citizens - take collective responsibility for our own historical narrative and confront it whenever possible.

Anti-Semitism, which I suggest ought to include anti-Islamic behaviour, is indeed a scourge that must be confronted whenever and wherever it shows itself.

I remember a story told to me years ago by an old Palestinian gentleman...he said that he remembered as a boy, his father going to a Jewish neighbour's home to light the Sabbath lamps. He said that the custom was for the Jewish neighbour to light his family's lamps on the Muslim Holy Day.

That of course was before the troubles in Palestine grew so volatile that such practices were frowned upon by leaders of both religious groups.

My question for Dr. Keefer is- to what extent, if any, do you think that political Zionism in Israel has contributed to racism there and if so - has it had negative repercussions for a multi-cultural society such as ours?

Jim Reed,

Dungannon, Ontario

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