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Week of Oct. 15, 2015

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Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO
Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO

CIJA’s priorities

Mira Sucharov’s column (“What really are our community’s priorities?” Oct. 1) shines important light on the diversity of policy issues and challenges facing Canadian Jewry.

As she noted, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) recently surveyed nearly 2,000 grassroots community members across the country on their priorities. The study paints a picture of an engaged, passionate, and varied community. Canadian Jewry is as concerned about universal matters of social justice, such as affordable housing for vulnerable Canadians, as we are about Jewish security and continuity, including the rising cost of Jewish education and kosher food. We are as dedicated to advancing human rights in Canada, including a ban on genetic discrimination, as we are to advocating for the right of Israelis to live in peace and defend their children.

Just as our community is not one-dimensional, our approach to advocacy must be comprehensive and ambitious. To settle for less would be to neglect the myriad of challenges before us and fail to live up to the Jewish tradition of activism across the spectrum of policy areas.

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Toronto

Mira Sucharov criticizes CIJA for discouraging Hillels from engaging Peter Beinart during his 2012 speaking tour in Canada. What she fails to mention is that Beinart is a prominent supporter of boycotts of Israelis.

While Beinart “only” wants to boycott settlements, his willingness to lend vocal support for the very same measures advocated by anti-Zionists (and anti-Semites) betrays his own reckless naivete or willful blindness.

If CIJA discouraged Hillel from hosting such a speaker, CIJA deserves applause,  not criticism, for taking a principled stand against boycotts, divestment and sanctions regarding Israel.

Ran Ukashi

Winnipeg

In support of Harper

Columnist Bernie Farber, by viewing matters through a political prism, causes harm to the fight against anti-Semitism (“Political differences are no longer unzera – between us,” Sept. 24).

Farber makes reference to “progressive Zionists who remain fully engaged with the Jewish state” but don’t like the policies of the Likud party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Does he think that the anti-Semites and ayatollahs of the world give a whit as to which political party is governing Israel?

To impugn Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s strong support of Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism as fear mongering is destructive and has no foundation.

Canadian Jews and people of good faith recognize that anti-Semitism and the unfair treatment of Israel are not driven by politics, but the banality of evil.

Regrettably, very few world leaders have spoken out so eloquently and clearly as has Stephen Harper.

Sam Mitnick

Cote St. Luc, Quebec

Support anyone but Harper

As a synagogue-affiliated, social work educator, I found Michael Taube’s column offensive (“Why Jews should vote for the Tories,” Sept. 24).

He boasts that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has moved in the right direction by dealing with “the wasteful spending on bloated social services.” So soon after Yom Kippur, and we get a Conservative party booster’s haughty glances against social services that help people who are homeless, hungry, or otherwise in despair.

Yet it’s been the Harper Conservatives who have worsened poverty and inequality in Canada, via tax cuts for corporations and for rich people, triggering cuts in public revenues, and forcing cuts in social services.

Harper’s Conservatives have failed miserably in protecting us from climate change’s looming disasters.

As a Zionist, I want Israel to thrive. Instead, Harper is further endangering Israel by supporting its misguided expansion of volatile Jewish settlements in the West Bank on Palestinian territory at the expense of Palestinians.

On Oct. 19, the Conservatives are the worst choice. Let’s vote for change.

Ben Carniol

Toronto