Canadian Jews dump on Trump


Donald Trump’s ability to elicit reaction with controversial comments reached north of the border into Canada where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined a chorus of condemnation for the Republican presidential candidate’s call to restrict Muslim entry to the United States.

“Canadians are very aware of my feelings on this,” Trudeau said, while not referring specifically to Trump by name. “And they, by the way, sided pretty clearly against the politics of fear and division in our election here.”

Jewish organizations in Canada joined in condemning Trump.

Trump’s comments “appalling” and “racist”

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) stated, “While CIJA does not ordinarily comment on internal American politics, Donald Trump’s call for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the United States is appalling. Blacklists and bigotry are not only offensive, they obstruct meaningful debate around public policy solutions to the serious challenge of Islamist terrorism. Such reckless statements risk undermining the efforts of governments, security services and Muslim moderates who are working to counter extremism.

“When political leaders stake out such positions, they provide legitimacy to extreme rhetoric usually confined to the margins of political discourse,” Fogel said.

Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center opposes “the racism inherent in Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the United States,” the organization’s CEO, Avi Benlolo, said.

“Mr. Trump, by lumping all Muslims in the cross-hairs of the terrorism crisis, only hurts the legitimate campaign against Islamist fundamentalism and demeans law-abiding American citizens,” he said.

In a statement, Shahid Akhtar and Barbara Landau, co-chairs, Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, also condemned Trump’s “hate speech” and called for him to be banned from entering this country and “that corporations rename buildings bearing his name.”

They added: “In our lifetime, Jews, blacks, First Nations people, Japanese and others have been the focus of such racism.  When people of goodwill fail to raise their collective voices, history teaches us that this silence can be devastating. If we ignore this outrage we will do so at the expense of our children and grandchildren, who will ask why we stayed silent.”

Trump drew the ire of public figures around the world when he called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

That statement came soon after a husband and wife terror team killed 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, Calif. It prompted bi-partisan condemnations from both Republicans and Democrats, as well as from around the world.

U.S. Jewish organizations joined in criticizing “The Donald.” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called Trump’s remarks “unacceptable and antithetical to American values.”

“In the Jewish community, we know all too well what can happen when a particular religious group is singled out for stereotyping and scapegoating,” Greenblatt wrote in a statement.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) condemned “in the strongest terms” Trump’s “latest offensive and inflammatory comments.”

AJC associate executive director for policy Jason Isaacson said, “You don’t need to go back to the Chanukah story to see the horrific results of religious persecution.

We cannot “blame” and “ban” an entire religious group

“Yes, this country faces the very real threat of radical Islamist terror,” Isaacson said. “We cannot, however, fall into the trap of blaming and banning an entire religious group, who overwhelmingly reject the violence and extremism of Islamist terrorists.”

Two modern Orthodox groups, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America, issued a joint statement saying they “reject calls to limit immigration to the United States based on religion.”

Trump, who made billions in the real estate market, has close ties to the American Jewish community. His daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism and observes the Sabbath. Her two children are being raised Jewish.

Last summer, Forward ran an article outlining Trump’s Jewish connections. The paper noted he has served as a grand marshal at New York’s annual Salute to Israel Parade. After Hurricane Katrina, he was among a group of celebrities who decorated Jewish federation tzedakah boxes to be auctioned off to support hurricane disaster relief, and he was honoured with an award at the annual gala for the Algemeiner, a right-wing Jewish news organization.

On Israel, Trump was quoted as saying, “We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 per cent, 1,000 per cent. It will be there forever.”

Trump, however, cancelled plans to visit Israel this month, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

“I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with Netanyahu at a later date after I become president of the United States,” he said early Thursday morning on Twitter.

Earlier, 37 Israeli MKs, almost all from opposition parties, signed a petition calling on Netanyahu to cancel the Dec. 28 meeting with Trump. Meretz MK Michal Rozin, who initiated the petition, said to hold the meeting would lend support to Trump’s comments, disgrace the democratic character of the State of Israel and hurts its Muslim citizens.

Trump was criticized only a few weeks ago after an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition, in which he suggested his audience was preoccupied with money and were good negotiators. He said Israel was  partly to blame for the failure to come to terms with the Palestinians.

He has also been criticized for mocking the disabled, accusing immigrants of being killers and rapists, advocating a database to track Muslims in America and making fun of women’s looks.

Meanwhile, an online survey by Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, found 37 per cent of likely voters supported Trump’s position on Muslim immigration while a YouGov poll in Britain found 25 per cent support.

With files from JTA