What is the Big Tent for Jews? CAEF Bulletin -- December 25 2020
Thanks and Best wishes to our Christmas celebrating friends, our valued Allies are appreciated.
We thank the Canada Celebrates Israel Network for including CAEF with other Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in their recent virtual celebration of love for Israel.
Click here to watch the ICEJ program
What Jews have in common, whether politically left or right, religious or secular, Israeli or diaspora, involved or unengaged—is that we oppose Jew Hatred! CAEF has joined the End Jew Hatred movement and is forming the End Jew Hatred Canada. CAEF held an inaugural meeting with Toronto volunteers and the team at the Lawfare Project which initiated #EndJewHatred, a grassroots movement that takes direct action to confront Jew haters.
We are in planning mode, identifying key targets that need to be exposed and held accountable. We invite others who will commit time, talent, toil to the civil rights of the Jews. This is our Jewish liberation movement! It is time that Jews joined the fight for Jewish rights, no less important than women’s rights, gay rights, black rights, etc.
Jews are the most discriminated against minority; stats show year over year that antisemitism and antisemitic attacks represent the greatest number of hate crimes in Canada, as in the US and Europe. Watch for more information. Join the movement here. Send CAEF at email@example.com the following: your name, email, cell phone number.
Do You Care if Canada is Funding Antisemitic Lies that Pass as Education?
In a recent webinar presentation, Itmar Marcus, Founder and Director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), provided a significant amount of evidence of the terror and incitement taught by Palestinian Authority approved media, schools and mosques. Marcus was invited to share his information with CAEF supporters. Below is his response and a few videos that illustrate the depth of lies and hatred spewed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, #1 Antisemite among the Palestinian Arabs.
Video: Abbas - We'll pay our last penny to martyrs and prisoners
Video: Abbas rewrites history PA TV
"I hope that you gained some valuable insight into the roots of the conflict and the challenges Israel faces from a Palestinian Authority that promotes and celebrates the murder of Israelis as Allah’s will, and tells children that they are destined for Martyrdom because they are merely ammunition for Islam. We certainly hope that the Biden administration will be exposed to PMW findings as soon as possible. Once the new administration knows the horrific ways the PA uses donor money, it will be able to decide intelligently if it wants US taxpayers to pay for Palestinian terror promotion and child abuse.
PMW has changed the way the world views the PA. There is not a country in the world that does not know that the PA names schools and sporting events after terrorists, pays salaries to terrorist prisoners, and incites terror and Martyrdom in its media and education. Four countries have cut off all funding to the PA, and many others have cut funding to the PA’s general budget and only fund individual projects—all in response to information that PMW has brought to the world’s attention. "
CAEF asks—what do Canadians think of the government spending over $70m in support of the UN Relief and Works Agency which works in collaboration with the PA, uses the same texts as the PA, demonizes Israel in the same way as the PA, lives off of donor funds but never addresses or solves a refugee issue because, like the PA, its very existence requires the problems, which it manufactures, in order to justify its existence?
Meet the Canadian representative to the Palestinian Authority
Robin Wettlaufer (BA [International Relations], University of British Columbia, 1998; MA [Political Science], York University, 2000) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1998. At Headquarters, she held positions as desk officer for Iraq and as conflict prevention adviser for the G8 foreign ministers’ process, and she also served in Regional Security and Peacekeeping and in the Japan Division. She was senior adviser to the Darfur peace process from 2010 to 2011 and deputy director for the Sudan/South Sudan Task Force from 2011 to 2013. Overseas, she served in Ramallah from 2005 to 2008; in Islamabad from 2008 to 2010; and in Istanbul, as both Canada’s special representative and head of political affairs for Syria from 2014-2019.
Lest We Forget the Jews of China
In 2011 I had the unique opportunity to organize a tour of “Jewish China” with a friend and colleague as we were travelling to Korea to attend a professional conference. We added a week and visited historic Jewish sites in Hunan, Kaifeng, Nanjing, and Shanghai.
The most important visit was to Kaifeng, the ancient Chinese capital and the original capital for a thriving Jewish community, one more recently recognized and supported by overseas Jews through the organization Kulanu (All of Us) which asked me to carry a small printed Torah to the community. It was a pure pleasure to undertake to truck an extra-large suitcase filled only with a Torah wrapped with extra linens and gifts of Judaica.
We arrived late on Shabbat evening and were greeted by a driver, taken the hour long drive from the airport to a small two bedroom apartment that served as shule (school), and community center for the small remnants and returning Jewish community of Kaifeng.
That some hundreds of years since their Temple was destroyed, their 13 Sefrei Torah sold, their members intermarried and not recognizable as other than Han Chinese, and their faith a fragment of memory, I can only say that Shabbat in Kaifeng, accompanied by Erev Rosh Hashonah, was magnificent. The members were in family groups, eating together at two long tightly placed tables, serving platters of amazing vegetarian dishes and then singing joyfully. Only a few members spoke good enough English for a conversation but all sung Hebrew songs loudly and proudly.
That this small community has all but disappeared, or meets secretly, saddens me. If it were not dangerous for their wellbeing I would eagerly share photos of the members and tell of the sights and sounds that were being preserved in the old Jewish neighborhood, but unfortunately, that is not to be. Here is why.
Doğan D. Akman**
This year amid our celebration of Hanukkah in Canada, we collectively failed to pay attention to the plight of the Chinese Kaifeng Jewish community established back in the 10th century, although some scholars claim a much earlier century. Currently, the community comprises about 100 practicing Jews, among 1000 or so who claim Jewish ancestry.
Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China the Chinese Communist Party has feared adverse foreign influences and religious teachings that might be spread throughout the country by religions other than those formally recognised by the Party i.e. Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Buddhism, Daoism and Islam.
In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping commenced a harsh crackdown against foreign influence and unapproved religions. Since then, the members of the Jewish community have been forced to practice Judaism in secret in order to avoid being denounced to the authorities and victimised by them.
According to a reported story in the U.K’s The Telegraph, recently three members of the community, one of whom spoke under an assumed name for fear of being identified and two others who do not appear to have given their names, told the interviewer:
“Every time we celebrate we are scared. Whatever we do, we are always very careful to make sure the authorities don’t find out. The Crackdown is so intense that some members of the community refuse to be seen breaking bread together in public. It is a small place. Restaurant managers know that we are Jews and they will report us to the authorities. It’s government policy. China doesn’t want to recognise us as Jews. Their goal is to make sure the next generation doesn’t have any Jewish identity.”
The Telegraph further reports that, “...the remnants of a 12th century synagogue and what few Hebrew –language signs remained, have been torn down, replaced with Chinese propaganda. Pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping have replaced the exhibits on Kaifeng’s Jewish heritage in a local museum.”
The rationale for the crackdown against the Jewish community, and what triggered it, is not easy to figure out particularly since Jewish circles knowledgeable about the facts do not consider the crackdown to be motivated by antisemitism.
Indeed, empirical contemporary and historical evidence indicates that the Chinese, whether in the mainland, have traditionally eschewed antisemitism and gave refuge to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Indeed, Jews are admired in some circles and particularly in the commercial ones. Likewise, Hong Kong has a positive record in its treatment of the Jewish newcomers and residents.
According to retired rabbi and President of the Sino-Judaic Institute, Anson Laytner, the reports of suppression of the practice of Judaism in Kaifeng seem unlikely to cause a rift in the Sino-Israeli relations because “Israel would not want to put these ties at risk for such a small number of people.”
In these circumstances, we must be grateful to organizations such as Shavei Israel for helping the members of the community who wish to do so, to move to Israel to regain their religious and cultural heritages.
*Andria Spindel, M.S.W, LLD, Honoris Causa, Executive Director and Editor CAEF.
**Doğan D. Akman is an independent researcher and commentator. He holds a B.Sc. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology/criminology and an LL.B in law. He held academic appointments in sociology, criminology and social policy; served as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and occupied the positions of Crown Counsel in criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation at the Federal Department of Justice. His academic work is published in peer-reviewed professional journals, while his opinion pieces and other writings are to be found in various publications and in blogs.
Which Country will be Next?
Just a quick guess, but there are rumors of another Arab country making peace with Israel and another Muslim country, not in the Middle East region. Considering possibilities, watch Oman and Indonesia. The latter sent a senior Imam visitor in Israel in 2019 who recommended relations between his country and Israel, so just maybe…..and wouldn’t that also be great for the small Indonesian Jewish community? President Trump isn’t finished making miracles this Christmas season.