Today's discussion:

The Left has a self-policing problem

North American scenes of anti-Jewish rallies and full-throated defences of Hamas’s horrific terrorist attacks rooted in left-wing theories of anti-colonialism and anti-settler resistance are signs that the radicalism has spilled out from the university seminar rooms and into the streets. 

Read article

Comments (16)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please wait...
Your comment has been posted and should appear immediately.
You comment has been received but needs to be moderated before it appears.
Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again or contact us for help.
Rudyard Griffiths

This last paragraph of Sean’s excellent piece this AM resonated with me:

“Progressive elites who lament the rise of the far right need to reckon with the rise of the far left and their own role in galvanizing it. Self-policing is hard—especially when it requires serious introspection—but it’s necessary. It’s time for the Left to police its own side.”

Hard to argue with this. Norms are norms because we make them so. The disappointing reality is that in some circles on the left anti-Semitism is a norm precisely because it goes unchallenged.

27th October 2023 at 8:30 am
Ken H

A different portion of Sean’s piece resonated with me. “ The Hub has nevertheless, in the two-and-a-half-years since its launch, taken seriously a sense of responsibility for calling out conservative excesses”. I would suggest that the big thinkers at The Hub are failing in their one sided coverage of this tragic terrorist attack on innocents in Israel. The breathtaking speed with which you leaped aboard the Israeli PR machine was dismaying as has been your continued characterization of all Palestinians as Hamass supporters and the government of Israel as the brightest star in the firmament of liberal democracies. No one would know from your reporting that not all Israelis support the egotistical autocrat leading a government which depends for its existence on the support of the most extreme right wing fringes of the political spectrum. I look forward to reading Sean’s commentary on these conservative excesses.

N.B. Please note that I did not use the word Jewish once above. A large percentage of Jews, both in Israel and abroad, are also not supportive of the current Israeli regime. To criticize an Israeli political strong man and his corrupt government is not a criticism of the Jewish people.

27th October 2023 at 3:03 pm
Bill Hertha

I’m so happy to hear that the Hub has taken on the mantle of policing vacated by William F Buckley. I hope you’re not crushed under its weight. I appreciate Mr. Spear’s generally well thought out commentary. Here, though, I’m not sure it is the role of a publication to police; advise, highlight, suggest might be better words. I agree there is a role to provide thoughtful, well-reasoned perspectives, that those who are willing to listen can appreciate, though they may disagree. Mr. Spear is usually outstanding in his logic.

In this particular case, it is unclear to me whether this issue of antisemitism is a left or right issue. May be it is a broader social issue, independent of political or social stripe. But with respect to the current conflict in the middle east, it is my point of view that we need to distinguish between three parties here: Israel, Hamas, Palestinians. Hamas is of course the terrorist group. Israel has clearly suffered from their attack. Based on the reports I have heard it appears Palestinians also suffer Hamas, and for many years. Palestine does not equal Hamas. Hamas does not equal Palestine. I think we need to be a little more nuanced in our understanding; I don’t assume people who voice concern about the Palestinian’s plight are supporting Hamas nor do I assume they are antisemitic. Bombing civilian populations is a questionable practice. Is it being proposed that two wrongs make a right?

27th October 2023 at 8:15 am

I appreciate what you have to say but I wish it was that simple. As a Jewish person, I can tell you that the worrisome antisemitism is on the left. The pockets of right wing antisemitics have always been there but the far left anti-Israeli ideologies are firmly entrenched in our institutions now. I was never a strong Zionist and always wanted a two State solution as the majority of Jews want (especially in North America). Unfortunately the Israeli government (BiBi) is not being separated from the Israelis and the Jews. People ask why I’m so upset about Israel when I have no family there. The truth is I would have family there had they not been murdered in the holocaust. The truth is the way Hamas came in and slaughtered and tortured civilians can not been compared with the very bad behavior of some ultra religious jews on the West Bank. In my 58 years on this planet, I have never lived in a world where I felt so surrounded by antisemitism.

27th October 2023 at 8:48 am
Rudyard Griffiths

Great analysis Bill. I appreciate the nuance. This is what we want on Hub Forum. Thanks for contributing.

27th October 2023 at 8:28 am
B. Fisher

They do not want to police themselves too busy policing the non believers.

27th October 2023 at 9:41 am

Isn’t part of the problem that people think that Israel was given to the Jewish people in the 1940s, rather than the fact that they have been indigenous to the area for thousands of years. They were forced out by Egyptians, Romans, others over history. They simply returned in 1947, and have been trying to make peace ever since.

