Criminalizing Holocaust Denial Won’t Help Combat Canadian Anti-Semitism

While Terry Glavin does not count himself an adherent of the “libertarian” position that outlawing the expression of loathsome ideas is in all cases a mistake, he nonetheless opposes a recent measure before the Canadian parliament that would make it a crime to deny the Holocaust. Glavin argues that the new legislation would be redundant, given Canada’s existing hate-speech laws. But he also points to a larger problem:

The thing about anti-Semitism is that it is not only the oldest of bigotries. It’s that it’s a conspiracy theory: the Jews are sinister capitalists, but they’re Communist plotters; they’re non-conforming rabble, but they move among the Gentiles unnoticed; they have no rightful place in the Holy Land, but they have no rightful place in Europe or the Arab countries they fled to escape the pogroms and massacres of the 1930s, either.

Anti-Semitism tends to attribute a dark and occult sort of power to the Jews, and it manifests not only in what the author Ben Cohen calls “Bierkeller” anti-Semitism—the persistent 20th-century anti-Semitism of the lout and the yob—but in the “bistro” anti-Semitism of the 21st century, which is routinely incubated in the discourse of “anti-Zionism.” Anti-Semitism is sufficiently informed by its older iterations that we can be fairly sure that it will take the Trudeau government’s commitment to criminalize Holocaust denial as evidence of the hidden power of the Jews.

The point here is that anti-Semitism may be ineradicable. It’s difficult to situate it as a sociopathic feature of so many cultures without trespassing from the language of the secular. It’s hard to describe the Holocaust in any lexicon that does not contain words like “evil.”

This isn’t a case against criminalization. It’s just a recognition that if it’s the suppression of anti-Semitism we’re going for here, criminalization isn’t going to work.

Read more at National Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Canada, Holocaust denial


An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy