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Author Topic: Canadian Jewish Congress' "assisted suicide"
aka Mycroft
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posted 09 June 2007 05:02 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The assisted suicide of the CJC: does it matter?
quote:

The assisted suicide of CJC: does it matter?

By MICHAEL BROWN

hould we laugh or cry?

The May 25 issue of The CJN reported that abolishing popular participation – elections, that is – in Canadian Jewish Congress will, according to some, “make CJC [a] ‘dynamic, new institution.’”

Does anyone buy that?

Congress was once the pride of Canadian Jewry, the kind of organization that American Jews have been never been able to establish, a truly representative body. It marked us as unique.

With the exception of the extreme left, Congress encompassed all Canadian Jews, secular and religious (all stripes), left-wing and right-wing, socialist and capitalist, rich and poor, newcomer and “pure laine,” Zionist and non-Zionist. Quite legitimately, it could claim to speak for us all.

And now, assisted suicide is proposed for the parliament of the Jewish people of Canada, which would end its role as a representative communal spokesperson and give it a new role as the mouthpiece for those “who know best.”

The last vestige of Canadian-Jewish communal democracy is about to die, only to be reborn as an arm of CIJA – the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy – and local Jewish federations.

The move would not simply formalize a shift of power in the community, it would deprive “the people” of any voice at all. It will mark the final step in the (Jewish) Americanization of Canadian Jewry, the move from democracy to paternalistic plutocracy.

“So what?” you may ask.

In fact, the end of Canadian-Jewish democracy is likely to have unpleasant consequences.

In 1947, Winston Churchill said that democracy “is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” He made this statement just two years after being turfed out of office by the electorate, despite his brilliant and inspiring wartime leadership.

To be sure, democracy is inefficient. Elected leaders are often chosen for reasons other than their leadership skills. And the way of the world is that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

But self-appointed leaders and those chosen by small groups of people “in the know” in governments, business, academia or other settings have proven no more capable on the whole, and sometimes they have proven themselves to be less capable, because there are no checks and balances on their power. For evidence, read the front pages of our dailies any day of the week.

The same issue of The CJN that reported the death of Congress as we have known it contained a report about a new study by two sociologists on the affiliation – or, more accurately, non-affiliation – patterns of young Jewish adults in North America.

The study documents their lack of interest in communal institutions and in traditional patterns of behaviour. Other studies document the declining interest in Israel on the part of young Jews and the alarming rate of intermarriage. Our community notables are forever expressing dismay at their inability to communicate with the young.

What better way to ensure the alienation of growing numbers of Jews than to deprive them of even a feeble voice in the community, even in a now largely toothless (because it’s penniless) organization?

Can anyone really imagine that the way to get the unaffiliated to “buy into” the community is to make decisions for them, since they couldn’t possibly understand their own needs, to say nothing of the needs of other Jews? Deprived of a voice, they will continue to vote with their feet.

So what about those who foot the bill? Should they not have a say in how things are done?

They should, indeed. But in a democratic society, we don’t give extra votes to those who pay the most taxes. There are other legitimate ways for them to exert influence.

Their voice will be heard above that of others, simply because they have easy access to those in power.

In a voluntary group such as the Jewish community, people can (and do) choose to support only the activities that they approve of. And there are appropriate rewards and honours for those who give generously of their time and money for the good of us all. But that doesn’t mean the rank and file should be deprived of a voice.

Congress is not what it once was. But because of its historic role in this country, it retains some clout in the community and as its representative. That leadership positions are being eagerly contested by respected members of the community is a sign of vitality.

But turning Congress into a puppet will make it neither “dynamic” nor effective. It will be just be one more turn-off for the increasing numbers of Jews who are not attracted to the organized community.

Let the people continue to speak. Democracy is still the best form of communal government.

Michael Brown is professor emeritus at York University. He has written extensively about Canadian Jewry.



From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 10 June 2007 05:40 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is anyone here going to the CJC convention this month?
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Tommy_Paine
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posted 10 June 2007 05:54 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm astonished.
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unionist
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posted 10 June 2007 08:22 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
aka Mycroft, tell us why this is important. I've read Brown's article, and I'm unconvinced that the CJC matters. I'm jaded. My personal solution is intermarriage. If humanity can't handle differences, why not blur them? This is a serious comment.

Let me put it differently. What do all Jews "except the extreme left" (to use Brown's rather nebulous phrase) have in common in Canada in 2007 that would require a mouthpiece?


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Coyote
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posted 10 June 2007 08:45 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What do Ukrainian Canadians have in common? Italian? The same thing as do Jewish Canadians: shared culture and identity, in a country wherein their own is not the dominant culture and identity. it is completely understandable that there would be a CJC.

These developments, if they are as described, would appear to be most troubling.


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 10 June 2007 08:53 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Coyote:
What do Ukrainian Canadians have in common? Italian? The same thing as do Jewish Canadians: shared culture and identity, in a country wherein their own is not the dominant culture and identity. it is completely understandable that there would be a CJC.

Your comment troubles me. My culture is Canadian, and my identity is Canadian. I happen to be Jewish. What "dominant" culture and identity do I not share?

As for Ukrainian Canadians, they may have common interests regarding language and some national traditions. Likewise for Italians. But do they need organizations which take political positions on behalf of their members? Do Jews?


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Coyote
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posted 10 June 2007 09:05 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My culture is Canadian, too. And part of being Canadian, too me, is embracing different cultures as a part of that Canadian-ness. I think there is value brought to Canada, to my life, because of those that hold their own culture and identity.

When my grandfather came here, his father forbade the Swedish language in his home. Said they had to speak "Canadian".

I've always thought my great-grandfather - bless his soul - did me a disservice.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 04:08 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The problem is that the CJC pretends to speak for all Canadian Jews when, in reality, this has become increasingly untrue over the years, particularly since the rearrangement of funding through the establishment of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, a self-appointed group of plutocrats - Heather Reisman, Gerry Schwartz, the Aspers etc - which essentially made support for Israel a precondition for being a funded Jewish agency.

Now, any semblance of representative democracy in the CJC is being swept away through these constitutional changes.

This wouldn't matter too much if the CJC declared from now on that the only people they speak for are the Reismans, Schwartz', Aspers etc but they will continue to pretend that they speak for all Jews and that their hyper-Zionist position of uncritical support for Israel is the unified stance of Canadian Jews.


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unionist
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posted 11 June 2007 04:26 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Coyote:
My culture is Canadian, too. And part of being Canadian, too me, is embracing different cultures as a part of that Canadian-ness. I think there is value brought to Canada, to my life, because of those that hold their own culture and identity.

Coyote, don't get me wrong. If you've read even a tiny fraction of my (too many) posts on babble, you'll know how deeply committed I am to my Jewish heritage. I speak both Yiddish and Hebrew; I spent half my youth studying the history and tradition; and I identify with the enlightened part of the tradition.

The three things I have no use whatsoever for, however, are:

1. God
2. Israel
3. The view (fundemental to Zionism) that Jews cannot live and flourish among the nations, but need their own "homeland".

But that's not the issue. The issue in this thread is, why do Jews need a lobby group to speak on their behalf? If the de-democratization of CJC further destroys any remaining credibility of that organization, why is that bad?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 June 2007 04:30 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

This wouldn't matter too much if the CJC declared from now on that the only people they speak for are the Reismans, Schwartz', Aspers etc but they will continue to pretend that they speak for all Jews and that their hyper-Zionist position of uncritical support for Israel is the unified stance of Canadian Jews.

