JDL stands up for Jews
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Bernie Farber have missed the point entirely (“Is the JDL filling a void in street-level Jewish activism,” Aug. 21). At this critical stage in Israel’s fight for survival, it is imperative that they stop interfering with other pro-Israel advocacy approaches. It is shameful that they have chosen to paint the Jewish Defence League (JDL) as an extreme right-wing fringe group in order to promote their own views when so many of us who have marched with the JDL over the years can attest that there is no finer or more dedicated group of people.
What we see happening on the streets is a microcosmic snapshot of the Arab-Israeli war. We all understand that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) must respond to Hamas, so why is it so difficult for us to understand that the Jewish community here must also respond to those who fight to destroy us? Thank God the JDL stands up for us because to do nothing is to demonstrate weakness, and weakness emboldens this horrendous evil.
Are the reports that we read daily not enough to convince even the most liberal among us that political correctness, appeasement and giving our land away for a peace that will never come are not working? Jews have had enough and want to confront this evil by demonstrating strength, and the JDL answers this need.
What’s going on with the JCC?
It has been almost five years since we Bathurst Jewish Community Centre (BJCC) members were forced to seek other places to congregate and work out since the BJCC building was torn down, and ultimately the Sherman Campus was put on hold. There is only about $30,000 of grass covering what used to be our beloved “Y,” and many controversial rumours about what is happening seem to be clouded with inaccurate facts. We, former health club and general members, retirees, and Holocaust survivors are entitled to a full explanation as to what led up to this awful result.
CIJA silences Jewish voices
Janice Arnold’s online article “Anti-Israel protesters gain entry to federation building,”(cjnews.com) repeats an intentionally misleading press release about us.
CIJA claims we were there to “incite hatred against Jews in Quebec” but in fact we are Jews committed to confronting anti-Semitism where it exists. Accusations of anti-Semitism are consistently employed by CIJA/CJA in this cynical manner to silence criticism of Israel. In the process, those of us who oppose the State of Israel are made to disappear as Jewish people. Worse, by making these kind of claims, CIJA/CJA are undermining those working to uproot real forms of anti-Semitism.
CIJA refuses to acknowledge that we are Jews because its aggressive politics on Palestine and its efforts to control the discourse of the Jewish community require that all criticism of Israel originates from anti-Semites. For that reason, anti-Zionist Jews are an inconvenient fact. By refusing to acknowledge our existence as an organized group of Jewish people, CIJA/CJA is continuing their campaign of intimidation within the Jewish community, silencing all dissent on the issue of colonialism in Palestine.
David Zinman and Sam Bick
Angry at Adam Goldenberg
Adam Goldenberg, in an emotional column (“On Gaza, there are many reasons I’m angry,” Aug.14), lets us know that he is angry with many things about the Gaza War, but in particular with the death of Gaza’s children. He “can’t stop thinking about them, he can’t stop being angry about them.”
I, too, am angry. I am angry about the loss of 63 Jewish heroes (at the time of this writing) who gave their lives so that more children, both Israeli and Palestinian would not lose theirs.
I am angry that Goldenberg casts doubts about “Israel’s claim that it does as much as it can to reduce civilian casualties.”
I am angry when decent people make allegations that undermine Israel’s fight for existence against an implacable foe and by doing so add argument to the vicious propaganda campaign of the enemies of the Jewish people.
Cote St. Luc, Que.
Where is Toronto’s library?
When I read the article, “First Fruits- the jewel in the Montreal library’s crown” (July 31), I was filled with sadness and envy. For the second time in a few months, you have celebrated the Montreal Jewish Public Library in The CJN. In Toronto, however, our Jewish public library has disappeared.
If you search for the Toronto Jewish Public Library on the Internet, you will find a glowing description of the Albert and Temmy Latner Library with its excellent collection of 50,000 books. But if you go to 4600 Bathurst St., where the library is said to be, you will find instead the Anita Ekstein Holocaust Resource Library, a much smaller library with only one focus. Twice over the past four years, I have asked the librarian what happened to library that used to be here. Both times I have been told the same story. The Jewish Public Library was dismantled. There is some plan for a new library, but no one knows anything about it. The books are all packed away, somewhere.
Wikipedia says that our library was founded in 1941 by bookseller Ben Zion Hyman. I have vivid memories of going with my mother to visit her friend Mr. Hyman, as I knew him, as much to chat as to pick up a new book to read. Remembering Mr. Hyman’s love of books and knowing that he started this library makes its disappearance even sadder and more shocking. Many of the books in this collection are probably of historical interest in themselves as well as for their contents. And yet, for years, they have been hidden away, perhaps not even being properly cared for.
