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Counter-productive newspaper ad results in calls to include grassroots activists and stand up to antisemites

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William Narvey told the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg that the Nakba Day rally on May 15 is part of a pattern where Federation avoids “challenging the Jew-Israel haters directly in print or by public rallies and invariably their activism is almost always seen as inadequate, weak or totally ineffective.” (Photo: TheLine YouTube)

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A retired Winnipeg lawyer is urging Jewish residents to email or otherwise contact the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, after the weak and confused messaging of a newspaper ad was met with disdain by very senior long-time community leaders.

In what turned into a series of informational emails, Bill Narvey first voiced his concerns on May 26, in an email to Elaine Goldstine (CEO), Joel Lazer (President), and Adam Levy (Communications and Public Relations Director). It was copied to the founder of the Israeli Canadian council, Ron East, who is publisher of TheJ.ca. Narvey also blind-copied a substantial regular following he has of his email discourses on antisemitism and Zionism.

Narvey zoned in first on a full page ad the previous Saturday signed by Federation and 2 dozen community organizations.

“You failed to explicitly say it was Hamas and Islamic Jihad that started and continued this war… Of far more concern, is your first sentence “Over eleven days, our community watched with great concern as violence consumed Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

After listing off a few of the anti-Israel and antisemitic radical activists like the BDS movement who seize on such language, Narvey pointedly stated:

“Your using the phrase “Palestinian territories” in your Winnipeg Free Press ad is an outright concessionary gift of credibility to all the aforesaid anti-Israel-antisemitic factions and organizations that accuse Israel of being in illegal occupation of Palestinian lands including East Jerusalem.” 

“Don’t be surprised if anti-Israel antisemitic organizations make a point of quoting your words back at you.”

As Narvey learned from individuals responding to his call for concerned Zionists to send “clear and firm, but civil, polite and respectful” emails to Federation demanding it change their approach, he was not alone in his critical viewpoint. But what he learned from one prominent contact re-ignited the ad controversy.

Federation officials were warned not to do it.

Although Adam Levy had already contacted Narvey to arrange a meeting to discuss his initial commentary, two days later Narvey revisited the issues to his mailing list, and specifically to Levy and Goldstine, with a more substantial question.

“This is further to my letter of May 26th , 2021 below this following supplemental comment. 

I have just learned from Joe Wilder, a prominent and respected member of our Jewish community who has contributed much over many years to our Winnipeg Jewish Federation and our national  leadership for the benefit of our Winnipeg Jewish community and our Canadian Jewish community at large, that he warned you on Wednesday May 19, 2021 against using the phrase “Palestinian territories”. 

His letter that he asked me to share with you and my bcc list is as follows:

From: Joe Wilder

Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 2:22 PM

To: Joel Lazer; Elaine Goldstine

Subject: RE: A Message from Your Community Leadership

You might wish to use the term” disputed territories”. Using “Palestinian Territories” is as objectionable as “occupied territories. If you mean Gaza you should say so.

Notwithstanding Joe Wilder’s prudent advice of May 19, 2021, you went forward with your Winnipeg Free Press Saturday May 22nd , 2021 full page ad referencing “Palestinian territories”. 

WHY?”

Narvey told Federation, “I am most interested to also hear why in spite of Joe Wilder’s cautionary advice, you went ahead with your Free Press ad using the phrase “Palestinian territories”.”

In all of his correspondences, Narvey also addressed the other elephant in the room – the weak and ineffective nature of Federation’s advocacy for Israel, and the refusal of Federation officials to acknowledge the attack on pro-Israel supporters on May 15 and to support the ICC rallies.

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As an overview, Narvey explained “I have had responses from a number of you… expressing concurrence not just with my views, but your own long held frustrated dissatisfactions with our Winnipeg Jewish Federation’s Pro-Israel and Defence Against Antisemitism Advocacy/Activism. 

“To our collective frustrated dismay, our Federation’s activism is usually in the form of facebook/emailed communiques to our community that are typically cautiously politically correct inspiring few if any to speak out publicly against Jew-Israel hatred, avoiding challenging the Jew-Israel haters directly in print or by public rallies and invariably their activism is almost always seen as inadequate, weak or totally ineffective.”

Portraying an organization out of step with its donors, Narvey explained that “In spite of many in our community long sharing amongst themselves, their frustrations with the inadequacy of our Federation’s activism for Israel and against antisemitism, the Federation continues as it always has in that regard, because it simply has not been pushed and pushed hard to do better.”

There was already a backlash to a recent full page ad when it was learned Federation officials preparing the “statement on behalf of the Winnipeg Jewish community” ignored Joe Wilder’s warning that “Using “Palestinian Territories” is as objectionable as “occupied territories.” (Photo: JFW Facebook)

In that regard, he reiterated, “I also do hope you will be able to tell me that you are giving serious consideration to my call for both you and Ron East to reach out to each other to find a path forward to working out your differences and find ways to be mutually supportive when it comes to pro-Israel advocacy/activism.” 

“That activism in my view must incorporate a varied approach that includes in appropriate circumstances, taking a peaceful but very strong uncompromising unequivocal public stance in standing up to those groups and people that are not just anti-Israel, but antisemitic, to both denounce and discredit them in the eyes of all Winnipegers and Canadian citizens. Such was the case on May 15 th , 2021 when Ron East and his Israeli Canadian Council (ICC) supporters peacefully held their pro-Israel rally, but were subjected to vile and vicious antisemitic rants and violent attacks.”  

As of press time, a week after Narvey first asked the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg to mend fences and present a united pro-Israel approach, Ron East advised that he has not been contacted by anyone from Federation. Nor has he heard from B’nai Brith, which has, like East, filed hate crime complaints about the May 15 incidents but was not at the rally and has not ever spoken with ICC or the victims of the antisemitic assaults, “just like Federation”.

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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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…….

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