Jewish author Gad Saad stares down the growing tide of antisemitism

 
GAD SAAD wishes his prediction about growing antisemitism had been wrong
(photo credit: SERGIO VERANES)

Saad said he had warned against the growing tide of antisemitism for decades and wished his prediction had been wrong.

Gad Saad won’t forget the day a young classmate announced he wanted to grow up to be a Jew killer.
“It’s not as though he didn’t know I was Jewish,” Saad told the Magazine by phone. “He felt it was totally reasonable to say that. The kids started laughing. There was no consequence for him. The teacher said nothing. I remember it vividly decades later. He’s seared in the deep recesses of my mind.”
Saad, author of the fascinating book, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense, is one of the most popular Jewish professors in the world with 346.6 thousand followers on Twitter and 22 million views on his YouTube channel, “The Saad Truth.” He gained even more prominence after appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast several times.
The 56-year-old remembers that as a boy living though the Lebanese Civil War, he could tell by the sound of ammunition fired if he needed to dive under the bed for safety. Saad, a behavioral scientist, psychologist and professor of marketing and consumer behavior at Canada’s Concordia University, recalled that hired Palestinian militiamen brought him and his family to a car that took them to the airport and one man asked him if he wanted to hold a machine gun. 
Only when the plane’s pilot announced they were out of Lebanese airspace did his mother say he could show his Magen David necklace. The family would later settle in Montreal.
Saad said he was saddened to see videos from London of calls to murder and rape Jewish women and growing antisemitism over the world. He said he’s told his own sons not to play in certain soccer fields and when they do, to not let anyone know they are Jewish. Saad said he is saddened by the recent bloodshed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but said he was not surprised at Hamas’s decision to fire thousands of rockets all over Israel.
“This is what happens when the collective mindset is more important to them than individual casualties,” Saad said of the group, which is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, EU and UK, as well as other countries, but has ruled Gaza for more than 15 years. He also said he is not surprised that the media and public opinion often sway to the side of the Palestinians.
“For anyone who doesn’t know much about the story, the schema that will be activated is that there is a vulgar violent oppressor called Israel and this hapless kind people called Palestinians who only have rocks to defend themselves against this brute military force,” Saad said. “Which moral person would not support the oppressed? My feeling is that Israelis know this but have not done a good job countering that narrative. Maybe it’s an impossible informational battle to win, but it seems Israel is strong and able to protect itself physically, but it is incontrovertible that it is losing the information war.”
IN HIS book, in which he rails against radicalism, identity politics and victimhood, he also writes about the quest for truth. But he said it’s often difficult to get that across in TV interviews. He said that the deaths are tragic, but one should not place a moral equivalence between the IDF and Hamas and simply judge that whichever side has the most dead is in the right, as is sometimes the case according to world media.
“Oftentimes, when I see these Israeli representatives speaking on TV, I say ‘If I was there, I would have wiped the floor with that journalist,’” Saad said. “You have to know what type of information to deploy to attack the talking points. It has to be a tsunami of evidence. The challenge is when it comes to these short television bytes, you don’t have the time to build a full argument.”
Saad said he had warned against the growing tide of antisemitism for decades and wished his prediction had been wrong.
“Look, the majority of Muslims and Palestinians obviously are good peace-loving people who deserve to have a good life like anyone else,” he said. “Palestinians saved me. But when you have mass immigration into countries and a small percentage are full of Jew-hatred and hate the West, it doesn’t take an Einstein to see over time what will happen.”
A MURAL depicts late Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz Al-Rantissi, in Gaza City in March. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)
He cited Ben Shapiro as someone who speaks well in defense of Israel, but asked about the speed of his words, he quipped: “Ben definitely needs to switch to decaffeinated coffee.” 
In his book, the fourth he has authored, Saad points out the absurd case of Hebrew University doctoral student Tal Nitzan who did a study looking to see if Israeli soldiers were raping Palestinian women as claimed. She found that not to be the case, but Nitzan concluded that by Israeli soldiers not raping Palestinian women, it showed their prejudice and Islamophobia, according to Saad. 
