Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mark Weintraub on Darfur And Fake Progressives

I hope at least some of the readers of Chronicles and its weblog will have taken the advice of StandNow about what we might do today in aid of the people of Darfur (explained here). If you prefer stylish indifference, this guy will make you feel better about yourself.

But following upon what I wrote here, Mark Weintraub of the Canadian Jewish Congress writes something in today's Georgia Straight that I think warrants some close attention. So I'm reprinting the letter here, with links:

Last week’s article by Terry Glavin “Left is strangely silent on tragedy in Darfur” [Sept. 28–Oct. 5] reveals the hypocrisy and moral corruption of a group of extremists who call themselves progressive. It is disheartening that individuals or groups have decided to ignore a three-year genocide in Darfur simply because the Jewish community is a strong advocate, among many others, for innocent Darfurian victims of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

It should be noted that many organizations and individuals within the left and progressive communities have been partners with the Canadian Jewish Congress on Darfur-related advocacy, including many NDP MPs and MLAs and B.C. labour unions who have worked to convince our government to take a leadership role in ending the suffering in Darfur.

Tragically, these groups of extremists are using the genocide in Darfur as part of their political efforts to advance an anti-Israel agenda. Clearly, the two issues have no relationship whatsoever.

Canadian Students for Darfur—a group that works in coalition with the CJC to raise public awareness about the genocide—has been named a “sellout” by these extremists for its work with the Jewish community on this issue. Such name-calling and intimidation against groups working together with the Jewish community to end the crisis expose these extremists for who they really are. We have to look long and hard at any group that would stand in the way of this effective and collaborative work.

That the groups refer to themselves as “antiwar” and peace-building organizations makes a mockery of anything with which they are associated. Over the past three years, more than 300,000 people have died, hundreds of thousands more have been injured, untold numbers have been raped, and entire villages have been destroyed in Darfur, creating millions of refugees. Yet these so-called antiwar groups would rather ignore this genocide than work with Canadian Jews.

Sadly, in their attempt to avoid working with Jewish advocacy organizations, these groups not only expose their disdain toward the Jewish community but they add to the needless suffering of innocent civilians in Darfur who desperately need all the help they can get from progressive and fair-minded people everywhere, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or politics.

Until our government hears from all of us with one loud and clear voice, we will have failed in our responsibilities as both Canadians and world citizens. Canada must continue to advocate powerfully for what could be a resolution to monumental crisis in Darfur.


Blogger Scout said...

it's all getting so convoluted....groups mistrusting jews and americans, americans and jews mistrusting groups. the political hangovers of iraq and lebanon/isreal don't seem to be inviting any 'hair of the dog'.

it's difficult to know motiviation behind anything anymore.....war has become a private enterprise game with too many benefitting financially, and the reasons for any intervention does raise questions.....we have been betrayed as a natiion and continent. does this not warrant mistrust as a natural outcome?

hurling names back and forth to 'blame' isn't really taking the higher road, it only perpetuates the type of mentality that provokes's an easy trap and i can't say i never fall into it.

we're faced now with 'picking and choosing' where daddy warbucks places his dollars, a strange position to be in. one dare not answer the phone without screening calls in fear of yet another solicitation for yet another natural disaster or strife-torn country.

interesing that weintraub says the left helps, but points the fingers at the extremists. perhaps that answers you questions on 'where's the left on dafure'?

at any rate, i vowed to myself to do prayers for dafur today and am about to commence.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I think I agree with Scout, if I read him/her correctly. Everyone has an agenda. Some people on the left are averse to Darfur because of the support of the CJC. Conversely, the CJC... well, kudos to them for supporting Darfur intervention, but do they really have to use it as an opportunity to bash the left, which of course it loathes because the mainstream left opposes Israeli government misdeeds.

Everybody has an agenda. Meanwhile, the people of Darfur continue to suffer and die.

So, I have to say, the letter from CJC does not impress me at all.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:51 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

I deleted the last comment, not because it was anti-Semitic, but because it was exceedingly vicious and skirted close to a libel against the Canadian Jewish Congress.

There'll be no more of that here. Nothing even close.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Memphis Belle said...

Hi Terry -- I'm not sure what to make of this one. Have you seen:

I'd be interested to know what you think. Thanks for your work.

1:11 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

Hi Memphis Belle:

Indeed I did see it. A thorough survey, you might say, but I'm not sure how helpful all this is, when the more important matter of giving force and effect to the UN resolution is at hand.

There's a lot of connect-a-dot stuff in the piece, which will please the conspiracists and anti-Semites. I suppose one might enumerate each and every Jew who is queazy about a UN intervention, just to disprove the point, but after a while it all gets so silly. . .

My guess is that open-minded and intelligent readers of the essay will come away more or less with Jen Marlowe's point, at the end, even though her equation of Israeli and Sudanese "human rights abuses" is completely over the top.

My take on the fact that some Zionists may somehow see strategic advantage as well as moral obligation on the question of Darfur is: So what? The Americans didn't join the fight against the Nazis until Pearl Harbour was bombed. By then, Canada and the Commonwealth allies had already been in the thick of the fighting for two years. If the Yanks saw both strategic necessity and moral obligation in joining the fight, so what? Where would we have been without them?

If indeed "Zionists" are inordinately represented in the cause for Darfur, then good for them, I say. They would deserve our gratitude, not our resentment.

7:20 PM  

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