Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Quebec Politician Criticizes Jewish Colleague For Wearing Kippah In Parliament

MONTREAL (JTA) — A separatist Quebec legislator backtracked after criticizing a fellow parliamentarian for wearing a kippah in the legislative chamber on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

During a raucous session, Opposition leader Jean-François Lisée of the Parti-Québécois criticized David Birnbaum, the only Jewish legislator of the governing Liberal Party, for wearing the skullcap.

Lisée said doing so may have violated a rule forbidding partisan symbols in Parliament. He was responding to Quebec premier Phillippe Couillard, who had criticized Lisée for wearing his own party’s lapel pin in the legislative hall.

Lisée said allowing the kippah while banning his pin constituted a “hierarchy between some convictions and others.”

An angry Birnbaum defended his actions. “I can wear that kippah anywhere,” he said.

“To suggest that a Jewish [parliamentarian] should be forced to hide his religious identity – on Yom Hashoah, no less – is grotesque and unacceptable,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said.

On Thursday, Lisée posted a statement on Facebook conceding that Birnbaum did indeed have the right to wear the kippah, but said religious rights should not supersede others.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.