I wasn’t in attendance, November 21, when Gil Hoffman, the Jerusalem Post’s chief political correspondent and analyst, spoke at Young Israel of Ottawa.
Hoffman’s advertised topic was “Peace, Politics and Palestinian Violence: An Insider’s Look at the Mayhem in the Middle East,” so I was surprised when I received reporter Diane Koven’s report on Hoffman’s lecture – linked here – that he also used the opportunity for some Canadian political analysis.
According to Hoffman, “Canada mattered” while former prime minister Stephen Harper was in power, but we have totally lost our relevance in the world under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
I’ve no idea how much research went into Hoffman’s analysis, but it seems to me that two weeks into a four-year term is a little too quick to come to that kind of conclusion.
I suppose Hoffman’s comments had to do with Harper’s unquestionably strong support for the State of Israel. But I think it needs to be pointed out to the likes of Hoffman that none of the official Canadian government policies in regard to Israel, the Palestinian territories, West Bank settlements, the status of Jerusalem, or support for a negotiated two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians changed under Harper. Nor will it under Trudeau.
After the election, there was some speculation that Canada’s strong support for Israel at the United Nations during Harper’s tenure (which was actually a continuation of the support for Israel at the UN begun by the previous government under Liberal prime minister Paul Martin) would change once Trudeau took office. And perhaps that speculation is what Hoffman’s analysis was based on.
But, in the spate of annual anti-Israel resolutions that come before the UN like clockwork every year, our new government stood as resolutely in support of Israel as did our previous government.
“So far, with final plenary or initial committee votes on 19 of the 20 annual anti-Israel resolutions, Canada’s voting record is entirely unchanged from last year,” reported UN Watch, on November 25.
According to UN Watch, the new Canadian government is “on track to continue without change Canada’s prior policy of firmly opposing repetitive, disproportionate and one-sided resolutions … designed to delegitimize Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy.”
Emerging Gen column
Beginning this issue, our Emerging Gen column, which deals with issues pertaining to people in their 20s, 30s and early-40s, will be done a little differently. While we used to have one columnist who would tackle the range of issues pertaining to the emerging generation, we’re now planning to split the role and have two alternating Emerging Gen columnists.
Stephanie Shefrin will be writing about all kinds of issues pertaining to families with young children. Stephanie’s first column – linked here – tackles the question of raising young Jewish children in a secular world, particularly at this time of year, when the Christmas season, and all that it represents, is so prevalent.
An alternating Emerging Gen columnist – to be named later – will cover other important issues pertaining to young adults in our community. Unfortunately, the other columnist we had lined up to take on this role has had to bow out. So, we’re looking for another Emerging Gen columnist to emerge.
If you think you might be that person, or if you have someone to recommend, please be in touch. I’ll be away from the office for the rest of December, but you can always email me at email@example.com and I’ll get right back to you on my return.
The Bulletin online
This is our final print edition of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin for 2015. We return January 25 with the first of our 19 print editions for 2016.
But the Bulletin isn’t just a print newspaper anymore. The online Bulletin – www.ottawajewishbulletin.com – is regularly updated with breaking news reports, feature length stories and opinion pieces from Israel and around the Jewish world (including from here in Ottawa), most of which are not included in the print edition. In November, for example, we published more than 300 articles online that were not included in print editions.
In addition to computers, the site is optimized for tablets and smartphones. So be sure to check in with us often.