Canada’s Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has continued trying to win more votes from the 350,000-strong Jewish community by ever-so-delicately implying that its rivals are not big fans of Israel. (As in the United States, Canada’s relatively small Jewish population is disproportionately powerful. Canadian Jews tend to favor the Liberal Party, but there has been the inkling of a trend in the other direction.) Previously, Conservatives sent mailers to strategic neighborhoods asserting that several Liberal MPs attended the anti-Zionist Durban I conference (several did, though some claim this was to defend Israel); that Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff accused Israel of “war crimes” (he did, and has apologized); and that the party is soft on Hamas and Hezbollah (debatable at the very best).
Then, last week, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney lit a new fire while visiting, yes, Jerusalem. There, he announced the Harper government’s stern opposition toward those who “advocate the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people.” (As The Globe and Mail’s Gerald Caplan wryly added, “That is in sharp contrast to those Canadian parties that do not oppose those who advocate such destruction.”) Kenney further announced that the administration is ending the funding of a popular left-wing NGO, because, it says, of its Israel position.
If nothing else, the kerfuffle is a good reminder that American Jews are not the only ones facing this dynamic. It’s also a good reminder of, y’know, Canada.
Is The Harper Government Playing the Anti-Semitic Card? [The Globe and Mail]
Conservatives Wooing Traditionally Liberal Canadian Jews [Forward]
Related: The Return of the Native [The New Yorker]