CAEF Letter to Karen Tisch, Executive Director of the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Toronto
Dear Ms Tisch,
We have become aware of the heinous petition that was initiated by antisemites who wish to see the Koffler Gallery distance itself from the Jewish community by demanding you denounce Zionism, a core value of Judaism, and distance the Gallery from the United Jewish Appeal, which was for years a major funder.
These outrageous demands must be denounced. That anyone can demand sanctioning Jewish freedom, demanding that you ignore your roots, especially when the name of your gallery is after a prestigious and generous Zionist like Murray Koffler, is disgusting.
The treatment of Jews on the streets of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Paris, London and many places around the globe is reminiscent of pre-Holocaust years and must be countered. We urge you to state publicly that the Koffler Gallery will not be bullied, will not negotiate with Jew haters, and that is exactly where the demand is coming from, not withstanding some on the list of artists are Jews. That proves nothing.
Israel is the historic and legal land of the Jewish people and there is international law to prove it. Israel is not an aggressor state, but one that protects its citizens, all of them, regardless of faith, creed or colour. The Arabs living there are equal citizens under the law and fare much better than the Arabs in any Arab state, so how dare the protesters here spread lies and bigotry? The Gazans are held hostage to the terrorist entity Hamas which tortures and kills its own when they fall out of line, speak against Hamas, form relationships with Israelis, are gay or lesbian, or dispute the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. One need only read the charter of Hamas to understand its sole goal is the elimination of Israel.
In the view of CAEF, any who support that goal are antisemites and pose a threat to our Jewish community.
Rather than bend to the demands of Jew haters, it would be incredibly powerful, and send a message of inclusion, tolerance, justice and peace, if the Koffler gallery featured an exhibit of artists who support Israel, who are unapologetic Zionists, Jewish and non-Jewish.
It is time to stand strong for freedom, justice and the Jewish people. Let it not be said that we were silent and hatred festered, and then it was too late.
Andria Spindel, Executive Director
Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation