Popular Articles

Any attempts to recognize the impacts of the Holocaust and antisemitism are half-hearted, without support for the State of Israel

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses voters in Winnipeg on Sept 19, 2019, the day after old blackface photos emerged in Time Magazine (Photo: Marty Gold)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

This story was received by TheJ.ca on November 25, 2020.

The multicultural mosaic of Canadian society is a critical pillar that makes our country unique. It adds to the vibrancy and richness of the fabric of our great nation. However, it also results in ongoing complexity as communities navigate their relationship with each other and with the federal government.

In considering our community, I think it is first important to recognize that the Jewish community, like other ethnocultural communities, is not monolithic. To assume so would be to take a reductionist perspective. The pursuit of unity of purpose, despite disparity of opinion, is a lofty, yet laudable, objective. 

Recently, on November 25, 2020, the Trudeau Government announced the creation of the Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism. PM Trudeau appointed the Hon. Irwin Cotler to lead the Envoy’s efforts. Based on Professor Cotler’s impressive body of work in law, academia, and politics, I would argue that he is an excellent, unifying choice. I want to fully acknowledge the importance of this announcement.

However, I cannot help but be troubled by this announcement’s timing. You see, news of the Envoy comes in the shadow of a jarring change in Canadian foreign policy at the United Nations.

Each year, the UN General Assembly considers a similar series of motions related to Israel, which often serve to single out Israel, apply an unfair double-standard in assessing its policies, or worse. One such resolution, which Canada voted for, affirms Palestinian self-determination, without reference to the same rights for Israelis, and defies Jewish connections to Jerusalem, including the Western Wall. 

Two weeks ago, for the second year in a row, the Canadian government voted against Israel on certain key resolutions, while supporting Israel on others. This is a break from 15 years of Canadian foreign policy, which refused to support UN motions that singled out Israel, and which the Trudeau government upheld during its first term.

Many community members feel betrayed by this policy reversal, since Liberal candidates in the last election promised to keep with this long standing government policy. 

At this juncture, it is appropriate to consider where the Jewish community’s relationship stands with the federal government. On the one hand, the Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism is good news. On the other hand, some view this gesture as a cynical attempt to regain Jewish community trust, after strong disappointment with Canada’s UN vote reversal, from a broad coalition of the Jewish community.  

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

To navigate this relationship going forward, I think that it’s important for us to own our end of the partnership. 

First, I would argue that based on Jewish history, including the Holocaust, it is difficult for our community to be fully trusting of government actions, especially after that trust is tarnished. I am hopeful that through this Envoy, more Canadians will become aware of key aspects of Jewish history and that governments will become more sensitive to the caution  inherent in our trust. ​

It is also important that our community be empowered and know our worth. We are worth simultaneously having our past recognized, and our future protected. Grassroots community members deserve greater opportunities for direct engagement with government officials, as a complement to the commendable advocacy work that many organizations engage in on behalf of our community as a whole. We should feel supported unreservedly, without grounds for doubt in the government’s intentions. 

Finally, it is important to remind ourselves of the inextricable link between the Holocaust, antisemitism, and the modern State of Israel. Israel’s founding and continued vitality represents a safe haven for Jews around the world. Therefore, any attempts to recognize the impacts of the Holocaust and antisemitism are half-hearted, without support for the State of Israel. This is the message that we should continue to convey to our elected officials and to our neighbours.

In sum, the Jewish community’s relationship with the Government of Canada is both complex and critical, and vice versa. Despite challenges, we must not walk away, and we trust that our partners likewise engage in good faith. Let’s continue striving for better.  

Zachary Zarnett-Klein is a York University student in Toronto who also teaches at a Jewish school. He has previous experience as a constituency assistant in the Ontario legislature and with CJPAC.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Previous
Next