Michael Enright, host of CBC’s flagship program ‘The Sunday Edition’ gave a long interview to Professor Ron Rosenbaum on January 18th. Rosenbaum argued that Israel’s days are numbered. Is it true? Read more.
Michael Enright is one of CBC’s most respected journalists. Well read, cultured, liberal in outlook, his weekly radio program “The Sunday Edition” reaches a broad audience across Canada. So who he interviews, and what he says, is important.
On January 18th, Enright interviewed Professor Ron Rosenbaum about a recent article written in a Jewish digital publication, The Tablet, “Thinking the unthinkable: a lamentation for the State of Israel”.
In his interview with Enright, Professor Ron Rosenbaum gave three main reasons that the State of Israel may be facing extinction:
- Anti-semitism is on the rise around the world (astoundingly even in countries where there are no Jews).
- Israel’s immediate neighbours are consumed with hatred and have immense military capability which they threaten to use to wipe out Jews (or throw them into the sea).
- Liberal Jews in America are less and less willing to stand up for Israel.
Unfortunately, CBC host Enright who has a reputation for inquisitive, skeptical and honest journalism, did not seriously question Rosenbaum on any of these points. In fact, he sometimes went farther than Rosenbaum himself, claiming for example that anti-Antisemitism is on the rise in Canada. He did not even challenge Rosenbaum’s surprising assertion that Israel’s human rights record is second only to that of the USA (presumably therefore ranking well ahead of Canada).
The interview provoked a lot of criticism. Dozens of scathing letters are to be found on the Sunday Edition Facebook page, including some from Jews. Many argued that Rosenbaum was wildly exaggerating any military threat to Israel, and challenged the idea that hostility to the State of Israel meant that Jews themselves were to be annihilated or “thrown into the sea”.
However, Rosenbaum’s third point, that liberal Jews are turning their backs on Israel, could be very significant. If true, it is very threatening to the Jewish State. “Why am I the last liberal Jew in America to support Israel?”, asked a plaintive Rosenbaum. Unfortunately, Enright did not ask him to justify his assertion. Is it true that Liberal American Jews are turning their backs on Israel? And if so, why? And what does it mean for the future of Israel as a Jewish state?
I interviewed Grafton Ross, Vice Chair and Senior Analyst for the National Education Committee on Israel/Palestine. According to his assessment, there are still lots of liberal Jews in North America who are willing to defend Israel, but their numbers are shrinking.