On Wednesday, CBC Radio Show Q hosted a discussion, “Anti-Semitism or artistic chill?” with Jewish academic and artist b.h. Yael, and Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada Frank Dimant on art and being critical of Israel. A bit of background on the Q:

Q is Canada’s liveliest arts, culture and entertainment magazine. It’s a smart and surprising tour through personalities and cultural issues that matter to Canadians.

Hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, with his trademark wit and spontaneity, Q covers pop culture and high arts alike with forays into the most provocative and compelling cultural trends.

Ghomeshi introduced that the show would focus on Caryl Churchill’s play Seven Jewish Children, which B’nai Brith Canada petitioned to the City’s Mayor to shut down, and on the Koffler’s recent decision to disassociate itself with artist Reena Katz. Here’s the segment:

 

Check out the comments listeners left, and let us know what you think. I was particularly struck by the sentiment of one listener:

I have never written a letter email etc. to a radio show before but Frank Diamant moved me to do so. I am a Jew who believes in Israel’s right to exist, I don’t know who Frank Diamant thinks he represents but it is definitely not me. His views struck me as bizarre and so out of touch with what is going on in Canada, Israel, and the world that I find them beyond comprehension. Leaving aside the question of the play, the idea that in a democracy it is in any way acceptable to punish someone (Reena Katz) for their personal political views by trying to disrupt their work which has nothing to do with expressing those views, is in fact discrimination. You cannot advocate for ending discrimination for one set of people by discriminating against another. Any issues about, Israel and the Palestinians are entirely besides the point. I think Mr. Diamant is doing the Jewish community a tremendous disservice by expressing his views on the radio and claiming to speak in their name. He only succeeds in presenting that community in the worst possible light . I believe in freedom of speech and I don’t begrudge Mr. Diamant the right to express his views on the radio, but I really wish he wouldn’t claim to be any kind of representative of jews in Canada (I’m sure if this was an elected position he wouldn’t win). If I am ever discriminated against B’nai Brith Canada will be the last place I would turn to for help.

Posted by: Noah Wohl