As you say, the CJC is hyper-Zionist already, even with its semblance of democratic form. Better then to assist its suicide, no? Then more people will understand when we say: "Further proof that they represent no one."

Unless you think that by strengthening its "democratic" structure, there is a real prospect of generating actual debate on the issues and countering the influence of the billionaires?

Pardon my skepticism.


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 07:20 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
So I called the CJC and guess what the article is not exatally 100% correct. Full elections are still very much part of the process for CJC in each of the regions. Those elected in the regions then sit on the newly established Board which in the future will choose the National Executive.

Frankly I cant remember the last time there was an election at CJc so this new structure may work a lot better. It will sure give the regions of cjc much more power


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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 07:22 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm not the author of the article in question. The CJC as a democratic organization has been in democratic decline for some time (the expulsion of UJPO - at the time the largest Jewish fraternal organization - in the 1950s certainly was not a sign of a healthy democratic regime).

These constitutional changes are the stake through the heart that finally kills the CJC's democratic pretense or simply the last nail in the coffin of an organization whose democratic death occured some years ago may be a subject of debate but I don't think anyone can pretend the CJC's is either representative or democratic after these plotcratic amendments are passed later this month.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 07:24 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
So I called the CJC and guess what the article is not exatally 100% correct. Full elections are still very much part of the process for CJC in each of the regions. Those elected in the regions then sit on the newly established Board which in the future will choose the National Executive.

Frankly I cant remember the last time there was an election at CJc so this new structure may work a lot better. It will sure give the regions of cjc much more power


Ohara, don't you agree that the changes in financing several years ago essentially made the CJC subordinate to the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy and, in practice, made Zionism a precondition of membership? The exclusion of the ACJC from the CJC proves that in my mind.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 07:27 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
An edited version of this letter was published in Canadian Jewish News earlier this year. Here is the full version:

quote:

April 8, 2007

Letter to the editor Canadian Jewish News

Commenting on Harold Waller's enlightening series of Perspectives (CJN March 8,15, 22) I would say the following:

As a former staff member of Canadian Jewish Congress (Western Region director Dec./65-Jan. 73) and as a CJC volunteer in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg over many decades, I would say that the headline "CJC's glory days are long past" (CJN March 22), is not really off the mark.

For most of the 20th century CJ Congress was indeed a broad-based organization which enjoyed popular and grass roots support right across the country. The gradual decline of Congress actually began in the 1970's, which Harold Waller cites as the time when a number of trends, arising primarily from concerns for Israel, were becoming evident in the organized community. These trends led to the establishment of the Canada-Israel Committee and to the Federations spreading to Jewish communities throughout Canada as the main fund-raising agency(CJN March 15). Each community had a somewhat different experience as a the Federations became dominant.

In Manitoba there was the 1973 merger of the Winnipeg offices of CJC and the Welfare Fund into the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council ( now the Federation/Combined Jewish Appeal). This brought an end to the western region CJC activities, which had included Saskatchewan and Alberta, and led to the diminution of Congress in Winnipeg. While Federation/CJA has carried on certain Congress work, e. g. community relations and Holocaust awareness , Canadian Jewish Congress in Winnipeg has become little more than a name plate on the Federation office door. For example, when Keith Landy visited Winnipeg during his term as CJC president he was not even asked to address a public meeting; this was unheard of during the terms of previous presidents.

Nationally there has been a significant Congress event once every three years right through the 1990's; this was the triennial plenary assembly when hundreds of delegates gathered from across Canada for a three days of speakers, panels and forums . At every plenary many resolutions were vigorously debated and there were always complaints about not enough time for discussion.

In the 21st century however the plenary assembly has been cut to a one-day event -- a symbol of the greatly reduced significance of Canadian Jewish Congress. How did this come about? I suggest that it is primarily due to the work of the Aad hoc group....of wealthy Jewish business people (Waller, CJN March 15), who found it necessary to create the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy and to take over control of the Jewish community structure from the top to do increased advocacy for Israel The long-held notion of Canadian Jewish Congress is the parliament of Canadian Jewry is no longer tenable and democracy in the Jewish community has been replaced by a top-heavy corporate structure.

Judging from Harold Waller's final episode: The evolution of Canadian Jewish advocacy: CIJA shifts the focus (CJN March 22), the primary objective of the new bureaucratic community structure is to exert greater influence on the Canadian government regarding its policy towards Israel and its dealings with the Palestinians. With this end in mind CIJA places great stress on the idea that a united Jewish community should speak with Aone voice@ especially regarding Israel.

Would anyone expect the Jews of Israel to all speak with "one voice" or perish the thought become a one-party state? Then why should the Jews in Canada be expected to become a one voice or one party community? If we live in a democracy we should be able to maintain the democratic tradition within our own ethno-cultural community by recognizing the importance of diversity and acknowledging the right to dissent.

Abraham Arnold

Note: The writer is also a former columnist and regular contributor to Canadian Jewish News from 1973 to 1983.


[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 June 2007 07:42 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Abe Arnold is an amazing guy. He has been active in human rights issues in Winnipeg since the 1960s. He was the founder (or maybe co-founder) of the Manitoba Association of Rights and Liberties, gotta be 30 years ago now. Great letter! Is he still in Winnipeg?
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Michelle
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posted 11 June 2007 07:46 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
An edited version of this letter was published in Canadian Jewish News earlier this year.

What parts of it did they cut out before publishing? Anything significant?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 11 June 2007 07:57 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
unionist: Abe Arnold ... Is he still in Winnipeg?

I think so. Born in 1922, he would be around 85 today. Here is a bio with his e mail address. Send him an e mail and find out for sure?


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 08:06 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
It seems Abe is a bit off the mark. When did he work at CJC? Seems more than 30 years ago.
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Michelle
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posted 11 June 2007 08:08 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What is he wrong about?

And do you have to work at the CJC to follow what the organization is doing? Seems to me if the guy worked there for a while, he'd be likely to follow what it's been doing since.


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unionist
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posted 11 June 2007 08:19 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
It seems Abe is a bit off the mark..

I certainly never shared all of Abe Arnold's opinions. But I can't think of anyone who had more integrity and credibility in Jewish community and intercultural affairs. His views merit attention.


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 08:39 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
What is he wrong about?

And do you have to work at the CJC to follow what the organization is doing? Seems to me if the guy worked there for a while, he'd be likely to follow what it's been doing since.


Well all I did was call. They were pretty open with me. Did Abe call? Did he bother to question? Hell I cant even find the letter referred to in back copies of the CJN. Perhaps someone can provide a link.

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Michelle
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posted 11 June 2007 08:51 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What specifically in his letter was he wrong about, though? I'm not trying to get on your case, I'm genuinely interested.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 09:01 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Well to begin with I have been to 3 CJC plenaries. This dates back almost 10 years and they have all been one day affairs. My real beef is I want to know if this letter was actually published. I see it here with no link and Abe's name to it. Dont we usually require a link?
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Petsy
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posted 11 June 2007 09:11 AM      Profile for Petsy        Edit/Delete Post
And the letter writer's claim that there should be a right of dissent in the Canadian jewish community is right. Except there is. Groups like ACJC, Jews for a Just Peace, women in black, New Israel Fund, UJPO and many more exist some even under the cjc umbrella.
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Max Bialystock
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posted 11 June 2007 11:26 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
ACJC is not a member of the CJC last time I checked.

