In 2016, I was sitting in my masters class eagerly awaiting a guest speaker that had come in to discuss Canada’s approach to foreign policy. Around that time, Canadians had swung their long-standing Conservative Harper votes to the Liberal Trudeau government.
As I sat among my peers of fellow future policy advisors in what is considered Canada’s leading academic institution, the guest speaker enthusiastically opened with the following line:
“Well now that the Harper days are finally over, there will be no more raising our hands and singing “I love Israel!” Boom. Didn’t open with discussions about Canada’s tricky relations with China or Saudi Arabia, nope. Israel. He must have been waiting the entire Harper decade to unleash that sentiment.
No one batted an eye about his anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, comment. No one but me. You know how in the movies there are these really dramatic scenes of people standing up for themselves? Well my version consisted of me leaving all my stuff and marching out in the middle of his talk which sadly looked more like I was just going to the bathroom. But I walked out, I was angry. I once read that you regret the moments you stayed silent a lot more than the things you said.
So here’s what I never said to that man. And here’s to all the emerging antisemites feeling brave in the West.
People like you have long hated us, and here we are.
But not just people. Entire civilizations have tried to erase us, and here we are.
And not just ancient civilizations, modern leaders. Smart and educated people have tried to obliterate us, and here we are.
And when all of that was happening, nations turned us away, and here we are.
The world failed us, and here we are.
Today countries despise us, and here we are.
The media censors us, and here we are.
But wait. We’re not just here. Not just existing.
We are outnumbered but far from overpowered.
We are educated. Brilliant.
We are successful. Philanthropic.
Small. But mighty.
Oh sorry, is this all too much? Are these all the very things you hate about us?
Would you like us to simmer down? Be more humble? Take off our kippas? Practice quietly? Be less successful, less brilliant, less educated? Throw away our iron dome, take off our uniforms? Put our hands down and stop singing “I love Israel?”
Maybe once upon a time one of you antisemites could have temporarily made us. Even tried to destroy us. And yet, here we are.
Here to stay.
I hope you’re okay with it, because even if you’re not, you never beat us. Nope, not once. Not ever.