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North America

  • 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 ▸

  • Canadian Jews Hope Election Tally Won’t Undermine Support for Israel

    Canadian voters have reduced the Liberal government to a minority in the House of Commons, but Jewish officials remain guardedly optimistic that Prime Minister Paul Martin won’t be swayed by the anti-American and anti-Israel positions of his likely coalition partners. Some observers say Canada’s new Parliament looks a little bit like Israel’s Knesset because it’s… More ▸

  • A Shtetl Grows in Toronto: Jewish Federation Makes Own City

    Toronto’s Jewish federation has launched a building project so large that one official says it will create a Jewish mini-city. Budgeted at more than $180 million, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Tomorrow campaign, billed as the largest non-profit community development project in Canadian history, involves the construction of a massive new Jewish complex north… More ▸