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North America

  • In Dialogue Group, Jews and Arabs in Canada Eat, and Talk About Peace

    It was a shouting match that motivated an Arab man in Canada to establish a quieter venue to discuss Arab-Jewish issues. Qais Ghanem, a Yemeni-born professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, got the idea for Potlucks for Peace after he’d been to a panel discussion on the Middle East. The participants were members… More ▸

  • Aboriginal Leader’s Hate Speech Trial Focuses Canada’s Attention on Issue

    As a verdict is awaited in the high-profile trial of a former Canadian aboriginal leader accused of making anti-Semitic comments, Canadian human-rights activists, legal experts and civil libertarians are debating the efficacy of criminally prosecuting hateful speech. David Ahenakew, a former head of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada’s most influential native-rights group, made headlines… More ▸

  • Cotler Tries to Deflect the Praise As Canada Moves Against Racism

    Since he was appointed justice minister and attorney general in December 2003, human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler has shown he’s not afraid to tackle challenging or controversial issues. Cotler, who had been a parliamentarian from Montreal, has fought to make legalization of same-sex civil marriage one of the key legislative goals of the Liberal government,… More ▸

  • Toronto’s ‘israel Apartheid Week’ Draws Few People, but Gets Headlines

    A controversial series of Israel-bashing lectures at the University of Toronto may not have attracted many people, but it did manage to attract widespread media coverage that included a tickertape headline on CNN. Sponsored by the university’s Arab Student Collective, “Israel Apartheid Week” was “a cheap, misleading propaganda exercise detached from reality,” Israeli Ambassador Alan… More ▸

  • Canadian Jews Taking Sides As Same-sex Marriage Bill Introduced

    Rabbi David Mivasair of Congregation Ahavat Olam in Vancouver has performed marriage ceremonies for several same-sex couples — provided that both are Jewish. “If one is not Jewish, I don’t do it,” Mivasair said. “I don’t officiate at intermarriages.” But Rabbi David Novak, a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Toronto, believes same-sex… More ▸

  • Decision to Allow Al-jazeera into Canada Divides Jews

    Canadian Jewish officials have mixed feelings about a precedent-setting ruling by Canada’s telecommunications regulator that would allow cable distributors to import Al-Jazeera — provided they expunge any objectionable content. According to Frank Dimant, executive vice president of B’nai Brith Canada, allowing the Arabic-language news station into Canada in any form would open a “Pandora’s box… More ▸