Menu JTA Search

Canadian Foreign Minister Addresses Zionist Convention in Montreal

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Canada is happy to continue its contingent in the United Nations Emergency Force in the Knowledge that it has an essential part in maintaining stability in the Middle East, Paul Martin, Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, declared here today.

Speaking at the Zionist Organization of Canada’s 37th annual convention, he told the 500 delegates also that it was part of Canada’s concern that there be no recourse to armed threats against the existence of Israel or any state in the area.

He criticized the appearance on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s television network Sunday night of George Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi party. He told the delegates that he had been more shocked probably than even members of the Jewish faith by the 12-minute filmed interview with Rockwell. He reiterated Canada’s determination to assure that all segments of the people, regardless of language, race or religion, had the opportunity to make a distinctive contribution to a greater Canadian community.

Discussing Canadian-Israeli relations, the Minister said that Israel was now Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East, a development stemming from the “impressive pace” of Israel’s economic development.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the delegates protested Rockwell’s appearance. Protesting to Alphonse Onimet, CBC president, the delegates said “we protest in the strongest terms the shocking spectacle of CBC providing a national platform for a man dedicated to disseminating hatred.” The resolution urged Canadian authorities not to permit again “such flagrant disregard of the sensibilities of Canadians.”

DR. GOLDMANN STRESSES DANGER OF ASSIMILATION AMONG JEWS

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, World Zionist Organization president, told the delegates at the opening session that the consciousness of Jewish unity was “endangered” by a tendency of many Jewish communities toward a new kind of Jewish isolationism or separatist tendencies. He said that the danger of disintegration and assimilation of the Jewish people, especially of the younger generation, was greater today than in any period of history and represented the main threat to Jewish survival.

“The lessening of external immediate dangers to Jewish existence on the one hand, and the wealth of the Jewish communities with the resulting abundance of various organizations which feel they do not need cooperation with other Jewish bodies, on the other, strengthens this tendency of isolationism and separatism,” he said.

“But stronger than all this is the fact that with the full political emancipation of the Jewish communities all over the world, with their growing wealth, the lessening of brutal anti-Semitism and the disappearance of the religious basis of Jewish life for the large part of the Jewish diaspora, the danger of disintegration and assimilation–especially of the younger generation–is greater today than in any period of our history,” he asserted.

He reviewed some of the main problems to be considered at the next World Zionist Congress opening at the end of this year in Jerusalem. He said the two principal ones were to secure and strengthen Israel and assure Jewish survival in countries outside of Israel.

Gershon Avner, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, told the delegates that the Middle East situation was still uneasy and that Israel continued to experience “unrelenting hostility from its neighbors.” He said the Arabs had been deterred from attack only because of Israeli military strength which was costly. He added that the Israeli defense budget “per capita is one of the heaviest in the world.” Another of Israel’s current problems, the ambassador told the convention, was a “worrying education gap” among recent immigrants to Israel.

NEXT STORY