Progressives who get involved with the CJC - Bernie Farber, Irving Abella, etc. - end up moving to the Right.

The CJC has always been dominated by "respectable" Jewish leaders who don't want to be seen as too far left. Largely due to the conflation of Jews and the Left - and in the early 1950s there was a good deal of truth to that (J.B. Salsberg was still an MPP!) - these leaders were embarrassed and became Cold Warriors and threw out the UJPO.

Frankly I'm surprised ohara and Petsy, as (presumably) NDPers, don't feel lonely in an organization that wants nothing to do with the Left except to smear it for being anti-Semitic or bullying it to support their agenda.

[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: Max Bialystock ]


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 02:07 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Max there you go again. Farber and Abella moving to the right. Give us a break. I saw Farber on a few occasions at NDP organized events and he was pretty chummy with people like Jack, Audrey, David Christopherson (whom I know well from old labour days). I asked David about Farber and he told me that Farber is a social activist, lobbied him when he was in NDP prov government on poverty issues, social housing, elder care, hate crimes. But ya I suppose he doesnt meet your very blinkered view of the"left" but then either would Jack, David or Audrey. All too much on the right for you?
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unionist
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posted 11 June 2007 02:11 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is a useful thread about CJC, but not if it's reduced to yet another discussion about some individual leaders like Farber. Can we hear opinions about the role of the CJC, the reasons behind this latest development, etc.?
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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 02:13 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Unionist, Im still waiting to see a link to the CJN that this letter actually ran.
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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 02:29 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Well to begin with I have been to 3 CJC plenaries. This dates back almost 10 years and they have all been one day affairs. My real beef is I want to know if this letter was actually published. I see it here with no link and Abe's name to it. Dont we usually require a link?

quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Unionist, Im still waiting to see a link to the CJN that this letter actually ran.

The letter was published in edited form in CJN on April 26 under the title
Democracy and the community

I posted it to a list I belong to and Mr. Arnold replied by posting the full unedited letter which I pasted in earlier. Since the full letter appeared on an email list I have no link for it, however, if you email me, I can forward you a copy of the email Abraham Arnold sent me (it included his full address, phone number and email address which I didn't feel was appropriate to post publicly)

[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 02:58 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Thanks for explanation
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Michelle
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posted 11 June 2007 03:06 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So what was the point of all that? What was your point in asking for that? Does that mean that it's legitimate now, and that you admit that everything is fine? Or was that just another thread diversion?
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 04:24 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It was a diversion. Now that we've established the fact that the letter is a legitimate correspondence from a real person who was involved in the CJC for many years I'd appreciate it if ohara and others dealt with the concerns raised by Mr. Arnold and Mr. Brown.
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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 04:35 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I saw Farber on a few occasions at NDP organized events and he was pretty chummy with people like Jack, Audrey, David Christopherson (whom I know well from old labour days).

I think you meant to put that last part in the third person.

Anyway, ohara, Bernie Farber's position on the political spectrum isn't the issue here - there are many right wing trade unions who have socialists or communists on staff but that doesn't change the basic direction of the union - he's a staffer and takes direction from the CJC's officers - for all I know Farber may spend his leisure time singing "Solidarity Forever" and re-reading the works of Trotsky but that doesn't make any difference when it comes to his day job.

The question is whether the CJC is a democratic body or whether the criticisms that it has become the servant of the several wealthy conservative families who run the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy Public Affairs Committee (CIJA-PAC) are valid. Democracy or plutocracy?


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Michelle
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posted 11 June 2007 04:51 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
To answer my own question above, here's the comparison of what he wrote and what they printed. I understand that editors generally cut back long letters.

quote:
April 8, 2007

Letter to the editor Canadian Jewish News

Commenting on Harold Waller's enlightening series of Perspectives (CJN March 8,15, 22) I would say the following:

As a former staff member of Canadian Jewish Congress (Western Region director Dec./65-Jan. 73) and as a CJC volunteer in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg over many decades, I would say that the headline "CJC's glory days are long past" (CJN March 22), is not really off the mark.

For most of the 20th century CJ Congress was indeed a broad-based organization which enjoyed popular and grass roots support right across the country. The gradual decline of Congress actually began in the 1970's, which Harold Waller cites as the time when a number of trends, arising primarily from concerns for Israel, were becoming evident in the organized community. These trends led to the establishment of the Canada-Israel Committee and to the Federations spreading to Jewish communities throughout Canada as the main fund-raising agency(CJN March 15). Each community had a somewhat different experience as a the Federations became dominant.

In Manitoba there was the 1973 merger of the Winnipeg offices of CJC and the Welfare Fund into the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council ( now the Federation/Combined Jewish Appeal). This brought an end to the western region CJC activities, which had included Saskatchewan and Alberta, and led to the diminution of Congress in Winnipeg. While Federation/CJA has carried on certain Congress work, e. g. community relations and Holocaust awareness, Canadian Jewish Congress in Winnipeg has become little more than a name plate on the Federation office door. For example, when Keith Landy visited Winnipeg during his term as CJC president he was not even asked to address a public meeting; this was unheard of during the terms of previous presidents.

Nationally [Congress held three-day triennial plenary assemblies right through the 90's.] there has been a significant Congress event once every three years right through the 1990's; this was the triennial plenary assembly when hundreds of delegates gathered from across Canada for a three days of speakers, panels and forums . At every plenary many resolutions were vigorously debated and there were always complaints about not enough time for discussion.

In the 21st century however the plenary assembly has been cut to a one-day event -- a symbol of the greatly reduced significance of Canadian Jewish Congress. How did this come about? I suggest that it is primarily due to the work of the "Ad hoc group....of wealthy Jewish business people" (Waller, CJN March 15), who found it necessary to create[d] the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy and to take over control of the Jewish community structure from the top to do increased advocacy for Israel. The long-held notion of Canadian Jewish Congress is the parliament of Canadian Jewry is no longer tenable and democracy in the Jewish community has been replaced by a top-heavy corporate structure.

Judging from Harold Waller's final episode: "The evolution of Canadian Jewish advocacy: CIJA shifts the focus" (CJN March 22), the primary objective of the new bureaucratic community structure is to exert greater influence on the Canadian government regarding its policy towards Israel and its dealings with the Palestinians. With this end in mind CIJA places great stress on the idea that a united Jewish community should speak with one voice especially regarding Israel.

Would anyone expect the Jews of Israel to all speak with "one voice" or perish the thought become a one-party state? Then why should the Jews in Canada be expected to become a one voice or one party community? If we live in a democracy we should be able to maintain the democratic tradition within our own ethno-cultural community by recognizing the importance of diversity and acknowledging the right to dissent.


[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 05:00 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually, it's a pretty fair editing job. Nevertheless, reading the full letter gives one more detail and depth.

Now that the letter's authorship and publication has been established perhaps we can have some comment as to its content. Arnold may be off on some minor details such as when the length of plenaries was scaled back but if that's the most serious criticism ohara can come up with then the letter's basic premise remains unchallenged.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 11 June 2007 05:04 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
It seems Abe is a bit off the mark. When did he work at CJC? Seems more than 30 years ago.

