Born in South Africa, lived in Britain for many years and for a short while in Singapore, Karen Harradine finally has anchored in Canada. She has a Masters Degree in Anthropology and a post-graduate Diploma in Journalism. She is though a very charming and friendly individual; she also is a “cruel” journalist who would write on hard-hitting political issues for The Conservative Woman. Why we have used the word ‘Cruel’? Well that is the prequalification and pre-requisite of any seasoned class journalist. But Karen Harradin also has another identity. She is very active on the social media, including Facebook and has been extremely vocal on human rights, women rights, freedom of expression and she boldly denounces anti-Semitism and Israel bashing. That makes Karen Harradine a great ally of Blitz, the most influential newspaper with distinctive difference. Possibly Karen too is attracted to Blitz for its boldness and courage. Recently Karen Harradine has accorded an exclusive interview to Blitz editor and internationally known multi-award winning journalist, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. In this interview, Karen has replied to a wide-range of questions. Here are the excerpts:
Blitz: You are a writer and very active on the social media. In your opinion, how much impact the social media has in our daily lives?
Karen: It has had a massive impact. It can connect us with people who live on the other side of the world and that is incredible. Thanks to social media I am able to discuss a whole range of subjects with someone who lives in India while sitting in my study in Vancouver.
Facebook is the contemporary equivalent of the Parisian salons in the 19thCentury, where intellectuals, artists and writers would meet to discuss the pertinent issues of the day. The knowledge that so many of my Facebook friends have sometimes leaves me awestruck.
So, social media is a fabulous learning and informative tool as well. If you are a writer you cannot do without it. Social media is a great resource too. I often find that Facebook and Twitter are far quicker when it comes to breaking news than on-line newspapers are.
For the elderly, and those housebound with illness, social media offers a wonderful way to keep in in touch with others. And for the inquisitive like me social media offers a great snapshot into the lives of others. The drawbacks are obviously the nastiness and abuse which litters social media. And the horrific anti-Semitism which often goes ignored by those who run the social media giants.
Blitz: As a writer, you describe yourself as ‘Politics and dark chocolate obsessive’. It means, you have attraction towards politics. Do you aspire of entering politics one day?
Karen: Yes, I am completely obsessed with politics. It is like watching a dark and troubled soap opera on television. Maybe one day I would like to enter the political arena but I have learnt in life not to make too many long-term plans. At the moment I am just happy to write and hopefully get published!
Blitz: On the social media, for example Facebook, almost all of your friends are unknown. Just digital media brings you together. But, have you been able finding real friends from the social media?
Karen: Yes I have. I would say that a quarter of my friends on Facebook are people I know in real life. But I have also made several good friends through social media who I have never met in person, and some I even speak to on the phone occasionally. I value these friends very much.
Blitz: You write on a website named The Conservative Women. What are the goals of this website?
Karen: The editors of this website describe the goals of The Conservative Woman like this: ‘It is a platform for post-feminist culture war fighters! Our mission is to challenge and expose the modern orthodoxies that inhibit freedom of speech and corrode choice – in education and human relationships alike – from oppressive and irrational feminism to ‘diversity’, identity, gender and victim politics.’
Blitz: Jewish festival Hanukkah has passed days back. Can you kindly tell what you were doing during this Hanukkah?
A: I was having a quiet Chanukah with my husband. I did light the menorah which I inherited from my great grandmother. I don’t really like the traditional Chanukah foods such as doughnuts or potato latkes (fried potato pancakes). But I ate plenty of chocolate coins, known as Chanukah geld.
Blitz: Please tell us something about you. How you would define yourself?
A: I define myself as intense, serious, sensitive but hopefully funny at times. I aspire to be kind and to be a good friend.
Blitz: How much important is a friend to you and how you judge a real and fake friend?
A: My friendships are essential to me. I am lucky enough to have a number of very close friends who I have known for decades and some quite recently. I would be lost without them. A real friend is someone who makes the effort to keep in contact, is there for you in a crisis and is someone who understands and accepts you for who you are. A real friend will be honest, loving and supportive. A fake friend will not have any of these qualities.
Blitz: Antisemitism is on the rise in the US and the Western nations. In your opinion, what are the reasons behind it?
A: The bizarre love-in between the Left and Islamism is a major cause of anti-Semitism. We must remember that in the 1960s, together with Yasser Arafat, the USSR created the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The Soviets wanted to increase their Cold War efforts against the US, and Israel, an ally of the US, was a convenient target. Anti-Zionism accelerated since then and has become the contemporary form of anti-Semitism. Both the Left and the Islamists are united in their disdain for Israel. The Left has always had a peculiar self-hatred when it comes to the West and that dogma aligns with Islamist ideology.
The Left’s obsession with Islamism and Marxism has also led to the normalization of anti-Semitism. The influence of Wahhabism in our universities and the blatant adoration seen in Western streets for Iranian terror machines like Hezbollah embolden anti-Semitism.
Thanks to the Left and Islamism, anti-Semitism is now embedded in our culture. The Left controls our discourse, schools, universities, courts and police and that is one of the reasons why anti-Semitism is so prolific now in the West. The Left believe themselves to be good and virtuous and so their anti-Semitism becomes part of that thinking.
Contemporary anti-Semites have managed to achieve such cognitive dissonance between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that they cannot comprehend why anti-Semitism is such an issue. It is insignificant to them in comparison to their fight against Israel. Islamists object to the Jewish state because it is wrongly perceived as being built on Muslim lands. The Left objects to it because it is an ally of the West. And both are united in their objections by anti-Semitism.
But we mustn’t discount the worrying rise of the far Right. Up until now they have been ridiculed and ignored. There are currently a growing number of anti-Semites who are pushing a far Right narrative of anti-Semitism and who are also vehemently anti-Israel.
Blitz: How much important is Israel and those defenders of Israel to you?
A: As a Jew Israel is vital to me. My grandfather was born in Tel Aviv and I have many cousins who live in Israel. Israel is our safety net. It is our sanctuary, a country where Jews, whose lives are threatened in the Diaspora, can flee to. Those Jews who perished in the Holocaust did not have this choice. Israel is a bastion of democracy in a part of the world stuffed full with theocracies, tyrants and dictators. Israel is vital for the survival of the Jewish people and I will defend it to my last breath. I am always so grateful to those do the same.
Blitz: In your own words, what is Zionism?
A: There is no distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. A basic definition of Zionism means the self-determination of the Jewish people. Any organization or person claiming to be anti-Zionist is really advocating the destruction of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state.
Blitz: We know you are a reader of this newspaper. Can you please say, how much important is the role of a newspaper like Blitz, which has been defending Israel and confronting radical Islam since past 15 years?
A: Blitz is a very important publication. I see it as a beacon of hope and light in the fight against anti-Semitism.
Blitz: What are the unaccomplished dreams in your life?
A: Like most writers I want to write a book! My other dream is to be able to keep writing and hopefully continue to get published.