Exactly one week ago, the co-chairman of the Liberal Party's election campaign in Manitoba was consoling her friend Lesley Hughes who had just been dumped as a party candidate because of the revelation that she was a 9/11 Truther.
Yesterday she was wishing she could bury Hughes in a deep dark hole.
The Truthers are a bizarre congolomeration of anti-Americans and anti-Semites who cloak their ideologies in a claim that mainstream journalists are refusing to report "the truth" about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre.
The truth has a wide range, with one end of the spectrum accusing Israel of being behind the attacks and the other end calling it an inside job by the Americans, both versions agreeing though that the motive was to spark a war on Muslim nations and thereby benefit the U.S. and Israel.
Ever since Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff accused Israel of war crimes during the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Manitoba Liberals have been trying to shore up their traditional support among Jewish voters, especially in Anita Neville's riding of River Heights.
The discovery that Hughes is a Truther threatened to undermine the Liberal Party's work, so she was quickly shown the door. But like a bad smell, on Thursday she was back, and giving Carstairs conniptions.
Hughes held a news conference to announce she would continue campaigning in Kildonan St. Paul. She couldn't run as a Liberal, having been stripped of her party affiliation by Stephane Dion. She couldn't run as an Independent, she said, due to some arcane Elections Canada rules. So she was running as an individual who, if elected, would sit as an Independent. But she was running.
The news left Carstairs grinding her teeth. She attacked Hughes for holding her news conference in her former Liberal Party campaign office, surrounded by red Hughes/Liberal campaign signs. She was told she couldn't use the office, but she did it anyway, declared Carstairs. "It's over," she said.
She meant any connection between Hughes and the Liberal party, but she could have been talking about her friendship.
Because Sharon Carstairs knows the ticking timebomb Lesley Hughes is for the Liberal Party in Manitoba.
Hughes was the official Liberal Party candidate in the riding. She made her announcement to stay in the race in a Liberal Party office. She expects that Liberal voters will still give her their votes. And, according to the Winnipeg Free Press, she will still be identified on the ballot as a Liberal.
In short, her Truther beliefs will be attached to the Liberal Party in Manitoba, and votes for Hughes will inevitably be sold as votes for the Truther conspiracy theory.
In a letter to the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, in a reponse printed in the (virulently anti-American, anti-Israel) Canadian Dimension magazine's online webpages, and at her news conference, Hughes vigourously defended herself of accusations of anti-semitism.
Her defence was mind-boggling.
Far from blaming the Jews for 9/11, as some "loonies" do, she said, she was praising the work of the Mossad, Israel's spy agency, for uncovering in advance the plan for the terrorist attacks and for warning Israeli businesses in New York so they could protect themselve by moving out of the Twin Towers.
She wasn't criticizing the Israeli businesses who fled (breaking their leases to do so, she wrote in her original column), she was being laudatory. If only the Americans had heeded the Mossad's warnings as well, thousands of lives would have been saved.
So there, you haters.
It seems that Lesley Hughes' anti-Americanism has blinded her to the anti-Semitic myth she persists in repeating, and which puts her at odds with the Canadian Jewish Congress. Despite her attempt at spin, it's impossible to see how we're supposed to applaud an alleged secret plot by Jews to move their businesses out of the World Trade Centre without alerting the goyim so that a terrorist attack can take place, killing as many as 10,000 people who work there.
But there's the rub.
Anti-Americanism is the twin brother to anti-Israel-ism. You can't embrace one without embracing the other. It's inevitable. Any criticism of American foreign policy leads to critism of America's blind-support for Israel. Any criticism of Israel leads to criticism of America's blind- support.
But anti-Israel-ism has a step brother---anti-Semitism.
Ohhhhh, here we go, moan the Truthers, Lloyd Axworthy and the pantheon of anti-Americans. Criticize Israel and you're automatically accused of anti-semitism. How predictable.
It is possible to criticize Israel without rousing accusations of anti-semitism. There's only one, simple, rule.
It's easy to make a list of valid beefs with Israeli policy in the Middle East, and its relations with its neighbours, its own Arab citizens and its critics. The key, though, is to ask why Israel behaves the way it does. Why is it doing those things you attack it for doing?
The answer is devastatingly simple.
To ensure the preservation of a Jewish state.
The response from the critics is generally the same, as well. Israel is the architect of its own problems. If it only abandoned its goal of being a Jewish state, then a natural equilibrium would evolve, even if that means Israel would ultimately become an Arab state with a strong, healthy Jewish minority.
But the critics never take the next step.
We know what this "democratic" solution would mean in practice.
We've heard it for years from the Palestinian leaders, from the terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and most recently from the leaders of Iran. It means the extermination of the Jews in Israel. They've made no secret of their plans and their dreams. They brag about it.
So for anyone wanting to criticise Israeli policies without being accused of being anti-semitic the rule is simple -- start by denouncing your natural allies, publicly, loudly, and frequently.
Start by shunning anyone who offers comfort to terrorists. You know, the one-man's-terrorist-is-another-man's-freedom fighter crowd. That ship has long sailed. Declare in no uncertain terms that for whatever faults it has, Israel is a beacon of reason and freedom in the Middle East. Attack the United Nations for its blatant anti-Semitism. You get the picture.
The problem is that once you've drained the swamp, there isn't enough water left to support life.
And that's why the anti-American Left has made common cause with the anti-Semites. The 9/11 Truthers are just the latest manifestation. It's a big tent of conspiracy theorists, where you can pick your plot smorgasbord style.
Help yourself to some CIA, some Mossad, hold the Zionists, and add a pinch of Liberal Party, with Hughes on the side.
Voila, instant heartburn for Sharon Carstairs.