Conservative hopeful Andrew Scheer recently mailed a platform statement to selected Jewish Canadian voters. It had 10 points, of which none relate to defending the rights of the Jewish minority in Canada. Eight of the ten relate to defending Israel. Read more.
Concern has been raised in the Canadian Jewish community over how the Conservative Party of Canada got access to lists of Jewish voters and then asked for their support based on the fact that the Conservative Party is a staunch defender of Israel.
Recipients of the flyers, which were delivered by Canada Post, are wondering how the Tories were able to target Jewish homes by mail. The mailings have turned up in several ridings in and around Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg.
“Who is the real friend of Israel and the Jewish community?” the double-sided flyer asks. The flip side shows a checklist of 10 issues. Boxes on the Conservative side of the page are all ticked, while those on the Liberal side are marked with a negative “X.”
Elliot Borins, who lives in the Toronto riding of Don Valley North, told Canadian Jewish News (CJN) , “It’s creepy as hell that a federal party is both aware and concerned about my religious affiliation,” and that “they assume Jews are naive and sheepish to follow the first person who says, ‘we support Israel.’ ”
Ottawa resident Benita Siemiatycki, who also received the flyer in the mail, said she “would love to know” where the Conservatives got the names and addresses of the recipients.“And do they think (…) that we are a monolith who vote according to which party supports Israel?”she asked.
The CJN reached out to several Conservative spokespeople, including one for leader Andrew Scheer to try to find out how they got the names. Neither the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) nor B’nai Brith Canada (BB) would respond to inquiries from CJN when asked about the issue.
Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper used to claim that “Canada is Israel’s best friend”. Under Scheer, the Tories have actively promoted the adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism (called the IHRA definition) that claims almost any criticism of Israel amounts to anti-Semitism.
But not all Jews agree. “The IHRA definition of antisemitism is designed to silence criticism of Israel and of Zionism by equating this criticism with anti-Semitism”, argues Independent Jewish Voices Canada. “Criticizing Zionism (or Israel) is not anti-Semitic“.
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