web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


B’nai Brith Canada: ‘Silence Is Not An Option’

Kupfer-110912

Some of you are looking at the title of my column and wondering two things – why I am writing about B’nai Brith Canada – arguably Canada’s version of the Anti-Defamation League and why would it be of interest to anyone who does not live in that country – as most of you don’t.

It’s because I think you will sleep slightly better at night – as I do – knowing there is an additional organization in North America whose mandate is to fight anti-Semitism – – one that is quite loud and insistent.

B’nai Brith Canada was created in 1875, making it the oldest Jewish organization in Canada. From inception, its agenda has been the promotion of human rights and battling anti-Semitism and racism. Now more than ever, their staff, who for the most part are observant Jews, takes very seriously the Biblical injunction to “watch over your soul.”

B’nai Brith Canada has repeatedly exposed the biases and prejudices of the powerful United Church of Canada. This summer the Church voted to boycott products exported from Israeli businesses in the West Bank and expressed remorse for previously asking Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.

B’nai Brith Canada has not hesitated to take legal action against the Church for its anti-Semitic rhetoric – which resulted in an apology from the Church.

The organization is meticulous in keeping an eye on Jew-hatred in all it’s manifestations, and is very vocal when it comes to supporting the State of Israel – in particular Yesha. Its Parliament Hill office connects regularly with politicians, civil servants and ambassadors, providing a strong voice on issues of concern to the community.

A decade ago, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, was the only human rights organization given intervener status by the court in the hate crime trial of David Ahenakew, a national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. In an interview he gave in December 2002, Ahenakew stated that Jews were a “disease” and that Hitler was justifiably trying to “clean up the world” when he “fried six million of those guys.” (Unlike in the US where “freedom of speech ” can to some extent, legally allow the spewing of racist remarks, Canada has made hate speech a criminal offence).

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw B’nai Brith Canada as a ferocious, tenacious dog, determinedly biting down on the ankle of a surprised and panicked thug.

Very recently, B’nai Brith was alerted that a costume store in Montreal was selling what looked like a concentration camp uniform bearing a Star of David made of yellow and red triangles. The store apparently rents costumes to theatrical groups but makes them available to the public for Halloween.

Due to the organization’s intervention, the offensive costume was removed.

There are those in the community who feel that B’nai Brith is made up of a bunch of “fear-mongers.” They insist that Jews are safe in North America; that America and Canada have a track record of being a goldeneh midina – a golden land for the Jews with incredible freedoms and rights. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that there were signs on hotels saying, “No Jews or dogs allowed.”

And there is the infamous statement allegedly made by an immigration official after WWII who insisted, in regards to Jews coming to Canada, “none are too many.”

In 1939, both countries denied entry to over 900 Jewish refugees on board the MS St Louis, who were desperately trying escape genocide in Europe. The ship was forced to return to Europe. While some countries took in handfuls of Jews, most returned to their countries, where several hundred ultimately perished in the death camps.

(B’nai Brith Canada recently published a student resource book on Canadian immigration policies of the past, present and future titled, Welcome to Canada? to educate a new generation of youngsters, many of whom are first generation Canadians, whose parents come from the four corners of the world. The story of the St. Louis is included).

Those who are confident that there will never be a return to the days when Jews were persona non grata are in extreme denial.

No one wants to dwell on unpleasant realities. It’s easier not to think about loss or death – or anti-Semitism and the potential ominous threat to you and your loved ones. Maybe you do for a few minutes during a Shoah commemoration, but allowing it to infiltrate your daily life is too hard, too stomach churning, too depressing.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “B’nai Brith Canada: ‘Silence Is Not An Option’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Ben & Jerry's new flavor: Bernie Sanders
Ben & Jerry’s Launches New Flavor: Bernie Sanders
Latest Sections Stories
Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Lewis-052215-Jewish-Soldiers-logo

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-On-Our-Own-NEW

The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.

Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/bnai-brith-canada-silence-is-not-an-option/2012/11/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: