The danger of lumping together progressive agendas into the so-called ‘Omnicause’

A sign by queer activists for Palestine, taken in Berlin in July 2019, encouraging a "fight against racism, Islamophobia, homo/transphobia, antisemitism, apartheid". (Photo by Leonhard Lenz/Wikimedia Commons)

What does Palestine have in common with climate change, gender equality and indigenous rights? The Omnicause, that’s what. In the modern era of left-wing protests, these issues become conflated—think queer Palestinians, viewed as indigenous to their homeland, fighting climate change with organic farming practices. Or something.

Perhaps something not so cartoonish: indeed, there are clear links between, say, First Nations rights here in Canada and the fight for climate justice, given the First Nations’ connection to the land and how their reserves are often disproportionately affected by climate change. Racial justice and police reform go hand-in-hand. But the ties that bind such progressive causes start to weaken when you add Middle Eastern politics to the mix. Would any member of “Queers Against Apartheid” actually visit Gaza after coming out? Is Hamas interested in climate justice?

It’s a conflation that struck writer Hadley Freeman, who returns to Bonjour Chai to chat about all things Omnicause and the eternal plight of progressive Jews. Read her piece, “Welcome to The Omnicause, the fatberg of activism“, in the Jewish Chronicle.

And after that, Avi and Phoebe discuss Israel’s new court ruling insisting Haredi men serve in the army, and the centre-right shift in North American politics following electoral upsets in Toronto and New York.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.