27th October 2023 at 7:17 pm
David Benjamin

Trying to Understand the Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
Why is it happening and who is responsible? These are important questions and the best way to reason through all the propaganda is to look at the incentives. It is fairly simple. The greater the crisis, the louder is the world`s voice for Israel to desist, and retreat from their goal of defeating Hamas. The images of dead Gazan children also allow Hamas to paint Jews as the real genocidal monsters. Obviously, for Israel, avoiding civilian deaths, gives them room to pursue their real objective, destroying Hamas.
So, how does this translate to action on the ground. First what does Hamas do?
1. They execute the most lethal and barbaric pogrom on Jews since the Holocaust, knowing that the Israelis would retaliate against them, with their civilians on the front line.
2. Although there are hundreds of miles of tunnels that protect Hamas terrorists and their supplies, there is not even one bomb shelter for the civilians and children of Gaza. (In Israel, bomb shelters and safe rooms are everywhere).
3. After all the billions of dollars poured into Gaza by the International Community to feed their citizens and build infrastructure. These billions have been used instead to buy weapons, built terror tunnels and train terrorists to murder Jews. After almost 20 years of independence, Gazans still depend on Israel for electricity, food, water, fuel and medical supplies.
4. Hamas built their terror infrastructure purposely under hospitals, schools, mosques and homes. Using their most vulnerable citizens as human shields.
5. When Israel warns Gazans to leave impending bomb areas, Hamas frequently prevents them from leaving.
6. And when there are causalities, Hamas inflates the numbers and fake ambulance scenes.

And what does Israel do,

1. It sends voice and text messages to warn residents to evacuate targeted buildings
2. It drops leaflets to tell residents to stay away from Hamas operatives
3. Drops non-lethal bombs to warn residents to leave the area.
So, who should be blamed for the unfolding humanitarian crisis?

27th October 2023 at 3:54 pm
Peter Menzies

The genesis of this Long March was obvious- to those willing to see – 20 years ago. It was apparent in things as simple as the speaker’s lists at teacher’s conventions, the radicalization of what once was a perfectly sensible LGBT movement, those chosen to lecture at journalism schools (as an aside I have offered my occasional services to those pro bono and been soundly rejected) etc. But none are so blind as those who will not see. Personally, and watching what can most politely be called the delicate response of our political class, I think it’s probably too late.

27th October 2023 at 11:22 am
Mark Johnson

Excellent column.

27th October 2023 at 11:05 am

It is racism on display. Now just think about it, if there protests like this against lets say blacks . It would be called out.

27th October 2023 at 10:22 am

It is racism on display. Now just think about it, if there protests like this against lets say blacks . It would be called out

27th October 2023 at 10:06 am
Dr. Dauna Crooks

I have not seen the elements you discuss in universities in Canada except in the form of women’s studies which are often radical discussions or philosophy. Students are learning jargon and being initiated to think about ideas but no professor would stay employed if they overtly pushed an right or left agenda. For students it is an experience that may suit their thinking at the time.
Regarding the pro Hamas gatherings after October 7, people who left Hamas and Hezbolla controlled areas were marching. People come to Canada with entrenched mind sets, love for their home country and a version of history that does not fade. Their marching has little to do with universities or the left or right ideologies.

27th October 2023 at 9:51 am
Ned Blinick

I don’t know what university you are affiliated with but you only need to look at the newspapers to see how many university administrations, deans, professors actively condone and participate in rallies for Palestine that are not only anti-Israel but are more broadly virulently anti-Jewish. York, Concordia, UMT, Cornell, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, etc. Etc. If you don’t see it, you choose not to see it.

When the Palestinian protestors threaten Jewish students on campuses and the administration and faculty do little to provide a safe environment it sets up an environment where hate festers and grows. This not only affects Jews but our entire society.

What makes this so sad is that the Palestinians are under murderous leadership who don’t give a sh*t about providing hope and opportunity for their young. They raise martyrs in their education system. We in North America import their ideology.

29th October 2023 at 9:11 pm
A Chezzi

WoW! I read the Hub because I think it presents a balanced view in the conservative movement but today’s article moves away from balance. The Con parties of today are self policing. Stephen Harper was lauded because he ruled with an iron fist and I Poilievre is doing the same. This is self policing. To say that for “For conservatives, self-policing is mainly about conservative elites trying to constrain the excesses of the right-wing masses,” is a stretch of the imagination. Rather, the excess of the right wing masses is on full display in the governments of Danielle Smith. In the case of the federal Conservatives, Poilievre’s willingness to please the right is on full display as he supports an anti vaccination bill which flies in the face of science. Brian Higgs and Scott Moe endanger the lives of young people. No, the right wing is alive and well in the Con parties. It is not being policed.
You can support the cause of the Palestinian people and speak out against the atrocities they are suffering now without supporting Hamas. To say otherwise is to create that binary world in which most conservatives are most comfortable.
It is strange that conservatives who argued against cancel culture and now involved in cancel culture trying to put an end to ideas and discussion which do not support their ideology. There was little differing opinion in a Harper government and there will be little differing opinion in a Poilievre government. We saw the extreme views emerging with the snitch line and we will see it happen again. The Con have chosen the same road as the Republican party. They wish to deconstruct government and that will lead to the same chaos as we are seeing in the U S. Self-policing is alive and well within the conservative movement.

27th October 2023 at 9:27 am
Michael F

I suggest to all readers of this forum to watch the documentary The Occupation of the American Mind. It’s not some fringe conspiracy theory film. It offers an interesting perspective and one not often seen in North America. It pulls back the curtain on the pro-Israel lobby and the propaganda they have very successfully disseminated and how the myriad of pro-Israel lobby groups like AIPAC have shaped the perception of any dialogue about Israel, the Palestinians and Hamas. Is it hate speech or anti-semitic? No.

27th October 2023 at 11:31 am