Isn't a comparison between the CJC as it was 30 years ago and as it is today of any use? Sorry ohara, this strikes me as a false criticism - if anything the fact that he is able to evaluate the changes in the CJC over the last 30 years rather than the last 10 enhances his analysis rather than diminishes it.

Can you actually address the substance of his (and Brown's) comments rather than disrespectfully try to find reasons to dismiss the views of a community elder who was working for the CJC while you were still studying for your bar mitzvah?

[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


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Lord Palmerston
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posted 11 June 2007 07:48 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
The question is whether the CJC is a democratic body or whether the criticisms that it has become the servant of the several wealthy conservative families who run the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy Public Affairs Committee (CIJA-PAC) are valid. Democracy or plutocracy?

I take it CIJA-PAC is kind of like AIPAC in the US, which is dominated by wealthy rightwing Jews that represent the views of a small proportion of the Jewish population.

AIPAC even opposed the Oslo accords (from the right) - which I'm certain the vast majority of American and Canadian Jews supported. It's so out of touch that more "dovish" billionaires like George Soros and Charles Bronfman have come out in support of a new lobby group to counter it

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/773520.html

Jordy Cummings argues that wealthy neocons have tried to form a "Canadian AIPAC" structure

quote:
Canadian Jews, like other Canadians to a large degree, are a good deal more progressive than their southern counterparts. David Frum drew no more than one hundred people to a talk at Toronto’s flagship Synagogue Holy Blossom, while a joint talk between Palestinian and Israeli peace activists drew a crowd of over a thousand, with people being turned away and closed circuit screening in Hebrew School classrooms.

This has always angered the right-wing self-appointed Jewish community leaders who, in reality, are part of the upper-class fraction of Canadians who are banking on a win by the troglodytic right-winger Stephen Harper and his openly bigoted (in that it does not consider the Canadian Charter of Rights to apply to gays, lesbians and other minorities,) pro-American Conservative Party. The Conservatives have banked on the genuine corruption and sellout of the Hubert-Humphrey-esque Paul Martin wing of the Liberal party. Thus, while it may not form the government, the socialist New Democratic Party (party head Jack Layton told Leo Panitch in Canadian Demension that he is still a “socialist ... and not a democratic socialist” well aware of what the latter phrase connotates) may see an increase in fortune.


http://www.pressaction.com/news/weblog/full_article/cummings06182004/

[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: Lord Palmerston ]


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 10:49 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

I think you meant to put that last part in the third person.



No Christopherson was Minister of Labour as I recollect in the old NDP government. I had dealings with him at that time. My memory maybe faulty as to what portfolio he held but I believe it was labour

[ 11 June 2007: Message edited by: ohara ]


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ohara
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posted 11 June 2007 11:02 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
My view is simple, CJC is a different organization today than it was 30 years ago. It is structured differently though democratic principles remain.

That noted, when the late Sam Bronfman was President of CJC (during the days of Brown and Arnold) he held the title for something like 30 years. So the real question is was CJC ever really a bastion of democracy? My answer is no, however it allowed for (as it does today) a forum from which the community could air its views and be represented. Its committees are wide open and many from the left to the right sit on them.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 03:48 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
My view is simple, CJC is a different organization today than it was 30 years ago. It is structured differently though democratic principles remain.

That noted, when the late Sam Bronfman was President of CJC (during the days of Brown and Arnold) he held the title for something like 30 years. So the real question is was CJC ever really a bastion of democracy? My answer is no, however it allowed for (as it does today) a forum from which the community could air its views and be represented. Its committees are wide open and many from the left to the right sit on them.


And what of the plutocrats of CIJA-PAC paying the piper and thus calling the tune? How democratic is that?

quote:
My answer is no, however it allowed for (as it does today) a forum from which the community could air its views and be represented. Its committees are wide open and many from the left to the right sit on them.

As long as they are Zionist or at least not critical of Zionism hence the exclusion of ACJC (which has already been rejected once and will almost certainly be rejected again by CJC later in June.

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


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Max Bialystock
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posted 12 June 2007 08:25 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
That noted, when the late Sam Bronfman was President of CJC (during the days of Brown and Arnold) he held the title for something like 30 years.

And it was Bronfman who expelled the UJPO which had a very large membership. The conflation of Jews with the Left was embarrassing for the likes of Bronfman.


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Max Bialystock
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posted 12 June 2007 08:35 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
As long as they are Zionist or at least not critical of Zionism hence the exclusion of ACJC (which has already been rejected once and will almost certainly be rejected again by CJC later in June.

They should just be honest and call it the Canadian Zionist Congress. According to today's "Jewish leaders" the main criteria for being a good Jew is uncritical support for Israel.

If they want to lose the younger generation, they're doing a great job. Even if they're Zionist they're far less uncritically pro-Israel than people of my generation. The leadership is out of touch.


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johnpauljones
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posted 12 June 2007 09:14 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

The question is whether the CJC is a democratic body or whether the criticisms that it has become the servant of the several wealthy conservative families who run the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy Public Affairs Committee (CIJA-PAC) are valid. Democracy or plutocracy?


I am familiar with CIJA which is the organ that funds CJC but what is CIJA-PAC?

Their is an org called CJPAC which is not associated with CIJA or CJC.


From: City of Toronto | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 12 June 2007 01:07 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
CIJA-PAC, CJPAC, CIC,reminds me of that great song in "Hair".

Max being a Zionist is a good thing. Yes CJC has Zionism as a principle and guess what some present company excluded in my view most jews are Zionist,Why d I say that? Well the number of Jews that give to their local UJA aross this country is at an unprecedented high. The money collected is testament to that. All Federal parties are Zionist oriented whether you like it or not. So for CJC to have as part of its charter or whatever, Zionism as an entry point makes perfect sense to me.

If you dont like it dont join. Its sorta like belonging to a political party. If you are a Tory dont join the NDP


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 02:08 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Max Bialystock:

They should just be honest and call it the Canadian Zionist Congress. According to today's "Jewish leaders" the main criteria for being a good Jew is uncritical support for Israel.

If they want to lose the younger generation, they're doing a great job. Even if they're Zionist they're far less uncritically pro-Israel than people of my generation. The leadership is out of touch.


By catering to zealots Hillel is doing an excellent job of alienating all but the most hard core right wing Jews on campus. I've lost count of the number of Jews who no longer identify as such because they find Hillel and the young blueshirts who staff their tables an embarassment. I suspect their a major factor in encouraging assimilation in spite of themselves.

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 02:09 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
CIJA-PAC, CJPAC, CIC,reminds me of that great song in "Hair".

Max being a Zionist is a good thing. Yes CJC has Zionism as a principle and guess what some present company excluded in my view most jews are Zionist,Why d I say that? Well the number of Jews that give to their local UJA aross this country is at an unprecedented high. The money collected is testament to that. All Federal parties are Zionist oriented whether you like it or not. So for CJC to have as part of its charter or whatever, Zionism as an entry point makes perfect sense to me.

If you dont like it dont join. Its sorta like belonging to a political party. If you are a Tory dont join the NDP


So if you're not a Zionist you can't be a member of the Jewish community?


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aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 02:12 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Well the number of Jews that give to their local UJA aross this country is at an unprecedented high.

And the number of people on the Walk for Israel in Toronto this year was about half what it's been in the past.

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 02:18 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Also, the number of North American Jews making alyiah to Israel has plummeted over the last 20 years. Once again, Zionism has become the phenomenon of North American Jews raising money to send Russian Jews to live in Israel (and try to deny them entry to Canada).

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 12 June 2007 02:25 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

So if you're not a Zionist you can't be a member of the Jewish community?


No, you cant belong to CJC

From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 12 June 2007 02:26 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

And the number of people on the Walk for Israel in Toronto this year was about half what it's been in the past.

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


No actually about a third less ..rain kept many away

From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 12 June 2007 02:40 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
By catering to zealots Hillel is doing an excellent job of alienating all but the most hard core right wing Jews on campus. I've lost count of the number of Jews who no longer identify as such because they find Hillel and the young blueshirts who staff their tables an embarassment. I suspect their a major factor in encouraging assimilation in spite of themselves.

I couldn't agree more. I teach at York where the Hillel chapter is dominated by extreme rightwing zealots. They turn off the vast majority of the Jewish students on campus.

http://tinyurl.com/ynv5f7

And this group claims to speak for "Jewish students" and says how "Jews" (read: rightwing extremist Jews) are afraid to speak in class because of rampant anti-Semitism, etc. (more likely there is discussion about Israel they don't want to hear). When people were protesting the war in Iraq a lot of the Hillel and YZP activists waved American flags and tried to give off the impression that "Jews" supported the war in Iraq and that the antiwar movement is anti-Semitic.

Edited to add: In fact in this article Zac Kaye of the Toronto Hillel expresses a problem they face rather frankly:

quote:
Kaye highlighted some of the stresses faced by Hillel@York.

“Many pro-Palestinian students at York are Jewish,” Kaye said. “They’re beyond the pale for us Jews and it can be quite frustrating.”


http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=3137&s=1

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: Lord Palmerston ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 03:36 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
No actually about a third less ..rain kept many away

UJA claims 20,000 turnout in past years. Star reported less than 10,000 this year. That's less than half. And I didn't notice any rain until several hours *after* the walk had ended.

Anyway, glad that you admit that at least 1/3 of the participants are literally only fair-weather friends of Israel

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 03:36 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
No, you cant belong to CJC

So the CJC doesn't represent the entire Jewish community, just Zionists? Why pretend to represent all Jews by calling yourselves the "Canadian Jewish Congress" then when you're really the Canadian Zionist Congress (and according to the Economist, polls show an increasing number of North American Jews reject Zionism so don't pretend all Jews are Zionist except a small fringe)

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 03:48 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Max Bialystock:

And it was Bronfman who expelled the UJPO which had a very large membership. The conflation of Jews with the Left was embarrassing for the likes of Bronfman.


Ironically, the actual issue that UJPO was expelled over was its opposition to German rearmament in the 1950s. Something most Jews were actually very much opposed to (for obvious reasons) but which the CJC used as proof that UJPO was pro-Soviet and anti-NATO.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 12 June 2007 04:01 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:

If you dont like it dont join. Its sorta like belonging to a political party. If you are a Tory dont join the NDP

So the CJC isn't the "parliament of Jews" any longer, it's just a "political party" of some Jews. Perhaps you should start admitting that publicly rather than pretending you speak for the Jewish community?


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ohara
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posted 13 June 2007 03:37 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

So the CJC doesn't represent the entire Jewish community, just Zionists? Why pretend to represent all Jews by calling yourselves the "Canadian Jewish Congress" then when you're really the Canadian Zionist Congress (and according to the Economist, polls show an increasing number of North American Jews reject Zionism so don't pretend all Jews are Zionist except a small fringe)

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


Well when the vast majority of Jews are Zionists its a bit of a moot point.

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ohara
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posted 13 June 2007 03:39 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

So the CJC isn't the "parliament of Jews" any longer, it's just a "political party" of some Jews. Perhaps you should start admitting that publicly rather than pretending you speak for the Jewish community?


Firstly while I support the CJC (as do most Jews in Canada) I am not the CJC. If you have advice for the CJC call them or email them. Posting it here will get you exactly nowhere...or better yet their plenary is on Sunday, go register and have your say

[ 13 June 2007: Message edited by: ohara ]


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 13 June 2007 04:11 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Firstly while I support the CJC (as do most Jews in Canada) I am not the CJC. If you have advice for the CJC call them or email them. Posting it here will get you exactly nowhere...or better yet their plenary is on Sunday, go register and have your say


But I'm not a Zionist and therefore, as you've made it clear earlier ("No, you cant belong to CJC"), I can't be a member of the CJC and therefore can't go to the plenary or have a say.

You can't have it both ways ie you can't say Jews who are not Zionists or are critical of Zionists can't be members of the CJC and then turn around and say if they have a problem they should go to the plenary and speak up. Similarly, the CJC can't have it both ways and both claim to be the "Parliament of Canadian Jews" whilst at the same time exluding Jews who do not share the CJC's pro-Zionist views.

quote:
Posting it here will get you exactly nowhere

I don't know, CJC staff and officers seem to be deeply enmeshed in groupthink so I think making public criticism (particularly on a board frequented by CJC staffers) is more likely to be heard and responded to then leaving a voice mail or sending an email.

[ 13 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


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ohara
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posted 13 June 2007 04:19 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Its like being a citizen I guess, there are rules. CJC is not anarchistic where any and everything goes. Either is Parliamnet for that matter. The CJC has Zionism as part of its mandate as an organization. That you and a few others are not Zionists does not derogate from the fact that most Jews are and can freely belong. If you want to join another non-Zionist group go ahaead.

BTW, does the government of Canada speak on behalf of Canadians?


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aka Mycroft
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posted 13 June 2007 04:23 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Its like being a citizen I guess, there are rules.

Hm, so do you think Quebec separatists should be denied citizenship rights or that the BQ should be banned from parliament?

quote:
CJC is not anarchistic where any and everything goes. Either is Parliamnet for that matter. The CJC has Zionism as part of its mandate as an organization. That you and a few others are not Zionists does not derogate from the fact that most Jews are and can freely belong. If you want to join another non-Zionist group go ahaead.

BTW, does the government of Canada speak on behalf of Canadians?


No, but parliament is supposed to. Are you now arguing that the CJC is the "government of the Jews" rather than its "parliament"? How could that be the case when some members of the Jewish community are excluded from the election process?

The main flaw in your argument is the existence of the Bloc Quebecois in Canada's parliament and of parties like the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru at Westminster. If your rationalization were accurate these the above parties would either be illegal or would not be permitted to claim seats in their respective parliaments.

In Canadian democracy you can be opposed to the existence of Canada, or at least not want to belong to it, and still be represented. This is quite unlike the CJC where Jews who do not toe the party line on Israel are disenfranchised and therefore, for all intents and purposes, excluded from the Jewish community. That's fine if you're a cult but it's not very healthy for a community.

[ 13 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
kropotkin1951
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posted 13 June 2007 04:54 PM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
CJC is not anarchistic where any and everything goes.


Get an education before spouting outrageous nonesense. Try George Woodcock first since he published extensively on the subject.

From: North of Manifest Destiny | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 13 June 2007 04:58 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Well when the vast majority of Jews are Zionists its a bit of a moot point.

What do you mean by "Zionist?"


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ohara
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posted 14 June 2007 02:36 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Palmerston:

What do you mean by "Zionist?"


Both these explanations and definitions work for me.

