Anti-Israel Cartoon in Montreal Gazette Condemned by B’nai Brith

B’nai Brith Canada condemned an editorial cartoon published in the Montreal Gazette, that shows the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, defaced with an Israeli flag.

The organization’s CEO, Frank Dimant, said that the cartoon is “vile, grotesque and simply offensive.”

It is therefore inexcusable that the Gazette would deem it appropriate to publish.

The broader spectrum of Canadians supporting Israel, and the Jewish community in particular, deserve an immediate and unqualified apology.

Canadian PM Harper Banned From Visiting Dome of the Rock


Harper praying near the Western Wall.

The visit of the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, to the Dome of the Rock, was called off after Harper was told that his Jewish guards would not be allowed to enter the area.

Yesterday, Harper visited the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, and stopped to place a note in the wall as he took a moment of silent introspection.

B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO, Frank Dimant, said that his organization has “raised this issue with Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom.”

Equal access must be given to Jewish worshipers wishing to ascend the Temple Mount. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the religious discrimination going on at the hands of the Islamic Waqf responsible for administering the site.

Harper’s visit to Yad Vashem after the jump.
Harper also made a solemn visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, where he paid respects to the 6 million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War.

Dimant, who is the son of survivors from Auschwitz and Dachau, said that visiting the museum “undoubtedly reinforced Mr. Harper’s pride and understanding, not only about what Israel has achieved in the shadow of the horrors of the Holocaust, but how the Canadian government made terrible mistakes in the 1930s.”

Is Your Alma Mater Complicit in ASA’s Israel Boycott?

— by Ronit Treatman

This week, the American Studies Association (ASA) voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israel. A Cornell University professor, William Jacobson, is leading an effort to encourage universities to disassociate themselves from the ASA.

As of this writing, Brandeis University, Penn State University Harrisburg and Willamette University have disassociated themselves with the ASA, and Northwestern University heavily criticized the boycott, but the ASA still has many members.

I have sent an email to the president of Temple University — my alma mater — Neil D. Theobald, inquiring about Temple’s position on this matter. I pointed out that Temple is a member of the ASA, and as such supports it financially.  

Please use the contact information after the jump to contact the president of your university and share your thoughts, and use the link at the end to share a link to this article with your friends and family so that they can do the same.

As alumni, donors, and parents of potential future students, we have the right to know where our schools and their American studies departments stand.

Is the college you attended a member of the ASA? Contact information after the jump.
Remaining Members of the American Studies Association

List current as of publication. Please send updates or corrections.

Alabama

Alberta: See Canada.

Arkansas

California

  • California State University, Fullerton
    • Mildred García, Office of the President, 800 N. State College Blvd.,  CP-1000, Fullerton, CA 92834, 657-278-3456, presidentgarcia@fullerton.edu  
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees: Bob Linscheid, c/o Trustee Secretariat Lhernandez@calstate.edu, 401 Golden Shore, Suite 620, Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 951-4020  
    • Chancellor: Timothy P. White, publicaffairs@calstate.edu, Office of Public Affairs, 401 Golden Shore, 6th Floor, Long Beach, CA 90802-4210, Phone: (562) 951-4800, Fax: (562) 951-4861

  • California State University, Long Beach  
    • Donald J. Para, Interim President, California State University, Long Beach, Office of the President, Brotman Hall BH-300, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840-0115, 562/985-4121, Donald.Para@csulb.edu  
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees: Bob Linscheid, c/o Trustee Secretariat Lhernandez@calstate.edu, 401 Golden Shore, Suite 620, Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 951-4020  
    • Chancellor: Timothy P. White, publicaffairs@calstate.edu, Office of Public Affairs, 401 Golden Shore, 6th Floor, Long Beach, CA 90802-4210, Phone: (562) 951-4800, Fax: (562) 951-4861

  • University of California, San Diego  
    • Janet Napolitano, University of California, Office of the President, 1111 Franklin Street, 12th floor, Oakland, CA 94607, Media office: (510) 987-9200, president@ucop.edu  
    • Board of Regents, Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents, 1111 Franklin St.,12th floor, Oakland, CA 94607, fax: (510) 987-9224, regentsoffice@ucop.edu  
    • Pradeep K. Khosla, Office of the Chancellor, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive # 0005, La Jolla, California 92093-0005, (858) 534-3135, chancellor@ucsd.edu  
    • Peter King, Public Affairs Executive Director, Phone: (510) 987-0279  
    • Daniel M. Dooley, External relations – Senior Vice President, Phone: (510) 987-0060  
    • Charles F. Robinson, General Counsel and Vice President – Legal Affairs, Phone: (510) 987-9800

