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March 8, 2019

JNF Canada is grateful for your ongoing support.      

Recent comments by representatives of both The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai Brith condemning a survey sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) on Jewish Canadian attitudes towards Israel reflect our own concerns with IJV’s misinformation campaign about us.  Therefore, we wanted to share a short note to keep you informed.
As you may know, IJV is behind the “Stop JNF Canada” campaign.
IJV’s opposition is rooted in the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement.  According to its website, the “IJV was the first national Jewish organization to endorse the Palestinian-led BDS movement. We continue to support and defend BDS as well as to hold Canadian organizations accountable when complicit in Israeli oppression of Palestinian (sic).” 
CIJA succinctly analyzed the BDS movement, “The intent of those employing BDS language seems not to be to resolve the conflict or promote reconciliation, but rather to single out Israel… All Canada’s major political parties have unequivocally rejected this odious tactic – a clear demonstration of the fact that BDS is at odds with the Canadian consensus and outside the genuine peace movement that emphasizes fairness and mutual responsibilities.”  This position was echoed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a recent speech at Brock University where he again unambiguously condemned the BDS movement.

Rabbi David Mivasair, a long time IJV activist, often serves as IJV’s spokesperson, but media coverage for the most part fails to provide context for his views.

  • He posted on Twitter in October 2017, “Of course Zionist orgs control the Canadian govt regarding Israel and Palestine. It's true.”  Suggesting Zionist organizations have control of the Canadian government is not just ridiculous, but also supports a vile anti-Semitic trope.   
  • He tweeted about his leadership in an event in May 2018 in Vancouver — "Yizkor for Gaza — Jews in Vancouver today mourn 131 people intentionally killed recently by Israel and denounce the Canadian Israel lobby @cija for manipulating Canada's government and media.” 
  • Most recently, he shared that JNF Canada “invests tremendously in political protection.” 
  • Needless to say, these comments about money, the media and political influence are anti-Semitic canards.  

We as a community cannot tolerate anti-Semitism, even when a rabbi shares such sentiments, and it is incumbent upon all of us to combat it vigorously.  We take comfort in the fact that Canadians do not tolerate racism or bigotry in any form, which is why our opponents receive so little support from the public at large
Shimon Fogel, the CEO of CIJA, points out that, “those who seek to demonize and ultimately dismantle the Jewish State, through BDS and other toxic forms of advocacy, are becoming bolder and more aggressive.”  The attack on JNF is part of this effort. 
IJV, the BDS movement, and anti-Zionist organizations are focused on harming the State of Israel and by extension, entities associated with it. 
This is not about the JNF, this is about all Zionist efforts to build and strengthen the Jewish State.  Today, the focus is on JNF. Tomorrow it will be another Israeli focused charity or organization.  We fear that this insidious effort to harm Zionist oriented organizations will not disappear any time soon. 
We, as a community, need to be vigilant, and we will need to continue to single out these toxic campaigns for what they truly are.  We should reflect upon the words of French President Emmanuel Macron who stated recently, “Anti-Semitism is hiding itself behind anti-Zionism…anti-Zionism is one of the forms of modern anti-Semitism.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.