Jewish virtual library

wikipedia


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ohara
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posted 14 June 2007 02:40 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

No, but parliament is supposed to. Are you now arguing that the CJC is the "government of the Jews" rather than its "parliament"? How could that be the case when some members of the Jewish community are excluded from the election process?

The main flaw in your argument is the existence of the Bloc Quebecois in Canada's parliament and of parties like the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru at Westminster. If your rationalization were accurate these the above parties would either be illegal or would not be permitted to claim seats in their respective parliaments.

In Canadian democracy you can be opposed to the existence of Canada, or at least not want to belong to it, and still be represented. This is quite unlike the CJC where Jews who do not toe the party line on Israel are disenfranchised and therefore, for all intents and purposes, excluded from the Jewish community. That's fine if you're a cult but it's not very healthy for a community.

[ 13 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]



aka, the point is (and yes I know you just love to argue)that the cjc is an organization. Yes it has been termed a "parliament" but that in my view was more descriptive than actual. You see it has a bona fide set of governance principles, by-laws etc duly passed at plenaries over the many years. At one point the pre-requisate to support the Jewish state of Israel was recognized as part of CJC's aims and objectives ., maybe when you were in diapers so you were unable to be present. Either way that's the way it is.

I know you disagree, I know you dont like it, but those, as they say, are the rules.


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Michelle
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posted 14 June 2007 03:06 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So, you're admitting that the Canadian Jewish Congress actually doesn't speak for all Canadian Jews, then. Only the ones who agree with you.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 14 June 2007 06:15 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The same issue of The CJN that reported the death of Congress as we have known it contained a report about a new study by two sociologists on the affiliation – or, more accurately, non-affiliation – patterns of young Jewish adults in North America.

The study documents their lack of interest in communal institutions and in traditional patterns of behaviour. Other studies document the declining interest in Israel on the part of young Jews and the alarming rate of intermarriage. Our community notables are forever expressing dismay at their inability to communicate with the young.


Can someone please explain to me what this is supposed to mean? Does the CJC and do Zionists disapprove of intermarriages?


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Petsy
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posted 14 June 2007 06:57 AM      Profile for Petsy        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
So, you're admitting that the Canadian Jewish Congress actually doesn't speak for all Canadian Jews, then. Only the ones who agree with you.

Michelle, you are being just a teeny, weeny bit obtuse. No organization can speak for EVERYBODY. It can speak for a general majority a vast consensus if you will. That is what I believe cjc does and does it well.

Meanwhile perusing the CJN website I found this response to the article referenced at the beginning of this thread. It serves as a good counterpoint I think.


CJC: Time to stand up and applaud


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
kropotkin1951
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posted 14 June 2007 08:42 AM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So Ohara you come on a progressive site make an outrageous statement about one of the political ideologies on the left and then don't even apologise but instead ignore it completely. You are a closed minded bigot.

Occupy Resist Produce


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N.Beltov
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posted 14 June 2007 09:05 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That second sentence is unnecessary, against policy and possibly untrue. I would delete or edit it if I were you, k1951. It doesn't strengthen your argument and provides a great opportunity to attack you.
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ohara
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posted 14 June 2007 09:11 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Interesting retort to Brown. Thanks Petsy. I will ignore kropotkin, its a bait not worthy
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Ken Burch
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posted 14 June 2007 10:00 AM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
ohara, as a person who is neither Jewish nor Canadian, I'm probably the most objective observer of the discussion in this thread, so let me ask you this, as a person who is not entirely "up to speed" on the innerworkings of the CJC:

Why do you feel it is justified to deny membership in the Canadian Jewish Congress to Jews who are not Zionists(a group which includes not only some leftists but the Hasidim who believe that it is illegitimate to establish a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiach)?

Can you not see that a large number of people of goodwill within the Jewish community of Canada, people who are just as Jewish as you are but who simply don't believe, for whatever reasons, that this obliges them to support Israel, or even simply to support it uncritically, would justifiably take it as a slur that an organization that calls itself the Canadian Jewish Congress would deny them membership, and by so doing would essentially be saying "oh, they aren't REAL Jews" or(to paraphrase an essay I think you posted in another thread, that they are "half-Jews")?

Why impose this kind of an artificial division within the Jewish community of your country?

Why must everyone in that community be made to feel that support of this particular state is the defining proof of one's Jewishness?

You do realize that most "non-Zionist" Jews would probably base their feelings about Israel, in part, on the belief that the policies of that state are not in accord with the humane and progressive values of the Jewish tradition, don't you? Who is the CJC to say, in effect, that they can't feel this way and still be Jewish?

I'd really like to understand the rationale for such intransigence on the CJC's part, and why you would support such intransigence.

Would not the CJC be a stronger and more valid group if it were to say that ALL Jews were equally welcome? Why leave anyone out?


From: A seedy truckstop on the Information Superhighway | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 14 June 2007 10:13 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Petsy:

Michelle, you are being just a teeny, weeny bit obtuse. No organization can speak for EVERYBODY.

Then the CJC shouldn't operate under that pretense.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 14 June 2007 12:46 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
According to the CJC's website, the organization bills itself as "The Jewish community's official voice on public affairs". How can the CJC exclude members of the Jewish community whose views on Israel it does not like while, at the same time, claiming to be the community's "official voice" on anything?
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kropotkin1951
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posted 14 June 2007 01:34 PM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Interesting retort to Brown. Thanks Petsy. I will ignore kropotkin, its a bait not worthy
This is a progtresive site and I am ideeologically an anarchist. Why is it you think you can just get away that kind of garbage?

The bigot comment in my second post after you ignored my first was because you were defending a Jewish organization by disparging my political beliefs. Replace anarchist with socialist, or Zionist and see who on this board reacts to your denigrating statements.


From: North of Manifest Destiny | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 15 June 2007 06:19 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

Then the CJC shouldn't operate under that pretense.


And then either should any trade union, NGO, government........

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ohara
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posted 15 June 2007 06:20 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
According to the CJC's website, the organization bills itself as "The Jewish community's official voice on public affairs". How can the CJC exclude members of the Jewish community whose views on Israel it does not like while, at the same time, claiming to be the community's "official voice" on anything?
Because it is such a minute group as to be statistically incosequential

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Max Bialystock
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posted 15 June 2007 03:42 PM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Because it is such a minute group as to be statistically incosequential

I agree the vast majority of Jews are Zionists. But that doesn't mean anti-Zionist Jews are any less Jewish.


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Stockholm
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posted 15 June 2007 03:51 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Define "Zionist"
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Max Bialystock
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posted 15 June 2007 03:58 PM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm using the "ohara" definition

Seriously ohara and Petsy, all you seem to do here is defend Israel no matter what it does and defend your good friends Bernie Farber and Irving Abella and your beloved CJC.

[ 15 June 2007: Message edited by: Max Bialystock ]


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aka Mycroft
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posted 15 June 2007 04:18 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
And then either should any trade union, NGO, government........

Ohara, you really should stop making false analogies. Trade unions do not exclude their members because of political disagreements. NGOs don't tend to claim to speak for an entire group. The CJC, however, claims to speak for all Canadian Jews despite excluding a fair number of them. Governments are elected; the Jewish community as a whole did not elect the CJC as its representative.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 15 June 2007 04:21 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Because it is such a minute group as to be statistically incosequential

According to a poll published in the Econmist, only 17% of American Jews today would describe themselves as "Zionist".

