The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney at the Lord Reading Society Dinner in Montreal on March 13.
By Brian Mulroney
A challenge to visionary leadership in Canada and elsewhere is anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is born in ignorance and nurtured in envy. It is the stepchild of delusion and evil.
The ongoing success of Canada’s Jewish community is consequently often misunderstood, misrepresented and misreported. The rise in the number of attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in Canada testifies to the intractability of the problem and the constant need for vigilance, consistency and strength in dealing with the entire sweep of anti-Semitism.
In Dante’s Inferno it is noted that “the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis, strive to maintain their neutrality.” In fact, ambivalence on an issue of such importance is for the cowardly, which is why each of us must stand up and be counted, and why our elected leaders cannot duck or dodge.
Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise everywhere including in this country, where B’nai B’rith reported a 26-per-cent increase in events — such as harassment, vandalism and violence — to 1,752, a record high; to the U.K., where the clueless leader of the Official Opposition directs a motley and pathetic crew that includes open anti-Semites and proud opponents of Israel; to the Continent, where Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The Atlantic that in a recent year 51 per cent of all racist attacks in France targeted Jews although Jews account for only one per cent of France’s population; to the U.S. Congress, where a Democratic representative aroused enormous concerns when she publicly decried “dual loyalties” involving American Jews and Israel.
Vandalized tombs defaced with swastikas are seen in the Jewish cemetery of Quatzenheim, in eastern France, on Feb.19, 2019.
So new steps must be taken. Among them, the federal government should consider the appointment of a blue-ribbon panel composed of Canada’s most distinguished citizens.
They could examine the growth of Holocaust denial, introduce action in co-operation with the provinces and territories of obligatory education about the Holocaust and the courageous history of Jewish survival, and urge the consideration and implementation of a national action plan to combat anti-Semitism, as Norway and France have done.
Only if Canada reaches out to our youth to obliterate anti-Semitism … will real progress be made in a manner that will honour our citizenship in this …read more