  • Stanford University
    • American Studies Program, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg 460, Stanford, CA 94305-2022, 650-725-1477, amstudies.moore@stanford.edu
    • Green Library, 557 Escondido Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-6063, (650) 723-1493, infocenter@stanford.edu
    • John L. Hennessy, Office of the President, Building 10, Main Quad, Stanford, CA 94305, Phone: 650-723-2481, Fax: 650-725-6847, hennessy@stanford.edu
    • John W. Etchemendy, Office of the Provost, Building 10, Stanford, CA 94305-2061, (650) 724-4075, provost@stanford.edu  
    • Stanford Alumni Association, Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, 326 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA 94305-6105, (650) 723-2021, Toll-free: (800) 786-2586  

  • University of Southern California  
    • C. L. Max Nikias, USC Office of the President, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-4019, Phone: (213) 740-2111, Fax: (213) 821-1342  
    • Chair of the Board of Trustees, Edward P. Roski Jr.   USC Alumni Association, Epstein Family Alumni Center, 3607 Trousdale Parkway, TCC 305, Los Angeles, CA 90089-3106, (213) 740-2300

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

  • University of Hawaii  
    • David Lassner, University of Hawaii, Office of the President, 2444 Dole Street, Bachman 202, Honolulu, HI 96822, david@hawaii.edu, tel (808) 956-8207, fax (808) 956-5286

Illinois

  • DePaul University
    • Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D., Office of the President, 1 East Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604-2287, 312-362-8850, DePaulPresidentsOffice@depaul.edu  
    • American Studies Department, Allison McCracken, Director, Schmitt Academic Center, 5th floor, Room 560, 2320 N. Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614, 773-325-7194, amccrac1@depaul.edu
    • Tracy Krahl – Assistant Vice President, Alumni Engagement, Alumni Center, 2400 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 150, Chicago, IL 60614, 312-362-5577, tkrahl@depaul.edu
    • Board of Trustees, Secretary of the University, Edward R. Udovic, C.M., 312-362-8042, Fax: 312-362-6606, eudovic@depaul.edu
    • Chancellor, Rev. John T. Richardson, C.M., 773-325-8712, jrichard@depaul.edu

  • Northwestern University, Contact information needed.

Indiana

Iowa

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

  • Kenyon College, Contact information needed.
  • Youngstown State University
    • Dr. Randy J. Dunn, President, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio 44555, rjdunn01@ysu.edu, 330.941.3101  
    • Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Tod Hall, Room 203, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio 44555, Phone: (330) 941 3370, Fax: (330) 941 3108
    • Dr. Sylvia J. Imler, Chief Diversity Officer/Interim Director, sjimler@ysu.edu
    • YSU Board of Trustees Chair: Sudershan K. Garg, M.D., Chairman, c/o YSU Office of the President, One University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555, (330) 941-3101

Oklahoma

Ontario: See Canada.

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

  • Brown University
    • President Paxson: president@brown.edu
    • Chair of American Studies Dept: matthew_guterl@brown.edu
    • Vice-President, Public Relations: marisa_quinn@brown.edu

  • Roger Williams University, Contact information needed.

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

  • Brigham Young University
    • President Cecil O. Samuelson
    • Michael O’Connor – President Alumni Board, BYU Alumni, 224 Hinckley Center, Provo, UT 84602, 800-437-4663, alumni@byu.edu  
    • American Studies Department, 801-422-6692
    • Kristin L. Matthews Director, American Studies Program, Associate Professor, English, 4160 JFSB, Phone: 801 422-5295, kristin_matthews@byu.edu  
    • Board of Trustees, Thomas S. Monson, Chairman (LDS Church President)

  • University of Utah, Contact information needed.

Vermont

Virginia

Washington DC: See District of Columbia.

Washington State

Wyoming

Canada

Japan

United Kingdom

Source: American Quarterly, September 2013, Volume 65, Number 3.

 

Toronto Crowd Cheers Young Boy’s Hate Speech

(CAMERA) The hateful incitement offered by Elias Hazineh, the former president of Palestine House in suburban Toronto, at an Al Quds rally in Toronto has attracted a lot of attention, as well it should. The man openly called for the murder of Israelis in the public square of Toronto.

At the same rally, a young boy who could not have been much older than 11 or 12 years old described the Jewish state as the enemy of humanity. No, that is not an exaggeration. He said it: “Israel is an illegal, terrorizing racist group which works for the destruction of humanity and peace in the world.” During his rant, he referred to Israel as “cancers.” This is incitement to the destruction of the Jewish state.

And the crowd cheered him on.

B’nai B’rith Addresses Anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Council Session‏


Canadian politicians criticize Falk

Yesterday, B’nai B’rith International spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva during the anti-Israel “agenda item 7” session. B’nai B’rith addressed UNHRC special rapporteur Richard Falk’s appalling recent comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on the United States’ foreign policy, and urged his removal.

