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Friday, August 29, 2014

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Wears poppy proudly

Tags: Letters
Comments

I was certainly touched by the beautiful tribute to the Canadians who have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan (“Remembrance,” Nov. 10). The list of names brought tears to my eyes. So often, our community tends to be isolationist, thinking only of the welfare of our “tribe,” but we must give thanks to all who have fought and those who continue to do so to defend this wonderful land of Canada. I wear my poppy proudly. We will remember! They will not be forgotten!
Judith Ross
Toronto


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Survivors’ vigilantism

The article “Revenge and justice in postwar Germany” (Nov. 10) made me sad and confused. A quarter-million Nazis did the atrocities against the Jews, and the justice system at the time couldn’t handle that many culprits. So the odd survivors’ vigilantism is not equivalent to vigilantism here and now, where the justice system can handle the criminals. The survivors did not set fire to any German forests and wheat fields, which would have been easy for them to do. Any other group would have done far more and worse revenge acts. As this Holocaust Education Week presentation took place downtown at lunchtime, there were many non-Jews present. This negative press is not what we need as dark clouds are gathering.
Alex Amigo
Toronto


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Israel’s public relations

Bravo to Murray Teitel for his spot-on article “Reversing the Israeli public relations disaster” (Oct. 10). I cringe at every Israeli public relations attempt, when some spokesperson humbly articulates reasons why Jews should not be killed, while Israel’s enemies howl indignantly. Teitel puts it out there that fire is best fought with fire in the public relations arena, as Israel is getting burned. His article supporting the notion that the Israeli government should get over its arrogance and learn how to turn public relations into a useful tool, by responding to Israel’s critics with a verbal attack, will make all of our roles in the Diaspora easier in supporting Israel socially, politically and financially.
Ron Factor
Toronto


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Free Jonathan Pollard

Now that Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit has been freed after being kidnapped and held for five years by Hamas, albeit for a heavy price, Israel can devote its attention toward obtaining the release of another long-imprisoned and almost-forgotten Israeli, Jonathan Pollard. Pollard is the Jewish-American, U.S. Navy civilian analyst who has already served 26 years of an unprecedented life sentence behind bars in the United States for spying. Israel should now do its utmost in beseeching U.S. President Barack Obama, on compassionate grounds, to either pardon Pollard and/or commute his life sentence to time already served.
Ralph Schleichkorn
Montreal


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Peace camp

In the summer of 2010, I went to a camp called Kids 4 Peace in Toronto. The camp included 12 kids from Israel and 12 kids from Canada – four Jewish, four Christian and four Muslim from each country. During the 10 days of the camp, we went on trips to a synagogue, a church and a mosque, and we learned about one another’s cultures. I’ve grown up in the Jewish community, and I attend Jewish day school and go to synagogue weekly. Most of my friends are Jewish. Before Kids 4 Peace, I had never met or talked to a Muslim and was in favour of peace, but I still thought of Muslims differently than I would someone Christian or Jewish.  
You may say that your child knows all about many different cultures, but do they really? Have they ever spoken to someone who is Muslim or Hindu? In school, do they learn about the minority that are terrorists, or the innocent civilians? I most certainly hadn’t. During my time at camp, I made the most incredible friendships. It was a camp experience I will never forget.  
Now that Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit has finally been released, it is even more important to remember that although there are many terrorists, there are still many civilians who are looked on as terrorists because of their background. I wanted to get the message out there, because peace is not just a fantasy. It is real, but it will never happen if we don’t try. Kids 4 Peace was my wake-up call.
Danya Baird
Markham, Ont.
Age 13


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Fighting antisemitism in Montreal

As a pro-Israel counter-demonstrator on St-Denis Street, I was revolted by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) Luciano Del Negro’s remarks stating that the counter-demonstrations serve no purpose and may cause harm to Naot and neighbouring stores (“Burka-clad protesters offer pro-Israel message,” Nov. 3). It shows a misunderstanding of the situation, or angelic naiveté. Le Plateau is Quebec’s most virulent pro-Palestinian area, and the anti-Israel/anti-Jewish Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) demonstrators would love if counter-demonstrations stopped!
CIJA claimed victory for the fact that PAJU stopped demonstrating at Le Marcheur. Wrong. The owners of the store, Yves Archambault and Ginette Auger, deserve the credit, as they stood up against the PAJU thugs along with Les Amis québécois d’Israël. The PAJU demonstrators have been harassing the Naot store for months, as their actions against Le Marcheur brought them trouble from politicians and journalists. Ironically, Le Marcheur owners have joined the ranks of Les Amis québécois d’Israël to protect Naot clients and staff from harassment. How can a Jewish advocacy group promote a laissez-faire strategy when thugs are promoting the economic boycott of Israeli goods?
Even a trio of burka-clad individuals with ironic messages remains a smarter strategy than abandoning the street to antisemitic hate-mongers and believing the problem will disappear. It won’t! It is surrealistic to see non-Jewish Quebeckers fighting antisemitism in Montreal and paying for their flyers out of their own pockets while our “official” community defenders advocate not doing anything.
Nicole Allio
Montreal


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Peace camp

In the summer of 2010, I went to a camp called Kids 4 Peace in Toronto. The camp included 12 kids from Israel and 12 kids from Canada – four Jewish, four Christian and four Muslim from each country. During the 10 days of the camp, we went on trips to a synagogue, a church and a mosque, and we learned about one another’s cultures. I’ve grown up in the Jewish community, and I attend Jewish day school and go to synagogue weekly. Most of my friends are Jewish. Before Kids 4 Peace, I had never met or talked to a Muslim and was in favour of peace, but I still thought of Muslims differently than I would someone Christian or Jewish.  
You may say that your child knows all about many different cultures, but do they really? Have they ever spoken to someone who is Muslim or Hindu? In school, do they learn about the minority that are terrorists, or the innocent civilians? I most certainly hadn’t. During my time at camp, I made the most incredible friendships. It was a camp experience I will never forget.  
Now that Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit has finally been released, it is even more important to remember that although there are many terrorists, there are still many civilians who are looked on as terrorists because of their background. I wanted to get the message out there, because peace is not just a fantasy. It is real, but it will never happen if we don’t try. Kids 4 Peace was my wake-up call.
Danya Baird
Markham, Ont.
Age 13

 

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