One would think after reading Bob Rae’s letter that the Liberal Party of Canada, for which he is the foreign affairs critic, has been and is a strong supporter of the State of Israel and of Jewish causes (“Israel and the Liberal Party,” CJN letters, Jan. 31). If that were the case, however, why is it that the Liberals censured Israel more than 70 per cent of the time in United Nations votes targeting the state, whereas the current Conservative government has reduced such anti-Israel voting patterns substantially? Why is it that the Liberals attended the first UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, and paid for NGOs to join this anti-Israel forum (and otherwise allowed Israel to be isolated at international forums), while the Conservative Party of Canada has refused to attend Durban II in 2009, and refused to pay NGOs to attend? Why is it that the Liberals refused to join the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Commemoration and Research while the Conservatives have? Why is it that we only hear from Liberal MPs with large Jewish constituencies, whereas with the Conservatives, their support for Israel and things Jewish are espoused by MPs with no significant Jewish constituencies and are seemingly based on principle alone? Rae, while well intentioned, seems to be electioneering, and while doing so, he is whitewashing the Liberal record.
Joseph Y. Adler
Culturally specific schools
On Jan. 29, the Toronto District School Board did what John Tory and his Progressive Conservative Party tried to do in the last provincial election. The board has agreed to fund culturally specific schools with tax dollars. It has set a dangerous precedent that is going to be exceedingly difficult to reverse.
This presents an interesting idea for the Jewish community. What would happen if parents pulled their children from the private day schools and put them back into the public system, then petitioned the school board for culturally Jewish-focused schools? Based on the board’s ill-conceived recent decision, I do not see how its members could reasonably turn down our request.
COR is kashrut authority for TO Jews
The article “Bagel Haven, Golden Chopsticks now under COR supervision,” CJN, Jan. 3) states that Bagel Haven “switched to [the Kashruth Council of Canada] COR only because they needed their business promoted.” I find that this statement leaves important issues unaddressed.
Most importantly, Rabbi Reuven Tradburks approached us in an official capacity to inquire what the COR had done wrong, as we had chosen Mehadrim Kosher over COR. During a lengthy discussion with him, we explained our point about a hashgachah that includes the entire Jewish community, as well as about issues of trust and respect among the parties. This demonstrated to us that the COR had become an open-minded organization that was looking for inclusiveness in the community.
At a later date, when we approached the COR, with the assistance of Rabbi Tradburks, we found Rabbi Yacov Felder and Rabbi Sholom Adler to be amazing to deal with, reasonable, and understanding of the issues that are important to us – while maintaining the integrity of COR. I feel that the COR has now shown that it is taking the steps to be the kashrut authority for all the Jews in Toronto. I have nothing but praise for the work of these fine rabbis. Most importantly, our relationship is one of understanding and respect as we work toward a mutual goal.
Dina Polliack, whose mother was Lida Kapulsky, believes that one of her mother’s brothers, a Kapulsky, landed in Toronto. She would very much like to know if there are any descendants of the Kapulsky family in Toronto. Please contact me if you have any information.
Games and toys wanted
Anyone interested in helping to establish a games and toys library in Jerusalem’s Gonen Junior School is welcome to bring such items to Jerusalem.The aim of the library is to assist mainly Ethiopian immigrant children, which the school has embraced.There are now 203 pupils from the ages of six to 12, and more are to follow. Volunteer Rachel Fuchs can be reached by calling 02 6240919 in order to co-ordinate drop-off if necessary.
Givat Gonen Junior School
Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric
In reference to the Canadian government’s withdrawal from the United Nations anti-racism conference in South Africa next year: those that take exception with the argument of anti-Semitism vis-a-vis anti-Israel rhetoric continually misstate the argument itself (“Canada says no to Durban II,” CJN, Jan. 31). Those who claim anti-Semitism do not say that criticism of Israeli policy is in and of itself anti-Semitic. They point out the greatly inordinate concern – obsession really – with the Jewish state. One would think that the State of Israel might perhaps be fifth or 13th on any social agenda, when it is in fact commonly the only issue. And, the state of human rights of hundreds of millions of Islamic women, as an obvious example, or the situation in Sudan’s Darfur region would be closer to the top of the list. Such issues are instead relegated to mere cultural diversity. In so much as every world ill translates back to Israel, the attitude in question is anti-Semitic because its proponents exclusively direct their indignation toward the Jewish state and in a proportion vastly outweighing its relative importance on the world stage, while seemingly oblivious to any other concern.
Response to Steinberg
In the column “Overselling peace hopes, again” (CJN, Jan. 24), Gerald Steinberg says that “Israeli settlements are the least difficult dimension of all this – once we agree on borders, there will be no settlements” CJN, Jan 24. It is truly amazing the doublespeak that is used to obfuscate the enormous obstacle the West Bank settlements have become to peace. The reality is that the settlements are making agreement on borders virtually impossible.