I suspect the number of non-Zionist Jews in Canada is far more significant than you'd like to think. Certainly the number of Jews who have been driven out of the Jewish community or no longer feel comfortable within it because of its growing intolerance for dissent is not insignificant.

But if the number of non-Zionist Jews is so "insignificant" why are you and the CJC so afraid of them?

[ 15 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


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Max Bialystock
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posted 15 June 2007 04:26 PM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
“Many pro-Palestinian students at York are Jewish,” Kaye said. “They’re beyond the pale for us Jews and it can be quite frustrating.”

Good to see Hillel driving away the Jewish youth from Zionism. So if you believe in justice for the Palestinians you're "beyond the pale"????


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Stockholm
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posted 15 June 2007 04:27 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
According to a poll published in the Econmist, only 17% of American Jews today would describe themselves as "Zionist".

That doesn't surprise me. But if you are hoping to extrapolate from that that the other 83% of American Jews are "anti-Israel" and root for Hamas - you'd be sadly mistaken.


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aka Mycroft
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posted 15 June 2007 04:30 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:

That doesn't surprise me. But if you are hoping to extrapolate from that that the other 83% of American Jews are "anti-Israel" and root for Hamas - you'd be sadly mistaken.


I wasn't making that extrapolation at all. I hope you're not implying that Canadian Jews who aren't Zionists are "anti-Israel" and root for Hamas either.

Point is that the self-appointed leadership of both American and Canadian Jews are not representative of the general Jewish population. Whereas only 17% of American Jews (and likely a similar number of Canadian Jews) call themselves "Zionist" I suspect over 90% of the leadership of the CJC and Bnai Brith would describe themselves as such.


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Stockholm
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posted 15 June 2007 04:46 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In my view, a "Zionist" is a Jew who has moved to Israel or has a plan to do so. If you have no plans to live in Israel, you are not a "Zionist" - you may simply someone who believes that Israel has a place in the world community.
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aka Mycroft
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posted 15 June 2007 04:57 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps one of the CJC activists or supporters here can explain how it is democratic to bring in a structure where the executive of the CJC is chosen by a body of which 25% is made up of nominees from the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy? The CCIJA is a self-appointed body of wealthy funders such as Gerry Schwartz, Heather Reisman, the Aspers and some other families. In effect, the CJC's leadership will now be chosen by an "electoral college" in which a few wealthy families are grossly overrepresented. Hence, the CJC now becomes a plutocracy for all intents and purposes.

[ 15 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


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aka Mycroft
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posted 15 June 2007 05:00 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:
In my view, a "Zionist" is a Jew who has moved to Israel or has a plan to do so. If you have no plans to live in Israel, you are not a "Zionist" - you may simply someone who believes that Israel has a place in the world community.

I can find no definition of modern Zionism or Zionists that is so narrow. Certainly, most of the members and indeed leaders of the Canadian Zionist Federation and of the Zionist Organization of America have no serious intention of ever settling in Israel.


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Ken Burch
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posted 15 June 2007 06:29 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:
In my view, a "Zionist" is a Jew who has moved to Israel or has a plan to do so. If you have no plans to live in Israel, you are not a "Zionist" - you may simply someone who believes that Israel has a place in the world community.

So...Stocks...when's YOUR flight to Tel Aviv take off?

Or are you saying that YOU aren't a Zionist?


From: A seedy truckstop on the Information Superhighway | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ken Burch
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posted 15 June 2007 06:31 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Because it is such a minute group as to be statistically incosequential

Then what's the point of barring them from the CJC at all?

And does the CJC use Stockholm's definition of Zionism and ONLY include those Jewish Canadians who are actually planning to make aliyah?


From: A seedy truckstop on the Information Superhighway | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 June 2007 07:45 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aka Mycroft:

I can find no definition of modern Zionism or Zionists that is so narrow. Certainly, most of the members and indeed leaders of the Canadian Zionist Federation and of the Zionist Organization of America have no serious intention of ever settling in Israel.


Well, I essentially agree with Stockholm. Zionism has always meant - to me - the belief, ideological and political, that Jews should settle in their homeland. It didn't necessarily mean Israel, as Herzl's support for the Uganda option showed.

Somehow, Zionism has been distorted by some to mean support for Israel's existence as a "Jewish state" and support for its expansionist and segregationist activities. That certainly was not the Zionism that animated certain of my relatives that made Aliyah (settled there) in British mandate days.

I personally oppose Zionism as being anathema to the enlightened trend in Jewish history. But my opposition to Israeli policy and to the very foundation of the Israeli state (based on ethnocentrist supremacy) is a thousandfold greater.

Put differently, in my understanding, a person can be a Zionist while categorically opposing Israel's racist juridical foundation and its illegal aggressive actions. Many many Israelis fit that precise bill, though these days they are largely in the background, except for a few brave outspoken souls.

Likewise, a person can be a fervent supporter of Israel without being in any way a Zionist. To call Stephen Harper or Stéphane Dion or Pat Martin or Judy Wasylycia-Leis or Jack Layton (on most days of the week) "Zionists" is to abandon language altogether.

If you want to change "Zionist" to mean "supporter of Israel", then you'll need another word to mean what "Zionist" used to mean.

Conclusion: Very very few Jews outside Israel itself are now or ever have been Zionists. That applies also to the reactionary leaders of various Diaspora Jewish organizations who have a great use for Israel, but no intention of themselves or other Jews moving there - unless it comes to herding others, such as ex-Soviet Jewry etc., for narrow political ends.

[ 15 June 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]


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evernon
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posted 16 June 2007 05:48 AM      Profile for evernon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I find this entire thread very odd. You have ohara and petsy defending the Jewish Congress as though it is a real Parliament of some kind.

You have Max Bialystock, and Kens and unionist and others involved in a stunningly aggressive argument about one very small organization as though it has incredible influence in this country.

Why such huge attention is being paid to the cjc is beyond me. Why not look at the Indo-Canadian Society or Ukrainian Canadian Congress or the Canadian Arab Federation? Why not go to their community newspapers and see what if anything is written about these groups and their governance? Why are we so concentrating (90 posts now) on one single Jewish group? Why do we need to conflate Gerry Schwartz (money and Jews?) with this issue?

I happen to have great respect for volunteers who give their time to their community through such organizatons but honestly the attention being paid to this group is way beyond what we see with any other group in this country. It really has to make you wonder.

[ 16 June 2007: Message edited by: evernon ]


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Petsy
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posted 16 June 2007 10:48 AM      Profile for Petsy        Edit/Delete Post
Hmmm good question evernon. In the past on Babble the bla.e for such threads have often been put back onto the shoulders of those like ohara,me and the few other Jewish lefties here who support the Jewish state of Israel.

Yest this thread is hyper-critical of the Jewish Congress above and beyond virtually any other ethnic or faith organization ever discussed on Babble. We all indeed need to ask ouirselves "why" without poking fingers at pro-Jewsih state supporters. It stinks.


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Max Bialystock
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posted 16 June 2007 11:16 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Petsy:
Hmmm good question evernon. In the past on Babble the bla.e for such threads have often been put back onto the shoulders of those like ohara,me and the few other Jewish lefties here who support the Jewish state of Israel.

Yest this thread is hyper-critical of the Jewish Congress above and beyond virtually any other ethnic or faith organization ever discussed on Babble. We all indeed need to ask ouirselves "why" without poking fingers at pro-Jewsih state supporters. It stinks.


