Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bigotry has never been exclusively white

More on apologists for the anti-Semitic David Ahenakew: Terry Nelson offered Jews a "total and unconditional" apology yesterday for comments he made recently but warned he will not remain silent if media members -- "Jew or otherwise" -- attack aboriginals. Nelson, chief of the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, sent a letter to media outlets on April 9 predicting aboriginals would become more violent against police and hate Jews more if David Ahenakew -- a Saskatchewan native leader on trial for making anti-Semitic comments -- is convicted. "Jew or otherwise?" I don't think the man quite understands the notion of apology, let alone what he's done wrong. "I realize now that my approach, tone and some of my comments were deeply hurtful and offensive to some members of the Jewish community. Today I wish to apologize to the Jewish people of Manitoba and Canada for any offence, anger or hurt I may have caused. Had I not been out of the country last week attending the National Indian Gaming Association convention in San Diego, I would have gladly made this apology sooner," said Nelson. [...] The letter questioned the portrayal of aboriginals in media outlets owned by Jews. He claims to have been accidentally anti-Semitic because he was so busy, attending an Indian casino trade show? If that's not a self-parodizing joke of an explanation, it probably should be. What's really interesting, though, is CBC's take on the story, especially in the headlines that show up in Google News, to say nothing of failing to report on the most inflammatory elements of the abject non-apology itself: WINNIPEG – The chief of the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation has apologized to Jewish people across the country for a letter he sent to the media last week. "I realize now that my approach, tone, and some of my comments were deeply hurtful and offensive to some members of the Jewish community," Chief Terrance Nelson said Monday. "Today, I wish to apologize to the Jewish people of Manitoba and Canada for any offence, anger or hurt that I may have caused." Nelson issued a press release last week saying media coverage of David Ahenakew's hate trial in Saskatchewan will increase aboriginals' hatred of Jews and make the former leader of the Assembly of First Nations a martyr. In the three-page release, Nelson also made critical comments about news organizations owned by Jews. Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, expressed concern that the release would incite violence against Jewish people. Gee, it's almost like they were trying to bury the lede, or something. But surely Mother Corp wouldn't lie to us for the sake of protecting the reputation of a racist, who happens also to be a member of an officially favoured ethnic minority...right?

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