Peril In Canada: Defend the Institute – CIJA Needs to Back CIJR yesterday (Updated II: Hecht Responds)

Federation in Canada is attacking the institute of all places!?

Israel advocacy in Canada has four letters as far as I am concerned, CIJR.

I read this in JPOST today in shock that the institute, the venerable CIJR run for decades now by Professor Krantz is being marginalized by the political nitwits in the Canadian Jewish community. Federation is very good at raising & spending money, this I already know.. It is also not so good at Israel advocacy or turning out little Zionists, in fact it is piss poor at that on its best day. That all important mission has historically fallen to more passionate places & people like Professor Krantz, who is a beacon and mentor to a great many, myself included and of course the highly regarded Jewish community day schools.

This think tank is on steroids!

Without luminaries such as Krantz and the think tank, there would be no Hashmonean, because I started my own writing over 15 years ago at Dateline Middle East, the student publication that originated at the Institute from before the days of the big bad internet even. Other far greater CIJR products than myself come to mind, Hillel Neuer, now infamous for taking on the United Nations itself at UNWATCH - I had the pleasure of writing and honing my Zionist teeth with him at the Institute under Krantz.. Not enough? Perhaps CK the man behind Jewlicious, who also is cut from the same fine cloth of CIJR & Montreal based advocacy with years of devotion to the cause under his belt.. There are dozens and dozens more passionate effective advocates for Israel out of the Institute’s think tank.

I am alarmed that strong voices like the Canada Israel Committee which has historically been a solid supporter of CIJR is now apparently pressured to prop up politically correct watered down forms of advocacy in Canada. This is a sure road to nowhere, when the suits come in with their PR glitz and salaries one thing is lost for sure, grassroots Zionism which in reality is the only effective kind. 

CIJA is a foreign entity to me, its creation is beyond my own tenure in the old lush zionist fields of Canada, but if this is the state of affairs, then the state of affairs for the good of Israel, Canada, and the Canada Israel relationship needs to change.

Restore CIJR’s funding, or wake up 10 years later to find that Canada Israel advocacy is nothing more than an empty suit which bleeds Canadian Jews of their gelt with little return for all, especially Israel.

LINK: One look at the empty CIJA Website tells it all..
Shocking. Where have the millions mentioned in the article gone? The CIJR budget is and has always been tiny, the returns well beyond fiscal measure. How much money was wasted so far in 2008 by the CIJA? I’m sure they’d rather we all not know..

Is this part of the new wave of pseudo Israel advocacy like J-Street? Now it is coming to Canada too?


Update: Bill Bilek CIJR’s Original Chairman responds at JPOST

As one of the original founders of the CIJR with Prof. Kranz, and as its first Chairman, and as a former Chairman of the Quebec Region of the Canada-Israel Committee, I can attest to the strength of will, and the can-do spirit of the Canadian Jewish community. It is the leadership that, with rare exception, has failed its constituency. Over the years, a small clique of moneyed “machers” has suppressed efforts to actively support the policies of the Israeli government, when they viewed them as inconvenient, or “politically incorrect” and risking their privileged status in Canadian society.

William Bilek, m.d. – USA (09/21/2008 22:07)

Hardly a vote of confidence for the ‘money machers’ from one of the former main men, I look forward to the canned press release from CIJA stating.. nothing at all likely. Wouldn’t it be something to see them openly & publicly challenge Canadian Israel advocates with decades of service, while they seemingly cannot challenge public opinion in Canada from those with a less than stellar message about Israel because it may not be ‘politically correct’?

It is ‘Self Serve’ these days I guess

You would think that a more friendly Harper govt would in essence make the advocacy market smoother in Canada, and CIJR even more welcome, as opposed to rougher. But take a guess which side of the aisle the ‘blackballers’ stand on, left you say? Shocka!! I’m basking in the North American bi-partisan Israel love lately..

There are a few more Canadian heavy hitters that are CIJR supporters, even if they don’t sound off publicly one would hope they can put the screws on privately at least, if not for the Institute than at least for Canadian Israel advocacy’s sake. Until then I’m sorry ‘our shitty little country‘ and some of its strongest advocates are embarrassing some well to do Canadians so.

Update II: Oh yeah - Canadian heavy hitter & Israel advocate Thomas Hecht responds..

“We are existentially threatened by the malice of the wicked enhanced by the hesitation and weakness of the allegedly virtuous” W.Churchill 1938; When describing the threat by Hitler to our civilization , equally relevant today !!

Congratulations Mr. Leibler and best wishes,
Thomas O. Hecht former Chairman Canada Israel Committee-Quebec Region and former President of UIA and the Israel Bond Organization in Canada.
Thomas O. Hecht – Canada (09/22/2008 23:03)

When some of the biggest names in passionate Canadian Israel advocacy of the last decade agree there is a problem, it would appear there is indeed a serious problem, just saying..

  • None of this is surprising me as I was predicting that’s how things would start going eventually years ago (and of course was immediately dismissed as too pessimistic). I know little to nothing about Canadian Jewish community, but I do know enough about U.S. Jews to say, that the Jewish leadership could do a much better job of bridging the divides between the Orthodox and the secular/Reform communities, the U.S. born Jews and the recent immigrants (who are only just now becoming more active in major American Jewish organizations, and mostly through individual case-by-case initiative rather than any organized outreach), conservatives and liberals, etc, etc. We are own worst enemies, because the disunity that appears in the papers, and the farcical interorganizational feuds only serve to ridicule us in the eyes of the rest of the country, and confirm some of the worst stereotypes about us. From your article, I see that it’s no different in Canada. Obviously, not everybody can be expected to have the courage of a few strong-willed individuals who take the vanguard, but by now Jews should at least learn the basics of what constitutes their own interests. :(

  • Canada’s smaller community benefits from a select group of top tier Jewish philanthropists that are very generous, they hold a great deal of sway over issues by virtue of that fact. One would hope that they also see the virtue of maintaining an ever growing crop of young actively involved Jewish canadians, something CIJR has excelled at over the years in developing.

    Professionals at PR only go so far, and developing new young Canadian passionate Zionists is not their strength. A strong vibrant community needs more than professional advertising campaigns to survive in the long term.

  • neil

    1) political correctness;
    2) misuses of the media as evidenced by: the media’s partiality and blatant interference in the outcome of elections; the continuous reporting of unproven theories as scientific fact; the overwhelming media support of a massive transfer of wealth to failed corporations and their rich executives who are being rewarded for their inability to manage the risk they assumed;
    and 3) any community, especially when it is controlled by a select few… 

    Are all devices used to control and turn human beings into sheep.  Kevakarat roeh edroh maavir tzono tachat shivto.

    Shana shel simcha, tova, ve chalcalah to all the free-thinkers in this world whatever be their ethnicity, creed, gender, orientation, age,  etc…  Happy to have met 2 such free-thinkers (Neuer and saus).