How and by whom was the decision to dismantle this library made? I am not in any way suggesting that learning about the Holocaust is not important. But I am asking why we in the Jewish community and in Toronto at large have been denied access to a wider collection of books of Jewish interest that clearly belongs to all of us. Who decided that we only need to read about the Holocaust and that books on any other topic of Jewish interest can just be stashed away?
To allow a collection of 50,000 books to languish in some limbo with no end is sight is nothing short of tragic. But the saddest thing of all is that no one in Toronto seems to care.
Taube misses the point
Michael Taube has presented a classic straw man argument and has missed the point yet again (“Trudeau and the Liberals are pandering to Jews,” Aug. 14).
He suggests that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are “pandering” to Jews in order to secure political and financial support. (Is he actually criticizing the Liberals for supporting Israel?) His implication is that by supporting Israel, the Liberals will attract Jewish support. However, in the same breath, he argues that only “a few Jews support the Tories because of Israel.” He has the audacity to suggest that the real reason that “the vast majority have shifted” is because they support small “c” conservative ideas.
This defies logic and is simply not plausible.
First, how can he suggest that for the Liberals, Jewish support is contingent on their strong support for Israel (which he calls “pandering”), yet when it comes to the Conservatives, to the extent they have Jewish support, it is based on their “small ‘c’” policies and not to their support for Israel?
Second, other than the Tories’ support for Israel, he neither presents any evidence nor provides any examples of Conservative policies that are different from those of previous iterations of the party. In other words, nothing else has changed, yet he says Jewish support has shifted. If the only change has been their support of Israel, then what other factor would lead to what he says has been such a drastic shift in support?
All parties should stand in support of Israel, especially given the facts in the current crisis in the Middle East. The Liberals have strongly supported Israel, but this has been missed because writers like Taube choose to misconstrue the facts.
Leigh A. Lampert
Jews for Judaism
I am a Holocaust survivor living in Toronto. Among my close friends and acquaintances are practising Christians. They are real friends of Israel (“Jews for Judaism criticizes B’nai Brith ad,” Aug. 14).
Never in my life has any of them suggested or even tried to suggest a conversion to their faith. They are real friends, and we should be grateful to them.
Journal loses credibility
Thousands of academic physicians throughout the world have signed petitions to the journal’s publisher, Elsevier, demanding his replacement, not because of his political position, but because his choice of articles and letters for publication breaches many of the rules and standards for scientific literature.
Authors must declare any conflicts of interest. Arguments must be backed up with verifiable data, sources cited and the articles be reviewed by impartial peers. By failing to maintain such standards in pursuit of a political agenda, the editor has damaged the credibility of the journal and the trust its professional readers must have in its scientific veracity.
Doctors Against Racism and Anti-Semitism
Jews for Judaism
In my article concerning a Roma family, the Pusumas, who are attempting to gain refugee status in Canada, I stated that the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs’ primary focus must be on the welfare of the Jewish community, with emphasis on Israel and anti-Semitism (“CIJA must choose its battles carefully,” July 24).
Few would argue that this objective is not a challenging one requiring all available resources. While Maureen Silcoff’s letter finds this “troubling”(“CIJA needs a broader view,” Aug. 7), I find the nature and level of the difficulties we face in this regard across Canada far more troubling, and believe most community members would support CIJA’s focus on this core mandate. This does not prevent Jews from taking action in the spirit of tikkun olam, as has been the case with many good people from our community rallying in support of the Pusuma family.
I was also surprised by Silcoff’s assertion that there are no mobility rights in the European Union. She states that migrating citizens cannot remain more than three months in another EU country unless they are self-supporting or employed, but neglects another important category which entitles one to remain: actively seeking employment. In fact, the EU directive which deals with this issue, Directive 2004/38/EC of April 29, 2004 also requires that due consideration be given in each case, even where none of these conditions are met.
Different countries of the EU have implemented this directive in different ways and to different extents. (Go here for the status of implementation as of 2008.)
In its ruling on the Pusuma case, the Federal Court noted evidence that state protection was available in Hungary, but Silcoff rejects the notion that Hungary is invested in improving the situation for the Roma. Here are two programs that suggest otherwise: the Decade of Roma Inclusion, and the EU-backed National Roma Integration Strategy.
Members of the Jewish community will no doubt be involved in working to right perceived wrongs of various kinds, but I hope CIJA itself will not divert significant resources to this area given other challenges that are increasingly and more acutely impacting Jewish Canadians and the Jewish people worldwide.