Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper trumpets his unswerving support of Israel. Could the Conservative’s stand cement Jewish support in the looming national election — and why is politics so different north of the border?
While Israel’s had a bumpy ride with the U.S., things have never been chummier with Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is close friends with Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Canadian Jewish Congress, which has functioned as Canadian Jewry’s primary advocacy group since 1919, is being merged into a larger super-agency that is expected to put greater emphasis on Israel advocacy.
Canadian Jews, long loyal to the country?s Liberal Party, are the new swing vote in the election for a closely divided parliament. A mass mailing by the Conservative Party to Jewish districts in major cities charges the Liberals are undermining Israel. It may be working, say experts.
York University, Canada’s third-largest college campus, used to be known fondly as Jew U because of the relatively high proportion of Jews among its students, faculty and donors. Lately, however, the suburban campus has lost some of its haimish atmosphere because of a series of incidents in which Israel has been harshly criticized.
The imprisonment of a Canadian Jewish businessman in India has become a surprising cause celebre for the leaders of Montreal’s Jewish community.
This past week, as Toronto struggled with its first major snowstorm of the winter, Ve’ahavta, Canada’s Jewish humanitarian and relief organization, took to the streets to comfort and feed the homeless. A van staffed by Jewish volunteers from the affluent suburbs made its way through the downtown core, distributing blankets, clothing and food.
One of Canada’s foremost Jewish advocacy organizations is being shaken by an internal rebellion of members who say that the organization lacks “responsible governance.” A group calling itself Concerned Members of B’nai Brith Canada is challenging B’nai Brith Canada, a 132-year old service organization. The group of dissenters says that its members include four past presidents. The rebels have declined to reveal their identities, claiming they would face summary expulsion from B’nai Brith.
In a case that has rocked one of North America’s largest Conservative synagogues, a woman who was taking singing lessons from an area rabbi is claiming that the rabbi seduced her. She is seeking a total of more than $1 million in damages from both him and the synagogue he once served.
The 90,000-strong Montreal Jewish community, long a dependable source of votes and cash for Quebec’s ruling Liberal Party, is suddenly putting its political allegiance up for grabs.