I've never been one to scream fire, even when there's a lot of smoke, until I actually see the flames. Even now I have a reluctance to write what I'm about to write because I'm still not one hundred percent convinced of how accurate my sight is. But sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct and accept that what you're seeing is the truth, no matter how much you'd like to deny it.
Over the past few years I've been steadily trying to ignore something that seems to have started appearing on both sides of the political spectrum, a rise in anti-Semitism. Since that infamous day in September 2001 when the planes were crashed into the World Trade Centre undercurrents and whispers have started to pop up all over the place.
From the blatantly ridiculous; Jews knew in advance not to come to work that day so none were killed in the attacks, and that Israeli citizens were evacuated from the Jordanian hotel the day before it was bombed; to the overtly offensive of Wal-Mart selling copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; anti Jewish propaganda has been on the rise.
Anti Semitism has been part of my life in some polite form or another since I was a child. When I was kid we lived in a very WASP part of North Toronto and most of the kids I went to school with were far more affluent than my family. Inevitably each year one of my classmate's would have their birthday party at the Granite Club; a type of a country club in midtown Toronto.
Of course it was exclusive, which really means exclusion, restricted to people who were of Anglo Saxon protestant background. I remember being shocked when I found out about this and wondered aloud to one of my friends about it. His response was, well they wouldn't be comfortable here anyway. Well duh, of course there not going to be comfortable with that sort of attitude.
Of course none of these people would have considered themselves racist or anything like that, that wasn't polite. But if you asked them why they didn't let Jews into their clubs or why they didn't have any for friends it was because they were different: "They're just not like us" They'd tell me things like this, not realising how it must make me feel, because I was different.
Of course as I grew older I began to realise that this was pretty mild compared to what was out there in the way of anti-Semitic activities. The seventies in Toronto saw the rise of several Neo Nazi groups who advocated the usual white power/Jewish conspiracy type of crap. They were also my first exposure to Holocaust denial. I couldn't believe anybody could take that stuff seriously.