Attacks questioning loyalty of Canadian Jews in positions of responsibility

There is something odious and reprehensible going on.

Guy Bertrand, a leading lawyer, claimed, in a legal factum, that Canadian Jews, including Justice Minister Cotler, were behind efforts to deport his client, Leon Mugesera, for alleged war crimes and, that in order to secure that ruling, the Jews conspired to have Rosalie Abella appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Chief David Ahenekew, a recipient of the Order of Canada, stated, among other things that Hitler was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn t take over Germany or Europe. That s why he fried 6 million of those guys .

And now Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, of the Canadian Islamic Congress, has asked that Senator Leo Kolber be replaced as Chair of the newly-created Advisory Council on National Security and that Jonathan Schneiderman be removed from his position as Middle-East advisor to Foreign Affairs Minister Pettigrew on the basis that these two appointments (although Mr. Schneiderman s posting was a year ago) make Canadian Muslims nervous about “their own welfare” in Canada.

In each instance, the underlying claim is that Canadian Jews have no loyalty or integrity and would abuse their status by subverting Canada s well-being in favour of conspiracies and plans that favour Jewish or pro-Israeli interests, whatever those interests may be.

This rehashing of the plotline from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (the antisemitic pamphlet authored more than a century ago by Tsarist Russian police in order to legitimize anti-Jewish pogroms) plays to the stereotypical, bigoted imagery that Jews are primarily interested in ruling the world .

Whether the language used is to the point, as exemplified by Mr. Ahenekew, couched in legalese, as was done by Mr. Bertrand, or politically-correct sounding, as articulated by Mr. Elmasry’s reference for “a more equitable approach to the welfare of all Canadians, the message is the same: Jews are untrustworthy when placed in positions of power, influence, advise or decision-making.

That this sentiment is expressed by leaders of three distinct communities is very worrisome. The fact that they are all educated is highly problematic. That they hold positions of importance and are opinion-shapers within their milieus is frightening.

Nevertheless, there is a silver lining.

Mr. Bertrand is being brought up before the disciplinary committee of the barreau du Québec after he was severely criticised by the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Ahenekew, having being convicted of a hate crime for his comments, was then stripped of his medal. In each case, the vast majority of Canadians had made it clear that their tolerance of free speech does not extend to the acceptance of hateful remarks. In both of the above instances, the reactions of citizens of all backgrounds had been a rejection of such views and a demand for a public rebuke by the authorities

Mr. Elmasry too needs to be castigated. His suggested inference that somehow Jewish officials will deliberately abuse their positions in order to target Muslims in Canada or elsewhere is particularly objectionable and must be confronted. But how and by who?

Unlike Messers Bertand and Ahenekew, Mr. Elmasry is not a lawyer (and therefore bound by the rules of his profession), nor is he a recepient of a national award which can be revoked if he tarnishes its ideals. And, no matter how inappropriate his press release, he will not be prosecuted for breaching the Criminal Code. What then to do?

Mr. Elmasry is, apart from being President of the Canadian Islamic Congress, also a professor at the University of Waterloo, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers. He is no stranger to inappropriate and abhorrent statements, having weathered a similar situation in October of 2004 for comments he made on The Michael Coren Show. At that time, the University condemned his remarks as conflicting with the University s values, but accepted his apology.

Perhaps the time has therefore come for the public to petition the institutions of which he is an integral part denounce him and refuse to allow him to continue to be a member. Perhaps that is the only way that Mr. Elmasry will be able to learn what he has obviously failed to absorb since he came to Canada over 35 years ago: Canadians will not accept bigotry.