Fomenting anti-Semitism in Canada

To the Editor:

I was present at the Feb. 8 meeting of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism. I have been present for all the meetings of the CPCCA since the hearings began. The Feb. 8 meeting was the final scheduled hearing.

Ms. Neville is quite correct in her suggestion that the Conservative government is actually fomenting anti-Semitism. Jason Kenney, the minister of citizenship and immigration, rejected this assertion, but is it up to him to decide what may be viewed as anti-Semitic? Certainly not. Mr. Kenney is not Jewish.

There are members of the Canadian Jewish community, of course, who are Conservatives. Ms. Neville is Liberal. Her assertion is not merely political, however, for she is not the only one to suggest this of the ill-thought household mailer sent by the Conservative Party to largely Jewish mailing lists.

Mr. Kenney does not understand Ms. Neville’s allegation because Mr. Kenney has never been targeted for anything. Jews, irrespective of political affiliation, well understand what it feels like to be targets.

I have spoken to one Conservative member of Parliament — a man I admire and respect — who assures me that there are rational political motivations and honest differences of opinion. He has said, quite correctly, that the Liberal government’s behavior with respect to the first Darfur conference was shameful. I agree. Liberals point to Michael Melchior’s support for Liberal MP Irwin Cotler and further point out that the government of Canada was asked by the Israelis to stay at Darfur to bear witness.

Mr. Kenney, clearly upset by this remark, responded that the government of Canada should behave as the government of Canada and not at the behest of the government of Israel — or any other government. I agree. Canada should have left Darfur, irrespective of what Israel wanted.

Rabbi Arie Chark
The Metivta of Ottawa

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