Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni tried to make a big stir this week by announcing that global anti-Semitism was on the rise. While I’m not trying to minimize the issue or its significance, it is a long-running theme of the State of Israel to point out to Diaspora Jews how dangerous and hostile the world is for Jews outside Israel–with the intent of inducing them to make aliya. The strategy has had mixed results. A recent article in the Economist pointed out that only 120,000 American Jews had made aliya since the creation of the State in 1948. The low number shocked me I must say.
Livni made her announcement under the rubric of the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism (I can’t seem to find a website). But along the way, it appears that the hasbara machine has stumbled once again. According to Haaretz, in the documents distributed to the press, the Forum noted that:
Montreal Mayor Stefane Gendron said in August that “Israelis are modern-day Nazis.”
To add insult to injury, the Forum spokesperson at the press conference publicly affiliated Gendron with Montreal, which by the way has a very large Jewish population.
The problem is that while Stefane Gendron may’ve made this statement, he is NOT the mayor of Montreal (that honor belongs to Gérald Tremblay) but rather of the small town of Huntingdon, Quebec. Oops. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping our anti-Semites straight.
Haaretz had a bit of egg on its face as it apologized today for its error. Will the Global Forum apologize to the real mayor of Montreal?
I just read that Huntingdon, Quebec has a population of about 2,600 people! They should give these reports a bit of a look over before publishing.
(Note to self, if ever in the outback of Quebec, don’t stop in Huntingdon – refer to Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Please note that Stéphane Gendron, mayor of Huntington, is also very known in the province of Quebec (from which I am and live) as a ”Flavor of the week” since he instated a law that setted a limit hour for kids to hang in the streets in Huntindgton. That had never been seen in Quebec. Also,he made his reputation of being a ”big talker”, always involved in television debates ever since his law made the tv news. Moreover, he is the host of a debate morning show in which he plays the role of the opponent, meaning he often has to play the ”big bad wolf” role. In short, his statements are often regrettable, but always meaningless.