Many of us don't understand that there can, outside the Arab world, be left-wing anti-semites. Maybe even in Canada, certainly in Russia.
This is a good week to notice them, since one of the worst just got elected to the Russian Duma.
In the last election in 1999 General Albert Makashov, a Russian Communist party central committee member, was spun off into its moderate front The "Movement in Support of the Army"(DPA), which promptly became radical nationalist. The DPA was led by two Communist Party parliamentarians: General Albert Makashov, who has publicly called for the murder of Jews, and Viktor Ilyukhin, who has accused Jews in the government of committing "genocide" against the Russian people. The DPA ran on an explicitly antisemitic platform, as is shown by the contents of one of its campaign pamphlets which stated, "Yid is not a nationality— Yid is a profession. Those who read Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Gogol and Shevchenko know of no other word to designate a destroyer, a bloodsucker who fattens himself on the misfortunes of other people."
Luckily Makashov was disqualified for a very Canadian offence: violating election spending regulations by making payments in cash for advertising services.
Last week he was elected in the Promyshlenny seat in Samara region with 80,402 votes, defeating the incumbent right-wing member Vera Lekareva who got 44,936 votes. Viktor Ilyukhin, now Movement in Support of the Army leader, is back too as a Communist deputy.
I see a renewed debate over the piece in the Globe and Mail Dec. 6, 2002 by Phil Berger, Jeff Rose and Clayton Ruby stating that "an increasingly vocal part of the Canadian left has, over the issue of Israel and Palestine, made our position untenable. We are being asked to choose between our support for Israel and our credentials as leftists. . . . the singularity of focus on Israel, which is increasingly common within the Canadian left (for example, equating Israel with apartheid South Africa), raises our fears that anti-Semitism has emerged as a powerful force in the polemic. . . . A balanced analysis of the Middle East should be based on universally accepted, measurable standards of conduct. Israel should be held accountable, but no more accountable than other nations, including Palestine. Such balance has not always been apparent. . . . While criticism of Israeli policies obviously does not, in itself, constitute anti-Semitism, we reject any allegation that our historical and moral responsibility to speak out against the demonization of Israel represents an attempt to censor critics of Israel. It is the refusal to consider the anti-Semitism present in the Middle East debate that represents the most dangerous form of political prohibition. Not just Jewish leftists, but all leftists, have a right and obligation to denounce anti-Semitism wherever and whenever they see it. That includes the debate about Israel and Palestine. We reject as anti-Semitic the shameful double standard applied to the only Jewish state."
Note that they don't accuse any Canadian leftists of being anti-semitic, but fear that anti-Semitism has emerged as a powerful force in the debate around the world, not excluding Canada.
Fair enough. And I don't think Canada has its own General Makashov yet. But Berger, Rose and Ruby say that "when anti-semitism is not identified and rejected, it becomes respectable." True. So wouldn't it be helpful if someone could identify a left-wing anti-semite in Canada?