by Daniel Bordman, Communications Coordinator, CAEF - August 16, 2019
There is a new Zionist superstar in the Jewish community, and as Menachem Begin would say, she is not a Jew with trembling knees. Earlier this year, Lauren Isaacs burst into the public consciousness when she decided to take a seemingly innocuous picture of herself holding a Jewish flag on the Temple Mount.
As many of us are aware, we live in a world where Catholics can take pictures at the Vatican, Muslims can take pictures at Mecca and no one will bat an eye. However, if a Jew has the audacity to take a picture at the holiest site of Judaism, this is somehow a controversy.
Speaking with Lauren, her reasoning behind the photo had nothing to do with politics, or making a point. She was simply a proud Jew, happy to be standing on the holiest site in Judaism. This seems a refreshing view point. What followed was a cascade of hate mail and death threats, though with a balance of messages of support. Probably the most refreshing part of this whole event was the fact that she did not backdown and wilt under the hatred.
It is nice to see a millennial embrace Zionism, but Lauren Issacs does more than that. You can see her on social media as “Zionist Lauren” holding a microphone and going into the belly of the antisemitic beast. Whether it is exposing antisemites on the campuses of Ryerson university or nut jobs at Yonge and Dundas square, Lauren is doing what many of us have hoped a young Jew would have the chutzpah to do for a long time.
This makes Lauren the perfect director for Toronto’s chapter of Herut Canada, which is a proud Zionist organization that is growing quickly.
With the current rise of antisemitism coming at us from all sides, the Jewish community is going to need more people like Lauren. Since many of our community’s traditional organizations are slow to react or have to consider whether to express a reaction to anything deemed controversial, or resist reacting so as not to challenge the current “progressive” and “intersectional” factor that expresses antisemitism, Herut Canada is truly refreshing.
Some individuals who appear on the CBC, claiming to be “representative of the Jewish community” and an “expert on antisemitism,” have defended even the source of antisemitism, such as a prominent, well-funded downtown mosque, Masjid Toronto, in which videos that were released show one of their Imams praying for the death of Jews and other none Muslims with lines like “Oh Allah, slay them one by one” and “spare not one of them”, and even throwing in a special line for the Jews when they prayed for Allah to “cleanse the Al Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews". It is shocking to realize that there are Jewish organizations that defend, hope to re-educate but still associate with an individual or organization that has called for the killing of Jews.
For some perspective on this particular incident, Hamas, the terrorist organization running Gaza, says that it is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood acknowledges Hamas as its military wing. The Executive Director of Masjid Toronto has said to the National Post that the mosque follows the values and teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood. Also, the mosque’s parent organization, The Muslim Association of Canada, promotes their association with the Muslim Brotherhood on their own website.
This problem of internal strife within the Jewish community, needs to be brought up here because of the second, seemingly non-controversial “controversy” in which Lauren found herself. She was scheduled to give a talk in Winnipeg on the topic of how the Progressive Jewish Left is enabling Antisemitism. In Lauren’s words,” Israel’s enemies aren’t just terrorists and their supporters anymore, but there are numerous fringe ‘Jewish’ groups popping up whose entire mandates revolve around delegitimizing Israel and challenging her very right to exist”. To add to this concern is the fact that these groups currently on the fringe of the Jewish community, are quickly becoming more mainstream. Take IfNotNow whose co-founder and progressive activist, Max Berger, tweeted out his desire to be friends with Hamas. He is now an aid to Elizabeth Warren, who could realistically be the next president of the United States.
Many people within the Jewish community think this is an issue that deserves serious debate. However, after a fierce protest In Winnipeg, from the same progressive Jewish circle which had no problem with Linda Sarsour, an ardent anti-Semite, speaking in their community, the event featuring Lauren Isaacs, was forced to change venues.
It is because of situations like this, where a young Zionist speaks out, and “progressives” seek to quell her speaking, or spew hatred and ignorance, that the Jewish community needs organizations like Herut Canada, and new leaders like Lauren Isaacs. The old guard, the traditional organizations, seem to disregard the internal threats within our own Jewish community. We should take a page out of Lauren’s book and be proud of our Zionism, and not seek to placate those who wish to destroy us.