“So not only do you have an enemy who wants to exterminate you and says so in their charter for all the world to see, you have so-called ‘progressive’ self-hating Jews who want so much to appear empathetic that they walk themselves to the line of lunacy,” he said.
Saad said he has received numerous death threats online, including one person who wrote, “You will be the last Jew we boil.” Another wrote, “This is how we’re gonna skin you.” In 2017, he even had to file a police report with Montreal police and was escorted to his university by security.
He said when it comes to cancel culture and the vocal minority that is proving to be powerful online, the vaccine against absurd idea pathogens is to, “ignite the silent majority out of their stupor, apathy and cowardice. Otherwise, it will be a slow train ride to hell.”
In this regard, the professor says he is optimistic. But regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he doesn’t see an answer.
“I wish there was a way to solve it,” he said. “Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live freely and peacefully, but I think it’s an intractable problem.” 
WHO WOULD win a match between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and American President Joe Biden?
“I would have to say Trudeau only because Biden doesn’t know if he is playing chess or playing Cleopatra based on his growing dementia,” he said. “I’m not trying to be rude. But it’s perfectly fair to say that the guy who is leading the most powerful country in the world seems to be in great cognitive decline. If people wanted to invoke the 25th Amendment against Donald Trump, should you not be running very quickly to invoke to the 25th Amendment against Joe Biden?”
As to whether Trump should run again, he said he is torn. “On the one hand, Trump was not beholden to anyone and did not fear political correctness,” he said. “On the other hand, he proved unable to control his words on Twitter and with the media.” 
Saad said that in the past some called him partisan in favor of Trump.
“I don’t give a damn one way or the other about Trump, I give a damn about the truth,” he said. “People were spreading numerous lies that when he was elected, the stock market would immediately collapse, there would be nuclear war, and Jews would be hunted down. They were all lies, and the people were not held accountable. Had Trump been able to restrain himself, especially on Twitter, I think he would be the president today.”
Saad said he often uses sarcasm or satire as a weapon and some are too sensitive to deal with it. He posted several videos where he was hiding under a table, mocking those who said Jews would be in grave danger under Trump.
Asked why former Minnesota governor Al Franken was forced to resign after a picture surfaced of him pretending to grab a woman’s breasts while New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was not forced to resign, despite being accused of harassment by nine women, Saad said, “cognitive inconsistency is the hallmark of tribal ideology.”
The professor is an atheist, yet said he fasted on Yom Kippur until the age of 41. Also, he put on tefillin for 10 years after a Lubavitch rabbi asked him to do so beginning when he was a doctoral student at Cornell University. He said he also appreciates the cultural values of Jewish holidays he would celebrate with his family, and even if he doesn’t “pray to a guy in the sky” he enjoys certain attributes of Judaism.
“The hassidic guy who lives in a posh area in Montreal didn’t outrank me in my Judaism when I was running from Lebanon so that my head would not be detached from my body,” he said, adding he is certain had he not escaped Lebanon, he would have been executed.
He said some accuse him of demeaning himself by using satire or sarcasm, since he is such a learned man with many scientific papers published to go with his four books.
“On the contrary,” he said. “Satire is a knife that cuts through the butter. When tyrants come to power, they don’t look for the guys with the biggest muscles. They look for the guys with the biggest brains and sharpest tongues.”
The author said the path to his wife started in a gym, when he was working out. Someone overheard that he was a professor and asked if he would give a series of six lectures to his company. They agreed and when he went to the building of the company, the first woman he saw out of the elevator wound up being his wife. When he went to meet her father for the first time, his sarcastic nature came out.
“It was a game similar to sheshbesh or backgammon,” he said. “I told her father, ‘If I win, I get your daughter.’ I won.”
He said, “Other than the obvious horror of the deaths and illness due to coronavirus, it was difficult to deal with the haphazard nature of government restrictions as to not knowing if one could hold an event with x number of people or not.” He said the constant randomness was tough to deal with.
Did the classmate from his youth who proudly said he wanted to grow up to be a Jew killer become one or did he become a normal person in society?
“I have no idea,” Saad says. “I remember him like it was yesterday. I hope he changed his ways, but you never know.”

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