It is rare that one would think that Anti-Semitism would be so blatant and so upfront after years of oppression and sorrow even to this day. This is especially true in a city which prides itself not only on its multi-cultural ethnography but also ability to sustain relatively peaceful communities between different people of different backgrounds.So, is this the Vancouver you know?
There seems to be a inexplicable( actually quite obvious) disapproval of Israel and it’s immobile right to exist as a nation in Vancouver at this moment. Trans-link no only has approved the publishing of the Disappearing Palestine Ads, but has actually put forward the statement that they can do nothing about it. That may be the case legally, but does that justify it morally?
Absolutely not. I highly doubt that pro-Israel ads would have ever gone past the narrow minded individuals who run Translink to be eve put on buses or Canada Line Stations. The question thus remains, why is this in any way acceptable? Are they aiming for “political correctness” as they are so valiantly citing?The new Trans-Link anti-Israel campaigns has done if not more, to prove three things to the Vancouver Jewish Community but also to the rest of the world.
The first among these is that people are still not aware of the fact that Israel not only has the right to exist but will always continually hold this right. Palestine never existed prior to the British mandate as a national entity. Facts can easily be distorted to fit propaganda campaigns.
Second, it is becoming obvious that Trans-Link cannot distinguish from right and wrong. I highly doubt that they are inciting not only hateful connotations but even violence. I am sure that man Jews in Vancouver feel extremely uncomfortable to ride public transport with these ads facing them.Lastly, Antisemitism, Anti-Judaism and finally anti-Israeli ideas are still a big part of the world around us. It is highly inappropriate for such ludicrous ads to be posted in a city which pretends to pride itself on multiculturalism.
Many people, especially in Vancouver are ignorant of the fact that such ads are not only hurtful to many people but actually might offend many Jews, and even Israeli non-Jews. Can you imagine? A Jew or any other Israeli born individual visiting Vancouver for tourist purposes only to see a publication that is against his country? Specially when Canada and Israel are economic and moral allies? What kind of perception would that individual get of this city, let alone of this country? I have one idea. He or she would first question why is this allowed, and more importantly she would ask what is the Jewish Community of Vancouver doing to stop this hate propaganda?
What must be done?
There is really one thing that can be done, and that is for the whole Jewish Community to take action in trying to remove these offensive ads from these public spaces. Either by writing complaints to Trans-Link and even as far as legal action, activism and so on.If none of these are effective, the Jewish Community should put money together and finance an counter campaign that brings to light the gruesome terrorism that Palestine and Palestinians have inflicted on Israelis.
The overall point is that such politically-driven ads are extremely inappropriate no matter which way they go. Remember the whole controversy in San Francisco, a year ago? It caused uproars, because essentially it was not appropriate and offensive. So what is to be done? Trans-Link should just stick to their callow publicity for mobile phone plans and casinos, rather than serious international politics.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
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