Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is Nothing a Sheeny Curse Wouldn't Fix

Antonia Zerbisias tips her anti-Semitic hand

This post should probably start off with an apology to any Jewish readers -- or just Jews in general -- if they're offended by the title. Please forgive.

Recently, Toronto Star columnist and blogger Antonia Zerbisias sparked another blogosphere controversy when she twittered the following:
"MP Irwin Cotler's children join IDF. Which country are you loyal to, sir?"
Irwin Cotler, as Kay notes, is known around the world for his work fighting anti-Semitism. He has also been instrumental in highlighting Canada's past failure to detect and deport Nazi war criminals.

As many Canadians would also know, Zerbisias has been far from quiet on the topic of Israel. Recent screeds against Israel include a column applauding a Toronto LGBT group protesting "Israeli Apartheid" (despite the fact that Israel has a far superior record in regard to its treatment of homosexuals than any other Middle Eastern country) and applause of the insipid boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival over its "city to city" program with Tel Aviv.

So it's clear that Zerbisias is a critic of Israel. There's actually nothing wrong with that -- there's plenty of room for constructive criticism of any state, especially Israel.

But to target Irwin Cotler and challenge his patriotism because his children -- who are dual Canadian-Israeli citizens, by virtue of Cotler's marriage to an Israeli woman -- is far, far beyond the pale.

To impugn Cotler's citizenship based on the actions of his children is nothing short of irresponsible.

It could even be interpreted as a form of neo-McCarthyism, as Dr John Baglow accuses Kay of in noting that Zerbisias' comments at least reinforce the impressions of Zerbisias' well-known anti-Zionism.

The problem for Zerbisias and her thinly-veiled threat to sue another blogger (who has actually taken quite a trip over the matter) is that her rhetoric seems to suggest that her anti-Zionism has bled into anti-Semitism.

As Kay notes, Zerbisias recently noted, on her Facebook page, that "it doesn't seem possible for Jewish people to have a RATIONAL discussion about Israel!"

So it would seem that Zerbisias insists that Israel is the problem. But more than that, she infers, the real problem is the Jews.

As the aforementioned Backseat Blogger notes, accusations of mixed loyalties have often been levied against Jews.

At a certain point, a spade just has to be called a spade. Zerbisias' criticisms of Israel themselves are far short of malignant. But when mixed with the kind of rhetoric she's indulged herself in, it becomes clear that there are darker motivations underlying her criticism.

Which brings one back to the Sheeny Curse.

Who knows? Perhaps Antonia Zerbisias would be surprissed to learn that the Sheeny Curse doesn't actually exist. Stranger things have been published in the pages of the Star -- often by Zerbisias herself.


  1. First, I would check your facts. For example, and this is an easy one, I didn't make that Facebook comment.

    Second, I would consider whether anything in this post could possibly invite a lawsuit.

    Third, I would consider this a friendly visit, just to let you know that your blogpost has been duly noted.

    Oh, and I don't threaten. I think I am on such solid legal ground that I don't need to.

    You might ask a lawyer about that.

    Just saying.

  2. I would seriously advise you not to threaten me, with lawsuits or anything else. You cannot intimidate me. Don't even try.

    If you want to make the kind of inflammatory comments that you made, impugning the citizenship of a fellow Canadian, you'd better be ready to face the consequences -- in this case, severe criticism that you very much deserve.

    If I so much as hear a single word from a lawyer, miss Zerbisias, you need to understand that I will counter-sue so promptly it will make your head spin. I've provided citations for the sources I've used. If you take issue with any of the facts cited here, your issue is with them.

  3. I would also note that, because your Facebook profile is not public, no, point one is not "an easy one".

    What I will say is this: in the wake of any inflammatory commentary about Jewish people as a whole, I consider my commentary here to be a matter of justifiable opinion.

    Now, what I am willing to do is this: if you do one of two things I will quite gladly amend my commentary here:

    -Option number one is to open your Facebook profile for public scrutiny so I can confirm that you neither made those comments yourself, nor "endorsed" them, (as Mr Kay actually suggests, and this is certainly my error).

    -Option number two is to, as your comments here seem to admit that such a comment was made, but not by yourself, provide a screencap of the comment (and I would also like to see how you responded to that particular comment, if at all).

    That is as generous as I'm willing to be with someone who -- despite disingenuous insistence otherwise -- threatens me.

  4. If I so much as hear a single word from a lawyer, miss Zerbisias, you need to understand that I will counter-sue so promptly it will make your head spin.

    Snicker. No, on second thought, guffaw. You're all wind, Patsy. Everyone knows that by now.

    And for the last time, please leave my brother out of your logorrheic rants, m'kay?

  5. Really? This coming from the guy going after Raphael Alexander when you know you've dismantled your own case?

    Yeah. Let's talk about who's "all wind".


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