If soldiers of some country — say Russia, Canada, or USA — are suspected of killing a journalist covering a story, reasonable people around the world rightly express outrage at the country responsible, even if it is their own.
It appears, however, that some prominent Canadian defenders of Israel are not reasonable.
Many ‘Israel no matter whatters’ say those appalled by the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh engaged in a “blood libel”. Honest Reporting Canada’s Mike Fegelman, former Green party adviser Noah Zatzman and United Jewish Appeal Toronto chair Linda Frum are among many Zionist campaigners that have equated outrage over Abu Akleh’s killing to medieval claims Jews murdered Christian boys to use their blood in religious rituals.
In the National Post Fegelman wrote, “For a regime [Palestinian Authority] which has refused to conduct an open and transparent investigation with Israel, such accusations are more than absurd; they amount to little more than a blood libel against Israel which may lead to further violence.”
On Twitter, Frum, a former senator, retweeted Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Canadian CEO Mark Dubowitz claiming, “it’s increasingly clear that the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh was an accident whether a Palestinian gunman or an IDF soldier was responsible. Of course, if it’s the former, Israel’s detractors will move right along. If it’s the latter, there will be an ongoing blood libel.”
For his part, Zatzman retweeted the Zioness Movement’s attack on Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib stating, “Accusing Jews of murder without any evidence and with intent to paint Jews as uniquely evil is called blood libel.”
But all available evidence suggests Israeli forces killed Abu Akleh. Further, since 2000 Israeli forces have killed about 50 journalists and last year they blew up the tower in Gaza housing Al Jazeera’s office. Even if (by some Zionist magic) it was determined a Palestinian fired the bullet that killed Abu Akleh Israel would still bear primary responsibility. She was covering a raid by a brutal occupation force.
The claim that those outraged at Abu Akleh’s murder and the attack on her funeral are engaged in a “blood libel” highlights Israel supporters’ twisted grip on reality. Few people anywhere in the world think it’s okay for an occupation force to execute a journalist.
The “blood libel” claim also highlights the increasingly overt conflation of Palestinian solidarity with antisemitism. In B’nai B’rith’s recently released 2021 Audit of AntiSemitic Incidents in Canada they devote significant attention to the protests last May against an upsurge in Israeli violence. The report includes a picture of a protester with a placard saying, “Canada and Israel: Allies in Apartheid. Allies in Colonialism” and a photo of someone close to the Jewish Defense League (JDL) who was bloodied after brandishing a knife during a fight he helped instigate at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Toronto.
The “blood libel” smears are a reminder that a sizable percentage of Canadian Jews will defend Israel almost no matter what that country does. When Israel killed 2,200 in Gaza in 2014 it was appalling to witness the large-scale pro-war protests in Toronto. During that assault I wrote, “While the JDL would likely back the complete incineration of Gaza, one wonders just how far the more mainstream groups are willing to go in cheering on Israel’s current onslaught, its third large-scale assault on Gaza in five years. Will the Jewish establishment withdraw support if 2,000 Palestinian are killed? Or is the breakpoint 5,000? Or maybe B’nai B’rith and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs would back the Israeli military all the way to 50,000 dead?”
If Israel dropped a nuclear bomb on Gaza tomorrow Honest Reporting Canada and B’nai B’rith would probably find some way to blame Palestinians.
Claiming those outraged by Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder are engaged in a “blood libel” is outrageous. It suggests mass psychosis. Sadly, it seems extreme nationalism has that effect on too many people.