Two of the major pro-Israel lobby groups have lashed out at a recent survey which shows that a surprising number of Canadian Jews have very ambivalent feelings about Israel. They attacked the sponsoring organizations, the survey methodology and the author. But they did not attack the findings. Read more….
Judging by the harsh words used by Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), and Michael Mostyn, head of B’nai Brith Canada, a recent survey of the attitudes of Canadian Jews towards Israel really has them steamed.
The survey commissioned by Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) and the United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO) found that “a significant portion” of Canadian Jews are critical of Israel’s policies concerning the Palestinians and that almost half believe accusations of anti-Semitism are often used to silence legitimate criticism of the Israeli government.
Specifically, the survey of Canadian Jews found that:
- 31 per cent oppose Israel’s blockade of Gaza, while 57 per cent support it;
- 45 per cent oppose the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while 42 support it;
- 30 per cent consider the Palestinians’ call for a boycott reasonable, while 53 per cent don’t;
- 22 per cent believe it is reasonable for Canada to impose sanctions on Israel, compared to 58 per cent who do not; and
- 48 per cent agree that accusations of anti-Semitism are often used to silence legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.
CIJA and B’nai Brith react sharply to the survey
It’s not surprising that CIJA and B’nai Brith feel threatened by such findings and have lashed out in anger. The findings are dramatically different from the pro-Israel (and even pro-Netanyahu) stance that both CIJA and B’nai Brith project to Canadians and to the Canadian government “on behalf of Canadian Jews”.
But neither organization head dared to dispute the findings of the poll. In interviews with Canadian Jewish News they restricted themselves to:
- attacking the two organizations which sponsored the survey, and Independent Jewish Voices Canada in particular,
- a vicious personal and ad hominem attack on the report’s author, Dr. Diana Ralph, a retired professor at Carleton University (and a founder of Independent Jewish Voices Canada), and,
- an attack on the survey methodology which was designed by EKOS Research Associates, a respected and experienced Canadian polling firm
Both CIJA and B’nai Brith must be very concerned that the evidence revealed by this poll of Canadian Jews seems to be tracking a parallel (and much bigger) shift in the USA where many commentators have noted a growing rift between American Jews and Israel. In an unprecedented move, even the very pro-Israel US lobby group AIPAC recently felt obliged to distance itself from Benjamin Netanyahu after he moved to incorporate a political party with open ties to terrorist organizations into his electoral coalition. (Tellingly, CIJA made no comment on Netanyahu’s move.)
CIJA and B’nai Brith are certainly feeling the ground shifting under their feet. Their response appears to be “shoot the messenger”.
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