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Anne Frank diary reading causes stir in Vancouver

Why not take every opportunity possible to educate our youth about anti-Semitism?

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Anne Frank | Author of the famous but tragic "Diary of Anne Frank"

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We know there’s self-hating Jews, Jewish anti-Semites, but it’s news to me that even Jews will protest Holocaust education.

In early May, it was announced that actress Jenifer Brousseau would be reading Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl in daily video installments. The project, geared for the young demographic, was backed by the Consulate of the Netherlands, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, as well as the Montreal Holocaust Museum and the Jewish Community Centre among others.  

However, it was met with resistance from members of the Vancouver Jewish community, who apparently succeeded in having it put on hold. Brousseau’s JeniferReads.com website subsequently explained how she regrets that people perceived the project as “trying to compare COVID-19 isolation with Anne Frank.”

Two of those who strongly opposed the production were Vancouver residents Ariel Martz-Oberlander (a theatre artist) and Hayley Zacks (an environmental advocate).

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In a published letter, they said the timing of the project was “absolutely insensitive and irresponsible.” They cited historic accusations of “Jewish orchestration of pandemics and economic downturn” returning to the fore in recent weeks, and feared the readings could stoke further hate. 

God forbid, we should fight hate with education, and facts. Instead, their reasoning is to capitulate, to fear, and cower.

The Diary of Anne Frank

This is something the entertainment industry needs to be sensitive about. However, Brousseau is an excellent choice; she is an Indigenous performer, a member of a group of people that have also been marginalized and persecuted.

There is only good that can come from this reading project. It is a unique chance to reach a captive generation of teens and pre-teens, in a way that they might actually relate to, through media. Why not take every opportunity possible to educate our youth about anti-Semitism? Because unbelievably, anti-Semitism exists today, near to us– in the younger population, as well as the old. I know this firsthand. 

When my teen was in middle school, they were the target of antisemitic bullying. The school did nothing, and after consulting with the Holocaust Education Center, we offered to host a presentation for the entire middle school with a Survivor, believing that education might get to the source of the problem. The school declined, as in so many words, they didn’t want the bully to feel singled out. They intimated that they did not feel that the other students could relate to the stories, as they wouldn’t learn about World War Two for another couple of years. We chose to withdraw our child from that school.

Maybe this ordeal would have been less of an issue had the student body and administration been educated and sensitized to anti-Semitism. And that is why Holocaust education, at any time, is imperative. 

Brousseau’s readings of the Frank diary might have imparted the lessons of the Shoah to a new generation. Sadly, it was a golden opportunity, taken away by people with no common sense

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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