The election and the Jewish commmunity

06.26.04

Ahead of Monday’s election, several Jewish organizations in Canada have published transcripts of interviews with Paul Martin, Stephen Harper, and Jack Layton (with Gilles Duceppe to follow). They have also summarized interviews with MP candidates from each party in the Toronto and Montreal areas, and a report on a candidates meeting in Vancouver:

The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy Public Affairs Committee (CIJA-PAC), Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC), and the Quebec-Israel Committee (QIC) have conducted interviews with the party leaders and selected local candidates on a number of issues including Israel, antisemitism, terrorism and community security.

In general, I’m uncomfortable with anyone who purports to speak for an entire community. But to their credit, these groups have not so much as issued an endorsement; they have asked questions that they think might be of interest to many Canadian Jews, and posted the answers, leaving it up to readers to make up their own minds and draw their own conclusions (for the most part).

This is not going as far as the Canadian Islamic Congress, which has openly been calling on all Canadian Muslims to vote NDP – or strategically Liberal, has published such articles as the one entitled ten reasons not to vote Conservative, and has issued its now-infamous grading of Federal MPs, which seems to rank MPs mainly by their stance on Israel. I, for one, find it extremely insulting that the CIC assumes that Canadian Muslims are incapable of making up their own minds on the issues.

But whether Muslim, Jewish, or any other religion, none of us are party members in a parliament without free votes. No, we are all individual citizens, fully capable of evaluating the candidates and issues, and drawing our own conclusions. Bloc voting may sometimes work inside the House of Commons, but outside it, we are all more than just a label. Not all Jews must vote the same way, any more than all Muslims must vote the same way.

So with all those disclaimers, I’ve posted the transcripts anyway… read them and draw your own conclusions.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ikram 06.28.04 at 3:55 PM

Sari — Did you read the doc? It outlines 20 issues, of which Israel is just one. How do read that as something which

seems to rank MPs mainly by their stance on Israel?

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2 segacs 06.28.04 at 4:09 PM

Because it lists all of those as issues, but when you scroll down the list of the grades that MPs were assigned, they seem to be all over the map on all those issues. The only common thread seems to be that the ones graded “F” support a pro-Israel stance, and the ones graded “A” don’t.

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3 DaninVan 06.28.04 at 5:06 PM

Thanks for all your work Sari, that was tremendously helpful! That whole grading doc. was a keeper for future reference. Certainly pushed ME off the fence…

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4 segacs 06.28.04 at 5:40 PM

Dan, I posted the grading document as an example of how certain organizations are not giving their constitutents enough credit to be able to evaluate the issues on their own. I hope you weren’t putting too much stock into the gradings one way or the other, because a vote should be based on a wide range of issues.

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5 DaninVan 06.28.04 at 10:53 PM

Nope; been around too long for that. I only get to vote for the candidate in my riding anyway. But knowing which way the Muzzies were headed just confirmed what I guess I already knew. You know the old “the enemy of my enemy…” thing. It’s a start. I’ve been waiting since Chretien was annointed to put a silver bullet in the heart of The Liberals.
This country needs a fiscally responsible, non-Quebeccentric, center of the road, National Political party with no Provincial ties. Since that’s a pipedream I voted for Harper’s Hooligans

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6 segacs 06.28.04 at 11:50 PM

To me that’s just silly, the whole “enemy” thing. There is absolutely no reason for Canadian Jews and Canadian Muslims to be enemies. (I’m not talking about the fringe extremists, but the mainstream populations). Because both groups have a lot of the same interests in terms of domestic policy, share many of the same concerns (especially about fighting hate crimes), and are minorities that could – in a perfect world – accomplish an awful lot more by working together. It saddens me to think that the electorate is being polarized by viewing one party as the “Jewish” party and one as the “Muslim” party, when in reality both groups ought to be fighting for many of the same things. After all, we’re all Canadians, right?

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7 DaninVan 06.29.04 at 12:21 AM

Theoretically, those that have voter registration cards are…

I was very laid back and accepting of all minorities UNTIL I started following your blog and several others after 9/11.
I’m not any more. Blame the messenger.

In any case, if you’re from B.C., you don’t have to look very far to find reasons to despise the Liberals.

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8 Ikram 06.29.04 at 3:17 PM

DaninVan wrote:

I was very laid back and accepting of all minorities UNTIL I started following your blog and several others after 9/11.

See Sari, your blogging really does matter. Ordinary folks can turn into bigoted-epithet using immigrant-haters. If you did for kikes, wops spics and bohunks what you are doing for muzzies, you could turn Canada into a great country for David Duke.

DaninVan, no doubt your bigoted ass is quite unhappy that three ‘muzzies’ were elected to Parliament yesterday. If you like, I can send you info on emigration, and perhaps you can make your home in a muzzie free country. And this country can be free of you.

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