Klaus Netter, B’nai B’rith representative to the U.N. in Geneva, said:

Just a few weeks ago, the entire world was shocked to hear and see the bombing that occurred at the end of the Boston Marathon, resulting in the death of three and the injury of hundreds of innocent bystanders. Yet, there were a few contrary reactions, such as the one expressed by the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories… In the Foreign Policy Journal dated 21 April 2013, he wrote: ‘The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance… the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks.’

Continued after the jump.

A few days later, a U.N. spokesman said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Boston Marathon bombing and that he ‘strongly believed that nothing can justify such an attack.’ He rejected Falk’s comments and indicated that… such public comments by special rapporteurs ‘could undermine the U.N.’s credibility and the work of the United Nations.’

Separately, B’nai B’rith joined European representatives at the council and U.S. Ambassador to the UNHRC Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe in taking Falk to task on a biased report he delivered at the council, blasting Israeli policies toward Gaza.

Netter noted that only the council can remove Falk from his position, and added, “We strongly urge such action at this session of the council.”

BBI Denounces Canadian Church for Boycott of Israeli Businesses‏


Ahava plant near the Dead Sea

B’nai B’rith International denounced the United Church of Canada (UCC) for calling upon its two million members to boycott Israeli companies that do business in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Last week, the United Church of Canada’s general council approved boycotts of Israeli companies Keter Plastic, SodaStream and Ahava. This is a continuation of a resolution passed by the church in August 2012 to boycott Israeli products exported from the West Bank and east Jerusalem. This time, the UCC has specific targets and plans to dissuade Canadian businesses from selling the products of the targeted businesses. The reasoning behind these actions, the church said, is its view that Israeli settlements are the “principal obstacle to peace in the region.”

More after the jump.
B’nai B’rith President Allan J. Jacobs said:

With Canada being such a principled supporter of Israel and of peace, it is distressing that the United Church of Canada would engage in the boycotting of Israeli companies and their products. To pass this resolution is to attack Israel, and to single out the Jewish state for hostility while ignoring the real impediments to peace in the Middle East.

B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said:

Anytime an organization decides to promote a campaign boycotting Israeli products or companies, it is clearly a move seeking to hurt Israelis. This boycott will only serve to cause more friction in the region, and to recklessly export it to the Christian-Jewish relationship in North America.

The primary obstacle to peace in the region is Palestinian intransigence. Until the Palestinians agree to return to the negotiating table without pre-conditions — and to end violent extremists’ rejection of Jews’ fundamental rights in their homeland — prospects for peace will sadly remain dim.

Canadian Rock Star Steven Page Explores His Musical Jewish Roots

— Reprinted with permission from CBC/Radio-Canada

Steven Page, musician, and former lead-singer, guitarist and principal songwriter for the internationally acclaimed pop band the Barenaked Ladies (BNL), grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, feeling like he was the only Jew in the neighbourhood, and thus an outsider. He began his search into his ancestry with the goal of uncovering why his Jewish identity has played such an important part of his life.

Continued after the jump.
Steven was born in 1970 to a Jewish mother, Jo-Anne (Simmons), and an Anglo-Protestant father, Victor Page. When Jo-Anne and Victor married in the 1960s, Victor converted to Judaism to appease Jo-Anne’s strict grandparents, Nuchum and Chava Greenbaum. But it wasn’t enough; they disowned Jo-Anne, and as a result, Steven never met his great-grandparents.

According to Steven’s great aunts Annette and Beulah, Nuchum came to Canada from Poland in 1909. Later, he brought Chava and their daughter Shirley to join him. They lived in the Kensington Market district of Toronto, then a thriving Jewish community, and had seven more children.

Steven decided to investigate the Greenbaum side of the family by searching the 1911 Canadian census online. He discovered that Kalman Greenbaum, Nuchum’s father, was born in Russia/Poland in 1866. Kalman came alone to Canada in 1903. After being naturalized in 1909, he brought his family from Poland to join him, including Nuchum. When Kalman first arrived, he lived in an area of Toronto called St. John’s Ward, on Chestnut Street.

What was life like for Jewish immigrants at that time? Steven met with the historian of Jewish Toronto, Stephen Speisman, at the Toronto City Archives. At the turn of the century, a Fifth Census of Canada 1911 showed that a huge influx of Jewish immigrants moved to Toronto. Inside ten years, the Jewish population of the city grew from 3,000 to 32,000. Out of necessity, most settled in St. John’s Ward, a slum with affordable rents. As soon as Kalman earned enough money as a peddler, he bought a house in Kensington Market, where he and his family lived for many years.

