Monday, March 22, 2004

Anti-Semitism and Assassinations

As I listened to the newscasts today on CBC radio, I couldn't help but wonder at the irony. This weekend there were anti-semitic attacks on a synagogue and toppling of headstones in a Jewish cemetery near Toronto. Today, all three levels of government denounced the attacks and called on the citizenry to fight anti-semitism. All of which makes sense to me. But then there was the assassination of the Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Israeli leadership considered the attack justified as anti-terrorism. The United States government refused to condemn the attack.

Ironic that the two stories broke at the same time. What is bothering me, though, is that it seems that it's becoming increasingly difficult to determine right from wrong in these related stories. Certainly intolerance and hatred are unjustified no matter where we find them. But doesn't it seem a little odd that we can rally all levels of government so quickly when it comes to anti-semitism, but we have a much more difficult time when it comes to defending the Palestinians against Israeli aggression? Sure, the Hamas leader was a terrorist. And maybe Israel is justified in killing him as fit punishment for his crimes against humanity. But shouldn't we as Canadians be more equitable in our reactions to crimes of hatred and intolerance and injustice everywhere? Are we being equitable today, for instance?