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Canadian Reform Rabbinic Leadership Speaks Out Against Anti-Semitism

Feb. 3, 2022 - 2 Adar 1, 5872

Canadian Reform Rabbinic leadership speaks out against anti-Semitic rhetoric being displayed in Ottawa in the demonstrations against public health measures and rampant in the recent Amnesty International Report.

This week was already going to be difficult as a global community; still reeling from the hostage taking at a Texas Synagogue, Canada commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day and as a nation we marked the five year anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque attack. In both instances we recognize the tragic hurt and pain that is propagated by hate. We are further saddened to note that in the protests that have engulfed our nation’s capital, there have been a number of anti-Semitic, racist, and anti- LGBTQ incidents reported, including the use of Nazi symbols and Confederate flags. Such hate speech has no place in Canada or beyond.

This week Amnesty International issued a blatantly one sided report on the decades long challenge of finding peace and co-existance between Jews and Arabs in Israel. We stand alongside our North American Reform partners in rejecting its substance. Quoted earlier by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), “Amnesty International’s report on Israel and the Palestinians is wrong in both substance and tone. It will be a hindrance to any future peaceful resolution to the conflict. In addition, the report has the potential to feed antisemitism worldwide at a moment when it is already growing and to further isolate Israel in the international community. We believe strongly that both Israel AND the Palestinians have responsibility to act to end the conflict, but Amnesty’s report puts that resolution further out of reach, and we are deeply disappointed and reject this irresponsible step on Amnesty’s part.”

Jewish tradition has always promoted a nuanced and complex understanding of social reality, this teaching is especially precious today in a cultural atmosphere which encourages extremist narratives. Sadly, we notice a very simplified and binary version of reality being used both by radical elements at the demonstrations in our capital, as well as by the writers of Amnesty International’s report. We would like to point out the connection between these phenomena and call for all of us in Canada to espouse and work towards strengthening meaningful discussions in our society.

We will continue our work with those who seek a true and lasting peace for two peoples toward a two state solution where the rights of both Israeli and Palestinians are honoured and we dedicate our efforts to meaningful steps forward.

In the face of these difficult days, we pledge to continue to stand strong against hate, working towards a vision of inclusion, justice and shalom.

Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, Reform Rabbis of Canada (chair), Temple Israel, Ottawa, ON

Rabbi Gila Caine, Temple Beth Ora, Edmonton, AB (exec member)

Rabbi Dan Moskovitz, Temple Sholom, Vancouver, BC (exec member)

Rabbi Yael Splansky, Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto, ON (exec member)

Rabbi Stephen Wise, Shaarei-Beth El, Oakville, ON (exec member)

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