This week has been a tumultuous one for the Canadian Jewish community – from celebrating one of our own being invested into the Order of Canada to condemning the fact that the publisher of a Canadian paper known for promoting Holocaust denial — which since June 23, 2022, is a criminal offence in Canada — attended an event on Parliament Hill, to applauding the government's commitment to make childcare more affordable for families in British Columbia.
Read on to learn more.
The CIJA Team
On Thursday, Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Co-Chair of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus (of which CIJA is a founding member), Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Tzedec Congregation, and a renowned leader in interfaith dialogue throughout Canada, was appointed to the Order of Canada — the highest civilian honour in our country — for his exceptional contributions to our society as an advocate for justice and peace.
For 26 years Rabbi Frydman-Kohl served at Beth Tzedec Congregation, where his rabbinate focused on commitment to family education, lifelong learning, and care for the housebound, hospitalized and homeless. He has organized several Path of Abraham missions to bring Jews, Christians, and Muslims to the Holy Land to explore the challenges of three religions, two nations, and one land.
We are grateful to know Rav Baruch who, by living his life imbued with one of the core values of Judaism, tikkun olam, has made the world more just, peaceful, tolerant, and equitable.
Earlier this year, attorney Hélène Poussard, while defending Gabriel Sohier-Chaput, on trial for the willful promotion of hatred and who has been accused of attempting to recruit others to join the neo-Nazi movement, questioned the number of Holocaust victims and whether the Nazis had set out to exterminate Jews, referring to it as a cost-saving measure instead.
Poussard said: “It wasn’t part of the initial plan to exterminate the Jews. And was it really six million victims? I believe that, if people died in concentration camps, it was to save money.”
A hearing was scheduled and, on November 28, a Quebec court heard arguments to determine whether the facts that Nazism led to the Holocaust or that six million Jews had been killed by the Nazis should be recognized as “judicially noticed” or common knowledge. A judgement is expected on January 23.
CIJA attended the hearing to monitor developments and released a statement to remind media and the community not only that Holocaust denial a criminal offence in Canada but also that the Canadian and Quebec courts have already ruled the Holocaust, and the Nazi regime’s fundamentally racist ideology, its relentless targeting of Jews, and its plans to use its concentration camps to exterminate the Jewish population are historical fact that must be regarded as proven.
CIJA was interviewed by CBC , CTV, and Canadian Press.
On November 29, the Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group, chaired by Liberal MP Salma Zahid, hosted a Parliament Hill reception that included Nazih Khatatba, the publisher and editor of the Mississauga-based Arabic-language newspaper, Meshwar, that has promoted Holocaust denial and praised terror attacks responsible for the murder of Canadians.
CIJA reached out to leading members of Parliament to flag his attendance and request condemnations of his participation. We emphasized, once again, that stringent vetting measures are needed across the whole of government, whether for government funding or to attend an event on the Hill. CIJA issued statements on social media and to journalists, which led to wide-spread coverage.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould joined Premier of British Columbia David Eby, and British Columbia Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen to highlight the government’s plan to make childcare more affordable for families in British Columbia.
The announcement was made at the Richmond Jewish Day School (RJDS), and we were thrilled to learn about a supportive piece of legislation that will impact families across all communities at an event taking place at one our community's most important institutions.
Supporting families and communities is a key part of Jewish advocacy, and we thank the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia for including the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver in Friday's proceedings.
December 18 | 8 Gays of Channukah
December 19 | City of Vaughan Menorah Lighting Ceremony
December 18-26 | Chanukah
*CIJA offices closed December 26,27 & 30
CIJA is Hiring:
Executive Director | Kehillat Beth Israel, Ottawa
Campaign Engagement Specialist (Jewish Federation of Ottawa)