My Aug. 9 column, ["The Rise of Quebecistan"->1510], has become a focus for great controversy in Quebec. In the past week, I have been interviewed by numerous radio stations, both French and English, and declared an enemy of the people, in so many words, in no less than three newspapers, including in a Post column yesterday by Andre Pratte, a federalist Quebecois journalist I respect and admire.
[Pratte's column misrepresented me in certain respects->1567], and I felt I had to respond. Pratte said that I had expressed the fear that if Quebec became a sovereign state, it would "immediately fall under the control of terrorist-supporting leaders." What I actually predicted was that in an independent Quebec, under pressure from its Shiite Lebanese immigrant population, Hezbollah would be removed from the official terrorist list, and that supporters of terrorism would find Quebec a place offering little resistance to burgeoning Islamism amongst its Muslim immigrants.
The reason I believe this is because of the behaviour exhibited before and during an anti-Israel rally two weeks ago in Montreal by the four politicians I reproached in my column: Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair, Liberal MP Denis Coderre, and Quebec Solidaire leader Amir Khadir. The organizing committee for the "peace" rally deliberately excluded a Jewish presence. That was in itself an anti-Semitic act and a warning to any politician, whose business it is to remain neutral in affairs of this kind, to stay away.
All four, along with prominent Quebec union leaders, signed a manifesto that did not condemn Hezbollah's aggression, then endorsed and willingly undertook a dominant role in a march at which Hezbollah flags were in evidence, along with placards, reading "Juifs assassins" (not "Israelis" -- Jews), "Nous sommes tous Hezbollah," "Longue vie a Nasrallah," "Vive le Hezbollah."
[Gleeful separatist cineaste Pierre Falardeau was photographed brandishing a fleur-de-lys in one hand, a Hezbollah flag in the other.->1559] Graffiti on a building read: "God f--- the Jews." A Jewish prayer shawl was torn to pieces.
Recall that Hezbollah is officially classified as a terrorist organization by this country's government. If these signs had read: "We are all KKK," "Long life to Osama Bin Laden," "We are all Nazis," "Women are pigs," would these same leaders have turned the blind eye they did at the time? Hezbollah's mission is to eradicate Jews -- not just Israelis -- from the earth.
It is true that similar marches have taken place in other cities. The difference is that politicians in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada do not march at the head of these hatefests.
The complicity of politicians, not with terrorism itself, but with those who support terrorism, indicates a penchant for appeasement of hateful attitudes. When hatemongers see non-judgmentalism in the governing elites, they batten on it. That is what happened in England and Europe and what could happen here if we are not vigilant. Pratte and other commentators have agreed that the politicians should not have attended the rally, but shrugged it off as a misdemeanour. I call it egregious misconduct that should result in official apologies to all right-thinking Quebecers and some deep soul-searching about their professional credibility.
Diplomats are usually chary about official interventions, but the Israeli ambassador considers the matter serious enough to have written a strong formal letter of concern to Gilles Duceppe. The Jewish community in Montreal is devastated by these politicians' spectacular lack of judgment and sensitivity.
So I say to the French media: This story is not about me. The West is in a war against global Islamofacism. It already has made its nest in our cities. We must combat the hatred that nourishes it in every way possible. Quebec politicians and union leaders have, by their silence and weakness and acts of overt complicity, legitimated rather than defused anti-Jewish sentiment in Quebec. For this reason, I stand behind my previous statement that Quebec in the hands of these people might very well become a Quebecistan.