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Screenshot of John Longhurst's tweet

 
Editor's Report: John Longhurst, Faith Reporter for WFP Likes Zoratti's Anti-Israel Column: Building or Burning Bridges ?

by Rhonda Spivak, Feb 5, 2024

 


John Longhurst, who is the long-time Faith Reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press applauded Jen Zoratti’s piece that was highly critical of the program put on by the Jewish Child and Family Services about Hamas’s sexual offences on Oct 7, when he tweeted on X that Joratti’s piece was a “Great column.”(Joratti’s piece can be found here: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/2024/01/26/the-battlefield-between-feminism-and-rapes-of-war,). A screenshot of Longhurst's tweet can be seen in the graphic on the left hand side of this article.


 

Longhurst, who is a member of the River East Church (Mennonite) Church, prides himself on seeking religious understanding and promoting interfaith relations between communities. Did he not understand that in raving about Zoratti’s column that painted a picture of Israel as an apartheid state, accusing the Israeli speaker of spouting propaganda, and calling for a ceasefire without even mentioning the necessary release of Israeli women, children and men held hostage in Gaza, he would not be bridge building but damaging his relationship with the Jewish community.


Let me be clear. I do acknowledge that innocent civilians in Gaza are suffering as a result of this war, and that is deeply tragic. But Zoratti does not implicate Hamas, an extremist Muslim terror group which has genocidal intentions against Jews and seeks a religious jihadist war to snuff out Jewish presence in the Middle East, as having any agency whatsoever in what has transpired in Gaza. Surely, as a man of faith, Longhurst ought to have shown sensitivity  not only to Palestinians in Gaza but to the suffering of the innocent Israelis, including women and children still held hostage by Hamas (some of whom likely have been raped and could be pregnant), and those murdered by Hamas on Oct 7. Longhurst could recognize that those of us here in Winnipeg have family and friends who have been murdered, raped, injured, or miraculously survived the Hamas onslaught. We are deeply affected by Oct 7’s terror attacks, and entitled to grieve as a community, without having Zoratti or Longhurst demean that experience. Zoratti’s column and Longhurst’s tweet also fail to acknowledge that Hamas is an Iranian proxy, and Israel is battling on many fronts, against other Iranian proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi’s in Yemen, and the Shite militias in Iraq, which would make members of the Jewish community concerned. The increase in antisemitism in Canada is also a very real concern.

 

With his little tweet, Longhurst has set back interfaith relations .What makes things worse, is that Longhurst actually interviewed the Israeli speaker, sex crimes prosecutor Ayelet Razin Bet Or and the program’s moderator Gail Asper for the Winnipeg Free Press and also for the Canadian Jewish News in advance of the program held at the CMHR. If Longhurst harbored these views, would it not have been fair to present his views, and give Razin Bet Or the opportunity to respond?

 

Longhurst is a freelance writer who writes regularly in the Canadian Jewish News, but I do wonder what the latter’s readership would think of his insensitivity displayed towards the Jewish/Zionist community.


How does Longhurst propose to repair that which he has damaged?


Traditionally, the Faith page of the Winnipeg Free Press is supported by local churches, mosques etc. The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba have been and to the best of my knowledge continue to be supporters of the Faith page.

By the way, it is to be noted that the Israeli sex crimes prosecutor  Ayelet Razin Bet Or in her presentation showed her own humanity by acknowledging (just after 37 minutes into the program) the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians in the current war. She said the “world has been watching the unfolding situation” in Israel and Gaza “in shock” and noted the “spiralling number of lives lost and torn apart.”

 https://youtu.be/4NQjl-1DxT0?si=oOfQQRV5tL7gYbvy

 

As for Zoratti, in her column she indicates that feminism is a movement against domination, but fails to examine how Hamas has treated Palestinian civilians, including women and girls. Since Zoratti and Longhurst purport to care about Palestinian women and girls, why have they failed to call for an end to Hamas rule in Gaza?

The Hamas terror group, which hardly qualifies as a “feminist” movement, has been dominating the Palestinian people of Gaza, including women and girls, by stealing international humanitarian aid for its fighters, and misusing financial international aid to build underground tunnels and a war machine, rather than investing in creating a society which cares for its people and will lead to a better life for them.  Why isn’t Zoratti or Longhurst calling for Hamas leaders to surrender their weapons, and exit Gaza, such that a better government for Gazans can emerge? Surely Zoratti with her feminist values believes Gazan women deserve to vote in an election, but there will never be such an election with Hamas in power.  Since it rose to power in a bloody coup in 2007, how exactly has Hamas benefitted Palestinian women and girls? Are Zoratti or Longhurst  aware that recently women and children in Gaza have protested against Hamas for failing to care about its own people, and bringing ruin on Gaza?

 

 

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.