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

April 25 2022

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.

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Read more at National Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Canada, Holocaust denial

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy