Canada’s mainstream Jewish advocacy groups came together last week for an event celebrating diversity in the Jewish community.
The guest of honour at the pre-Purim celebration – held in a tent in the open field where Toronto’s late, lamented Bathurst Jewish Community Centre used to stand – was Stephen Harper. It was the former Conservative prime minister’s first public appearance since a sighting at Tim Hortons in suburban Calgary, where he reportedly held up a long line with a speech pledging to stand with Israel through fire and water.
But while Harper was ostensibly the man of the hour, the current prime minister, Justin Trudeau, did not receive such a warm welcome.
“The long, intimate hug that Trudeau shared with U.S. President Barack Obama on his recent state visit to Washington, D.C., is proof that Trudeau is a danger, like Haman,” said Ravi Benhihi, president of the recently renamed Friends of the Hollywood Center for Holocaust Research and Education.
“The holiday of Purim teaches us that we need to be on the lookout for enemies of the Jewish People at all times, and this latest act strongly suggests that Trudeau is a character straight out of the Megillah.”
He added: “As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained, very indirectly, in his 2015 speech to the U.S. Congress, Barack Obama is an enemy of Israel, and therefore of the Jewish People.
“So the fact Trudeau pals around with him is prima facie evidence of the prime minister’s evil nature.”
“I hope that logic isn’t too hard to follow,” he added.
Mere minutes after Benhihi’s remarks to reporters, Jonathan Lessthan, former CEO of the Sons of the Covenant Canada, which declared bankruptcy the day before the event, went one step further in smearing Trudeau.
“Justin Trudeau is the reincarnation of Haman, only with much better hair,” Lessthan said in a statement sent out from his organization’s last remaining computer, a 2003 Compaq Presario laptop.
Other more moderate voices at the dinner took issue with the characterization of Trudeau as a modern-day Amalekite.
“Unlike his exalted predecessor, the much-beloved Stephen Harper, Trudeau seems to be walking around with blinders on when it comes to threats facing Israel and the Jewish People, but he doesn’t appear to harbour any actual malice himself,” said Shloime Kugel, CEO of the Centre for Israeli Stuff and Study (CISS), striking a conciliatory tone in a hastily prepared back-of-a-napkin statement couched in modifiers and hedge-words.
“Trudeau appears to be a blank slate, or an empty vessel into which – or onto which, if you prefer the blank slate metaphor – people can splash their greatest hopes or darkest fantasies and fears.”
Meanwhile, recently elected Liberal MP Vittorio Denmother vigorously denied that his boss is a raging anti-Semite.
“Did no one listen during the election campaign to his denunciations of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement? Did no one hear him say that Canada is a staunch ally of Israel? Did anyone notice that we voted with Israel at the United Nations earlier this year? Is anyone even listening to me?” he asked rhetorically, staring at his shoes.
“Look, I may not be Irwin Cotler, but… never mind. I’m not Irwin Cotler. No one can be Irwin Cotler except Irwin Cotler. Let’s just leave it at that.”
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, sitting alone at his table, added, “Did I mention that my wife is Jewish?”
He added, “Hey, do any of you guys know if she’s coming tonight, by the way?”
Reached by phone at an interfaith dinner it organized on the same night, a representative of the left-wing Zionist group JSpaced Canada wouldn’t comment on the Trudeau allegations, but said the level of political discussion in the Canadian Jewish community “has become so degraded that it’s almost enough to drive one to drink, to the point where one can’t distinguish between cursed is Harper and blessed is Trudeau – I mean, cursed is Trudeau and blessed is Harper. No, make that blessed is Haman… no – blessed is Mordechai… Oh, forget it.”
In a rare public display of unity, the right-wing League of Offensive Jews and the anti-Zionist Independent Jewish Kvetchers held a joint protest outside the big tent.
Purim Shpiel: The use of satire or humour in publishing a “fake” newspaper article, blog post, etc. Happy Purim!