Since the negative consequences of Bill C-31 have become apparent over the last month or so--for example, many refugee claimants will lose access to life-saving drugs such as insulin, and to preventive care--several Jewish organizations have expressed concerns with the law. They have been especially troubled by those sections of it relating to the prevention of illegitimate refugee claims. Designating countries like Hungary as "safe" would make it near impossible for claims from Hungarian Roma to succeed, even though the country is far from safe for this particular minority group. And due to their common experiences of persecution during the 2nd World War, the Jewish and Roma communities have often been thought to share an historical bond.
The Toronto Board of Rabbis has spoken out in an open letter to the PM. The Montreal Holocaust Centre has also gone public with its objections. Even noble Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel has stepped into the fray. But what of those groups typically seen as speaking for the Canadian Jewish diaspora as a whole?
Well, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has issued a statement that comes across as both minimalist and mush-mouthed. From the Globe article linked above:
Shimon Fogel, the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said his organization agrees with many of the changes the Conservative government has made to refugee policy and with the goal of preventing bogus claims. But, with regard to the health benefits, “we have some concerns, and we have registered some of them with the government.”
So, in other words, kiss the Roma good-by. And CIJA's other objections will apparently be whispered to the relevant government minister behind closed doors where they can be noted and then safely ignored.
B'nai Brith's position on the legislation, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. They've said nothing in the newspapers or on their website that I can find, and have not (yet) responded to the email I sent them. Perhaps, however, this story from June 26th offers a clue. In it, a human rights lawyer named David Matas is quoted at length, as he is representing a number of church groups who have challenged C-31 in court. And good on him for that. But not mentioned anywhere in the piece is the fact that Mr. Matas is senior legal counsel to B'nai Brith Canada. Now, Mr. Matas has done considerable good work outside of BB, but it nevertheless seems significant to me that in the case of Bill C-31 he has been forced to act without the imprimatur of the organization he is most closely associated with
So why the silence/near-silence from Canada's two most important Jewish organizations? Well, one can only speculate, and so I would speculate that they have already been courted by the Harper government in the form of its unrelenting support for Israel. Here, as in the case of Bill C-304, the government has asked for their silence as a quid pro quo. To me that sounds like a crummy deal, but it seems one that they have been willing to make.
Is it irresponsible to speculate? It's irresponsible not to! :D
I click on your link. *sigh*. At the top, they are having a fundraiser for FreeDominion. They mention that it is a free speech issue, doncha know!
Right underneath, they are complaining about an anti-Israeli group being allowed in the gay pride parade. They need to win some sort of an irony award here. Or is that what being a Speech Warrior is all about?
The JDL is not big on Irony.
It's interesting how there is an expectation that mainstream Jewish advocacy groups support progressive causes while rank and file progressives increasingly renounce Zionism and brand israel as an apartheid state.
So the Roma get screwed because some non-Roma allegedly said bad things about Israel? Is that the mainstream Jewish advocacy groups' strategy? Lay off or the gypsy gets it?
I don't think there is an iota of a connection between what those organizations may choose to say and what this government's policy is or will be. It isn't as if there were a condemnation that "presto" the policy would change. The only concrete thing that is real is that beacuse of the anti-Zionism of many Canadian progressives, ridings with sizable Jewish populations have left the LPC tent and formerly progrssive Jewish individuals have been incentivized to attend fundraisers you don't like. As far as I can tell that is the main consequence in Canada of IAW. Well cone!
Re-read your last three sentences. You are quite literally blithering.
Apart from the typo (well "done") I'm not sure what isn't clear. There's no connection between what a Jewish NGO says and CPC policy. Despite that, Jews have disporoprtionately rallied behind the Roma yet you focus on the lack of something official from some sort of an official organization. Have NGO's of other religions and ethnic groups done what you suggest Jewish groups ought to have done but haven't done?
More broadly I'm saying since Canadia progressives have thrown Zoist Jews under the bus, they really shouldn't demand that the Jewish community act like a loyal member of the broad liberal coalition anymore.
Zionist. I really can't type on an iPad.
I'm an old fogey who can remember back to the days when the Jewish community were the leaders on any matters to do with social justice. People like Justice Harold Dubin. Alan Borovoy, JPSalsberg, David Lewis. And even in more modern times groups like the Candian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith always walked with the little guy. What happened?
The JDL does not agree with those Rabbis.
Post a Comment