Acting to reduce hatred
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This article was published 16/11/2022 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
We need to address discrimination, bullying and hatred in all its forms in Manitoba, which is most often directed against people from groups who have been historically targeted — such as those who are Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim (especially those who are Palestinian), Asian, 2SLBGTQ*, or neurodivergent (with ADHD, autism or learning disabilities) or those with mental illness.
I believe all of us are opposed to hatred directed against people, in all its forms. We are particularly opposed to hatred expressed as violence. It is our challenge to address hatred, to reduce it and to eliminate it. It is, as we all appreciate, an enormous challenge.
In order for us to understand what individuals and groups experience, individuals and groups who been discriminated against must share their experiences and define what they perceive as discrimination and hatred so that all will have some appreciation and we can as a society make changes.
An example of this approach is that taken by many in the Jewish community to define anti-Semitism. While there is more than one definition of anti-Semitism, the most widespread is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. This definition, together with its examples, provides a perspective of what is, and what is not anti-Semitism. For example, “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion” is anti-Semitism while “criticism of Israel, similar to that levelled against any other country, cannot be regarded as anti-Semitism.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, I introduced a resolution in the Manitoba Legislature to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. It received unanimous support from Members of the Legislature. This is the first time in Canada that a legislature has provided such support.
Acts of anti-Semitism are too widespread and have increased in Manitoba and in Canada in the last few years. We must do better.
Similarly, there is too much Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian discrimination and hatred. We need to reduce and eliminate such activities. As with those who are Jewish, we should be spending more time celebrating the accomplishments of individuals in these groups who have done so much to raise awareness and to change perceptions in the world. I will mention one recent example — the Grace Gala recognition of Moe Zeid for his incredible contributions to Winnipeg and to Manitoba.
I look forward to working with those who are Muslim and those who are Palestinian to reduce islamophobia and anti-Palestinian activities, in a similar way to my recent work with the Jewish community on anti-Semitism.
I will finish with the words of Elie Wiesel:
“No human race is superior, no religious faith is inferior,
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference, The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference, and the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
River Heights constituency report
Jon Gerrard is Liberal MLA for River Heights.