, 12.11.2023 06:38 PM

My latest: sometimes you can see hate next door

What do you do when hate shows up in your neighbourhood?

In some cases, knowing how to react is pretty straightforward. When Heather Reisman’s bookstore in Toronto is attacked and vandalized because its owner is a Jew? You call the police. So, too, when Yeshiva Gedoloa, a Jewish school in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood, is shot up – not once, but twice? You call the police.

When a member Ontario’s legislature – and a city councillor in Victoria, and a rape crisis centre at the University of Alberta – deny the acts of sexual violence that indisputably happened on October 7? When unions and universities applaud acts of genocide and hate? You petition those places and institutions to take remedial action.

But hate, and anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, can express themselves in subtler, less-obvious ways, can’t they? Hate does not always end up on the front pages of newspapers, especially in dangerous and dark times like these.

And that’s been happening a lot, in Canada, since, October 7. Hate has been like a snake, slipping into unexpected places, manifesting itself in surprising ways. Unseen, until it is often too late.

So, all of us have had friends and family saying truly awful things since Israel commenced its (necessary, unavoidable) war against the monsters who constitute Hamas.

For myself, I have had a friend of thirty-plus years say that a column I wrote – one in which I quoted someone calling for peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike, and in which I said Hamas were inhuman – was “dehumanizing.” Another one, a prominent former Conservative candidate, opined that Jewish community centres were legitimate targets of hate graffiti. What does one do with that?

And, from my Jewish readers, I have heard how people they considered close friends have favourited anti-Semitic memes online, or even said aloud anti-Semitic things. I have heard such stories too many times to count.

And, then, there are the many, many who remain silent in the face of horrors. Like Canada’s hapless Global Affairs Minister, for instance, who took 62 days to condemn the rape and sexual violence endured by Jewish women on and after October 7. Sixty-two days.

So what does one do when hate shows up in your backyard? What then? What does one about those you know, and who should know better?

Take Prince Edward County’s Royal Hotel, for example. Because I live most of the time in the County, as it is called, I have been there a few times. It’s an old hotel in Picton, Ont. that has been painstakingly restored by Greg Sorbara – the former Ontario Finance Minister, the current York University chancellor – and others. They did a good job.

This week, another local business, Bloomfield Beauty Co. – a spa that offers facials and “cosmetic injectable services” – announced that it was joining the “global strike in support of Palestine.” They were doing so, they said in a post on Instagram, because of “the most horrific crimes against humanity.” And that “it is weighing on us.”

People have been urged to stay home and not go to work or school during the global strike. The strike was called by Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, which came into being during the second Intifada (uprising), and was the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Marwan Barghouti, a convicted murderer and terrorist.

I heard from people who live in Prince Edward County – Jew and non-Jew – who were appalled that a business they had patronized was accusing the Jewish state of “crimes against humanity” and “genocide.” Quote unquote.

Someone at the Royal Hotel saw their Instagram post, too – and indicated support. “The Royal Hotel Picton” – it applauded the words about genocide and crimes against humanity. “Wow” was all I could muster.

So, I wrote to Bloomfield Beauty Co. and asked them “what is your response to Jewish residents who have been upset by your post?” I also asked them if they had also “commented on the need to release the hostages, and condemn the acts of violence against women on October 7?”

They didn’t respond. I asked the Royal Hotel the same thing: would “the hotel (or the Sorbara family) also condemn the documented acts of violence on October 7 against Israeli men, women and children?”

Late in the day, an executive at the hotel replied: “[We are] shocked to find out that such a post was “liked” by our account. This in no way reflects the values or opinions of the hotel, me or my family. We have removed the “like” and are dealing with this internally.”

Hate is always bad. When it is accompanied by violence, of course, it is even worse. We in the media write and broadcast about it.

But paler shades of hate – racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny, take your pick – don’t always attract attention of the media.

But when subtler hate slithers into your backyard, or when it comes out the mouths of those you know? That’s almost as bad.

Sometimes, it’s way worse.


  1. Warren,

    All civilians need to be treated equally and the deaths of any of them need to be condemned. That’s a no-brainer. When someone only cherry-picks their “preferred” civilians, you begin to go down the slippery slope that inevitably leads to perdition. Civilian deaths should never be political. Apparently, they necessarily are for so, so, many. Hypocritical.

  2. Warren,

    Canada caved and voted for the UN GA humanitarian ceasefire resolution. No surprise there.

  3. Robert White says:

    I’m an Experimental Psychology guy and I find it difficult to even watch the nightly news when it comes
    to war and its atrocities. I follow you because you’re
    an expert in modern forms of hate which I’m no expert

    I agree that one must confront hate wherever it manifests, too. Bottom line is that I’m no tough guy
    when it comes to war or hatemongers. And I’m often silent because of the emotional reaction I experience
    to war and hate. I’m still on Bibi’s side when it comes to Hamas and their ilk. Root them out and destroy their infrastructure completely. I’m fine with all that, Warren. It’s all just pretty ugly stuff though I must admit.

  4. Warren,

    And then there’s this, another fine example of that unique genre known as the THETRUDEAULIBERALWAYTM…

    From The National Post:

    “Whistleblower accuses Liberals of ‘egregious cover-up’ over controversy at green tech fund”

    “During his time at SDTC, the whistleblower conducted financial due diligence and compliance of projects. He said he is the only one who could openly speak about the problems at the agency, since he had not signed a non-disclosure agreement, unlike many of his former colleagues.

    He alleged that $150 million of taxpayer money was granted improperly, including to companies directly connected to SDTC’s own board members.”

    There goes Frankie’s bubbles. La, la, la, la!

    • Peter Williams says:

      And a failed vaccine factory got $323 million from Team Trudeau. No vaccines were delivered.


      Details? Sorry we have a confidentiality agreement and can’t reveal any details said Medicago CEO Toshifumi Tada.

      Who would have guessed that the ‘open and transparent’ government of Team Trudeau practice Omertà? Never thought Jagmeet Singh and the NDP would tolerate this.

  5. Jan says:

    Off topic Ronald.

    • Jan,

      True. We all have editors or should have. Warren has one over at the paper. My editor on this website approves me most of the time but sometimes not. It’s always his call to make.

  6. Curious V says:

    Easy way to end the violence, and save countless lives is for Hamas to put down their arms, surrender, and release the hostages.

    • Curious,

      Putting down their arms is incompatible with the nature of Jihad so there goes that one. All governments already know this.

      • Curious V says:

        I understand that, so the alternative is to wipe out Hamas and broker a two-state deal in the aftermath. If that’s possible. Propaganda from this war will lead to another round of recruiting young men to extremist views – so when does it end? What options are there other than to wipe out Hamas and hope a two-state solution is possible in the aftermath.

  7. Gilbert says:

    Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hamas are both opposed to a two-state solution. Remove both and a two-state solution becomes possible.

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