Yesterday, I spoke by cell phone with a friend of mine and his wife who are prominent Montrealers, who are also two of the nicest and most generous people one can ever hope to know. There is not a single shred of anger or meanness in either of them. You know the kind. No axe to grind with anyone.
“What’s with this guy Michael Harris of CFRA”? My friend asked. “Is this guy for real? I never heard anyone on the radio who is so much against Israel. This guy is pretty scary”.
And then I received a few e-mails telling me that Michael Harris was at it again. One of the letter writers actually sent a letter to Michael Harris’s boss, the CFRA station manager.
I didn’t hear what Michael Harris said that angered my friend and the E-Mail writers. But then again, I have heard enough out of the mouth of Michael Harris, and many of his callers in the past, to know exactly what the theme of his comments and conversation represented, if it had anything to do with Israel.
Michael Harris is a pretty scummy guy when it comes to crapping all over Israel in the guise of being even-handed.
Here is a representation of what I wrote back to one of my E-Mail writers.
JEFF: This piece of work, Michael Harris of radio station CFRA Ottawa, has repeatedly been accused of gross bias against Israel, and of uttering significant anti-Semitic innuendo. You’re NOT the FIRST person to contact his boss. And that includes representatives of the Ottawa Jewish Community.
Michael Harris is very careful NOT to personally cross the line. But is only too accommodating when his listeners say what he doesn’t have the courage to say himself.
The fact that the station manager states that his station (CFRA) uses balance in terms of different announcers who have varying opinions, does not excuse the station from having at least one announcer with an extremely sick bent.
Does it make anti-Semitism any less repugnant because CFRA airs the opinions of a Rabbi, who from time to time also hosts a show?
The “credible” Grand Rabbi of Berlin was certain that he could reason with Mr Hitler, even as the trains were leaving the stations. That is not to suggest that CFRA’s Rabbi host is not credible. It is only to state that you can’t even out racism by introducing a counter balance. There is no counterbalance.
All of that said: in some ways, Michel Harris is no worse than many members of the NDP who also find every reason under their sun to condemn Israel, and virtually nothing with which to laud it. This defines the NDP from their leadership down.
You’ll also find the same within the governing Liberal Party, many of whom who have said exceptionally ignorant, dishonest and hurtful things about Israel.
The BIG difference between the NDP and Liberal back benchers is that no one really listens to what they have to say. On the contrary however, Michel Harris has an audience.
THE GOOD SIDE of Michael Harris, is that he is a VISIBLE reminder to everyone, that Jews do have REAL enemies, even in Canada. And especially amongst those who cloak themselves in the PRETENSE of “moderation” and “balance”.
Michael Harris is one individual who is a poster boy for why Jews have to always be wary without necessarily being paranoid. Canada is a wonderful country where all races, cultures, languages and religions can flourish (except within Quebec) without impediment. But that does not mean, that people like Michael Harris should be ignored or dismissed out of hand.
People like Michael Harris are far more dangerous then people who wear their disdain and racism on their shirt sleeves. He camouflages who he is with respectability in his soft tone and delivery.
“I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m not anti-Israel. I just want to see justice and balance in the Middle East. I want to see the poor Palestinians get their fair share”. These are words which I have heard out of the mouth of Michael Harris.
On the surface, these words sound as wholesome as mom’s apple pie. But just below the surface, his words are meaningless. He is just what he appears to be to myself, my friends and the people who send me e-mails concerning what he has to say. And what he allows his callers to say.
Michael Harris of radio station CFRA is an example of someone, who decent people of all cultures should pay very close attention to. His views and comments are not without consequence.