The Urgency

  • 5 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • August 7, 2022

Montreal, my sweet hometown, is known amusingly as one of the “bagel towns” of North America. A term shared with cities such as New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, and Toronto; defined by a Vibrant Jewish community where they actually make half-decent bagels (or, in the case of Montreal, the best bagels). Living in one of those bagel towns, you see the strong contribution the community has offered the city, and you notice specific suburban regions where the Jews tend to congregate.

Similar to other ethnic areas such as Chinatown and Little Italy, these regions are often referred to ironically, as the Jewish Ghettos. In Montreal, the Jewish Ghetto is located a little west of the city. It consists of 2 suburban towns called Côte-Saint-Luc and Hampstead.

Interestingly enough, These 2 towns are ranked 4th and 7th with the most Jews per capita outside Israel. These Ghetto towns often came to be because of the proximity to Synagogues and Jewish centers. Also, whether we admit it or not, it is also somewhat of an escape. If we experience any kind of discrimination or at least, feel like an outsider, living in these suburbs always meant we could go back to this safe zone, our little mini-Israel.

The increased Anti Semitism, protests, and negative sentiments against the Jews all seem to fade away when you cross to the west of a highway called Decarie. In the past, these towns have always been part of how Jews maintained a level of Normalcy in a world that always seemed so confrontational against them. Yet, in modern times, it seems that towns like Côte-Saint-Luc and Hampstead truly have become safe havens, where Anti-Semites did not seem interested in visiting.

That all changed during the war between Hamas and Israel last May (2021), where a bunch of men drove through Côte-Saint-Luc shouting Anti-Semitic slogans while harassing and intimidating people. This was not just in Canada: In the UK, a fleet of cars made its way through the Jewish neighborhood St. John’s Wood, honking their Horns, chanting Anti-Semitic slogans, and intimidating the locals from vehicles with blackened windows. In the US, Between May 11th and the 31st, The ADL recorded 251 incidents (including assault, vandalism, and harassment). This was 115% more than the previous May.

Yet what captured my attention was not just the increase but attacks like what we had in L.A., where anti-Israel protesters walked towards a restaurant in an open public view and started to ask who was Jewish so they could attack them with no fear of consequences. Also, the New York incident where anti-Israel protesters felt so comfortable beating up halfway to death Joseph Borgen in public because he was wearing a Kippah.

What makes these crimes unique is that, unlike the usual violent crimes that happen in hiding or at least in dangerous neighborhoods, this one happened in the open public. The instigators not only seemed confident but acted like they had the right to do this as if they were protected.

This sense of confidence and entitlement in those criminals comes from the reality that more and more people who claim to be progressive support these guys. Maybe they do not support the violence, but they definitely feel that the anti-Israel protesters are Victims and have the right to defend themselves. If that means some Jews get the living hell beat out of them, C’est la vie.

You can see this reality in politics, where Jeremy Corbyn, an Anti-Semitic leader who would have been happy to implement any Anti-Zionist policy in his government, was nominated the leader of the Labour party in the UK last decade. And the party clearly has shown not to slow down their hate towards the Jewish state, where they approved a motion accusing Israel of ‘ongoing Nakba in Palestine’ in 2021

Berny Sanders, who holds many Anti-Zionist sentiments and is perfectly happy to have the famous Anti-Semite fake feminist Linda Sarsour as his surrogate, was very close to being president. Often, he beat both his democratic opponent, Hilary Clinton, and President Donald Trump in the opinion polls. Up-and-coming leaders such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are being groomed to become future presidents in a decade or 2 if nothing is going to change.

The reality is that the anti-Israel sentiment in Left-leaning parties is drastically increasing every day. This is not something that is slowing down.

It’s increasing because more and more of the top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and UFT of Canada, are hiring more Anti-semitic/anti- Zionist professors and tolerating Anti-Zionists/Anti-Semitics activities across Campus. While our students are not equipped to deal with it, and pro-Israel teachers are threatened with bad reviews and the inability to get their 10 years.

The more this continues without interruption, the more Anti-Zionist leaders across the world will be elected or nominated. This means anti-Zionism will be more normalized, and we will see more anti-Israel criminals treated as the victims. Any action of harassment, assault, and violence against Jews will be seen more and more as simply defending against “the oppressive neo-colonist, colonizer regime of Israel” and their supporters (the Jews in Côte-Saint-Luc, St. John’s Wood, and diners in an LA Kosher restaurant).

Whether mass expulsion, massacres, or full-fledged genocides, the Jews throughout the millennia have experienced disastrous events. There has never been one single century without any kind of evil mass crimes that completely turned the Jewish community’s lives upside down. One thing that most of those mass crimes shared is that they always had a warning. About a decade or 2 before these events, the writing was all over the wall. Unfortunately, too often, the Jews were busy trying to integrate into society and not unite against the evil of its time.

The writing is on the wall, my friends, and the world is normalizing hate towards Israel more and more. This will directly increase the Anti-Semitic sentiment and give an excuse for any haters to commit crimes against the community.

Worst of all, these criminals will do it with a sense of Narcissistic self-righteousness like they have the right to hurt us, no different than the Nazis during the Holocaust or the Eastern Europeans during the Progroms.

I’m making this the waking call to all Jews and allies. This is the time to unite and solidify our PR strategy, or our comfortable lives as Jews and Zionists in the Western world will cease to exist.

October 2023 update* I purposely left this article from a year ago as it is and did not update it to the new reality that after October 7th, where we experience even more attacks and discrimination against the Jewish community. I left it because our community often acts when it is too late, and this article shows that the time to wake up was not now but 2 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago. And when B’H’ the war in Gaza would die down, it does not mean that things would not even get worse for the Diaspora Jews in the next war, which hopefully would not happen. Getting our PR strategy right is not an option, it must be done.

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