I don't know of anyone here from the Canadian Arab Federation or the Ukrainian Canadian Congress who posts here mainly to defend their organization.

Besides you and petsy who are the other "Jewish lefties" who support the "Jewish" state of Israel that you're referring to? Why are Jewish states acceptable but Christian or Muslim states not?

BTW I just looked at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress website and it claims to represent all Ukrainian Canadians. They have a strong leftwing tradition in Canada. I wonder how their leadership reflects their membership.

[ 16 June 2007: Message edited by: Max Bialystock ]


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ohara
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posted 16 June 2007 11:26 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Sure Max just for you we will out the Jewish lefties. What is the shame of it all is that we Jewish lefties have to "defend" Jewish organizations at all. Petsy is right (ya ya its a conspiracy between me and petsy I know Ive heard it before blah blah blah), some here have an almost fetishistic need to focus on Jewish things above all else, that we are here to defend ourselves or Jewish groups you claim is bad and I say is good.

Now back to petsy's question why this facination with the Jews who support Israel but more specifically their organizations? Hell this thread is about the fucking governance of the Jewish congress and was turned into something else.


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Max Bialystock
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posted 16 June 2007 11:35 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It seems to me most of the Jewish lefties posting here - Mycroft, unionist and myself - are critical of the undemocratic CJC and its claim to represent all Jews including those on the Left. You and petsy are outnumbered.
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DrConway
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posted 16 June 2007 11:36 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Someone explain to me how less popular participation rather than more will revitalize an organization? Seems kinda self-defeating to me.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ohara
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posted 16 June 2007 11:44 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Max Bialystock:
It seems to me most of the Jewish lefties posting here - Mycroft, unionist and myself - are critical of the undemocratic CJC and its claim to represent all Jews including those on the Left. You and petsy are outnumbered.

I know at least 5 others here. Some are even afraid to post there positions so are more oblique. How do you want me to out them?

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aka Mycroft
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posted 16 June 2007 11:46 AM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps one of the CJC activists or supporters here can explain how it is democratic to bring in a structure where the executive of the CJC is chosen by a body of which 25% is made up of nominees from the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy? The CCIJA is a self-appointed body of wealthy funders such as Gerry Schwartz, Heather Reisman, the Aspers and some other families. In effect, the CJC's leadership will now be chosen by an "electoral college" in which a few wealthy families are grossly overrepresented. Hence, the CJC now becomes a plutocracy for all intents and purposes.
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Max Bialystock
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posted 16 June 2007 11:49 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In other words it's about as "democratic" as the IMF - in which the more money you have, the more say you have.

Classism in the Jewish community is already a serious problem and this will just exacerbate it.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/old/jjgoldberg.5.5.0.htm

quote:

What's hardest about being a Jewish cabdriver isn't money, though. It's how people look at you. "A working-class Jew is like an oddity," Barak says. "To a lot of mainstream Jews, it's like you're verging on homelessness or something."

[ 16 June 2007: Message edited by: Max Bialystock ]


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ohara
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posted 16 June 2007 11:52 AM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps someone here can explain why you focus so much attention on Jewish gropus?
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Max Bialystock
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posted 16 June 2007 11:56 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No more than you do!

Seriously ohara I'm trying to talk about a serious issue. Are you denying the reality of classism? J.J. Goldberg, who wrote the article I linked, is one of the most prominent journalists on Jewish issues around.


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ohara
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posted 16 June 2007 01:00 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Im going to the CJC plenary tomorrow where over 500 delegates will be debating this new governing change. It will have to be passed by a two-thirds majority. So if it is the will of the plenary who the hell would you be to deny it?
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aka Mycroft
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posted 16 June 2007 01:10 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Im going to the CJC plenary tomorrow where over 500 delegates will be debating this new governing change. It will have to be passed by a two-thirds majority. So if it is the will of the plenary who the hell would you be to deny it?


Ohara, you haven't answered the question. How would it be democratic to have a self-appointed committee of plutocrats, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy Public Affairs, nominate 25% of the board that chooses the CJC's leadership?


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ohara
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posted 16 June 2007 04:15 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Funny thing, as a delegate to the CJC plenary I have read the new By-law and damned if any of that crap is in there.
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Ken Burch
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posted 16 June 2007 04:30 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You still haven't explained why you think non-Zionist Jews should be excluded from the CJC, which is a curious position given that, if "Zionist" were to be defined as Stockholm defines it, the majority of the Jewish community in Canada would be ineligible for membership in the CJC.
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aka Mycroft
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posted 16 June 2007 04:52 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ohara:
Funny thing, as a delegate to the CJC plenary I have read the new By-law and damned if any of that crap is in there.

According to the Candian Jewish News

quote:
The proposed structure would put an end to national CJC elections and see the president and senior officers appointed by a board consisting of nominees from the the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), which will appoint one-quarter of the board,, and from federations in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and appointees from Congress’ regional offices.

The "crap", as you refer to it, is there ohara. Now that it's been pointed out to you are you going to be voting against Article 67? If not, how do you justify having 25% of the board that chooses the CJC's leadership being made up of nominees from CIJA, a self-appointed, unelected, plutocratic body of wealthy families? At the very least don't you find this concept a violation of your social democratic principles?

The "crap", specifically, is in clause 12 of Article 67 titled "Composition of Directors". (Yes, I have a copy of Article 67 as well as Article 66 - despite CJC's earlier refusal to give ACJC a copy of article 66 when requested - seems the article was freely available to everyone who asked for it except ACJC but that bureaucratic naughtiness by CJC is another issue). Are you really going to continue this charade and make me post excerpts to prove you wrong?

I'm quite shocked that as a delegate to the CJC plenary you evidently are not aware of the contents of the article you are voting on (let alone one that you've endorsed here).

[ 16 June 2007: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 16 June 2007 08:44 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Personally, my sole interest in the CJC is to prevent anyone from thinking that it speaks in my name, or the names of many Jews that I know, or in the name of the noble Jewish tradition of enlightenment, humanitarianism, and culture.

Were I Ukrainian, and a self-styled Ukrainian organization upheld as regressive positions as the CJC does, I would no doubt do the same.

So blame me for being Jewish. I can take it!


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ohara
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posted 17 June 2007 02:22 PM      Profile for ohara        Edit/Delete Post
Mycroft, read more carefully and you will see that all the regions maintain the full right of democratic elections. From my vantage point this gives the regions more strngth than it ever had.

Now there are some parts of 67 that I find problamatic. But Im home now from the plenary. There was a vigorous debate by the delegates and I listened carefully to all arguments. Despite some concerns I voted along with more than 2/3rds of the dlegates from across the country in favour of the new by-law. Call me a despot Mycroft but at least Im at the table, Im progressive (even if you dont like it or think so) and compared to all the other jewish organizations out there, CJc remians the best, most forward thinking and socially responsible. If that ever ends Im on the first train out.


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Petsy
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posted 17 June 2007 03:12 PM      Profile for Petsy        Edit/Delete Post
Wish I was there. Spoke to a friend who was also a delegate. He was very moved by the passion of the debate as well. Also told me about the 3 awards,recognizing the human rights work of those that work for cjc. ...real nice
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oldgoat
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posted 17 June 2007 03:34 PM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And on that note we can close for length.
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