I expected to read positive reviews of My Name Is Rachel Corrie by gullible reviewers in the mainstream Canadian press. I did not expect the same from The CJN (“Rachel Corrie a one-sided but powerful look at intifadah,” June 12). However “masterful” the production, this propaganda piece is nothing more than a blood libel, falling squarely within the time-honoured tradition that Jews kill non-Jewish children for sinister purposes. It is no accident that this play ends with an epiphany of Rachel’s fifth-grade child-hunger speech, nor that the Toronto production closes with young Rachel on a swing.
Medieval Jews were accused of kidnapping the boy William of Norwich, draining his blood and mixing it into matzah. This play accuses the Israel Defence Forces of murdering Rachel. Medieval tradition sanctified the dead child as “St. William.” Today’s dead child is transfigured as a secular angel.
The blood libel has been useful to the Arabs in modern times, with accusations by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia in 1972 (“They have a certain day on which they mix the blood of non-Jews into their bread and eat it”). The most recent is the false accusation that the Palestinian boy Mohammed al-Dura was shot by Israeli gunfire. The success of Rachel Corrie is simply one more example of the utility of this slander.
Bullying at day schools
I believe bullying is one of the biggest problems facing our Jewish day schools (“The bullied day school student,” CJN, June 5). The challenge, as always, is not only to deal with this issue, but to get our school administrators to admit there is a problem. All too often, principals and guidance counsellors blame the victim. This has made it impossible for bullied children and their parents to speak out.
Last year, I co-authored a book with Rachael Turkienicz titled My Worst Best Sleepover Party, which dealt with school bullying. The responses that have come in, including from Jewish day schools, have astounded us. Much needs to be done in our Jewish community schools and elsewhere to address these issues. The first step is, however, to shine a light on the problem and admit that it exists.
CIC reflects diversity of opinion
While we agree that Peace Now has played an important role in the public policy debate in Israel – and within the pro-Israel community here in Canada – the Canada-Israel Committee takes exception to Sheldon Gordon’s misleading assertions regarding Peace Now’s inclusion within the CIC or its Quebec affiliate, the Quebec-Israel Committee (“Peace Now made the ‘unthinkable thinkable,’” CJN, June 12).The appointments to both boards are ad persona and no organization is represented as such. That said, the CIC has always succeeded in ensuring that the widest possible range of perspectives are given a voice around the table, including those that reflect the positions advocated by Peace Now. The pro-Israel community benefits greatly from the diversity of opinion that is found within the CIC board – Jewish and non-Jewish, right wing and left, and young and old – as well as geographic and gender balance.
According to Quebec Ministry of Education statistics that were recently published in the media, Bialik High School appears to have a 5.5 per cent dropout rate among Grade 11 students. The figure is misleading and the methodology used to obtain it is irresponsible.
That this calculation was derived by including students who left JPPS-Bialik because their families moved out of the province should immediately give any thoughtful reader pause as to the overall credibility of the entire report.
JPPS-Bialik’s chief operating officer Laurence Fhima reports that he can remember only one student in five years who actually left Bialik without going to another school. As he puts it: “Students just don’t drop out of Bialik High School. End of story.”
The quality of education students receive at JPPS-Bialik is simply unmatched anywhere else in the province. JPPS-Bialik is proudly the only secondary English school in Quebec where students may take the DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française); which offers a comprehensive academic support program that is ever mindful of the needs of the individual child; is open to all Jewish students, and remains, as always, the only school in the entire province to offer a quadra-lingual curriculum.
JPPS-Bialik is a Jewish school founded and based on a pluralistic vision of Jewish continuity. Our school aims to create a model learning environment in which individuals can gain confidence necessary to become productive people within the Quebec, Canadian and global communities.
How can any Jew, or any democratically inclined individual, vote for U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama, who can be so easily swayed, causing him to do the impossible and speak through both sides of his mouth at the same time? He recently made contradictory statements for the media’s benefit in the span of only 24 hours.
For the benefit of the Jewish vote, at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington D.C., on June 4, he expressed firm support for a united Jerusalem as the continued capital of Israel and said that Israel’s security is sacrosanct and that it will continue to have secure defensible borders.
Then Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas slammed Obama for saying Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital. The next day, on June 5, Obama sang a different tune to placate the pro-Palestinian vote. He backtracked, saying that the parties will have to negotiate Jerusalem.
I ask: how will he feel about the secure defensible borders of Israel if he does become the president of the United States? Will he backtrack again so easily?
Supports Israel’s talks with Syria
I read with interest the editorial “Shocked and wary” (CJN, May 29), which is subtly, if not explicitly, critical of the Israeli government’s peace talks with Syria, on the basis of returning the Golan Heights. The Israeli peace camp, security establishment and most of the international community – but not the United States – back this move. Whether or not it is a distraction from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s legal difficulties, it may well bring tangible gains toward a stable region.
This diplomatic activity is happening quite against the will of the United States. In fact, many analysts have pointed out that U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent chutzpadik words about appeasement while speaking before the Knesset were not simply aimed at U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, but at Israeli policy. It is puzzling, and ironic then, that the same folks who label criticism of Israel’s hawkish policies as irresponsible, if not anti-Semitic, or “self-hating,” are glad to be critical of a move that may well deprive the region of a significant source of tension. Perhaps the Golan is more important than a regional entente to this crowd. To boot, Olmert has the support of much of the Israeli security establishment, according to Ha’aretz, and if he doesn’t have the support of the majority of the population, neither do many leaders who make tough decisions.
As a longtime critic of Israel, I am surprised I am defending Israeli policy from allegedly “pro-Israel” voices.
Come and see Israel for yourself!
Almost 10 years ago I made aliyah to Israel. I invite you to come visit the Land of Israel and discover our Jewish state for yourself. You will be amazed, dazzled and walk away with a new appreciation of the facts and be able to see through the myths being perpetrated by the CBC and Canadian media.