According to The CJN, The Canadian Council on Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) has given up trying to get accredited to Durban II, the upcoming conference that’s allegedly about human rights (“CIJA blocked from Durban II, May 8). I don’t know why they tried in the first place.
It should be clear to anyone that the United Nations has lost all understanding of what human rights are, and that its agency on the subject, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is little more than a vehicle for denouncing Israel. All western democracies and any Jewish organizations should follow the lead of Canada and have nothing to do with this upcoming travesty.
Perhaps, the well-known defenders of human rights who are organizing this event (Libya, Iran, Cuba, etc.) could invite that nice former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, as a keynote speaker. Carter could then proclaim again that if only Israel and its supporters would talk to those nice, misunderstood folks of Hamas, there would be peace in our time!
Conservative synagogues and USCJ
In ending their affiliation with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), a move that is out of step with other conservative congregations in the rest of Canada, several Toronto synagogues are isolating themselves and depriving their membership of benefiting from the vast array of services that the USCJ provides to its affiliated congregations (“Beth Emeth leaves Conservative umbrella body – follows Adath Israel in ending USCJ membership,” CJN Toronto, April 24).
While the leadership of these synagogues assert their ongoing commitment to Conservative Judaism, it is troubling that they do not feel it incumbent upon their congregations to assume their share of the responsibility of supporting, by way of dues, the very infrastructure that works on their behalf, and whose raison d’etre is to empower and enrich its affiliated congregations by ensuring that there is a strong, unified and dynamic body to represent, sustain and grow a pluralistic Conservative Judaism.
What message is the leadership of these synagogues conveying to their members, and to all of us as individuals, regarding the importance of communal responsibility, the significance of affiliation, and about the notion that one must not only receive, but also give?
Can our relationship with the bodies that maintain and ensure the continued existence of an infrastructure for Jewish life in our communities be based solely on a short-term, monetary cost-benefit formula, or rather, should it be based on a long-range vision that recognizes the value of that infrastructure and the necessity of contributing toward its sustainability, not only for the present, but for the future benefit of our children and children’s children?
President, Pacific Northwest Region
Chair, Services to Congregations
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Consul General Amir Gissin understands full well how “to help re-brand Israel on the world stage” (“Our joy is always connected to tears,” CJN, May 8). As long as Israel occupies the West Bank, illegally expands settlements, illegally builds the security barrier, kills innocent non-combatants, and creates a living hell for Palestinians under its control, no amount of mere spin-doctoring will help.
We who truly love Israel know that “positive images” will be seen once these egregious acts cease. Israel must stop double dealing, stop pretending to seek peace while travelling the same old paths of dishonour, immorality and death.