Last year in Toronto, the head honcho of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie Farber, got into the spirit of things and marched in the Gay Pride Parade wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “NOBODY KNOWS I’M GAY.” Also entering into the spirit, the Toronto Star’s Antonia Zerbisias wrote tongue-in-cheek of Bernie’s little jest: “I didn’t know he was gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Whereupon, after consulting with fellow CJC execs, the apparently non-gay Mr. Farber sent a formal letter of complaint objecting to the Toronto Star falsely identifying him as gay, notwithstanding that he himself had been the first to falsely identify himself as gay. Needless to say, the Star’s publisher pompously reprimanded Miss Zerbisias for an item that “fell short of the Star’s standards of accuracy.”
My default position in any dispute between Canada’s most zealous supporter of speech censorship laws and the Star’s leftie feminist is that of Henry Kissinger on the Iran-Iraq War: “Can’t they both lose?” But, in the great Queer Tee for the Straight Jew showdown, I was inclined to side with Miss Zerbisias. It’s hardly her job to calibrate the precise degree of Mr. Farber’s peculiar combination of opportunism and insecurity.
Still, I was surprised to open up last week’s Maclean’s and find that I too had been Farbered, and, alas, with as little support from management as Zerb. So I rise, as the parliamentarians say, on a point of personal privilege. But don’t worry, I’ll connect it up to the big geopolitical picture before we’re outta here.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the reaction to Ann Coulter’s “cancelled” speech from various Canadian institutions, among them the Canadian Jewish Congress. Here’s the relevant passage:
The CJC declared:
“Remember that old childhood adage, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’?
“Well, it wasn’t true then and it’s not true now. Name-calling does hurt . . . Attacks against an individual’s—or a group’s—sexuality, ethnicity, religion or culture can cut to the quick, demoralizing victims and inflicting wounds that can last a lifetime . . .
“Students at the University of Ottawa this week made their intolerance for intolerant attitudes quite clear when they demonstrated against scheduled speaker Ann Coulter, an American right-winger with an apparent axe to grind against just about anyone who’s not a middle-class white American.”
Actually, that’s not true. She’s a great defender of the state of Israel, for example. Whereas the students the CJC praised for shutting her down are the same crowd who organized “Israeli Apartheid Week.” Given a choice between a steadfast friend of Israel and the new and ubiquitous campus Judenhass, the CJC characteristically chose the latter. For years, Bernie Farber’s CJC has never met a state censor it didn’t like. Now, it’s extolling the virtues of mob rule. By the “Israeli Apartheid” gang. Granted that the only plausible explanation for the CJC is that it’s an Islamist front organization, you surely don’t want to make it too obvious.