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.