From the Desk of Avi Benlolo: A National Identity of Hate Spreads to Canada

February 1, 2019

Editorial

Imagine a country where a sole unifying identity is hatred against another people. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Rulers have rallied the masses throughout history to reinforce and solidify their power and create a national identity by building hatred against a foreign enemy – a tribe or a state. Adolf Hitler unified a divided Germany by blaming its troubles on its Jewish citizens, resulting in the greatest genocide of all time.

Today, we see the same scenario being played out in Iran – its national identity is now simply the hatred of the Jewish state. Today, it was reported that crowds in Tehran chanted “death to Israel” and “death to America” while celebrating the 40th anniversary of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. It’s a sad day for the Iranian people – who mostly seek freedom and belonging to the international community.  

But hating the west and Israel appears to be the only way the nation’s so-called “Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani” can keep hold of and justify their brutal authoritarian rule that continues to punish its own population.

Unfortunately, this outlook has spread to Canada. An annual antisemitic event called Al Quds Day is held each summer in Toronto and other major cities across the country. The event is run by agents of Iran who are here to sow hate and intolerance and rally radicalism against the west. Those same agents publish an Islamic online magazine in Ontario called “Magazine of the Islamic Movement – Crescent International.”  

Clearly antisemitic in nature, the “About Us” section of the online magazine states: “At CI, we do not compromise with imperialism and those who want to subjugate Islam to imperialist and secular norms. We are open to every reasonable disagreement and perspective, but we will never peddle the Zionist and imperialist narrative, even if it comes from sincere, but misinformed people.”

Most Canadians abhor such sentiments. Many Canadian-Iranians have protested the Iranian regime right here in Ottawa and in Toronto. They detest the hatred and destructive behaviour exported by the Iranian regime – and they are seeking a new revolution of freedom and democracy for their people. At the end of the day, history foretells that haters reap what they sow. In other words, the hatred and intolerance they promote ultimately catches up to them.

Its up to each one of us to continuously shine light on the Iranian regime. In response to Iran’s effort to circumvent American economic sanctions by creating a barter system with the European Union, I was pleased to see former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweet yesterday: “The EU rushes to create this barter system with Iran. Will they act as urgently on Iran’s behavior of supporting terrorism, arms sales to terrorist orgs, and ballistic missiles? Worse, the EU is supporting a govt that harms the Iranian people who desperately want a better life.”

Its people do deserve a better life. But the regime must first shelve its hateful rhetoric and violent ambition.

Shabbat Shalom,

~Avi

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