Sorry not sorry


Matt Render | Contributor

Featured image courtesy of Jordan Chu, Photo/Video Editor

I hear a lot of apologizing today. A lot of people are made to feel ashamed of themselves and their identities. A lot of people who are being silenced based not on what they say, but who they are. I’ve seen people who accept the role assigned to them as some sort of enemy based on what they look like or what they believe in. People who apologize for their own existence. I’m not one of those people. I do not apologize for being white. I do not apologize for having red hair, either. And I surely won’t apologize for being Jewish. I’d like to emphasize that last point. I will neither apologize for being Jewish, nor will I remain silent while the cloud of anti-Semitism looms darker by the day.

Instead of listing off the daily news events in the Jewish world, from the ongoing anti-Semitic attacks that have gone rampant in France, England, and throughout North America, I will single out two Canadian events. They speak to a larger issue that is at hand. These are not isolated incidents. They are indicative of the current political climate in Canada, and surely in other parts of the world as well. These are not the exception, but rather, the new normal.

Instead of generating intellectual discourse, university campuses have become a breeding ground for hatred and thought control. At McGill University, it has been outlawed by the school newspaper to publish any pro-Zionist content whatsoever. This has been passed and enforced under the guise that any pro-Zionist speech is “hate speech.”

Forget the fact that I’m writing this as a Jew. This is a university we’re talking about here. A university that has effectively silenced an entire group of people. I don’t care who you are or what you stand for, that is anti-democratic. How that could ever pass is beyond my imagination, but I will venture to explain it this way: hating Israel (and Jews by default) is not just trendy, it is now politically correct.

If you are confused as to why Jews were included in that equation, you shouldn’t be. It’s simple math, really. If people hate Israel, believing it to be an evil, apartheid state, without the right to exist, and Israel is the homeland for Jewish people, is it a big intellectual leap to say those same people who hate Israel probably hate the Jews? That, coupled with the statistically most violent last couple of years in the history North American Jewry and the rise of anti-Zionist activist groups may help to elucidate the point a little clearer. If Israel is the enemy, then so are the Jews.

Let’s be clear: the point isn’t to say anyone can’t disagree with Israel (or Judaism for that matter). Go right ahead and disagree. But, don’t forcefully break up a lecture being given by a veteran of the Israeli army while hurling anti-Semitic slogans and death threats under the guise of “social justice.” Here, I am referring to the incident on York’s campus where a pro-Israel group had their event shut down by a protest from Students Against Israeli Apartheid which quickly resulted in violence, anti-Semitic slogans, and death threats.

If this is what’s going on in our universities today, and if students are being bullied, belittled and denied their own voice, then the future is looking pretty bleak. Censorship and physical violence have no place in any democratic institution.

This has nothing to do with me being Jewish. This has nothing to do with me being pro-Israel. This is about hatred. No group deserves to be bullied into silence. No group deserves violence against them.

I don’t care what group you belong to or what you think you stand for. I stand for what’s right. I stand for the truth. If that makes me the enemy, then so be it. I will not apologize for that.

About the Author


By Author

Former Editor


Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
b h

This is such a bad take, are you forgetting that it’s a settler colonial state and people have literally been displaced and had their homes destroyed and bulldozed in droves? I’m not sure what anti semitic slogans were actually said when the only alleged one was debunked and heard by no one there, but to answer your point the PREMIER of ontario and PRIME MINISTER of canada publically shamed the grassroots student protest because of one alleged comment that wasn’t actually said. So you have to ask yourself at some point, who has the real institutionalized power here, and who is actually being shamed for their opinions when any human rights activist in this country is smeared as being anti-semitic (google Canary Mission if you don’t believe me) and deplatformed/fired. What did actually happen was an FBI-recognized terrorist group, the JDL full of grown men, came and urinated on a Palestinian flag (Captured on video, see the yfs link) and assaulted student protestors. And sorry, yes it is strange to have members of a foreign military on our campus speaking because they are being paid heavily to do so by herut, a right wing, fascist political party. There is nothing wrong with criticizing israel’s policies when they have blatantly committed many human rights violations and many students have personal histories of their families being affected by these facts.

m j

i agree with bh. this is a very strange take on the situation. i absolutely understand the hurt & hatred one must feel when they’re standing up for something that others don’t believe in, but you have to recognize that this was not an antisemitic event. the rally was against having former soldiers who have killed innocent families in our place of education. as a palestinian supporter, i had a grown woman flip me off from behind a police officer & gesture as though she was spitting at me. all i had done was make eye contact w her. the “antisemitic chants” were debunked as a rumour a JDL member had started. as a rally attendee, i promise you there were no antisemitic chants. find me a video where that was chanted & i’ll side w you in a heartbeat.