The Vancouver Jewish Community Centre experienced two bomb threats, one on March 8 and the other on March 12. This coincides with anti-Semitic and other racist acts happening across Canada, in the United States and around the world in recent months.
Just when we thought we had advanced so far as a society, when we thought that we had put such disgraceful deeds of intolerance behind us, we realize that we still have such a long way to go.
What is bitterly ironic about this particular threat is that this building also houses the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. There is no other institution in British Columbia that has done more to promote awareness of crimes against humanity and advance cultural understanding than they have. When I began developing curriculum for a course in genocide studies, they were my greatest resource. They not only shared materials, they helped me to network with other teachers doing similar work and with other ethnic communities who had experienced similar atrocities.
What is true in Vancouver is true all over the world.
Threats like those made against the Jewish Cultural Centre are made out of ignorance and with malicious intent. The way to combat them is to speak truth, and to speak it persistently in a loud and unified voice.
As Holocaust survivor Lillian Nemetz recently shared with me, “In this hour of our damaged world, we sorely need people to help us heal.”
Let us stand in solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers in their time of need as we join in their fight to not only end genocide, but to make all forms of racism a thing of the past.