To learn more about Kalman, Steven visited his mother’s cousin Henry Green, a professor of religious studies at the University of Miami. Henry has discovered that Kalman belonged to the Hasidic dynasty of the Modzhitz, a group known as the singing Hasidim, who turned Hasidic melody into an art form. Steven never knew the Greenbaum side of his family was connected to music; it is exciting for him to discover he is part of a musical dynasty.

According to Steven’s great aunt Annette, poverty wasn’t the only challenge faced by the Greenbaum family. A tragic house-fire in 1928 took the lives of Nuchum’s sister Sarah, her husband, and two of her three children. Steven verified this information by searching the Toronto Star’s Pages of the Past. There, he finds a front-page story, headlined, “Parents and Two Children Perish in Fire: dying girl declares family was menaced by threats of enemy.” Steven was shocked to discover that the article suggests the fire resulted from a family or business feud. Chava was never the same after the tragedy.

Given the hardships they faced in Canada, Steven wondered why his family left Poland. He found a clue in Nuchum’s 1905 diary, where Nuchum referred to “a year of curses.” Steven decided to go to Poland to investigate.

Steven’s first stop was the regional office of the Polish State Archives in the city of Kielce, where the birth, marriage and death records of Kielce’s Jews are stored. In 1897, approximately 83,000 Jews were living in Kielce, constituting 28% of the city’s population. Steven found Nuchum’s 1894 birth record, and was surprised to see it is written in Russian.

In 1894, Poland was part of the Russian Empire. Discrimination against Jews was widespread. In Poland, Jews paid double taxes and were forbidden to lease land or go to university. Despite this, Jewish men aged 18 were still liable for conscription into the Russian army. When Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, in 1881, the Jews were blamed. Throughout the Empire, Jews were attacked in an infamous spate of officially condoned violence, known to history as the pogroms. It was out of this climate of fear that a massive wave of Jewish immigration to North America emerged. Leading up to the First World War, about two million Polish Jews left for North America.

Steven next visited Rakow, the hometown of his great-grandmother Chava. Before the Holocaust, over half of the population of Rakow was Jewish. No Jews currently live in the town, so Steven visited a group of Poles called “Friends of Rakow.” The group, dedicated to remembering the town’s Jewish past, cooks Jewish meals and maintains a memorial at Rakow’s former Jewish cemetery. Steven ended the journey into his ancestry at this cemetery. His trip to Poland has been powerful and disturbing. While Steven is moved by the efforts of the Poles to honour the memory of their Jewish friends, he finds little testament to just how horrible life was for Jews in Poland. His family, he now knows, was lucky to survive.

WJC President Urges Dismissal of Richard Falk from the UN


Richard Falk

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), strongly condemned the article by the special rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Richard A. Falk, in which he blames the terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon earlier this month on Israel and on American foreign policy.

More after the jump.
Lauder declared:

The preposterous remarks to which Richard Falk periodically treats the world ought to disqualify him for any position at the United Nations. Yet he continues on the payroll of the UN Human Rights Council as a ‘special rapporteur’, and senior UN officials are refusing to even comment on his remarks.

Someone who publicly justifies despicable acts of terrorism and the deliberate murder of civilians by arguing that somehow Israel and the United States are to blame for such acts is unhinged and therefore entirely unsuited to serve as an advisor to what ought to be the world’s top human rights body. It is high time that Mr. Falk is removed from his post at the United Nations.

In a letter to Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird, Lauder expressed appreciation over the Canadian government’s clear condemnation of Falk:

It is important that Americans and others understand the strong friend that we have in Canada, in Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and particularly you, Canada’s Foreign Minister.

Baird had said in reaction:

Once again, United Nations official Richard Falk has spewed more mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric, this time blaming the attacks in Boston on President Obama and the State of Israel. The United Nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such an individual.

Lauder told the Canadian foreign minister that as “an American, I am deeply ashamed that such shocking statements would be held by a fellow citizen.”

I am even more horrified by the fact that Falk holds a place of prominence at the United Nations, an institution already sullied by its one-sided approach towards Israel.

Deport Nazi era Collaborator, says B’nai Brith Canada


— by Sam Eskenasi

B’nai Brith Canada welcomes court filing of federal order in council stripping Helmut Oberlander of his citizenship. Oberlander has been accused of complicity in Nazi-era atrocities and found guilty by the courts of lying about his war-time past when he entered this country.

Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada:

“For decades we have been adamant that Canada must not allow itself to become a safe haven for those complicit in war crimes, whether during the Nazi-era or modern-day. Removal proceedings must be commenced as soon as possible so that Oberlander’s deportation from this country will follow this latest order to strip him of his Canadian citizenship. Such proceedings should not, must not, await any further challenge of the cabinet’s decision. There are a number of other long standing files that we hope the government will bring to closure in the interest of justice.”